19 Feb 2016

Love of pets driving Gold Coast business forward

Gold Coast NAB customer Pet Angel Funerals is thriving as people’s passion for their family pet leads them to commemorate their beloved animal.

Business owner Tom Jorgensen recently told the Gold Coast Bulletin that the variety of pets wasn’t just limited to typical dogs and cats, even leading to lizards.

“We’ve cremated cats, dogs, guinea pigs, ferrets and chickens but this was the first time we had ever cremated a bearded dragon,” Mr Jorgensen, 64, told the Bulletin.

The business, an independent and family owned company offers a range of options for families to commemorate their beloved pets including funerals and cremations, first opened in February 2015 and has been growing ever since.

Mr Jorgensen, who has handed over the operation of his commercial building company to his son in law, is now in the final stages ahead of opening a second location, in Brisbane, next month.

“My father was a veterinarian and I could see the need for this sort of business given the growth of designer dogs and growing pet ownership.

“We’ve gone from a standing start to now opening in Brisbane in March. We’ve perfected our systems and trained our staff on how to deal with grieving people which has probably been the biggest thing.

“Having great staff is the key to everything, you can have the best buildings, plans and systems but if you don’t have great staff you have nothing,” he said.

Mr Jorgensen said that social media had played a substantial role in the growth of his business.

“We’re very active on Facebook – we have around 6,500 friends – we boost our Google rankings and we have invested in radio advertising and also wrapped two buses that drive around the Gold Coast,” he said.

Asked for his advice for other small business owners, Mr Jorgensen had a couple of simple tips.

“Make sure you’re fully funded; never go into any business under capitalised. All small businesses go through some hard times so you need to be able to ride those out.

“Our initial costs were substantial, but we’re now trying to reap the rewards,” he said.

Leigh O’Neill, Executive General Manager, Micro and Small Business at NAB said Mr Jorgensen’s business was a shining example of small business innovation.

“Tom Jorgensen is a great example of an entrepreneur and small business owner backing himself to innovate, differentiate and find a niche market,” Ms O’Neill said.

“NAB’s research shows that businesses who innovate and invest are much more likely to succeed.”

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