“Bake A Dog A Bone”- Starting a Pet Treat Business
There are lots of “get rich quick” books and programs available claiming you’ll live on a beach the rest of your life, sipping margaritas and admiring sunsets, if you buy their program or book. Of course, no book will make you instantly wealthy — it takes planning, hard work, and even a little luck to run a successful business, not just aggressive marketing and unproven schemes. Among the many books that promise to show you how to run a successful business, most are garbage; only a few offer anything actually useful. So how can you tell which books are best? Sometimes, you just have to take a chance. So that’s exactly what we did.
Recently, we purchased “Bake a Dog a bone”, by Chris Trombley and Doug Bertram. Billed as a “Step-By-Step Resource Guide To Earning A Six-Figure Income In The Pet Industry”, their book promises to “Reveal Easy-To-Follow Secret Tactics That Could Help You Fetch Your Own Share Of The $65 Billion Dollar Pet Industry… Starting From Scratch On A Shoe-String Budget“. But does it really offer such amazing insights, or is it just another cash-grab by greedy business people?
In our review, we’ll tell you what we think about the book, the extras that come with it, and how easy (or difficult) it is to read, understand, and implement for business people and entrepreneurs of all levels. If you think the book sounds useful, click a link on this page, and you’ll be taken to the author’s site. If you buy, we’ll get a small commission. But frankly, we’re more interested in helping new business people learn the ropes, and possibly achieve their dreams, than we are worried about getting a couple dollars from a commission.
Our thoughts on “Bake a Dog a Bone”:
First, the authors are well-qualified to give advice about business in general, and the pet-supply business specifically.
Chris Trombley worked with PetCo and Petsmart for years, and was responsible for sourcing and partnering with manufacturers in various pet-supply niches across the world, giving him unique insights into the world of making and selling pet treats.
Doug Bertram has consulted for multi-billion-dollar clients, helping them expand and drive their sales, and has written about a variety of pet issues for a number of publications, leading to him being recognized as an expert in the field.
The book is well organized, with the table of contents featuring links to each section, making navigation a breeze and finding specific information a joy. The chapters and sections are also well-organized, and have a clear focus. Examples include:
- Equipping your Business
- Inventory control
- Legal fees and regulations
- Using customer service as a marketing tool
- Targeting: Defining the pet-treat marketplace
- Local market research
- Developing you treat menu
- Shipping and receiving
- Sources of start-up funds
- Turning a profit by turning pro
The authors prefer bluntness to candy-coating. Referring to how entrepreneurs should manage their time, they say:
“Every business is really two businesses… One of those businesses has to do with the product you make or the service you provide. You bake organic dog treats. You create RAW daily meals. You deliver the necessities of pet ownership directly to the doors of other pet people. That part of your business is easy to get wrapped up in. “I am a baker,” the petrepreneur thinks, “so I must spend my time baking.” In fact, most entrepreneurs time should be spent on the real business that every pet business owner is in – selling.”
The authors have actual experience in the field of making and marketing the pet treats they recommend. Nuggets of wisdom reflecting this are peppered throughout the text. One point they make, of critical importance to businesses in any niche, is the importance of almost always selling.
“In launching a new pet treat business, many petrepreneurs do the opposite of spending 80 percent of their time on selling. They spend most of their time, attention, energy and capital on things such as setting up an office, designing logos, filing forms, writing contracts, setting up a website, and refining the treats. They have the impression they are doing everything in a logical order – getting everything just right before they open their doors. In fact, they are wasting valuable resources on secondary and tertiary endeavors.”
It is also well-written, covering nearly every facet of planning and running a business, and important topics like:
- How to identify a niche.
- Why entrepreneurs should specialize.
- How to conduct local market research.
- Baking and packaging dog treats.
- Why spending money and time on lesser concerns is foolish.
- How to market without having a marketing budget.
After reading “Bake a Dog a Bone“, you’ll have a relatively complete understanding of the niche, the market, the process, and the potential pros and cons of running a pet-treat business. While by no means exhaustive, readers will build the foundation they require to create their very own business, whether in the dog-treat niche or otherwise.
“Bake a Dog a Bone” comes with two additional books: one covering treat recipes, and the other herbal remedies and shampoos for pets.
The recipe book gives over 300 treat recipes, as well as full instructions and storage and packaging notes.
The remedy book contains over 30 recipes for everything from doggie-mouthwash to shampoo, ointment, flea-powder, and urinary tract cleanser, though how marketable many of them are is questionable. For example, their recipe for “skunk wash” is water and vinegar, which could be a difficult product to market.
The bundle also includes a spreadsheet template to help track important metrics like costs and profit/loss calculations. While it’s nothing you couldn’t put together yourself, having it done already could save you a considerable amount of time better spent accomplishing something else.
The authors make some impressive claims, promising to reveal secret tactics that increase your chances of success. Yet the advice and pointers they give are solid, and following their recommendations could help you start and run a business selling premium pet treats, or any other small business.
Of course, there’s more to it than that. Your success depends not so much on what you read, but on how well you do your research, how hard you work for your dreams, and what factors outside your control impact your efforts. Unless you have the drive to succeed and the passion to keep going, even when it’s not fun anymore, you’ll never see your business dreams come true, no matter what books you read or programs you buy into.
If you’re new to the business world, the book will probably open your eyes to a number of new topics and considerations you never thought of, or always wondered about. But if you’re already familiar with the ins and outs of starting and running a business, there will be little you haven’t heard before, or already know about. That being said, “Bake a Dog a Bone” offers useful, actionable information to anyone considering starting a business, and is especially useful for entrepreneurs and businesspeople just starting out.