Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest

If you are considering starting a gourmet dog treat business, there are fun surprises, challenges and profitability just ahead. Dogs are the epitome of fun, with distinctive personalities and a handy way of being around when treats come out of the cookie jar. The delight found in serving gourmet treats to our dogs is partly because it’s so enjoyable to watch their reaction. Whether they dance, jump, or put out a paw for more, gourmet dog treats are a hit in every home. Let’s talk about how to start a gourmet dog treat business of your own.

There are some steps to take to get started in any business, and a gourmet dog treat business is similar in this regard. You’ll need to secure a location to bake the treats, analyze your competitors, determine a marketing strategy, and add several other elements before starting your business.

Step 1:  Prepare Your Business Plan

There are several segments to a business plan so you may be tempted to wait to complete it; however, it is the foundation for your business and the pitch you’ll use to secure startup funding, if needed. As a critically important factor in the success of your gourmet dog treat business, you’ll want to complete this small business plan as soon as possible.

Step 2:  Develop Recipes and Lease Space in a Commercial Kitchen

If you already have some recipe ideas in mind for gourmet dog treats, you’ll want to start testing and baking them. Allow your dogs and those of others to test very small pieces; watch for reactions and make notes accordingly. If you don’t yet have recipes, search online for a qualified baker. Each type of dog treat should include nutritional value and enticing flavors in order to capture your audience and their pet parents. Unless you have a large kitchen, you’ll want to lease space in a commercial kitchen to bulk prepare and bake large batches of treats.

Step 3: Create Your Brand Identity

This is a good time to have a graphic logo, brand, and tagline prepared and designed to create a memorable and identifiable message for your clients. The logo should be clear and representative of the gourmet treats, as you’ll use the logo on product labels and every other item created. You may also want to have dog t-shirts and other apparel made with your logo imprinted on them, as well. The effort will be both strategic marketing and a profitable venture.

Step 4: Research Local and National Competitors

Perform research to determine the scope and extent of the gourmet dog treat sector. Are gourmet dog treats offered for sale in all pet stores? Are gourmet dog treats marketed nationally or locally? How many different companies are there that sell gourmet dog treats? What are the pricing models and how does yours fit into the selection? Every piece of information you can extract will assist when you form the unique value proposition for your business, which will establish your business as the provider of a valuable or unique item that sets your business apart from all the others. The key in positioning your business to win the customers is in the differentiation factor.

Step 5:  Set Marketing Strategies

Along with a unique selling proposition, you’ll need to create marketing strategies that resonate with the pet parents of the dogs. They will need to observe your care and concern for their dogs demonstrated in the high-quality ingredients and processes of making the treats, and they will need to recognize the value your business brings to the life of their dog. With these parameters in mind, you can set marketing goals and plan accordingly.

Your website can be optimized for SEO, social media callouts can be posted at least once a week, conduct fun “taste testings” at local dog runs (upon approval of the pet parents) and create videos with the entertaining results. You may also want to provide “Dog Day Nights” at a recreational dog park to offer gourmet dog treats to your canine friends, while pet parents enjoy delicious appetizers, as well. Work these events into the local newspapers and send notices to local periodicals for maximum return on your marketing strategies.

Step 6:  When your small business plan is complete, it’s time to seek funding, if needed.

Gather relevant documents and pitch lenders or investors for necessary funding to start your business. Encourage them to agree by taking your dog along to demonstrate just how much dogs love your treats.

By completing your business plan, creating a brand identity, offering a unique selling proposition, and setting a marketing plan in place, your gourmet dog treat business will put the “Wow” into your dog’s “Bow Wow.”  Wishing you the best of success!