Between the long hours, endless amounts of work, and overbearing stress owning your business is difficult but rewarding work. Ask any entrepreneur, and they will tell you the same thing, it takes dedication and hard work to get your own business up off the ground and keep it there. Like everything else there will be rough patches, but if you play your cards right, know when to ask for help, and keep at it you just may come out on top. Within the first 5 years of startup nearly 65% of new businesses will fail. Nearly all business will deal with loss when first starting out, and it may not be till years after that they show a profit. This lack of profit accounts for a lot of businesses failing but it isn’t the sole cause of failure. There are plenty of cases where a business is started for the wrong reason and their owner doesn’t have the passion or persistence to actually give their business time to grow. They want instant results and if they aren’t getting the desired results, they scrap the business and move on to another endeavor. Typically, if you have what it takes to survive the first 5 years of owning a business, you’re in the clear, but it is going to take work to get there. Highland Canine Training, LLC is no exception to the start-up struggle. This company has experienced its fair share of turbulence and if it wasn’t for strategic planning, hard work, and perseverance we would’ve added to that 65%.
A lot of the students that come through our courses at the School for Dog Trainers either already have their own business or have dreams of starting their own. In order to set our students up for success when they leave our school, we have an intensive business week built into our curriculum. This week is strategically designed to put pressure on students. This is not because we enjoy watching people squirm, it is to build students up and set them up for success when they walk out the door.
48% of American households own at least one dog and that number is ever growing. The more people that own dogs the more people are also in need of training. One can very easily have a successful career in the dog training industry. According to the American Pet Products Association, in 2017, it was calculated that Americans spent 69.51 billion dollars on their pets alone. There is no sign of the industry slowing down, it is estimated that in 2018 Americans spent 72.13 billion and even in economic decline, the pet industry has shown growth. People love their pets and they are willing to spend good money on them regardless of what is going on. Just because people are spending money on their dogs doesn’t mean that anyone can step forward and run a successful business. Just like any other start-up endeavor it takes planning and a bit of luck.
A Success Story
In the videos below, we hear from Josh Abolt, the owner of Backcountry K9, LLC in NY and a recent graduate of our Master Dog Trainer Program. In the first short video, he describes how our program prepared him for opening his own successful dog training business and he offers advice to future graduates. The second video is a snapshot of the success Josh has had so far.
Preparing Graduates for Success
We believe that our business week prepares students to start-up their own business (if they still wish to) upon going home. Lectures are taught about expenses to be considered, types of corporations and liability insurances for dog training businesses. Every aspect of owning/running/starting their own business is covered. Some students find it beneficial in the sense that they found out through the course that owning a business is probably not for them and that’s perfectly okay. Owning a business is not for everyone, it’s expensive especially in the beginning and the stress is often more than most people can handle. Students are assigned numerous projects, that if done correctly, can be turned into actual business materials. For example, one assignment students are given is to make 3 webpages filled with content (a logo they created, pictures, videos, and text) about their business. We encourage students to take this work especially seriously because it pays off in the long run. We have had graduates that put the extra effort into their assignments and use them as actual business materials, be extremely successful. The pressure that is applied to students is also crucial to their success, during those real-world hardships it is often make-or-break time, and if not properly prepared most will not come out on top. Although we can’t exactly recreate the stresses of owning your own business, we can get pretty close.
Just because you don’t want to own a business it doesn’t mean that there is nothing to gain from our courses. We have had graduates leave us to go on to work for other companies and be incredibly successful. There are major working canine suppliers in the industry that hire new recruits from only two places, their own training academy and us here at the School for Dog Trainers. Believe it or not the canine industry is a relatively small circle. Almost everyone knows each-other. It is a multi-billion-dollar industry, there is more than enough to go around. So, make connections and work together especially when you are first starting out, whether you are working for yourself or someone else.
Every Lesson Counts
Even if the students hate us for all the work they are given during “hell week” (as it has been so fondly named), they often say that it was worthwhile in the end. There is a lot that goes into owning your own business that people don’t consider, our goal is to give students the best glimpse at what that is like before they graduate. We are not here to tell students how to run their business but rather give them all the information they need to be successful and let them mold their own future. From day one they are told that their career as a professional dog trainer starts here, and it’s true. The connections students make while they are in the program can help create a bright future, and it all depends on how seriously they take their time in the course. The hard work that they put in while they are here counts. From day one, everything they do in our courses counts.