The American Pet Products Association estimates that consumers are spending more than US$50 billion on petfood and supplies, a 5% increase over the previous year. At a time when other industries are shrinking or at a standstill, the growing pet industry gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to start their own business selling popular pet products like organic pet food and treats.
"You don't have to go out and invent some patentable, new concept that's technologically innovative," says Bob Vetere, executive director of APPA. "If you have a pretty sweater that you can knit for a dog-that's got a niche too. You can cater to both ends."
The pet market is relatively easy to enter, according to entrepreneur.com, because there are not only many opportunities for product innovation, but also many businesses can be started from home. Vetere says the pet industry adds about 200 to 250 serious businesses each year, though many of these small businesses do not make it past the first year.
Entrepreneurs must understand the market they are targeting as well as the business logistics of the product or service they are offering, experts say. John Nolan, president of Core Marketing and adjunct professor at Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management, says pet market entrepreneurs should conduct feasibility studies on their product or service before investing much money and time into it.
"The feasibility study should entail a comprehensive competitive analysis of all existing competitors," Nolan says. "You must know their products, features, benefits, pricing and marketing. In a nutshell-everything about them."