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Small Business Spotlight , Fur-Crazy Pet Care

Born from misfortune, Fur-Crazy Pet Care exists because one woman wanted the very best for Koby, a pit bull.

Meagan Karnes founded the La Mesa business in 2004 after taking time off as a business development consultant in biotech to care for Koby.

Karnes, 26, cared for Koby after a pet sitter lost the puppy in an unfenced park. Although Koby, now 4, was found days later, the experience left the animal frightened. As a result, Karnes said her pet adopted aggressive behavior, and so she took it upon herself to rehabilitate him.

To generate an income, Karnes began pet-sitting and Fur-Crazy was born.

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“I applied my knowledge of business secured through my M.B.A. and my business took off,” said Karnes, who reports revenues of $275,000 last year, up from $165,000 a year earlier.

She received her master’s degree in business administration from San Diego State University, where she also earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry.

Fur-Crazy offers grooming and training, as well as pet-sitting.

Although Karnes didn’t intend to franchise the business, she allowed an ex-employee to take the business model to Chicago. Fur-Crazy is now available in 81 cities nationwide.


VITALS

Name: Meagan Karnes.

Title: President.

Company: Fur-Crazy Pet Care.

Company address: 5480 Baltimore Drive, Suite 102, La Mesa.

Company phone: (619) 825-9163.

Year founded: 2004.

Prior business experience: Worked as a consultant for several startup biotech companies.

Average hours worked weekly: 70.

Source of startup capital: U.S. Small Business Administration loan.

2006 revenue: $275,000.

2005 revenue: $165,000.

Number of employees: 12.

Web site: www.fur-crazy.com.


BACKGROUND

Birthplace: Orange.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and a master’s degree in business administration, both from SDSU.

Age: 26.

Current residence: La Mesa.

Family: Married to Rob San Agustin.

Hobbies: Dog rescue and rehabilitation, member of San Diego Great Dane and Basset Hound Meetup Groups.


JUDGMENT CALLS

Reason for getting into business: I left a job in biotech to rehabilitate my dog and began pet-sitting to earn extra money.

How I plan to grow the business: We plan to expand the business into other territories and plan to expand our product offering to our current clients.

Biggest plus of business ownership: I’m my own boss.

Biggest drawback: I work seven days a week, 10 hours a day. My phone always rings and it’s difficult to take a vacation or get out of town for a few days.

Biggest business strength: Strong branding and a solid reputation through great customer service and word of mouth and grassroots marketing.

Biggest business weakness: High employee turnover as a result of most people securing a job in pet care as an intermediary between career changes.

Biggest risk: The liability involved in sending people into others’ homes.

Smartest business decision: Expanding our product service offering, to include daily and vacation pet care services, holistic pet care products, dog-training services and a dog rescue and rehabilitation program.

Biggest business mistake: Hiring friends.

Toughest career decision: We sold a portion of our service offering to another pet care company to generate a large influx of cash for expansion into other markets.

Biggest ongoing challenge: Managing personnel.

The most important part of my business: The people who work for us.

My business works best when: When I have a positive attitude and take an active role in daily operations.

Best way to stay competitive: Continue to keep current on market trends.

How I measure success: In the testimonials from our clients.


GOALS

Goals yet to be achieved: Expansion to other markets.

My five-year business plan: Expand into other major cities. Expand product lines to include our own brand of pet foods and treats.

I would sell my business only if: I was forced to for financial or personal reasons.

Guiding principles I will continue to follow: Be honest. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Give back to the community.

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