How a dog-washing trailer led to an empire: 3 business-building tips

Inside Franchise Business: Anthony Amos, founder of Hydrodog and IBE ConnectAnthony Amos revolutionised the dog grooming industry by inventing and designing HydroDog, a mobile dog-grooming salon in the shape of a big blue dog. His initial ‘prototype’ grooming trailer consisted of a second-hand hydro-bath strapped onto the back of a box trailer.

Within five years, HydroDog had grown to a national brand of more than 100 franchises. When the 100th franchise milestone was reached, HydroDog implemented a master franchise model taking the franchise system to the next level.

Amos then took the concept to the US and earned $1.24m in the first month of operation.

So, how exactly did he take his business to the next level? And what advice does he have for franchisors or those wanting to expand their business?

3 tips for growth

1. Think big, act bold

If you have a $5 million business, why can’t it be a $50 million company? Or better yet, how can you strategically go from $50 million to $500 million? This is thinking big. Of course, again it’s of no value to just sit there and ‘think’ about it. You have to take bold action. This may be opting to grow your product line or offering more services as a way to scale.

“Scaling a business can be very profitable but also very challenging. Before embarking on a business expansion, do your homework and develop a plan for growth that will minimise risk and maximize the odds of a successful transition to a larger organization.

“Continually focus on business growth, build strategies to reach your ‘big thoughts’, then pull the trigger,” says Amos.

2. Develop key relationships and networks

“Catalyse your company growth by building and fostering critical relationships. In other words, it’s who you know.

“Yes, you need to know your stuff. You need to be stellar in your area of core competency and have deep domain expertise at what you do and the value you bring to your customers. You also need to surround yourself with likeminded peers, mentors and connections who share the same business vision. But in the end, it comes down to connections.”

A few tips on growing for networking are:

  • Network with people from different industries – you never know how they can benefit you
  • Keep in touch with each prospect
  • Learn from successful players in the field – find out how they succeeded and understand their business model
  • Be nice. Help others.

3. Be passionate and develop your public personality

It’s important to remember people want to be able to assign a personality to a company, says Amos.

“The importance of using yourself as a marketing tool sometimes seems to get lost in the process of scaling up a business. The bigger your company gets, the more important putting a face to that company becomes. Take the time to start putting forth a public face for your company.

“It is key to start establishing yourself now so that when your business is worth double what it is when you started, you’ll have answers for the people who want to know about you.”

In today’s competitive landscape, social media is a sure fire way of raising brand awareness, connecting with potential customers and ultimately scaling a business. Staying close to the customer experience enables you to develop your business through feedback and advice, Amos suggests.

Amos is the founder of IBE Connect and is in Australia for his ‘UNLeashed Business Accelerator’ tour for business owners and entrepreneurs from August 6-16.