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How to Build a Pet Care Business Empire with Courtney DeDi

Courtney DeDi founded DiOGi Pet Services in 2010 to provide exemplary, professional dog walking and pet sitting services to the in-town Atlanta neighborhoods specializing in caring for pets with behavioral issues and special needs. What began as a 2 person company, DiOGi quickly gained the confidence and love of Atlanta’s people and pets. Today, with more than 23 employees, DiOGi has become Atlanta’s number one resource for professional pet sitting, dog walking and dog training.

Courtney has always had a love of pets and has been working in the pet industry for more than 14 years. She is a PetTECH Pet First Aid and CPR instructor, a member of the ASPCA, has volunteered for many different Humane Societies, organized fundraisers for EARS – (Emergency Animal Rescue Services) during the Hurricane Katrina Rescue Effort, worked as a dog handler and Assistant Manager for Central Bark Doggy Day Care in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and is now the Executive Director of a nonprofit called DiOGi CARES in addition to volunteering with other pet rescue groups. She is a graduate of the National Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program and continues to participate in small business programs to continue shaping DiOGi Pet Services into the best dog walking and pet sitting company possible. This summer, Courtney is opening Club DiOGi, a boutique, high-end daycare and grooming salon. She and her staff are committed to providing the best care for all of Atlanta’s pets when their humans are at work and play.

In this episode Britt and Courtney talk about how she hustled extremely hard to get her business off the ground and had several jobs while she got it going. They discuss why it’s important to have a side income while you get your business going, when to bring on your first team member and how to put systems in place to be able to support 23 employees. Courtney shares how she networks like a boss and gives back to her community. Courtney is an inspiring leader who is dedicated to creating a company culture that stands behind her values and mission.

Britt and Courtney also discuss how she has implemented team building strategies within her company to tackle her biggest pain points in a positive way. Most recently, Courtney and her partner Katie came up with a genius “squad” concept to identify leaders in their company and created fun monthly competitions to inspire more teamwork and communication amongst their staff. By creating more leaders within their organization it gives their staff more upward mobility within the company and allows the company to ensure quality and consistency, which in turn leads to more success for everyone involved.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • How to start a pet care business with zero upfront capital
  • Whether or not you should go cold turkey and start your business, or have a side gig while you get it started
  • How to network like a boss and be a leader in your community
  • How to open a boutique dog daycare to complement your dog walking business
  • How to know when you should bring on your first team member
  • How to create leadership roles within your company and create fun goals to achieve a positive culture
  • How Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program inspired Courtney to scale her business and achieve her dream of opening up her boutique dog daycare
  • Why finding a niche is key to creating a successful business
  • How Handlr has helped DiOGi continue to scale by offering a local and professional option for ondemand scheduling for their clients
  • Why it’s important to offer your clients an ondemand app so that they don’t look for the convenience that apps like Wag and Rover offer
  • How using Handlr keeps your client list private and protects your business’ assets by providing a three-way chat to give your clients, management and staff a way to streamline communication
  • Why it’s better to find a software that works well for your business instead of building it from scratch
  • How to create a company culture when you own a mobile service business
  • Why Club DiOGi is a whole new type of doggy daycare that is committed to protecting your dog’s mental and physical well being. Club DiOGi provides a calm, safe and fun space for little dogs. By providing small, personalized groups, training games, Zen nap rooms, and even doggy puzzles, Club DiOGi aims to treat their canine members like royalty.
  • How to plan and budget for opening up a brick-and-mortar business
  • How to be a rockstar entrepreneur

Courtney’s favorite saying:

“I will not be governed by the tyranny of immediacy” – unknown

To learn more about DiOGi and keep up on the launch of Club DiOGi, visit http://di-o-gi.com/.                                                                                                                    

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