I spend a lot of time talking to entrepreneurs around the world, studying what they do, learning about their various industries and innovations and doing my utmost to work out their trials and tribulations. To me, the most impressive group of entrepreneurs is without a doubt the Petpreneurs.
Now the pet industry is worth around $100 Billion per year globally, a huge market and one that is growing rapidly. What is driving this incredible industry? Without a doubt it is the changing relationship between people and their pets. Pets are now considered a part of the family and as such, pet owners will do everything they can to care for them, entertain them and ensure they have a long and healthy life.
Petpreneurs are very smart. They know their target market extraordinarily well. They know what drives them, they know that they will spend what they need to do to ensure a good life for their pet and they are always looking for new products and services. And the Petpreneurs are keen to supply them.
We live in a world where there are two types of industries--those that have really learned to adapt and thrive in the new tech based world and those that are struggling to evolve and in many cases, probably won't survive. The one thing that the Petpreneurs of the world are crystal clear about, and a lesson for us all, is that they are totally focused on evolving with their market. This is the key to success for any industry or any entrepreneur.
Here are some of the interesting innovations that Petpreneurs have come up with in recent times, some are still in the crowd funding stage but getting plenty of interest. Most of these illustrate the understanding that Petpreneurs have of the growing bond between pets and their owners and the role of the pet in the family line up:
- Sleeping bags for dogs to enable them to camp with their owners (because dogs can't sleep outside anymore).
- A new service that sends dead pets into outer space with prices ranging from $995 to $12,500.
- A smart device that can track tail wags and translate them into how the dog is feeling emotionally (they turn tail wags into chin wags).
- A headset that can translate dogs thoughts so that humans can understand them.
- A British company has developed a washing machine that can be used by dogs. At this stage it is intended for support dogs but I'm sure it won't be long before we are expecting our dogs to do some of the household chores (my dog is not happy about this).
- "Wonderboo" is a small brown food truck in the Swedish capital which caters to health-conscious dog lovers and their pampered pets.
- JFK airport is going to build a luxury airport terminal for precious animals. The ARK--which will cost about $48M and offer luxury pre-flight hospitality for about 70,000 animals a year.
- A gaming console for dogs keeps them busy when owners are out.
- A dedicated TV channel for dogs which entertains pets while owners are away DOGTV is a 24/7 cable television channel which aims to keep pooches entertained. The channel features specialist programming developed using research from pet behavior experts.
- And last but not least, recently there was a concert held for dogs in Time Square.
So whilst in many ways the pet industry is cute, and people are coming up with clever ideas all the time, don't underestimate just how savvy this industry sector is. We all need to learn from them and understand these three points:
- The key to capturing any market is to really know your market.
- You have to evolve with your market or be left behind.
- Keep developing products and services to meet their needs.
Now these might sound simple, but how many industries fail to follow them? For my money I will continue to watch the world of the Petpreneurs very closely.