Starting a business in Coventry: Wet Nose Waggy Tail

The dog walking start-up points out the three top reasons to launch a business in Coventry including the city's "supportive atmosphere"...

Company name: Wet Nose Waggy Tail
Founder: Michelle Hughes 
Founded: 2013
Description: Wet Nose Waggy Tail is a dog walking and pet care service business
Website: www.wetnosewaggytail.co.uk

What’s great about starting a business in Coventry?

The great thing about Coventry for us is the people; customers are so supportive and welcoming of new businesses and regularly recommend customers to you, which has really helped us grow.

The other aspect, which is very specific to our business, but also great for anyone living/running a business in Coventry, is the open spaces and parks to walk. Many people don’t know of the great places to walk in and around Coventry.

What business support in Coventry have you used? How was it?

Starting out in June 2013 as a tiny operation, one of the hardest things to deal with was the rapid growth and the sheer number of enquiries we were getting and we realised we needed some passionate and committed people to help grow the business and the brand.

Recruitment was a challenge but eventually we were fortunate to find some great team members from Coventry by using local websites and groups (for us animal lover ones) to seek like-minded people.

Name the top three reasons to set up a business in Coventry:

  1. The number one reason to set up here, it’s home, not only for me but for the other four people running the pet care services. We are all very loyal to our city and the people who live here, it has helped us win new customers because of our knowledge of the area, we are able to recommend walks, vets, and shops.
  2. Businesses in the area have been really supportive, making us known to other businesses in the area and we often get calls from their customers.
  3. Customers are also loyal so it’s a good, supportive atmosphere to grow any business in.

Where could Coventry be better / what does it need?

There are some potential issues being debated by Coventry City Council in regards to business red tape issues. In relation to our business, this red tape refers to number of dogs to be walked by one handler; however, on the other side we were invited to be part of the consultation, another tick in the box for our city for any business!

How easy has it been to access finance to grow?

We have been really fortunate in that we are entirely self-funded. I have a background in marketing so all our marketing designs and materials have been produced in house including the artwork, advertising and website which has allowed us to keep the set up costs to a minimum. The advertising costs for local publications are taken directly out of the money we have earned from our clients.

Where do you go to network in Coventry?

Although there are lots of networking groups in Coventry and further afield across the Midlands they all tend to be B2B focused so it makes it harder for a small business like ours to tap into knowledge and skill-sets offered at such events. It would be great if we had the opportunity to network with other pet related businesses and suppliers.

Networking for us tends to be in pet shops, fields and at dog or pet shows so very different to your average breakfast meeting! It is an area we have found difficult because it is such a niche thing we do from a business perspective. Online we have found local groups on websites and social media that allow us to network with pet owners and offer advice for our services.

Where do you take a client for a business lunch?

We would take them to Coombe Abbey country house hotel in Coventry. It has lovely grounds and gardens for walks, and the food is divine, particularly the afternoon tea, which always goes down nicely.

Where’s great for a company night out?

It has to be The Oak in Baginton; the atmosphere is lovely, you can have a natter and relax after a full day of walking, the food is freshly made and is always worth the wait!

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