Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Morgan Coleman founder and CEO of Vets On Call.
In 128 words or less, explain your business idea
Vets on Call is a convenience based business that delivers high quality veterinary consultations in the comfort of the client’s home. Our unique, easy to use mobile app allows customers to book a vet to come to them at a time that is most convenient, eliminating long waits in waiting rooms and stressful and anxiety-ridden trips to the vet. Vets on Call is all your pet’s needs, in the palm of your hand.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
I funded the first stage of the development myself by liquidating some personal assets. That gave me enough to validate my idea, after which I took on a digital agency as my tech partner to increase our capabilities and ensure that the app we delivered to the market was of incredibly high quality. I did that because I knew that for us to grow and scale we needed a robust system that was also very appealing to both our user groups (vets and pet owners). Around the same time, we took on seed funding to help us get through to launch.
We are currently preparing to go to the market for our first stage of funding, where we hope to secure enough funds to secure a foothold in our first geographical market, before taking on more funding that will enable us to launch into new markets.
How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?
We are in a unique position as there are no direct competitors with us. That being said we still have numerous competitors throughout the industry.
Firstly, if you’re looking at traditional clinics, our service is far more convenient and less stressful for both the owner and the pet. By having the vet come to you at a time of your choosing you're able to work your pet’s healthcare needs around whatever schedule you keep. Additionally, in many instances treating your pet in home can result in a better diagnosis because your pet is in an environment they feel comfortable in.
I think the ease of acquiring a booking and the functionality of the app is what gives us a competitive edge over existing mobile veterinarians. We’ve developed a system not being offered by existing mobile veterinarians that makes it easy for both the pet owner and the vet to acquire a booking but also to keep track of all the pets health records.
Lastly, something that I think adds huge value to the customer that really differentiates us from competitors is the transparency our business enables the customer to have. Whether it is our transparent pricing or the owner's ability to view their pet's health records at any time. We've created a service where the customer has control at all times.
What's the biggest challenge facing your business?
I think it would be changing the way people think about how vet care is acquired and delivered. It’s an industry that has been operating in a traditional way for a really long time so getting users to re-evaluate how they acquire veterinary services will be challenging.
What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?
For me personally and for my business it would definitely be the Optus Loop. I can’t afford to miss a call and I’m seldom in the one place for long. With Optus Loop, I can answer our landline enquiries through my mobile which means that regardless of whether I’m out visiting
a clinic, meeting a vet or hanging out in dog parks (which I regularly do), I won’t miss a business call.
What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?
Never be the smartest person in the room. Your job isn’t to know everything, it is to find those that are experts at what they do and that complement the skills you have.
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