How to Start, Manage and Market your profitable Pet livestock and supplies retail business

By Leonard Kamugisha Akida

Pet keeping and supplies businesses are becoming the drivers of the Ugandan economy and may make up close to 20% of the businesses in urban centres of Uganda. With a bigger multicultural population in metropolitan Kampala, pet dealers are finding the place a virgin grail for the business.

Some of the German Shepherd puppies already
on the market at Edmonds pet livestock farm, Ntinda.

Despite the misconceptions surrounding companion animals keeping and supplies in the African culture, a number of individuals, business organizations are emerging on the Blackman’s continent dealing in pet live stock and supplies.

The once reknown “western culture” is slowly and surely taking over markets in Africa and Uganda is not left in a slumber. Nowadays, most individuals socialise and interact more with their pets than man.

 “I trust my Dog more than a human being,” many say.

Young men are seen on roadsides at rush hours pulling choke chained puppies, kittens, and products such as chains, dog belts, pet foods name but a few in the name of vending. It’s at this point in life that you ought know about starting, managing and marketing a pet retail shop,” notices an on looking passenger.

Like any other business, a pet retail shop begins with the realization that there’s a high demand for pet animals in an area. These operates as any other food, grocery retail businesses. Products are stocked either at the shop or in a farm and sold at a margin of 10-25โ„… to pay for operational expenses and generate profits for a retailers.

Demand for pet animals is increasing at a steadfast velocity and is likely to overtake more retail businesses in the urban market as delears modernize and commercialize their pet practices. Therefore, start growing your pet supplies business now to grow with the expected demands and enjoy much profits.

However, before you venture into pet supplies business you must know what it takes to run a profitable business:

Develop the Business Idea.
Pet supplies businesses are based on the identified need in the community. Just as a chef first collects cooking materials, ingredients to start frying the food, a retailer dealing in pet supplies should first generate the business idea. For instance, you may have noticed the presence of certain pet- loving groups of individuals in your community or a lack of a pet shop, you could be having a passion, training and other backgrounds in pet sales and supplies. Carry out an intensive market research to prove the correctness of your idea. By so doing, you will learn about your targeted clients, their needs,your suppliers and competitors.

Market Research considerations;

  • Potential Customers:  Who are my clients? This  answers the 5Ws questions location of your clients, their needs and willingness to pay.
  • Products: Research enables you learn about the already products existing in the market, prices and the possible market gaps for your breakthrough.
  • Competitors: Learning about your competitors, their strengths and weaknesses enables you to be unique and preferably better than them in business.
  • Suppliers: Retail business is not a one man’s job. Realizing who your suppliers are likely to be make your businessstock. For instance, a grocer would prefer  an all season farmer to a seasonal one.  

Start with a few products that look promising to your potential buyers and gradually expand your business. This doesn’t only enable you build the market but also gives you a vivid pictureabout your customer’s needs. At this, do not aim at amassing much profits. Look at the customer’s response towards your products (demand) and their willingness to pay.

    Plan for your Business.
    Making a business plan is the next step after the Market research is done. When you find out that a pet retail shop is needed in your area or some products & services like; dog training, dog grooming, Pet food, veterinary mention but a few are missing, make a business plan stating your objectives, in puts, product types and sources, projected sales, incomes and expected profits. This should be done at least 1year prior to the actual operation of the business.

    Beware of the risks a head, your plan may not involve the unforeseen losses since it sounds realistic. Its always pretty good to take into consideration the likely losses such as immunisable diseases breakouts in case of pet animals, limited food supplies due to climatic changes and the much counterfeit goods and vaccines on market.

    Considering these help you carefully choose your suppliers, learn about your earnings. A good business plan may also help you acquire a manageable loan from a bank or SACCO.

    A close up shot of shelved veterinary pet shop.

    Make your business prosper.
    For any retail business to prosper, a retailer should consider these:

    • Expertise,

    There is nothing new that you are bringing on the board. Almost everything has ever been done, said or written about by the world’s inventors, historians, economists, scientists and theorists. To break through this katoogo of belief, you need to have vast knowledge about the pet keeping and supplies business. There are many refresher courses around town on Dog training, Pet behaviour, pet sales and supplies, veterinary  and Pet Kennels construction. One month training increases your expertise. Professionalise your business through customer-goods/service advice, after sales services etc. A Trading License, Veterinary vcertificate, Immunisation certificates, Birth certicates of pets, Training certificates are other evident requirements to your expertise. These can be obtained at Local government offices, Ministries of Trade and Health, Training institutions, Professional bodies eg Uganda Veterinary Association, Uganda veterinary Board in case of retailers dealing in Vet services.

    • Getting a shop

    Proximity is another crucial factor in pet business despite the prevailing trend where hundreds of thousand hawkers storm urban streets with goods loaded on their shoulders, armpits chanting product prices. Locating your shop gives a sense of  credibility, honesty and accessibility in the minds of a customer. Set up your shop in a cost friendly area that can easily be accessed by customers. Proper shelving, counter pallets,a signpost / long format banner,spacio parking, ceiling, ventilation, and fully accomodated customer’s waiting bay bring your shop to the required standards.

    • Stocks

    The pet business is seasonally unpredictable depending on what commodities and services you deal in. For instance, during a rainy season pet animals are always affected by communicable diseases which lowers livestock demand and supply whereas the demand for the vaccines goes high. Therefore, you need to adjust your stock market to match the seasons. This saves you reduce stock costs and other related risks.

    • Marketing your business,

    Aggressively and pro actively market your business to gain a wider market. With the current dynamisms in technology, social media platforms are best for your business market growth on top of the ordinary marketing means.Using local agents, stickers, signposts, mainstream media advertisements oceans your stock market.

    • Uniqueness and Efficiency,

    As parroted in the previous paras, there are little to add nor even none that has not been done.Being unique opens your market doors. Make visits to neighboring shops, attend seminars, read journals and Newspapers to find out the prices for different products, latest products on the market and holy grails for your investments. You may opt to be cheaper than your competitors or improve on the quality of your goods and services.

    Be it as it may, operating your business with effectiveness and efficiency promotes uniqueness. Maintaining track of records i.e book keeping, improve on the surrounding hygiene, are the weakest parts to most retailers. If you do these, assuredly, you will succeed in this business.

     Other Tips

    Customer satisfaction is key to the success of your business endeavor to satisfy the needs of your clients. This can only be done through giving brochures containing products/service advice, selling quality products and helping your clients make right decisions in buying.

    Build a strong mutual relationship with suppliers and customers. Being honest and trustworthy to the latter enables you to get goods on credit and better wholesale prices whereas the former builds networks for your business.

    Attend seminars, workshops and business symposiums to interact with other prominent businessme persons, entrepreneurs, producers, manufacturers, clients as it broadens your minds about pet livestock and supplies business.

    Be passionate about keeping pets and have much love for your business. This encourages you fit in day to day business community.

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