It’s fair to say that a dog obedience service isn’t your everyday run-of-the-mill business, but I was fairly sure that I could get one going in the Bay of Plenty. To ensure that I had the credentials and canine training skills needed, I decided to do a distance learning course based in Australia. Through those studies, I’d met Australian-based dog obedience business owners and learnt from them about the fundamentals underpinning their operations.
With the certificate in hand, I still had questions lurking. Primarily, would a dog obedience business work in Tauranga, and secondly, when should I attempt to take my passion and turn it into a business and career?
As it happened, earlier this year, my mother and I closed a successful retail business that we’d owned and operated in the CBD for many years. This decision created my ‘what next’ moment and it drove me to look more seriously at my dog obedience business aspirations, but I knew that my retail skills were very different to those required for a service delivery model.
With the encouragement of friends and suppliers, I decided to do the Business Start Up programme offered by Venture Centre so that I could test my thinking before I took the final leap of faith from the known into the unknown.
It was a great decision.
The programme that Venture Centre provided was step by step and it made you think more in depth about your value proposition, your financials and what your costs (and hidden costs) might be.
The programme also gave me the opportunity to meet other start up business owners and to network with them in a ‘no criticism’ environment.
“We were all coming from the same place, so feedback was constructive, not negative. Plus Jo and Pascale have a wealth of connections and they introduced me to others who would have honest but positive conversations with me. It felt like everyone helps everyone and people were so generous with their ideas and time.”
I have to say that having a novel business idea like mine isn’t easy and there are lots of naysayers out there who say it will never work. Venture Centre’s different. There is a wealth of knowledge at Venture Centre and everyone’s in the same boat. I still do some of the courses that they offer and I get ideas that I can immediately put into my business.
“I’m not really a big joiner of membership organisations, but I love to make connections and support local. If you want to test your business idea and you have limited connections, then Venture Centre fills that gap. And not only are they there for you at the beginning, but you can go back again and again to get the support, encouragement and feedback you need.”