Hub Spotlight: Let the Dog Out
Let The Dog Out (LTDO) is an on-demand dog care company that focuses on providing freedom for busy dog owners. By guaranteeing the availability of top-quality dog care 8-8, 7 days a week, busy dog owners can live any lifestyle they choose, and always have access to great dog care.
LTDO was founded by partners Amy Mitter, a University of Guelph alumni, and Will Mitter. Will is a passionate dog owner, living in Guelph, and we were fortunate to chat with him about their entrepreneurial journey!
How did you come up with Let The Dog Out?
Like most businesses, we were solving a problem of our own. Getting married, Amy and I found ourselves with twice the family, twice the friends and twice the plans. Our dog who we loved was becoming a constant hassle. Spending our work lunches racing home to let him out. Planning our weekends around his meals. Walking him on days when we were too busy or too tired but had to fit it in. We were constantly asking family to “swing by and let him out”. We did that so often that we would fight over who had to call and ask for help. Searching for alternative solutions, local dog walking companies wanted a daily commitment but we only needed help occasionally, and never on a consistent day or time. These on demand “big app” companies were hiring anyone who applied online and that wasn’t going to work for the safety of our dog or our home. We needed a solution that was reliable, safe, easy and guaranteed when we needed it.
What motivated you to take the next step and apply to the Hub?
It is our belief that the best way to succeed is to ask the questions you have and learn from the answers you get. The Hub is and opportunity to surrounding ourselves with intelligent people who have been there and done that. Is it also a place to hear from others who are going through the same challenges and asking the same questions.
What do you hope to get out of the Hub?
Let the dog out is looking for some advice in order to find some direction. As we continue to grow and look to take the next step, our original business plan needs updated. We believe our growth plan and strategies moving forward will be stronger with the influences of the Hub experts. With each presentation we hear and each connection we meet, we become more knowledgeable. Our hope is that the information we absorb at the Hub will lead to a clearer path and plan to our short and long term goals.
Do you have any advice for someone with a business idea in mind, but are not sure what to do next?
There are two pieces of advice I would offer anyone considering their own business.
The first is that being prepared and having a game plan is so important. Every hour you put into planning your business will save you 100 hours once you open your doors. When you are tied up operating a business, it can be overwhelming to make changes on the fly. It is easy to get caught up in the day to day job and forget about what is next. Have a plan. If you are always living in today, nothing will change tomorrow.
The second piece of advice I would share is that you need to understand how starting your own business will change your life. I believe a lot of new entrepreneurs get into business because they have a great idea. They never really consider how running their own business will change their life. It will affect you mentally. At times, you will fail and you will get down on yourself. Are you the kind of person that can pick yourself back up? It will affect you emotionally. You will spend sleepless night awake worried. You will question your decisions and doubt your abilities. Do you have the support to keep going? It will affect your social life. You are likely to miss out on some great times with friends. Does that bother you? Is it worth it? No amount of money can buy those memories back. What if your friends get upset because you’re never around anymore? You may be forced to choose friends or business. Can you do that? Consider also, that you are not the only one who may have to sacrifice something. If you have a wife, husband, children or pets, there is a good chance that they will have to make sacrifices too. Are they willing to? And are you willing to ask them?
“Did you thoroughly research your business idea?” is only half the question. “Are you willing to change everything for this?” That is the tough part.
Housed within the John F. Wood Centre for Business & Student Enterprise (Wood Centre), the Hub is a business incubator designed to support early-stage business ideas with high-potential, but unproven business models. The goal of the Hub is to provide University of Guelph students (undergraduate and graduate) and alumni the opportunity to build a successful business enterprise in a supportive learning environment.
The Hub has a tiered program that ensures a good mix of start-up companies at varying stages of growth. “Hub Start” is for ventures still getting their idea off the ground. These ventures typically have a great team and a great idea, but still have not demonstrated product-market fit with traction. “Hub Build” is for ventures with traction looking to refine their business model and/or scale.