Our first professional interview on Working with Pets is with Jeanie Marie Kraft, the owner of Four Paws Acupuncture in Salem, Massachusetts.

Jeanie specializes in acupuncture, herbal medicine, and nutrition and primarily treats dogs that suffer from pain or have difficulty moving due to dysfunction syndromes such as hip dysplasia. Jeanie graduated with her masters degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine and she is a Licensed Acupunturist in Massachusetts

1. What kind of pet business do you run?

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine for dogs. I make house calls.

2. Why did you choose to start a pet business?

I love dogs. When I was in grad school working on my masters of Traditional Chinese Medicine, my German Shepherd had hip dysplasia. I learned how to treat him with acupuncture, herb, and a diet change and decided to specialize in treating dogs.

3. What advice would you give someone about to launch a new pet business?

Research the field, check out the competition and find a niche.

4. What has been the greatest challenge in growing your pet business?

Educating the public that most acupuncturists are trained much longer than vets in the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine with about 3,500 hours of school. Depending on which state, vets are only required to take 4 weekend courses and allowed to practice after that. Even hairdressers are required 1000 hours before they are allowed to cut hair!

5. What are the pros and cons of your pet business?

Pros: Besides doggie kisses and happy wagging tails, I love those positive feedback calls or emails from owners after a treatment saying their dog can walk, or stand up, or is out of pain.

6. Did you have a mentor or business coach? If so how did they help you?

My husband is my marketing genius. He does my website and takes care of my ads.

7. What form (s) of marketing have you found the most effective in reaching pet owners?

Writing articles, blogs, my website, referrals from vets and pet sitters. Wearing a t-shirt with my logo. Having my logo and website on the back of my car.

8. Do you offer clients incentives for giving referrals?

I send a thank you card and some sort of gift, like a t-shirt.

9. At what stage of your business growth did you choose to take on help?

I am solo.

10. What have you done to differentiate your pet business from your local competitors?

House calls and being better educated in the field.

Thank you Jeanie for sharing your experience.

You can learn more about Jeanie at her website – www.FourPawsAcupuncture.com . Jeanie also has a blog which covers pet news and health which you can find on the links page of her website.

Please visit Jeanie and thank her for sharing her business knowledge with us at Working with Pets.