Rather than just show the site, we decided to find out more about the people and the business. We strongly encourage you to look over the site and make suggestions or ask questions. We can all learn from each other. Below is our conversation with the owners of Colorado Outdoor Dogs. Please enjoy.
1. Can you provide a description of your business?
Colorado Outdoor Dogs is an exciting and unique dog training facility. We are different than doggy daycare, different than a boarding kennel and different than a dog park. We offer a true outdoor experience for dogs and their owners that can't be found at most other facilities. We are located on 40 acres with access to several hundred additional acres with spring fed ponds. Most other dog training facilities just don't have access to these things. Our services include on-leash training,off-leash training, private training lesson & K-9 outdoor adventures. Colorado Outdoor Dogs provides training and outdoor adventures for people and their dogs who enjoy and participate in a variety of outdoor activities, hiking, camping,swimming, etc.
2. How did you get started in this business?
Like many small business owners, what started as a hobby over 35 years ago, became our passion. That passion became our full time profession. We started participating in retriever field trials and hunt tests in the late 70's & early 80's. These events and the training necessary to participate in them, really did become our passion. We started helping friends train their dogs. They would refer their friends to us for training etc. Then in 1992 we started training hunting dogs full time (www.ruggedretrievers.com). After being in the hunting dog training business for several years, it became obvious there was a real need for dog training focused on the active outdoor lifestyle for which so many people move to Colorado. Adding outdoor,off-leash training for dog owners, who may not hunt, was an obvious choice for us. I think it was an obvious choice for those dog owners as well. They realized what better place and trainers to choose than hunting dog trainers who train dogs outdoors and off-leash.
3. How do you market your business?
Our main marketing tool is our website www.coloradooutdoordogs.com We also use e-mail, training seminars for various dog clubs, training demos at outdoor retailers and to a small degree, direct mail.
4. How has technology,such as computers and the internet, impacted on how you conduct business?
This is a big one for us. When we first started our business and up until about 15years ago, almost every contact began with a phone call. Prospective clients would call, leave a voicemail and we would return that call. Then we started seeing a shift to more email inquiries. Within the last 7 - 10 years,approximately 80% of the initial contact a prospective client makes will be via an email. Most will provide a phone number and we will call. A phone conversation is extremely important with our type of business. The best comparison I can make is that of parents interviewing apres-school for their child. It may sound crazy, but it's true. Most dog owners are just as diligent when choosing a dog trainer as they are choosing pre-school for their children. This why a verbal conversation is so important. Almost all other facets of running the business, bookkeeping, billing,sending information to prospective clients after the initial conversation, ordering supplies, etc.,have been made easier via technology.
5. How important is social media to your business?
Social media such as Facebook, doesn't seem to have a large impact on our business one way or the other. As I mentioned above, most prospective clients will email first and most of those come from our website. We had a Facebook page for a few years, but it never seemed to generate much interest in or drive much traffic to our website. We actually paid a marketing person to maintain the Facebook page, with the usual promise of great results. That was short lived and we discontinued that.