Are you inspired by Fido’s? Do you dream of starting your own Fido’s or a similar business? This article is for you, but keep this in mind…Fido’s is a bar/restaurant first. That pays the bills and makes it possible to foster dogs and promote charities. When you see photos of our adoptions, charity functions, dog events and other activities, you are only seeing the icebergs tip. This article is for you to get realistic.

#1 – Vision: You need a burning vision of what you want to open. You can start small, but as you progress and work simultaneously on steps 2 & 3, your vision should eventually consume you. You must see your business in your mind, years before you open. This type of overwhelming, consuming desire will lead you to overcome the countless obstacles you will face and overcome to open a new Fido’s.

#2 & 3 will be acted upon concurrently.

#2 – Create a Business Plan! Contact the Small Business Administration (SBA), Service Corp Of Retired Executives (SCORE). Google SBA SCORE. It’s a free service and these highly experienced executives will mentor you. They will NOT, give you the answers. You will do the hundreds of hours of work necessary, to become an expert in your new business, which is an Eating/Drinking Establishment. NOT Dog Rescue. If you’re unable to overcome your fear of the unknown, then you’ll never open. Have questions about dogs in restaurants? Call your local health department and ask a lot of stupid questions. These answers will end up generating dozens of more questions, dozens more calls, answers, more questions, etc. I’ll just hypothesize that there are about 300-500 questions and answers you’ll become an expert on by the time you open. There are some great reasons to hire experts for certain aspects of the business, but learning the basics and creating a large portion of your business plan is not one of them.

#3 – Subscribe To For those that have never owned or worked within the Food & Beverage industry, this is like the Library Of Congress. They will have business plans, policies, procedures, check lists, webinars and training documents. All of this is included in their $30/month subscription fee. The volume of information available to members is overwhelming, but you must start, read, digest, read, digest and read more. This self-education will generate dozens of questions and items you’ll add to your business plan. You’ll need to make dozens of phone calls to restaurant suppliers, vendors, contractors & architects. All of this creates more items to add to your business plan.

#4. Money! Where do you get the $300,000 – $500,000 you’ll need to open a similar sized concept? YES. At least $300,000. As you create the hundreds of line items on your business plan, the $ will continue to add up. And here is a really ugly truth about banks. Do you have at least a two year track record of owning a successful bar/restaurant already? No? Well no bank will loan you money and they won’t even loan you money thru an SBA Loan. You will have to come up with the cash yourself. Savings. Credit Cards. Mortgage your home. Borrow from family. Sell your home. Mortgage your inheritance.

Yes. For most small business owners this is the brutal truth of how they started. And as you can learn with simple bar/restaurant industry research, about 60% will fail within 1 year, and 80% within 5 years.

#5. Other Considerations: If you’re still with me, now accept that you and your partner/spouse will work 60-90 hrs per week. Medical insurance? Paycheck? Unlikely in the first 1-3 years. I strongly recommend you work in a bar/restaurant. Work for free if it’s the only way to get experience in your future business.

#6. Dogs & Charities. Compared to everything else…this is easy. Find a local charity that will be a partner and allow you to foster their dogs. The big charities like Humane Society, Best Friends, ASPCA are unlikely to do so as they will have real concerns about liability. Once you get a year or two into Steps 1-4, then begin the process of talking to charities.

#1 Vision: All roads lead back to your vision and compelling desire to open your business. As you move towards opening day…one year, two years, perhaps three years of self education. Your knowledge, confidence and determination will grow. Your vision will compel you to move forward and overcome obstacles. Do you have this type of will power, vision and determination to become the owner of a Fido’s? Then get started. As one very wise character said…”Do or do not. There is no try.”