TAIL OF AN ENTREPRENEUR

TAIL OF AN ENTREPRENEUR

LIKE many start-ups, it was the hobby that became much, much more.

Quitting his job as a partner at McInnes Wilson, colleagues thought Steven Perissinotto had gone a little mad.

It was a decision between law books or pet supplies as his family had ties in veterinary care.

“They all thought I was crazy,” laughs Perissinotto.

“It was more that the opportunity existed and I could see a lot more personal satisfaction in building a business from scratch.”

In 1996, eBay was launched, and in 1999 came Vet Shop Group.

“I’ve always been a bit of a computer geek and I thought ‘this is going to get real exciting’.

By 2007, the business had reached a level of intensity where it was impossible for Perissinotto to continue juggling his profession and his business.

“Having the analytical mind to work out how to complete a project, and work backwards from there, was immensely useful,” he says.

Experience in law has also come in handy when dealing with restrictions on trade .

“I spend a lot of my time working out the laws with international selling, so I spend a lot of my time working on cross-border trade. Laws for all countries are different so it can be time consuming.”

Self-motivation and time management had the potential to build or break the business.

“Now that I was an online retailer, if we didn’t start ourselves each day no one cared. That was a big difference for me.

“It’s terrifying. If things go wrong how do you feed your family? I work twice as hard as when I did when I was a lawyer.”

The industry is relatively niche, with only two or three strong competitors.

“We have a chief vet, another vet and some vet nursers," he says.

"We’re really passionate about customer service and animal health is at the basis of everything we do.”

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