Do you want to start an aquarium store and need to write a plan? If YES, here is a sample aquarium store business plan template & FREE feasibility report. If you have a knack for retailing products, then you should consider starting your own aquarium store. It has been proven over and over again that the aquarium store business is one of the businesses that can easily survive in any part of the world as long as it is situated in a place with the right demography and purchasing power.

Starting a business is not as easy as it sounds. It requires deliberate planning, capital and business skills. Depending on the vision you have for your aquarium store, you can start it on a small scale or on a larger scale.

The good thing about establishing a standard aquarium store is that if you are successful in building your brand, you can easily sell your franchise to investors. Below is a sample aquarium store business plan template that can help you to write your own with little or no trouble.

A Sample Aquarium Store Business Plan Template

1. Industry Overview

Aquarium store business is a subset of the pet stores in industry and a pet shop or pet store is a retail business which sells different kinds of animals to the public. A variety of animal supplies and pet accessories are also sold in pet shops. They also sell food, treats, toys, collars, leashes, cat litter, cages and aquariums.

The Pet Stores industry has remained relevant over the years as cats, dogs, fish and birds have remained common companions in many households. Pet parents or pet owner who treats their pets as family members have grown increasingly hence the increase in demand for pet stores products and services.

The industry has expanded strongly over the five-year period due to economy recovery in the United States of America, despite increased competition from supermarkets, mass merchandisers and online retailers that typically offer consumers greater convenience and competitive prices. Going forward, the Pet Stores industry is projected to maintain strong growth

The Pet Stores Industry is indeed a thriving sector of the economy of the united states of America and the industry generates over billion annually from about 13,575 pet stores scattered all around the United States of America. The industry is responsible for the employment of 119,839 people.

Experts project the pet stores industry to grow at a 4.5 percent annual rate between 2011 and 2016. The establishment in this industry that has a dominant market share in the United States of America are; PETCO Animal Supplies Inc. and PetSmart Inc.

A recently published article by IBISWORLD shows that high levels of competition and regulations associated with entering this industry may deter some from entering the industry.

All the same, there are various niche markets available for new players to occupy, specifically those that specialize in premium and innovative food, products and services. The report also stated that a significant factor that can hinder an operator from entering this industry is government regulations.

There are federal and state laws regulating pet shops and the sale of animals. For example, the Pet Animals Act 1951 requires pet shops to get a license in accordance with the act before they can open. In addition, the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 dictates how pets sold in pet stores must be maintained.

If you are contemplating starting your own aquarium store business in the United States, you should ensure that you carry out a thorough market survey and feasibility studies. If you get some key factors wrong before starting your business, then you are likely going to struggle to stay afloat.

2. Executive Summary

Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc. is a registered aquarium store that will be located in one of the busiest business cum market districts in Baton Rouge – Louisiana. We have been able to lease a shop facility along a major road that is big enough to fit into the kind of aquarium store  that we intend launching and the store facility is located in a corner piece property directly opposite the largest residential estate in Baton Rouge – Louisiana.

Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc. will be involved in retailing different types and sizes of aquariums, aquarium accessories and a variety of fishes and other sea animals, fish feeds and medications.

We are aware that there are several aquarium stores and even pet stores that retail aquariums in and around Baton Rouge – Louisiana, which is why we spent time and resources to conduct thorough feasibility studies and market survey so as to offer much more than our competitors will be offering.

We have delivery and after sales service options for our customers. Our customer care will be second to none in the whole of Baton Rouge – Louisiana. We know that our customers are the reason why we are in business which is why we will go the extra mile to get them satisfied.

Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc. will at all times demonstrate her commitment to sustainability, both individually and as a firm, by actively participating in our communities and integrating sustainable business practices wherever possible. We will ensure that we hold ourselves accountable to the highest standards by meeting our client’s needs precisely and completely.

Our plan is to position Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc. to become the leading brand in the pet stores industry in the whole of Louisiana, and also to be amongst the top 10 aquarium stores in whole of the United States of America within the first 10 years of opening our first aquarium store.

This might look too tall a dream but we are optimistic that this will surely come to pass because we have done our research and feasibility studies and we are enthusiastic and confident that Baton Rouge – Louisiana is the right place to launch our business before spreading to other parts of the United States.

Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc. is a family business that is owned by Bruno Martins and his immediate family members. Bruno Martins has the required experience, qualifications and skills that will help him grow the business from start – up to profitability within the shortest time frame possible.

Although the business is launching out with just one outlet in Baton Rouge – Louisiana, but there is a plan to open other outlets all around key cities in the United States of America.

3. Our Products and Services

Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc. is in the pet stores industry to make profits and we will ensure we make available a wide range of pet related merchandize to our clients. We will ensure that we do all that is permitted by the law in the United States of America to achieve our business goal and ambition. Our product and service offerings are listed below;

  • Retailing different sizes and types of aquariums
  • Retailing different types of fishes and sea animals
  • Retailing pet feed, medications and aquarium accessories.

4. Our Mission and Vision Statement

  • Our vision is to become the leading aquarium store in the pet stores industry in the whole of Louisiana and also to be amongst the top 10 aquarium stores in the United States of America.
  • Our mission is to establish an aquarium store business that will make available a wide range of aquariums and aquarium related merchandize at affordable prices to residents of Baton Rouge – Louisiana and other cities in the United States where we intend opening of chains of aquarium stores.

Our Business Structure

Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc. intends to start small in Baton Rouge – Louisiana, but looks to grow big in order to compete favorably with leading stores in the United States. We are aware of the importance of building a solid business structure that can support the kind of world class aquarium business we want to own.

At Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc., we will ensure that we hire people that are qualified, hardworking, creative, customer centric and are ready to work to help us build a prosperous business that will benefit all the stake holders.

As a matter of fact, profit-sharing arrangement will be made available to all our senior management staff and it will be based on their performance for a period of five years or more as agreed by the board of trustees of the company. In view of the above, we have decided to hire qualified and competent hands to occupy the following positions in our organization;

  • Chief Executive Officer (Owner)
  • Store Manager
  • Merchandize Manager
  • Accountants/Cashiers
  • Sales Boys and Sales Girls

5. Job Roles and Responsibilities

Chief Executive Officer – CEO:

  • Increases management’s effectiveness by recruiting, selecting, orienting, training, coaching, counseling, and disciplining managers; communicating values, strategies, and objectives; assigning accountabilities; planning, monitoring, and appraising job results
  • Creating, communicating, and implementing the organization’s vision, mission, and overall direction – i.e. leading the development and implementation of the overall organization’s strategy.
  • Responsible for fixing prices and signing business deals
  • Responsible for signing checks and documents on behalf of the company
  • Responsible for overseeing the smooth running of HR and administrative tasks for the organization
  • Defining job positions for recruitment and managing interviewing process
  • Carrying out staff induction for new team members
  • Responsible for training, evaluation and assessment of employees

Store Manager:

  • Responsible for managing the daily activities in the store
  • Ensures that proper records of goods are kept and our racks and warehouse does not run out of products
  • Maintains office supplies by checking stocks; placing and expediting orders; evaluating new products.
  • Model demographic information and analyze the volumes of transactional data generated by customer purchases
  • Ensures operation of equipment by completing preventive maintenance requirements; calling for repairs.
  • Ensure that the store facility is in tip top shape and goods are properly arranged and easy to locate
  • Control goods distribution and supply inventory
  • Supervise the workforce

Merchandize Manager

  • Manage vendor relations, market visits, and the ongoing education and development of the organizations’ buying teams
  • Responsible for the purchase of aquariums, accessories, fishes, medications, fish feeds and related products for the organizations
  • Responsible for planning sales, monitoring inventory, selecting the merchandise, and writing and pricing orders to vendors
  • Ensures that the organization operates within stipulated budget.

Accountant/Cashier:

  • Responsible for preparing financial reports, budgets, and financial statements for the organization
  • Provides managements with financial analyses, development budgets, and accounting reports
  • Responsible for financial forecasting and risks analysis.
  • Performs cash management, general ledger accounting, and financial reporting
  • Responsible for developing and managing financial systems and policies
  • Responsible for administering payrolls
  • Ensuring compliance with taxation legislation
  • Handles all financial transactions for the organization
  • Serves as internal auditor for the organization

Sales Girls and Sales Boys

  • Consistently stays abreast of any new information on the organizations’ products, promotional campaigns etc. to ensure accurate and helpful information is supplied to customers when they make enquiries
  • Find out the customer’s needs, recommend, select and help locate the right merchandise, describe a product’s features and benefits.
  • Make suggestions and encourage purchase of products
  • Help increase sales and growth for the company
  • Provide information about warranties, manufacturing specifications, care and maintenance of merchandise and delivery options

6. SWOT Analysis

Our intention of starting just one outlet of our aquarium store in Baton Rouge – Louisiana is to test run the business for a period of 2 to 5 years to know if we will invest more money, expand the business and then open other outlets all across the United States of America.

We are quite aware that there are several aquarium stores all over Baton Rouge – Louisiana which is why we are following the due process of establishing a business. We know that if a proper SWOT analysis is conducted for our business, we will be able to position our business to maximize our strength, leverage on the opportunities that will be available to us, mitigate our risks and be equipped to confront our threats.

Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc. employed the services of an expert HR and Business Analyst with bias in retailing to help us conduct a thorough SWOT analysis and to help us create a Business model that will help us achieve our business goals and objectives. This is the summary of the SWOT analysis that was conducted for Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc.;

  • Strength:

Our location, the business model we will be operating on, varieties of payment options, wide range of aquariums, fishes, fish feeds, fish medications and after sale services and our excellent customer service culture will definitely count as a strong strength for us. So also, our management team have what it takes to grow a business from startup to profitability with a record time.

  • Weakness:

A major weakness that may count against us is the fact that for now, we are not into the construction of aquariums; we still rely on suppliers. With that, we may not have direct control over the retailing price. We hope in the nearest future to go into the construction of a wide range of aquariums so as to help us control the prices in our store.

  • Opportunities:

The fact that we are going to be operating our aquarium store opposite one of the largest residential estates with loads of people with purchasing power in Baton Rouge – Louisiana provides us with unlimited opportunities to sell our aquariums and related merchandize to a large number of customers. We are well positioned to take on the opportunities that will come our way.

  • Threat:

Online shopping poses a direct threat to traditional industry retailers. Many online retailers offer similar products to brick-and-mortar pet stores, but at lower prices and the convenience of doorstep shipping.

An increase in demand from online aquariums, pet food and pet supply sales will likely decrease demand for traditional brick-and-mortar stores, suppressing industry revenue. Demand from online pet food and pet supply sales is expected to rise in the coming year, posing a potential threat to the industry.

7. MARKET ANALYSIS

  • Market Trends

It is now becoming a popular trend not only in the pet stores industry, but also in other industries for owners of bricks and mortar stores to also run an online store. With this, it is easier for them to maximize profits in the business. You can as well go ahead to open an online aquarium store where people can order our merchandise. You must ensure that your delivery system (shipping) is efficient if you intend to do well with your online store.

Lastly, the Pet Stores industry has steadily remained relevant over the years as cats, dogs, fish and birds have remained common companions in many households. Pet parents or pet owner who treats their pets as family members have grown increasingly hence the increase in demand for pet stores products and services.

The industry has expanded strongly over the five-year period due to economy recovery in the United States of America, despite increased competition from supermarkets, mass merchandisers and online retailers that typically offer consumers greater convenience and competitive prices. Going forward, the Pet Stores industry is projected to maintain strong growth

8. Our Target Market

In the United States of America, people keep pets in their homes and they ensure that the take proper care of them. As a matter of fact, in the US there are laws guiding how pets should be handled. This goes to show that if an aquarium store is well positioned and well stocked, then they will continue to sell their products to a wide range of clients on a regular basis.

We are in business to sell a wide range of aquariums, aquarium accessories, fishes, fish feeds, medications and related merchandize et al to;

  • Pet (fish) owners
  • Interior decorators/companies
  • Schools (For biology labs)

Our competitive advantage

A close study of the pet stores industry reveals that the market has become much more intensely competitive over the last decade. As a matter of fact, you have to be highly creative, customer centric and proactive if you must survive in this industry. We are aware of the stiff competition and we are prepared to compete favorably with other aquarium stores in Baton Rouge – Louisiana.

Our location, the business model we will be operating on, varieties of payment options, wide range of aquariums, aquarium accessories, fishes, fish feeds and medications and related merchandize et al and our excellent customer service culture will definitely count as a competitive advantage for Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc.

So also, our management team members are people who have what it takes to grow a business from startup to profitability with a record time.

Lastly, our employees will be well taken care of, and their welfare package will be among the best within our category in the pet stores industry, meaning that they will be more than willing to build the business with us and help deliver our set goals and objectives. We will also give good working conditions and commissions to freelance sales agents that we will recruit from time to time.

9. SALES AND MARKETING STRATEGY

  • Sources of Income

Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc. is in business to retail a wide range of aquariums, aquarium accessories, fishes, fish feeds and medications and related merchandize et al to residents of Baton Rouge – Louisiana. We are in the pet stores industry to maximize profits and we are going to ensure that we achieve or business goals and objectives.

In essences, we will generate income by;

  • Retailing different sizes and types of aquariums
  • Retailing different types of fishes and sea animals
  • Retailing fish feeds, medications and aquarium accessories.

10. Sales Forecast

One thing is certain when it comes to aquarium stores business, if your store is well stocked and centrally positioned in an environment with the right demographic composition, then you will always attract customers cum sales.

We are well positioned to take on the available market in Baton Rouge – Louisiana and we are quite optimistic that we will meet our set target of generating enough income/profits from the first six months of operation and grow the business and our clientele base.

We have been able to examine the pet stores industry, we have analyzed our chances in the industry and we have been able to come up with the following sales forecast. The sales projections are based on information gathered on the field and some assumptions that are peculiar to startups in Baton Rouge – Louisiana.

Below are the sales projections for Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc., it is based on the location of our business and other factors as it relates to aquarium stores startups in the United States;

  • First Fiscal Year (FY1): $220,000
  • Second Fiscal Year (FY2): $350,000
  • Third Fiscal Year (FY3): $650,000

N.B: This projection was done based on what is obtainable in the industry and with the assumption that there won’t be any major economic meltdown and there won’t be any major competitor offering same products and customer care services as we do within same location. Please note that the above projection might be lower and at the same time it might be higher.

  • Marketing Strategy and Sales Strategy

Before choosing a location for Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc., we conduct a thorough market survey and feasibility studies in order for us to be able to penetrate the available market and become the preferred choice for pet owners and aspiring pet owners who reside in Baton Rouge – Louisiana. We have detailed information and data that we were able to utilize to structure our business to attract the number of customers we want to attract per time.

We hired experts who have good understanding of the pet stores industry to help us develop marketing strategies that will help us achieve our business goal of winning a larger percentage of the available market in Baton Rouge – Louisiana.

In summary, Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc. will adopt the following sales and marketing approach to win customers over;

  • Open our aquarium stores in a grand style with a party for all.
  • Introduce our aquarium store business by sending introductory letters alongside our brochure to residents, businesses and other key stake holders in Baton Rouge – Louisiana
  • Ensure that we have a wide range of aquariums, aquarium accessories, fishes, fish feeds and medications and related merchandize et al in our store at all times.
  • Make use of attractive hand bills to create awareness and also to give direction to our aquarium store
  • Position our signage/flexi banners at strategic places around Louisiana
  • Position our greeters to welcome and direct potential customers.

11. Publicity and Advertising Strategy

Despite the fact that our aquarium store is well located, we will still go ahead to intensify publicity for the business. We are going to explore all available means to promote Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc.

Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc. has a long term plan of opening outlets in various locations all around the United States of America which is why we will deliberately build our brand to be well accepted in Baton Rouge – Louisiana before venturing out.

As a matter of fact, our publicity and advertising strategy is not solely for winning customers over but to effectively communicate our brand. Here are the platforms we intend leveraging on to promote and advertise Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc.;

  • Place adverts on community based newspapers, pet magazines, radio and TV stations.
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth publicity from our loyal customers
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Badoo, Google+ and other platforms to promote our business.
  • Ensure that our we position our banners and billboards in strategic positions all around Baton Rouge – Louisiana
  • Distribute our fliers and handbills in target areas in and around our neighborhood
  • Advertise Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc. business in our official website and employ strategies that will help us pull traffic to the site
  • Brand all our official cars and vans and ensure that all our staff members and management staff wear our branded shirt or cap at regular intervals.

12. Our Pricing Strategy

Pricing is one of the key factors that gives leverage to retailers and aquarium stores, it is normal for consumers to go to places when they can get aquariums and accessories at affordable price which is why big players like PETCO Animal Supplies Inc., PetSmart Inc. and co will continue to attract loads of consumers.

We know we don’t have the capacity to compete with bigger and well – established aquarium stores and pet stores, but we will ensure that the prices of all the products that are available in our store are competitive with what is obtainable amongst aquarium stores within our level.

  • Payment Options

The payment policy adopted by Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc. is all inclusive because we are quite aware that different customers prefer different payment options as it suits them but at the same time, we will ensure that we abide by the financial rules and regulation of the United States of America.

Here are the payment options that Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc. will make available to her clients;

  • Payment via bank transfer
  • Payment with cash
  • Payment via credit cards
  • Payment via online bank transfer
  • Payment via check
  • Payment via mobile money transfer
  • Payment via bank draft

In view of the above, we have chosen banking platforms that will enable our clients make payment for our merchandise without any stress on their part. Our bank account numbers will be made available on our website and promotional materials to clients who may want to deposit cash or make online transfer for our products.

13. Startup Expenditure (Budget)

When it comes to starting a standard aquarium store business, one is expected to spend the bulk of the startup capital on renting a store facility. You are also expected to purchase distribution vans, stock your store with a wide range of aquariums, aquarium accessories, fishes, fish feeds and medications and related merchandize, and pay your employees and utility bills.

This is the key areas where we will spend our startup capital;

  • The total fee for registering the business in the United States of America – $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits as well as the accounting services (software, P.O.S machines and other software) – $3,300.
  • Marketing promotion expenses for the grand opening of Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc. in the amount of $3,500 and as well as flyer printing (2,000 flyers at $0.04 per copy) for the total amount of $3,580.
  • The total cost for hiring Consultant – $2,500.
  • The total cost for the purchase of insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation and property casualty) coverage at a total premium – $2,400.
  • The cost for payment of rent for 12 months at $1.76 per square feet in the total amount of $35,600.
  • The cost for shop remodeling (construction of racks and shelves) – $20,000.
  • Other start-up expenses including stationery ($500) and phone and utility deposits ($2,500).
  • Operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $60,000
  • The cost for start-up inventory (stocking with a wide range of aquariums, aquarium accessories, fishes, fish feeds and medications and related merchandize et al) – $200,000
  • The cost for store equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $13,750
  • The cost of purchase and installation of CCTVs: $5,000
  • The cost for the purchase of furniture and gadgets (Computers, Printers, Telephone, TVs, Sound System, tables and chairs et al): $4,000.
  • The cost of launching a website: $600
  • The cost for our opening party: $5,000
  • Miscellaneous: $5,000

We would need an estimate of three hundred and fifty thousand $350,000 to successfully set up our aquarium store in Baton Rouge – Louisiana.

Generating Funds/Startup Capital for Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc.

Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc. is a private business that is owned and financed by Bruno Martins and his immediate family members. They do not intend to welcome any external business partner which is why he has decided to restrict the sourcing of the startup capital to 3 major sources.

  • Generate part of the startup capital from personal savings
  • Source for soft loans from family members and friends
  • Apply for loan from the bank

N.B: We have been able to generate about $100,000 (Personal savings $70,000 and soft loan from family members $30,000) and we are at the final stages of obtaining a loan facility of $250,000 from our bank. All the papers and documents have been signed and submitted, the loan has been approved and any moment from now our account will be credited with the amount.

14. Sustainability and Expansion Strategy

Part of the plans we have in place to sustain Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc. is to ensure that we continue to make available a wide range of merchandize, deliver quality after sales services, improvise on how to do things faster and cheaper. We are not going to relent in providing conducive environment for our workers and also the required trainings that will help them deliver excellent services at all times.

From our findings, another factor that kills new businesses is financial leakages. In order to plug financial leakages, the management of Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc. adopted the use of payment machine and accounting software to run the business.

We are quite aware that our customers are key component to the growth and survival of our business hence we are going to continuously engage them to give us ideas on how to serve them better and the products they want to see in our store.

We will not waste time in adopting new technology, best practices and diversifying our services. Blue Sea® Aquarium Stores, Inc. will make sure that the right foundation, structures and processes are put in place to ensure that our staff welfare are well taken of.

Our company’s corporate culture is designed to drive our business to greater heights and training and retraining of our workforce is at the top burner. We know that if that is put in place, we will be able to successfully hire and retain the best hands we can get in the industry; they will be more committed to help us build the business of our dreams.

Check List/Milestone

  • Business Name Availability Check: Completed
  • Business Registration: Completed
  • Opening of Corporate Bank Accounts: Completed
  • Securing Point of Sales (POS) Machines: Completed
  • Opening Mobile Money Accounts: Completed
  • Opening Online Payment Platforms: Completed
  • Application and Obtaining Tax Payer’s ID: In Progress
  • Application for business license and permit: Completed
  • Purchase of Insurance for the Business: Completed
  • Leasing of facility and remodeling the shop: In Progress
  • Conducting Feasibility Studies: Completed
  • Generating capital from family members: Completed
  • Applications for Loan from the bank: In Progress
  • writing of business plan: Completed
  • Drafting of Employee’s Handbook: Completed
  • Drafting of Contract Documents and other relevant Legal Documents: In Progress
  • Design of The Company’s Logo: Completed
  • Printing of Packaging and Promotional Materials: In Progress
  • Recruitment of employees: In Progress
  • Purchase of the needed furniture, racks, shelves, computers, electronic appliances, office appliances and CCTV: In progress
  • Creating Official Website for the Company: In Progress
  • Creating Awareness for the business both online and around the community: In Progress
  • Health and Safety and Fire Safety Arrangement (License): Secured
  • Opening party/launching party planning: In Progress
  • Compilation of our list of products that will be available in our store: Completed
  • Establishing business relationship with vendors – suppliers of aquariums, aquarium accessories, fishes, fish feeds and medications and related merchandise, and other stake holders: In Progress
Joy Nwokoro