I do believe that when AA Milne wrote those words in the poem Now we are six he was referring to Christopher Robin being 3 years old. But hey… poetic license and at that jazz. I can’t really quote you a specific launch date as Custom Canine Care just kind of slid into being over a period of weeks, but I think by mid November 2011 we were functional and that makes us three months old!
It’s been a funny time… full up with optimism mingled with self doubt. There was a moment when Lloyd said to me “It’s actually happening.” and yes, I had to acknowledge that indeed it was. Perhaps there’s a key moment for all of us in the big decisions of life when we just realise that we “know.” Everything since then has been about the how, and that’s been a steep learning curve I can tell you.
At the beginning everything from website to advertising was very dog focussed and since I wanted to develop the home visiting and small pet boarding side of the business, this was probably a mistake. I have been asked, why Custom Canine Care? Choosing the name was a really difficult part of the process of becoming, I knew that I needed to start off generic – offering a wide range of services for a wide range of animals. My boarding experience at that point was primarily limited to small animals, and a few dogs over the years for friends and relatives. I didn’t want to lose or limit contacts I already had in the rat world in particular and I actually welcome the diversity and interest of caring for a variety of pets.
However, I had already embarked on a level 2 Diploma in Canine Studies, and have since added in the Think Dog! intermediate course in dog behaviour and training – and I knew the likelihood was that I would offer specialised canine services in the future. Hence the need for a name that could expand to fit whatever I evolved into as time passed.
Three months later I am still making significant changes to the website, and have only recently got to grips with the details of Google adwords, honing the campaign to specific services rather than the business as a whole. Who would have known you can have a different title for each of many different adverts, each linked to a specific service on my website, all in the same campaign? I mean really, who would have known? I do feel like I (in business terms) am indeed ‘barely me’ – constantly reinventing myself until I find what works. But mostly I feel like – in terms of all this advertising and social networking technology – I am bluffing! Who would have known?
The dog boarding side of things has really taken off and I have some lovely clients, both in canine and human terms. Feedback on the boarding we’ve already completed has been excellent, and the “word of mouth” effect has already kicked in. All of which feels very positive for just three months. Other services are lagging behind and I am currently concentrating on expanding the daily provisions:dog walking, day care and the like. But the one thing I know is that I know – and we will get there.