Pet Photography Business Plan

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Executive Summary

Owners and their beloved pets ... this is what makes our world go around. We are aware that there are many photographic studios, at either end of the spectrum, that will consider photographing a pet. However, they do not openly welcome your furry family members. At Adorable Pet Photography, pets are our only business. We are dedicated to capturing a moment you can remember forever to preserve a special relationship. With many years of experience, and a gentle approach in an unhurried environment, we will preserve your memories in a beautiful piece of photographic art. Our strong commitment to client satisfaction is showcased by the perfect photograph that captures the personality of the pet and the loving relationship between the pet and owner.

Adorable Pet Photography is a small business aimed at bringing a smile to every pet owner's face when they see their beautiful family member captured in a stunning portrait. Our goal of superior customer service and satisfaction will take dedication on the part of all staff members and vendors. The vision manifests itself in three ways:

  1. Produce the same outstanding quality results time after time.
  2. Be recognized as the top pet photographer in the Southeast.
  3. Be steadfast to our commitment for customer service and satisfaction.

Our keys to success will be providing high quality portraits, competitive pricing, and excellent customer service as our hallmark.

Adorable Pet Photography is currently located in Atlanta, Georgia. We will have a staff of two, with plans to expand to a full-time operation within the next five years. The company is established as a home-operated, part-time sole proprietorship. It is the intention of the company to develop sales and broaden the client base so as to become a full-time business. The company will offer a full range of custom portrait packages. Portrait sittings are available in either the well-equipped studio, the comfort of the client's home, or in an outdoor setting. The owner serves as the head photographer, and will require one assistant. Adorable Pet Photography is invested in the community. It will provide pro bono service to the local humane society and funding of awards for local dog and cat specialty shows.

The founder of Adorable Pet Photography has a long history as a successful photographer. A graduate of the Showcase School in Atlanta, his architectural photographs have been published in magazines such as Atlanta and Southern Living. The founder owns all of his equipment; therefore, no financial outlay is required for photographic equipment. Because Adorable Pet Photography is a home-based business, overhead is low. Salary for the owner will be withdrawn from the year-end funds once the business is established and profitable. The owner  is investing $10,000 from his personal savings, along with another $10,000 from a personal friend. This limits the short-term debt to $12,350 from the owner's credit union, for which the business is already pre-approved.

All photographs taken by Adorable Pet Photography will carry proper copyright notice. This notice of copyright will offer protection against a claim of "innocent infringement" on the part of a client. Some clients of Adorable Pet Photography will require copyright release forms; this will primarily involve breeders and pet specialty show organizers who will need to use the photographs for publication.

The company will offer a wide variety of products, such as: formal studio portraits, location portrait sessions, holiday candid photographs, portrait finishes, and framing.

Adorable Pet Photography will aggressively seek out local vendors to form strategic alliances in order to to reduce the cost of supplies and offer more services to the client.

Many of today's white-collar professionals, between the ages of 26 and 60, have at least one pet in the household. The pet is treated as a family member, and the owners spend approximately $26 billion annually for gourmet food, cosmetic services, health care, and specialty items. Adorable Pet Photography will reach this audience by targeting clients of these existing markets. We will fill an existing need for the client by specializing in pet photography. Through advertisements in the print media, brochures, and establishing working relationships with pet organizations and pet specialty businesses frequented by our potential client base, we will highlight our quality products and services.

What makes this industry so attractive is that, although the number of U.S. households with pets has held steady at approximately 58 million over the past ten years, the amount of money Americans spend on their pets has exploded. In 1993, overall retail sales of pet-related items were approximately $16 billion. By 1997 this number had risen to $22.6 billion, and by 2001, that number is expected to jump to $28.5 billion. Industry experts expect sales to grow steadily for the next five years, from three to 15 percent. This increased importance and love for the family pet has caused existing pet services to flourish and has created entirely new fields of pet care. Scores of entrepreneurs, such as the Petco superstores, are developing businesses catering to pet owners.

Adorable Pet Photography is in a unique position of competition. We compete against the standard portrait studio that may photograph pets, but only as an adjunct to photographing people. We compete against two other exclusive pet photographers in the Atlanta Metropolitan area, and a host of amateur photographers. The benefits and drawbacks of each of our competitors, compared with the services we offer, are hardly a match in quality and price.

The critical threats to this business venture are:

  • Sudden negative change in the local or national economy, since this is a luxury item.
  • Increased competition in the metropolitan Atlanta market.
  • Unsuccessful partnerships with pet specialty show organizers, breeder associations, and pet specialty stores.

One of the new threats to photographic studios is the advent of the computer/digital imaging process. Many sources believe that in the years to come we will replace traditional film with digital images. While this may be true of the amateur photographer and the commercial or technical photographer, we at Adorable Pet Photography believe that the time-honored artistry of photography, exhibited by Ansel Adams, Yuseff Karsh, Annie Leibowitz, and other famous photographers, will continue to be recorded on film. While we certainly believe that digital imagery is an enhancement to the portrait photographer, and its application in portrait photography will increase, we do not believe that it is a replacement for artistic talent.

Adorable Pet Photography's competitive edge is its commitment to customer service and satisfaction. We offer an array of services, flexible scheduling, and have the latest technology to produce beautiful photographic portraits. At Adorable Pet Photography, pets are our primary business, not a sideline or hobby. We understand pets and how to get the right elements together for a successful portrait session. We are patient, and our number-one goal is quality results.

Data suggests that the best way to reach Adorable Pet Photography's target audience for portrait photography is through the pet-related services they use. Adorable Pet Photography will establish working relationships with businesses such as grooming salons, specialty pet stores, and veterinary clinics. We hope to place brochures and framed pet portraits in these locations. Another strong marketing opportunity is available through the local area pet shows and local breeder associations. Finally, Adorable Pet Photography will establish relationships with pet specialty stores to offer candid photographs of pets and owners in seasonal vignettes. Although this generates revenue, it will be used as a marketing tool to increase exposure to our target market.

By beginning on a smaller scale, Adorable Pet Photography has the foresight to grow at a rapid pace to keep up with demand. We wish to maintain a steady rate of sales growth; however, we understand that sales will vary in different months. We expect rapid increases during holiday seasons that will boost sales, then allow that growth to level off at a steady rate.

The break-even point will be reached more rapidly for Adorable Pet Photography than for other types of home-based businesses since start-up costs are limited and there is little to no staff to pay in the beginning. January is expected to be the slowest month of the year, since this is the post-holiday slump.

Our cash situation is optimum. Although Adorable Pet Photography begins with little extra cash, our increased growth allows the business to gain financial ground quickly. The cash flow is negative for only two months of the first year, during the expected off-season months; the business will be prepared for this with cash reserves, and will maintain positive cash balances.

1.1 Mission

Today's environment presents the consumer with an array of choices. Adorable Pet Photography strives to be the best choice for the client. Providing high quality portraits, competitive pricing, and excellent customer service is our hallmark. Pet photography, even in a strong economy, is a luxury; therefore, our customers will receive a portrait that captures not only the beauty of their pet, but also the personality. This will be achieved through client interviews and patiently spending time with each pet to make them comfortable in the setting chosen by the owner. At Adorable Pet Photography, we view pets as members of the family. Through consistent, high-quality results we are committed to providing each client with value and satisfaction.

1.2 Keys to Success

The key to success at Adorable Pet Photography includes our commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. We will be responsible for ensuring a high degree of professionalism in three areas:

  1. Consistent fulfillment of the clients' expectations.
  2. Competitive pricing for the quality and array of services offered.
  3. A fair and reasonable profit on each portrait.

1.3 Objectives

Adorable Pet Photography is a small business aimed at bringing a smile to every pet owner's face when they see their beautiful family member captured in a stunning portrait. Our goal of superior customer service and satisfaction will take dedication on the part of all staff members and vendors. The vision manifests itself in three ways:

  1. Produce the same outstanding quality results time after time.
  2. Be recognized as the top pet photographer in the Southeast.
  3. Be steadfast to our commitment for customer service and satisfaction.