Elevator Pitch: Scanning Ocean Sectors

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 Yvonne Miles, founder of marine mammal observer (MMO) training program Scanning Ocean Sectors.

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea

Scanning Ocean Sectors is a consultancy that trains and deploys Marine Mammal Observers (MMOs) and Passive Acoustic Monitors (PAMs). MMOs and PAMs are professionals in environmental consulting, who specialise in and become the “guardians” of marine mammals, working alongside oil, gas, renewable resources, fisheries, research and construction industries to protect them. Scanning Ocean Sectors runs online and private courses worldwide to ensure the MMO standards comply with environmental legislation.

We did three years of research into the effectiveness of MMOs and of their quality training. From this research came the Scanning Ocean Sectors courses we now run all over the world. This also gave us an industry baseline to benchmark the quality of the MMOs that are hired globally.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

While our core offering is facilitated training courses, as we grew we knew we needed a more inclusive method of training for those limited to their region, and so began our online course. As we continue to grow, we are launching new courses to help satisfy the diverse and ever-growing needs of environmental projects worldwide.

How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?

Our business offers online theory training, followed by a practical element to satisfy the UK
government’s approval. This allows attendees to advance their skillset without spending extra time
and money. Offering a very personal approach to training ensures our students get the individual
training they require for the work they are undertaking.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?

Keeping up with the latest technology in the field is a huge hurdle, as it can be expensive to get our hands on. We pride ourselves on testing out all new equipment before we purchase it to use in our training courses, and this helps us make educated product recommendations to our students.

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

Our invoicing software, Invoice2go is the best. It’s so simple and easy to use, allowing us to send invoices, receive payments and complete all our accounting needs quickly, no matter where our customers might be in the world.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

You’re as good as the person sitting next to you, so never doubt your ability no matter who questions your work and your ethics. Know your subject inside out with a passion and drive that will move mountains and get results.

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