Now’s the perfect time for Vancouver businesses to expand overseas.
Think about it, new trade agreements and a competitive Canadian dollar could mean a huge potential for high profits.
As it transpires, World Trade Centre Vancouver recently launched Canada’s Trade Accelerator Program (TAP). And the next two-day workshop is happening on January 15 and 16 to provides businesses with the strategies, resources, and coaching, they need to grow, develop, and execute an export plan. Because let’s face it, expanding to overseas markets requires a lot of know-how.
One Vancouver-based company taking part in January’s program is GoFetch.ca. If you haven’t already heard, the company sells affordable pet services like in-home dog boarding, dog walking, and pet-sitting.
It leverages the sharing economy to serve customers throughout Canada – connecting dog owners with approved dog sitters and walkers. How do they make money? By taking a percentage fee off of every service booked through the GoFetch website, iOS, and Android app.
Daily Hive spoke with CEO and co-founder of GoFetch, Willson Cross, to find out more about his niche company and exporting plans.
How did you build GoFetch to the position it’s at today?
By focusing on only what matters and staying true to our core values.
It was only a little over two years ago when we were in my parents’ basement answering customer service calls. With so many things to do at a startup, it was important that we focused on only a handful of items that really moved growth. We would wake up every day and do only three things: product development, talk to users, and raise money. Once we had, so-called, ‘product-market-fit’, our users started sharing us with their friends and we were able to raise a small seed round of capital.
What were the biggest challenges you faced along the way?
There are no short-cuts in business – especially when you’re trying to build a company from an idea up. We face challenges every single day, and we always will.
I think our greatest challenge will always be staying ahead of customer wants, needs, and desires. Customers have greater demands every day and we need to understand and build great experiences around those demands.
If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is hard to get, but it is very powerful.
Do you foresee these elements being an issue when you expand globally?
Yes. New markets bring new customer segments – it’s not easy to do business across nations, it takes time.
How many employees do you currently have working for you? Do you plan to set up teams overseas when you start exporting?
GoFetch.ca has 40 full-time employees, all of which are paid fair-market-value and have health and dental benefits. We will have teams in every major city we operate in because online marketplaces take world-class operations to get off the ground in new locations.
Why would you encourage other businesses to take part in the TAP Canada program?
I don’t think enough businesses are exporting, and the reason for this is that they have not been given the tools to understand how easy or hard it is. Just figuring it out is half the battle. The thing we have going for us from a technology standpoint is that we can flip the switch and be in new markets very quickly. With that said, there are always going to be complexities that are sometimes hard to break down into manageable components – TAP makes this easy. Not all companies are ready to export, but for those that are, TAP can expedite the learning curve.
Find out more about GoFetch and the company’s export plans on Willson Cross’ Greater Vancouver Board of Trade exporter profile.
Organizations participating in the TAP program have experienced an average international sales growth of 70% after the program, penetrated new markets, and grown their workforce to meet increased global demand.
If you would like to see the same thing happen for your business, visit the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade now and register for the upcoming Tap program.
When: January 15 and 16, 2018, 9 am to 4:30 pm
Where: Pan Pacific Hotel – Oceanview Suite 5, 999 Canada Place
Price: Bursaries available for qualified companies – Register online via Greater Vancouver Board of Trade
Daily Hive is a proud media sponsor of the Trade Accelerator Program