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Stephanie Gonzaga

Writer, crazy planning enthusiast, Pokemon master



Project Pisces: A different pet shop in Cagayan de Oro City

Project Pisces is a small and fun fish and aquarium supplies shop run by goldfish enthusiasts wanting to make a difference in the local community here in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines.

Our goal is to give local goldfish enthusiasts the quality and satisfaction they can expect from a pet shop that equally loves the goldfish hobby. We aim to provide not only quality goldfish and aquarium supplies, but the information you need to keep and raise happy and healthy goldfish!

Our story is simple. We love goldfish, we want to give the best kind of food and environment they need to thrive, but the local pet shops lack the supplies or don't carry the things we need at all.

What's more, sick and dead goldfishes can be found in many of these pet shops, which degrades the reputation of fish shops everywhere!

We're different. We care about the goldfishes we sell and the people who we sell them to.


Our 7-art leverage plan

Part 1: The Business Model

List of assets to acquire:

  • Goldfish feeds (sinking pellets, live foods, and other select dry foods)
  • Aquarium supplies (filters, biological media, fish medications, fish nets)
  • Minimum of four 50-gallon breeder tanks and racks
  • Mid- to high-quality goldfish
  • Rent* for commercial space
  • Water and electricity
  • Small pickup truck for deliveries

List of human resources

  • Two people on sales and store maintenance
  • One person at the cashier
  • Two people on aquarium cleaning services

My customer is…

A goldfish hobbyist and enthusiast living within Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Philippines who is willing to buy and can afford quality goldfish, fish and aquarium supplies to keep his or her goldfish healthy long-term. The customer gets quality customer service, free goldfish care information, aquarium services, and frequent availability of the supplies he or she needs for his or her goldfish.

The business model therefore is…

Acquire high-quality goldfish, goldfish feeds, and aquarium supplies from suppliers and sell them for a profit to goldfish hobbyists and enthusiasts within Cagayan de Oro City. Provide friendly quality service, free useful goldfish care information, and availability of supplies and fish that local pet stores do not have or offer.

Part 2: Freelancing vs. Entrepreneurship

For the first five years of the business, I am a freelancer where I will take care of ordering and supplying my customers with products they need to keep healthy and happy goldfish. I will learn the ropes of the business before delegating tasks to the first person.

I am then an entrepreneur where I will delegate customer interaction, sales, minding the cashier, accounting, and store maintenance to people with the skills and level of trust I can work with. On the other hand, I will take care of monitoring the flow of stocks while my husband, Jayson, will work with the pricing and profit calculations. At the end of the business year, we reward ourselves with a percentage of the profits.

Project Pisces will leverage social media and community-building skills to create a community that could support us and our efforts in promoting the hobby here in the city.

Part 3: Funding

  • Yes, I need money to start the business.
  • Yes, more money increases the chances of reaching positive cash flow since this is a traditional buy-and-sell business model.
  • Money will go to rent, utilities, replenishing of stocks, ordering of new stocks, and paying the salaries of the employees.
  • Projection is 4-7 years after starting the business.
  • No, we don’t have plans to sell the company.
  • N/A
  • N/A

Secure funding through traditional side-jobs. Pre-order is another option, but I need to gather information from potential suppliers about minimum wholesale orders.

Part 4: Hiring Plan

Who are the first employees you need?

  • Two salespeople with excellent people and communication skills, who know how to speak the local dialect and explain goldfish care concepts and principles to customers.
  • One employee under maintenance to keep the shop clean and tidy.
  • One employee to help me maintain and refill the fish tanks.
  • One accountant who will handle all of the shop’s accounting and finances.

Where will you find them?

Word-of-mouth recommendations and the local newspaper

Why would they join you?

They are just as interested in working at Project Pisces as I am; they love caring for animals and fish, and they are determined to work hard with an employer who cares about discipline, great business culture, and the welfare of her team.

How will you tell the good ones apart from the convenient ones?

The good ones will answer my harder questions, will show me willingness to learn and work hard, and will ask questions as well. These are the people who values the business growth more than their own salaries, who are trustworthy, and who are ready to educate themselves about the trade.

What’s your funnel?

In-depth questions, the employee’s background and personality, previous experience (if any), and their availability.

After hiring people, how will you evaluate them?

Observe their performance and personality when dealing with customers, see if they show initiative and discipline, conduct short interviews with them. I will also request customers to leave their feedback about their service.

How long after starting will you give people a formal review?

6-12 months

What’s your approach for talking about the uncomfortable?

Ask them questions about the problem, solutions to the problem, and give my own advice and instructions as the employer.

Are you asking people to do work that’s been done before, or to explore edges of a new universe?

Primarily work that’s been done before (sales, maintenance, customer service) but as we add new services, they will begin to learn new things.

Part 5: Naming

30 words:

  • goldfish
  • pets
  • fish
  • aquarium
  • fun
  • communication
  • great customer service
  • projects
  • aquatic
  • water
  • pet shop
  • always available
  • interesting
  • informative
  • enthusiastic
  • passionate
  • great design
  • bright
  • peaceful
  • educational
  • growth
  • easy
  • clean
  • resources
  • bubbly
  • smiling
  • happy
  • jolly
  • important
  • caring for both customer and goldfish

Business name: Project Pisces

Part 6: Partnerships

  1. Who else is helping you start? Jayson. If not, no one else.
  2. If they stopped working on the project for a month, would that be okay? Yes.
  3. How much are you actually hoping they will contribute today, tomorrow, and a year from now? 100%

Part 7: Cash Flow

  • How much is your product or service going to cost? A variety of products priced at prices ranging from P150 and above. Goldfish will be sold at a minimum of P250 and above.
  • How much does it cost to make an additional unit? N/A
  • How much is your monthly overhead, all the expenses that aren’t included in the cost of making one more unit? For monthly expenses not included in the cost of product, I project it to be P2000-4000 for water and P5000-7000 for electricity.
  • How many units are you going to sell every month? 10-20 goldfishes per month at P250/fish

Other questions:

  • With consistent marketing and great customer service, the numbers will either remain stable or decrease by 2% if we raise our prices by 20%-40%. If we lower it by 10%, we may see an increase in our numbers, but may attract penny-pinchers.
  • We would have to be stricter about our requirement to pay in advance. To subscribe, we would have to provide an incentive for the customers in exchange for their trust. If we are to charge in credit, we would increase our prices by 10%-20%.
  • We would have cash flow going in at a stable rate.


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