Embrace Pet Community

Embrace_pet_community_cat_and_dog_1 Do we ever have a Christmas present for you!

Some of you may have clued in to this but we have released a new website. No, it's not the Embrace Pet Insurance website (coming early 2007) but it's the Embrace Pet Community website www.embracepetcommunity.com.

The Embrace Pet Community is a pet-related online association that focuses on shopping for your four-legged fur kids - what more could you want?!

You can find deals from our unique partners, shopping forums to find deals with help from other pet parents (looking for freebies or some hard to find bargains? This is the place for you), a pet shopping blog, and there is a super-duper feature that's not quite ready yet but you can read about it on the website here.

We think you just might find this useful so please spread the word... The more, the merrier.

An article on Wharton bloggers

Wharton_entrepreneurship_program_newslet_1 I just caught an article "Brave New World" on the Wharton Entrepreneurship Program's website talking about Wharton entrepreneurs blogging and the different takes on it. It mentions Josh Kopelman's blog Redeye VC as one of our more famous alumni bloggers (OK, the only famous Wharton blogger that I know of).

Josh founded Half.com, which was purchased by eBay on the same day he presented to our leadership class in September 2001 - the depths of the dot com bust. That must have been a very surreal day for Josh - just another normal day in superstardom I suppose!

You have to scroll down to the very end but you'll see a mention of the Embrace Pet Insurance blog (nice to be mentioned along with greats like Josh - I'm all star-worship a-gaga). The last paragraph sums it all up for me:

"The blog is all about communicating with people interested in pet insurance in an open and honest way," she says. "Apart from a phone call, there's no better way for people to gauge your honesty and sincerity."

What do you think?

Kind words from a friend

Andrea_learned_1 Andrea Learned is always has something valuable to add on any topic, but in particular on marketing to women, and she has a great book that she co-wrote called Don't Think Pink. So, I was so pleased to see that she wrote up an article on pet insurance and had lots of kind words to say about Embrace.

Embrace Pet Insurance is one such company that I've been watching, mainly because of the personal friendship I've built with one of its co-founders, Laura Bennett.  She knew, early on, that women were the key to the business and so, even as the underwriting process has taken way longer than she and co-founder Alex Kooglick might have hoped - they have finally launched their company.  Interestingly, I remember way back when being part of their survey on possible logos, and then later a survey of web site templates. They have been so-wisely building community and involving their likely customers for years in advance of this launch.

Check out A Women's Market Insight: Pet Insurance at Andrea's blog, Learned on Women.

Thanks Andrea. Big hugs to you and Hilde.

EWomen Network presentation information

Ewomennetwork Right now (yes right at the time when this was posted), I'm presenting at the Cleveland eWomenNetwork lunch on blogging, my first official presentation on blogging (although I'm always talking about it all the time to anyone who'll listen).

I promised some information on what I talked about so we didn't have to kill a number of trees to print them out. Besides, now I have a couple new blog readers I hope!

Local blogs

Blogs you really really should read as a small business (see also left hand side menu item Other Blogs)

  • Seth Godin, my marketing god
  • Guy Kawasaki, guru on start ups and what makes companies successful
  • Church of the Customer, Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell write about word of mouth for businesses
  • Learned on Women - Andrea Learned on marketing to women (there are a number of good blogs on marketing to women - if you want more on marketing to women or any other topic, email me)

Top 5 Reasons to Blog for a small business:

  1. You want to make money don’t you?
    More interested eyeballs on your site means more money in your pocket.
  2. Become known as an expert
    Show people what you know, become the recognized expert on a topic.
  3. Stand out in a crowded space
    People searching for people and businesses like yours will find you out if you are blogging about their problems.
  4. Show your customers how you think and work
    Let them get to know you before they call.
  5. Bloggers blog about other bloggers, driving even more traffic your way.

And #6, the final bonus reason and the biggest of them all is

If you aren’t doing it, your competitors will. In fact your competitors are likely already doing it.

Email me if you'd like more info on any of my presentation.

American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)

AahaI have been slacking off on the blog over the last couple of days because things seem to be never ending in the office lately. At least we aren't trying to get accredited - I don't think I could handle someone coming in and tut-tutting at the state of my desk and frowning upon our hamster cage while I'm trying to hire people, review websites, write marketing plans, raise more money, and of course, write blogs.

But there are a super group of veterinary hospitals that do go through the strictest of inspections while doing their everyday jobs to become an accredited AAHA hospital.

What is the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)?

"Healthy Practices. Healthier Pets." AAHA's goal is to provide the best veterinary care for companion animals through high quality education programs, accreditation and other various services. It was started in 1933 by seven leaders of the veterinary profession and has grown into a large professional organization with over 3,000 veterinary hospitals accreditated.

What do they do?

AAHA has an accreditation program for veterinary practices to assist them in providing the best care possible. It's pretty tough to become an AAHA hospital and to do this they must work with an AAHA Practice Consultant who evaluates everything about the practice. They evaluate everyone from the veterinarians to the kennel personnel to the office staff, including all of the procedures they use. (I bet people don't sleep much the night before the Practise Consultant comes around)

I thought the next section was pretty interesting - here are the goals you have to keep meeting once your veterinary hospital is accredited:

  • Have challenging benchmarks to reach
  • Ensure that you are up-to-date on changes in veterinary medicine
  • Improve practice operations and check skills
  • Enhance credibility with peers and clients
  • Inspire pride among staff members
  • Encourage leadership development
  • Have their achievements recognized

I'm not sure how you measure pride amongst the staff - can someone fill me in on that?

What can the website offer you (assuming you aren't a vet)?

AAHA has a website for the general public called Healthy Pet where you can find an accredited hospital near you, research info about breeds, behavior, common illnesses, nutrition, the human/animal bonds, pet care tips and preventative care in the Pet Care Library, check out the pet photo page, and buy books and cards from the AAHA store.

AAHA also created the Helping Pets Fund which raises money for animals who need veterinary care but their owner cannot afford it.

New pet blog

Scratchings_and_sniffings_1Here's a promising new pet blog - scratchings and sniffings. Yvonne Divita, who writes lipsticking (marketing to women online) and a couple of other blogs (plus a book or two) has now turned her attention to pets.

Yvone is a besotted pet parent - her one line bio: Just a pet lover hoping to share stories with other pet lovers.

From her About Page:

This is a pet blog. It's written by Yvonne DiVita. You will see sponsors noted - but understand that everything on this blog is my original writing. I may occasionally allow sponsors to suggest content - I may announce new products, or services. The operative word is "may" because this is my blog - mostly about my pets.

I will try to post relevant pet news - from the world of dogs and cats, and any other animals you want to hear about. Just to qualify things a bit: I used to be a veterinarian's assistant - a looonnng time ago. It was fun. Until I got bit! More than once! Irate and/or scared dogs and cats at the vet's office can be very hard to manage!

She kindly mentioned me and the Embrace Pet Insurance blog as an inspiration for her blog on pets but I think Yvonne would have written her scratchings and sniffings blog anyway - she just can't help herself.

Anyway, I'm delighted we've been able to inspire at least one excellent blog on pets. We definitely need more!

New - Embrace Pet Community blog

Embrace_community_dog_and_catI'd like to introduce you to our new baby - the Embrace Pet Community blog.

I figured I'd keep the Embrace Pet Insurance blog for pet health-related topics and we'd set up a completely new blog for pet-related shopping stuff to keep things clean.

We'll be highlighting interesting items and services such as Beer for Dogs and cooling pads for your hot dogs and cats so if you have a product you'd like to highlight, let us know at hello@embracepetinsurance.com.

Of course, you can subscribe as you normally do - email or RSS.

We look forward to sharing with you some unique pet items and services. I think it's going to be very interesting indeed and I'm sure I'm going to learn a lot.

PS. How do you like Petey and Petunia, our dog and cat in a box? We couldn't resist naming them.

AVMA highlights senior cat and dog care

Rosie_aug_05 The American Veterinary Medical Association put out a press release today focusing on senior cats and dogs. I love this quote:

"The most important message that we wanted to provide at the point that we wrote these guidelines is that age is not a disease," said Dr. Ilona Rodan, co-chair of the report and owner of the Cat Care Clinic in Madison, Wis.

The article highlights a couple of reports on aging, which are good reads for those of us with aging pets:

Some tidbits from the reports:

  • Dogs and cats are living longer due to advances in Veterinary medicine and care provided by the owners
  • Pets living longer raises the need for pet insurance at an early age to cover for Geriatric conditions such as osteoarthritis and glaucoma
  • Geriatric animals have different needs for a long healthy life. Consult with your veterinarian about how to properly care for your geriatric pet. Consider the food, exercise level, and medical requirements.
  • Yearly physicals are important in early prevention and detection of diseases.
  • AGE IS NOT A DISEASE. Pay attention to your aging pet’s behavior. Yes, Pumpkin may be slowing down due to age but she may also have arthritis which is manageable with medication and can improve her quality of life. Pet owners also want animals to live longer, and they're willing to spend more money to maintain quality of life for aging animals—both for dogs and for cats.

Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT)

2006_apdt_conference_logo I've been reading a lot lately on people in various stages of training their dogs (from learners to thinking about competing) so I thought I'd check out the organizations around dog training and found the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT).

Vision: All dogs are effectively trained through dog-friendly techniques and therefore are lifelong companions in a relationship based on mutual trust and respect.

Mission: The mission of the APDT is to enhance the human-dog relationship by educating trainers, other animal professionals and the public and advocating dog-friendly training.

They have over 5000 members from all over the world, but mainly centered on the US. You can search the database of trainers as well as getting tips on choosing a trainer.

If you are interested in becoming a certified dog trainer, there's also some good info. If so, you might want to go to the conference coming up September 13-17, 2006 in Kansas City. They promise no hurricanes.

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