Mindy Tenenbaum is the President of Canadian Dog Group Ltd, a canine genetic testing company she founded in 2008. She is actively involved in the canine rescue community and holds an active board position on a canine rescue organization.
She also assists the ASPCA in emergency shelter response and criminal cases as part of their FIR (Field Investigative Response) team. She holds a Master’s in Veterinary Science with a specialization in Veterinary Forensics.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I first learned about canine genetic breed testing when I was working on a canine rescue board with a number of different rescue groups. I immediately saw the potential for using this testing to help raise money for the groups I was working with and to help dogs get adopted.
Tell us about your business.
Our main business is DNA My Dog, which is one of the leading canine breed ID tests. This test will tell you every breed in your dog through a simple cheek swab used to analyze the dog’s DNA. Results are provided within 2 weeks of receiving a sample.
We also recently launched our new canine allergy test called Allergy Test My Pet, which reports a dog’s reaction to over 100 common allergens. This test is designed to help dog owners get to the bottom of the allergies that may be affecting their pets.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Due to the high cost of this type of testing we generally don’t run promotions but rather offer the lowest possible cost to everyone. I do suggest readers check with their local rescue to see if they have any promotions that will allow a portion of the testing fee to be donated to the shelter.
- We strive to offer the most accurate DNA test available, and our customer satisfaction is our accomplishment every day.
- We have a team of talented scientists who work for us, lead by an accomplished PhD.
- I have a Master’s in Veterinary Science.
Where is your business based?
We are located in Downtown Toronto, near the Beaches neighborhood. We also have a fulfillment center in Hamburg, New York.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
One of the first things I did when we began offering this service was to contact every Humane Society, SPCA, and shelter I could find to let them know about our service and how they could use it to raise funds.
I knew that shelter dogs were going to be our primary market, so what better place to find people wanting to learn about their dog’s breeds than at the point of adoption at a shelter?
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Lately, we have found that having a strong distribution team is the best way to find new customers. We work with partners around the world who have access to customers we would normally never be able to acquire, and it has helped increase our sales base significantly.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
One of our biggest challenges is growth. We were not prepared for the growth we have seen, and I did not have solid plans in place to meet it.
How did you overcome these challenges?
We invested in a lot of systems to make sure we were always ahead of the game, hired more people to meet our needs, and put in more solid forecasting so that we could be ready for anything that came our way.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I have dedicated my life to making sure this business works, and I keep motivated, because I don’t allow myself any other options.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
We are known as a dog-rescue friendly company. We genuinely care about each and every dog we test. I know that may sound unreal, but we really do care about them.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
I was recently told that I do not need to apologize for any success I may have, and that advice really stuck with me.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Some advice I have followed is to keep laser-focused on what you are trying to accomplish.
When I was starting out, a lot of people told me they did not think this business would work, but I really believed in it and worked every day to make sure it was viable. Not every business is going to work, but if you believe in something, you owe it to yourself to make the best effort you can.
I also always tell people it is not about the money. Of course we need money to survive, but if you love something and work hard at it, there is always a chance it will work out for you. I walked away from a high paying career to make this happen.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
I have had a really great experience using Upwork.com for some of our projects. If we need a logo designed or some copy written quickly or even some quick programming we have hired through Upwork and had great results. The person who does all of our artwork now is someone we originally contracted though Upwork.
There are a lot of project-based hiring tools out there now, and they are often worthwhile, especially for new businesses who may not have the resources to make permanent hires in some areas.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I have just finished reading Pitbull: The Battle for an American Icon by Brownen Dickey. It is an excellent history of dogs and dog prejudice in America, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning about the origins of some misunderstood dog breeds.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
We have recently changed a number of our testing protocols and are in the process of developing some new tests, so I am studying a lot of genetics right now. I love it, but it is quite challenging. We are very fortunate to have Dr. Virginie Braun on our team as lead scientist.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
We just launched our canine allergy test and are in the process of overhauling some of it to make it even more effective. It is a big job.
We are also beginning the initial experiments on a new test, and we are working every day to make that happen.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Weekly Entrepreneur Resources
To help guide you in the right direction.