Posted by 2014-07-26 16:24:00
Title: Should I look into finding an investor? Our community needs someone to be a step above the rest, and...
Being a dog owner myself I can appreciate the care, diligence and trust a dog walker must provide. You’re taking care of our beloved four-legged friends! Before you jump in to the world of app development and crowd funding (I’m making an assumption here for your source of investors) you might want to look at other alternatives.
You want to be the preferred service and trust is the deciding factor for many of our decisions. Talk to your existing customers and ask them why they choose you over another walker. Are there factors other than trust at play? Survey other dog owners and ask them what they would look for in a dog walker. What are those customer building blocks for your business?
Next, take a look to see if there are any existing systems that can satisfy help quantify trust for potential customers. eBay has a fantastic feedback system in place. Would it be feasible for something like this to be integrated in to your website? There are a number of 3rd party plugins that might be able to do this.
A close partner of trust is credibility. Could that be used to build up your business? Consider expanding your website to a blog offering advice to dog owners and walkers about what you do, your challenges, how you operate. This can give you credibility in addition to customer trust. These are a couple of the attributes that you’ll need to demonstrate to prospects and new clients.
1,000,000 Apps and Counting
Maybe there is an existing app that can do what you want. There dog walker smart phone apps such as “Map My Dog Walks”, “Paw Tracks”, “Woof Trax” that could fit your needs. If what you want doesnt exist, maybe a crowd funding campaign could answer your needs. I won’t go in to what a crowd funding campaign entails, but you need to be specific with your end game.
What do you want your app to do? Be specific here, this is going to be a tool to sell yourself and your business. Do you want dog owners to see where/when you’re walking pooch? You can allow the dog owners to give your feedback and satisfaction on the services/walks. How about tracking pet behaviour, bodily functions, and injuries or eating habits? You’ll need to decide on the app platform(s), find a developer, decide on the financial model (free, ads, paid, freemium), and get multiple price quotations, etc.
Let me make another suggestion if you are leaning towards the app route. If you build this app, why keep it all to yourself? Wouldnt it be great to allow other dog walkers to join your app community (for a membership or app fee)? Owners moving away could use the app to find another creditable dog walker in their new community. Since walkers are using the same app, owners still get the same level of information reports. Your blog content can be reused here too!
Ive thrown a lot of information here because at times a simple question doesn’t beget a short answer. There are many ways you can go about achieving your goal – trust for your customers. Take some time to understand your customer needs and how you want to your business to evolve.
I hope that this helps you along your entrepreneurial path!
Chief ! Officer, Think Idea DO Consulting