Q&A with Adele Pember, Founder of Dog Furiendly
We had the pleasure of speaking to Adele Pember, Founder of Dog Furiendly earlier this month to catch up on their entrepreneurial journey since taking part in our Pitch It competition back in 2019. We also asked Adele for her top tips she would share with any business owner trying o overcome challenges within their business and what inspires her to continue to grow her business.
Can you tell us a little bit about your company?
I started Dog Furiendly to support my Chihuahua Charlie who, like 85% of dogs across the UK, suffers from separation anxiety and loneliness when left at home along. Initially it was just a small blog where I would share dog friendly places locally in Cardiff - but the more popular it became the more people called for a bigger and better platform. So, we created a more comprehensive platform, where dog owners can find dog friendly places across the UK, share their favourite places and leave reviews – like the TripAdvisor for dog owners.
Dog Furiendly, is a travel platform, helping dog owners across the UK to find dog friendly places - meaning places where dogs are allowed on the premises such as pubs, cafes, events, hotels and more. Our aim is to provide a trusted platform for dog owners, to access and feel more confident visiting new places with their dog, while allowing dog friendly businesses to showcase their services and acquire new customers. We also bring people together through group dog walks and where both humans and dogs could meet like-minded people. Today, we’re helping over 250,000 dog owners per year to plan their memorable adventures together.
Are you able to give our readers who may already know of your business a recap and update on where you are now since taking part in our Pitch It event back in 2019?
We have been woofing with excitement since the success of the PitchIt Valleys. The investment will help us accelerate and scale the business globally but it's not just about the money for us. The real value especially during such unprecedented times has been the strategic guidance of our investors and new directors. Together we’re focussing on becoming top dogs in the global market for travel and adventure, including the release of an app and we’re also working on new ways to increase tail wagging tourism in Wales. Supporting the hospitality and tourism industry is crucial now more than ever and we’re aiming to help get the economy back up on all four paws.
Would you consider yourself to have a healthy daily routine? If so, what does this typically look like?
Despite the pandemic, I’m really fortunate to have two canine companions in my life. Dogs help us to stick to a daily, healthy routine – and help get us out of the house while we’re itching with cabin fever during lockdown! I always make sure that no matter how hectic or busy my day gets, I have that one hour just walking the dogs and taking time out. That time out is usually where I think of my best ideas, it’s helped me to shape the business.
What inspires you daily to keep growing and building the business?
There’s lots of different factors that inspire me to keep going and growing – but ultimately, the dogs are my inspiration. When I’m having a day filled with total imposter syndrome, I take myself back to the reason why I started the business. Fortunately for me, that reason why sits next to me every day. When I’m not being a crazy dog lady, watching female entrepreneurs boss their industry gives me the motivation I need to make Dog Furiendly the best it can be.
What are your top 3 practical tips for entrepreneurs to overcome challenges within their business?
My number one tip to help Entrepreneurs overcome challenges within the business is to go back to your roots. It can be so easy to doubt yourself and lose focus of the main goal. Don’t give in, take yourself back to the root of the business. Your reason why. Remind yourself why you started the business in the first place and what your dream was. Write those reasons down and pop some mini goals to get you through the week, month or year. This helps you to get your mojo back, giving you the determination to face any obstacle.
My second tip would be to not overwork yourself. Self-care is so important, because your business needs you. As entrepreneurs, we wear so many hats (and scarves and gloves). Work smarter, not harder – focus on the tasks that feed your goals, whether that’s increasing sales or growing your community. When you’re in the thick of nurturing a business, you forget to nurture yourself. Take some time out to just breathe, minimise stress through exercise, eat well, sleep well, get outside and just check in with your mental health.
Finally practice a growth mindset and believe in yourself. When you feel a real roadblock in your business, don’t push it away with self-limiting beliefs, write down all the ways you could overcome it. A few years ago, we run a Dogtoberfest for dog owners. To make the event authentic, we really wanted someone in to do some yodelling. Unfortunately, the quotes were coming back at a crazy cost, so instead of being upset about it I took a course on how to yodel and did it myself. If you don’t believe in yourself or your business, no one will! There’s nothing you can’t achieve, who knows maybe one day you’ll be yodelling too.
What has been your biggest learning curve as an entrepreneur?
I’m still learning something new every day. The biggest curve has been getting out of my comfort zone and absorbing all the information required to support the business. Things like corporate structure, fundraising and finance were all foreign words to me before Dog Furiendly. I learned quickly that Google would become my best friend. Every time I think I have it figured out, I realise – I don’t, but this how I grow and how good change comes.
Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start their own business?
Keep challenging yourself, be curious and never stop learning or asking questions. Every road to success has its challenges, and as you learn more about your business, you’ll also learn more about yourself!
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