Welcome to a brand new Saturday Small Business Chat with Diane Grogan from Kanine Kampus & Pet Au Purrs. We’ve already encountered Diane in this series, as she was mentioned in Gill Linnell’s update interview a few weeks ago. I do think it’s great when similar businesses work as colleagues rather than rivals – it’s the way I operate with a number of editing colleagues, as there are always peaks and troughs in any type of business, and it’s good to have trusted people you can recommend enquirers on to, or who can fill in types of work that you don’t provide yourself. When Diane contacted me with her answers, I thought it would be an interesting comparison, too.
In a common theme that runs through these interviews, this successful business (it’s been running for nine years) was started because the business owner had experience in the area she wanted to go into. I’m becoming more and more sure that this is key, but maybe one of you will prove me wrong …
Let’s meet Diane and find out more about her business and the lessons she’s learned.
What’s your business called? When did you set it up?
Kanine Kampus & Pet Au Purrs, I set up Pet au Purrs in April 2004 and it was mainly pet sitting, dog walking and small pet home boarding (rabbits and guinea pigs, etc.).
What made you decide to set up your own business?
I had the chance of being made redundant from the vets where I worked, and I had experience in dog grooming, running a kennels and also running the feline holiday apartments connected to the vets.
What made you decide to go into this particular business area?
I have always worked with animals in various areas, and decided I wanted to stay working with animals.
Had you run your own business before?
How did you do it? Did you launch full-time, start off with a part-time or full-time job to keep you going … ?
I just set up full time in what I was doing, I was lucky to have the backup of my husband having a good job at the time.
What do you wish someone had told you before you started?
Don’t panic, don’t stress!
What would you go back and tell your newly entrepreneurial self?
Follow your dream.
What do you wish you’d done differently?
Set up the daycare part of the business sooner.
What are you glad you did?
I’m definitely glad that I went down this route.
What’s your top business tip?
Be sensible, but if it’s your dream, follow it through.
How has it gone since you started? Have you grown, diversified or stayed the same?
It’s grown: now we have the daycare it’s opened up a whole new side of the business, and more opportunities, such as Dog Grooming. We have teamed up with Gillian Linnell, helping her to expand what she offers, and also with Rachel Bean, RVN Canine Behaviourist, to provide first aid and puppy workshops. We also offer dog training and have a small shop area.
Where do you see yourself and your business in a year’s time?
I hope that the business keeps growing and we could maybe have another branch of Kanine Kampus in another area.
That’s very good advice, isn’t it: don’t panic, don’t stress, be sensible and follow your dream. As I said earlier, partnering with colleagues in the same business area is often a sensible path to follow that can help you both to expand what you offer and provide a wide-ranging service, and is something that I think everyone should look into. At very least, it can provide that all-important holiday and sickness cover, as I’ve found out over the years. Best of luck to Diane with her plans for expansion and possibly more collaboration, and we’ll look forward to finding out how things are going in a year’s time! Here’s Diane’s 2014 update.
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured. If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books.