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An Interview with Dr. Tim Shu, Founder of VETCBD

Jerome Knyszewski

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Dr Tim Shu, founder & CEO of VETCBD, talks about how to take a company from good to great

Dr. Tim Shu is a veterinarian, and the founder and Chief Executive Officer of VETCBD, which produces cannabis products for pets to relieve several conditions such as physical discomfort or anxiety. He has also been one of the pioneers of bringing cannabis and CBD to veterinary medicine. So far, several pet owners have testified to the positive effects of VETCBD’s products.

For Dr. Tim Shu, VETCBD is a fulfillment of his goal to help pets “safely benefit from the multiple therapeutic uses of cannabis and hemp.” His background as a veterinarian and his expertise in medical cannabis, which was born from hours and hours of research, has helped him formulate several VETCBD products that are not only effective for use in animals, but safe as well.

As CEO, Dr. Tim Shu also “manages direction and strategy at VETCBD, and oversees research and development, marketing, sales, and support.” He earned his doctorate in veterinary medicine at Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, finally turning his childhood interest in animal health and welfare into a career.

Before he founded VETCBD, Dr. Tim Shu worked at his own private veterinary practice, where he “practiced emergency, critical care, and general medicine.” He focused primarily on delivering healthcare to “low-income clients to provide optimal healthcare on restricted budgets.”

Dr. Tim Shu and his work on veterinary cannabis has earned him significant international attention. He has also been featured on The New York Times, CNBC, and The Today Show.

Check out more interviews with compassionate founders here.

 

Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

Dr. Tim Shu: I’ve loved animals since I was a child and I’ve always wanted to make life better for them. That led me to becoming a veterinarian, where I practiced in general, emergency, and critical care medicine. As a healthcare provider I would at times feel limited with the treatment options that were available. It isn’t uncommon for medications to cause severe side effects or be as effective as we’d like. I believe as medical professionals we have an ethical and moral obligation to explore all potential therapeutic avenues for our patients. If cannabis offers benefits, then we need to explore that option and provide it for our patients.

Jerome Knyszewski: Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

Dr. Tim Shu: I started the company with my life savings and no outside investment. At the time it was a relatively new idea in a yet-to-be established market. I had quit my job as a practicing veterinarian and went full-time into starting the company. There were times the first year that I didn’t know if I was going to have money to pay the bills. A lot of scary times that first year, which turned into a lot of character building. Shortly after I launched the initial product, I started getting feedback about how much it was helping pets, and I knew this was something I had to make happen because there was potential to help so many more animals.

Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

Dr. Tim Shu: There were a lot of times when I first started out that I was overly worried or anxious about something, usually something small. Looking back, I have to ask myself, how much unnecessary stress did I cause myself? If things don’t work out, figure out why and improve. One of the worst ways to spend your time is by worrying. Learn to let go.

Jerome Knyszewski: Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to lead a company from Good to Great? Please share a story or an example for each.

Dr. Tim Shu:

  1. Be purpose-driven — Being purpose-driven will keep your North Star shining bright and help you weather the storms that will invariably come.

When I started the company I quit my full-time job in practice, put my life savings into starting the company, and devoted every waking moment to getting it up and running. There were times when only weeks of runway were remaining. But my focus of improving the lives of animals has always kept my North Star in sight and my conviction helped me push harder to find innovative solutions for the challenges at hand.

  1. Product quality — A potential customer has many options to choose from. If your quality isn’t there you’re not setting yourself up for long term success.

We test our ingredients rigorously and go beyond industry requirements. It’s expensive, it takes extra time, but it aligns with our purpose and our dedication to our customers.

  1. Team dynamics — The work environment is where we spend a significant amount of our lives. Provide your employees the tools, environment, and structure needed for not just professional growth, but personal growth as well.

We hire purpose-driven, compassionate, empathetic individuals to add to our team dynamic. We check in with them routinely to guide their progress and make sure they’re on track to achieve the goals and objectives we’ve established together. 360 feedback is implemented so each individual’s voice can be heard.

  1. Customer relations — When a customer purchases your product, that’s the start of a relationship. Nurture it by understanding problems and pain points, and addressing them with empathy. Connect with them not as “customers” but as individuals who have unique problems. You have the opportunity to work with them to find the best solution.

Our customer support team asks for the client’s pet’s name in addition to their name. It’s an important piece of getting to know them as individuals with unique problems that require personal solutions.

  1. Innovation — Today’s new is tomorrow’s old. Figure out tomorrow’s solutions for today’s problems.

Coming from medicine, we know that the way medicine is practiced today is better than how it was practiced yesterday. And the way it’ll be practiced tomorrow will be better than the way it’s practiced today. The only way to improve and provide better solutions is to innovate. We’re constantly trialing new formulations and products to better understand how cannabis can be used to improve the lives of animals.

  1. Giving back — Business should be used as a vehicle for philanthropy. Find ways to give back and support your community.

Our charity program, One Fur One, donates product to charity for each unit sold through our website. Our team members are provided four days a year of Volunteer Time Off so they can spend time improving their community.

  1. Be comfortable being uncomfortable — There is no growth through comfort. Embrace the challenges and difficulties that arise. They’re going to happen anyways, so you might as well face them head on.

When you’re working out, if you choose the easiest workout, you’re cheating yourself and setting yourself up to fall short of your goals. The brain is no different in that regard. It needs to be challenged in order to grow.

Jerome Knyszewski: Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. Can you help articulate for our readers a few reasons why a business should consider becoming a purpose driven business, or consider having a social impact angle?

Dr. Tim Shu: We are all members of the collective human experience. All of us are here because of what those who have come before us have built. The best way for us to show our gratitude for the accomplishments that we benefit from is to pay it forward for the generations to come. How you choose to do so is your purpose.

Jerome Knyszewski: As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies a business should use to increase conversion rates?

Dr. Tim Shu: The most successful CEOs do this: start with the customer, and work backwards from there. The user experience, perception, mindset, needs and wants should all be considered.

Jerome Knyszewski: Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that a business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?

Dr. Tim Shu: People remember how you make them feel. If they know they’re getting a quality product backed by superior service from a company that is purpose-driven and gives back, they’re going to feel good about supporting your brand.

Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?

Dr. Tim Shu: They can visit our website listed at the beginning of this interview, or connect with us on social media, @vetcbd @vetcbdhemp.

Business website: vetcbdhemp.com

Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

Dr. Tim Shu: Thank you!

 

Jerome Knyszewski is the Reputation Management Expert with the most recommendations and endorsements on the professional network, LinkedIn. His specialties are Online Reputation Management & Marketing, Strategic Alliances, Business Growth Strategies, He is a best selling author and Professional Speaker.

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