Tim Vogel founded Scenthound with a mission that combines his passion for business success, his love for dogs, and his desire to create positive change for people. The company’s mission is “to help people connect with their pets by removing barriers to clean, healthy dogs.”
As an innovator, Tim Vogel has also evolved Scenthound into becoming the “first wellness-focused grooming franchise” in the country. Scenthound provides an “easy and affordable way for dog parents to get the routine care their pups need in order to stay clean and healthy.
At Scenthound, Tim Vogel knows that grooming goes beyond getting a haircut. It’s also about health. The company makes sure to take grooming seriously and improve the wellness of pets themselves, because a “clean, healthy pup gets more love and snuggles,” which is “good for dogs and humans alike.”
Tim Vogel grew Scenthound out of a simple mobile grooming business operating out of a van in 2006. Through an innovative spirit, he transformed the company into an industry leader and the first of its kind. Scenthound works according to a “pioneering concept,” where the company asks dog owners to “pay a membership rate to receive dog grooming for any type of dog based on the breed’s needs.”
At Scenthound, Tim Vogel doesn’t just want to make your dogs look good. The company also wants to educate pet parents and provide them with “an accessible and affordable place to get the basic grooming care their dogs need.”
Passion is the number one elixir for burnout. Tim Vogel, CEO of Scenthound
Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Tim Vogel: We solve a problem that’s currently not being solved by any other groomer in the industry. My “aha” moment was when I was chatting with a neighbor who had a Labrador retriever. He told me his dog did not go to a groomer because he didn’t need haircuts, but I could tell the dog was in need of some serious care. I could smell the dog’s ear infection and see how his overgrown nails were deforming his knuckles. That’s when I realized that not only was there a lack of education among dog owners surrounding grooming, but that there was no groomer out there dedicated to preventive care that focused on all breeds of dogs, not just dogs that require haircuts. All dogs benefit from bathed coats, trimmed nails, clean teeth, and odor-free ears.
Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Tim Vogel: Passion is the number one elixir for burnout. I believe that you have to love what you do, because that’s what is going to give you the drive necessary to keep going through hard times. If you are feeling signs of burn out, I think it is always helpful to spend some more time getting reconnected with the “why” behind what you do.
Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Tim Vogel: I am a part of my local chapter of Entrepreneurs Organization, and I was in the Accelerator Program, which focuses on business just beginning to scale. Our first facilitator, Scott Fritz, was there throughout all of Scenthound’s key moments and set up the learning necessary for me to get where I am today. One story in particular was on our “strategy day,” where he told us to think about the biggest barrier you have. That barrier, he said, is actually the solution to your strategy. I realized that our biggest barrier was finding qualified groomers, and there had to be a way to simplify the grooming process. If we changed our services from offering specialty haircuts, we wouldn’t need artists who knew how to groom each individual breed. This ultimately led to the realization that we could offer simple, one-length haircuts and train groomers in-house. Like Scott said, the biggest barrier actually become our solution.
I think a lot of good companies have good people, good ideas, and care about what they do, but a great company has all of that and more.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The title of this series is “How to take your company from good to great”. Let’s start with defining our terms. How would you define a “good” company, what does that look like? How would you define a “great” company, what does that look like?
Tim Vogel: I think a lot of good companies have good people, good ideas, and care about what they do, but a great company has all of that and more. A great company takes it to the next level and has the entrepreneurial operating system in place, is 100% committed to a single system, and has laser focus on being the best in the world at one single thing. After I determined what in the world we were best at, we used that strength to differentiate ourselves from other groomers. That confidence and innovation is everything. We took Scenthound from good — as a local groomer — to great by becoming the best at offering preventive care to keep dogs healthy and clean. There is a huge difference between the two and that’s what has made us great.
Jerome Knyszewski: What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?
Tim Vogel: I believe that a business will only grow as much as the leader grows. Anytime I felt like my business was stuck in any way, the first thing I would do is take a look at myself and my personal development. A true leader is never finished growing and will continue to evolve with their business.
Jerome Knyszewski: Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?
Tim Vogel: We are always looking at how to better serve the customer and drive more value for them. I learned that you can never lose sight of the customer. This is important always, but especially during a particularly difficult time in the economy. If you don’t lose sight of your customer and continue to provide something that they need, you will continue to grow and thrive, even during difficult times.
This year, we put processes and systems in place to make sure our employees and customers feel safe when they visit Scenthound, and we are making sure to be stewards in our community. Emphasizing these values and putting our customers first has allowed us to remain successful in our Scenters, and has also proven to potential franchisees that we have a recession-resistant model. Overall, our recent success, even during this turbulent time, has helped us sign new franchise agreements for over 20 new locations.
We are always looking at how to better serve the customer and drive more value for them. Tim Vogel
Jerome Knyszewski: In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
Tim Vogel: I think the most underestimated part of running a company is true leadership. There is a huge difference between “doing” leadership and being leadership. While there are so many things that go into creating a successful business, it all starts with how you show up every day. Being authentically yourself and staying connected to your company’s “why” and purpose gets people excited about the mission and drives them to perform their very best. Positive culture and drive always starts at the top.
Jerome Knyszewski: Great customer service and great customer experience are essential to build a beloved brand and essential to be successful in general. In your experience what are a few of the most important things a business leader should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience?
Tim Vogel: I think that business leaders should always be putting themselves in their customers’ shoes. It sounds simple, but really understanding what our customers were looking for helped us as a company provide them with the solution. Education is extremely important, especially when offering a service, and we have found that the best customer experience is one that is educational and helps them understand the immense value that you are offering them.
Jerome Knyszewski: What are your thoughts about how a company should be engaged on Social Media? For example, the advisory firm EisnerAmper conducted 6 yearly surveys of United States corporate boards, and directors reported that one of their most pressing concerns was reputational risk as a result of social media. Do you share this concern? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this.
Tim Vogel: There is always a risk that comes with social media because the Internet gives everyone a megaphone. We believe in our team and our brand, but every company at some point comes across an unreasonable person or someone who is never going to be satisfied. I think that the best thing to do while remaining engaged on social media is to reply in the most authentic way possible. We are very transparent and if there is ever a problem, we are happy to address it professionally. Because we have built such a strong community, our social media engagement is overwhelmingly positive.
You need to seek feedback and be open to the possibility of another narrative or perspective.
Jerome Knyszewski: What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Tim Vogel: One of the biggest mistakes I made, in the beginning, was believing my own narrative. Many new business owners go into it thinking “this is exactly what we’re going to do” or “everyone is going to love this,” and they don’t take into consideration other viewpoints. While you need to believe in yourself, be careful in trusting your own narrative too much. You need to seek feedback and be open to the possibility of another narrative or perspective.
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Tim Vogel: I would have everyone in the world get a pet. Pets show us the way. They help us pause, connect, and practice love every day. They teach us many important life lessons about unconditional love, patience, and kindness, and I think that everyone could benefit from that.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Tim Vogel: You can follow Scenthound on:
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!