By Michael Knight | Reporter
Justin Gentry, founder and owner of The Purr-fect Paw, emphasized the importance of positivity and including personal touches in business while speaking to entrepreneurship students Monday.
The Purr-fect Paw, which Gentry founded in 2011, is a pet-sitting and dog walking business that specializes in making sure customers are able to have their pets taken care of during any situation.
The personal touches and care for the customers are what Gentry said sets The Purr-fect Paw apart from other pet-sitting companies and chains.
“Yes, we do pet-sitting and dog walking, but that’s not the problem we’re solving,” Gentry said. “The problem I solve is peace of mind. That’s what I sell. I sell peace of mind to my clients.”
One of the biggest issues that Gentry had in his start-up was the factor of his age. When beginning the company, he said that he was just 20 years old and that he looked young. He was not sure that people would trust him with their pets because of his age, but ultimately realized that his fear did not end up being a major concern.
“I found that none of that mattered,” Gentry said. “I never had a client turn me down or say that they didn’t feel comfortable with [me]. It all depends on how you present yourself.”
Being professional and presenting yourself in a positive light is what Gentry found to be an important factor in running a successful business. He makes sure to get high-quality business cards to give out to clients, as well as writes each one a specific hand-written thank you note.
Aside from speaking about his company, Gentry also implored the students to remove negativity from their life that has the potential to hurt them. He showed an illustration with soda, water and a cup.
Gentry poured the soda in the cup and said that it represented negativity. He then poured water into the same cup, saying it represented positivity. The water overtook the soda and students could clearly see through the cup. Gentry said that eventually, increased positivity will flush out all the negativity and your mind will become clearer.
Entrepreneurship professor Dr. Boris Nikolaev spoke about the importance of students hearing success stories like that of Gentry’s.
“I think it’s very important. It’s critical,” Nikoleav said. “What I teach students is that entrepreneurship is about action, so a lot of entrepreneurship happens outside of the classroom where you’re trying different things, failing, learning and repeating. So having somebody that can come and share their experiences is very valuable. And they will get more inspired by an actual entrepreneur than a professor.”
Nikolaev brings in multiple guests a semester to his class so his students can have extra motivation and success stories to learn from as they continue to grow as entrepreneurs.