It’s time for an update with Diane Grogan from Kanine Kampus and Pet Au Purrs, a dog day-care company in Oldham, who we first met in May 2013 and updated in August 2014. At that point, they’d just moved business premises and Diane had good advice to give about checking business rates, etc. This is where she wanted to be by now: “We are seeing a light at the end of a very long tunnel, and if we keep our heads down and work hard we will be on track to continue and expand towards the end of next year”, but as you’ll see as you read on, it’s been a year of decisions and (positive) changes to get back on track. As Diane said when she replied to my update request, “Lots of things have changed since last year, so it’s a good thing to be updating people”.
Hello again, Diane. Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
Not quite: we realised that we were never going to be able to afford the building we were in, as the rent and business rates were going up each year, and we would have had to hike up our prices to break even. We also had two new day-care centres open close enough to affect us, so we decided to call it a day, ease the worries and just step back into the dog home boarding, dog walking, dog grooming and pet sitting that we ran alongside the day-care.
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
We no longer have the day-care centre, but still offer group dog walking where dogs can spend four hours or more in the company of other dogs (up to four at a time ) in the fresh air and open countryside, as well as our other core services.
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
To stop worrying so much and go with what you know.
Any more hints and tips for people?
Research the rent and rates on a building, as they are often not clearly advertised; also look into electricity costs and other utilities.
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
I am really enjoying being back outdoors, I feel healthier and happier without being dragged down with paperwork and jumping through hoops with councils and licences, So I intend to keep doing what I’m doing and enjoy the work.
I’ve always been so glad I don’t have to have anything to do with facilities or business premises as a sole trader working on a computer at a desk; they can be very tricky, not to mention expensive, things to deal with. I’m glad that Diane’s made the right decision for her business and herself, and is feeling better and less weighed down for it. Here’s to a good year!
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 (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources.