S.O.Pet — the Journey
Me and my friends were so blanked and didn’t know what to do when we knew our project in the first term was going to be a flop. We met at Siam Paragon one weekend to brainstorm some new ideas on what project we are going to do. We were discussing for the whole afternoon, until it was almost the end of the day but we still haven’t got any good ideas. At first, we came up with an idea of an application for pregnant women, but it wasn’t a really good idea, there are already plenty of those applications available on the app store. Then, Best, one of the team members, said “I have to go home shortly, I have to shower my dog today”, and we thought, why don’t we do something about pet. Finally, came up with S.O.Pet, a tele-consultation platform for pet owners.
We got p’ Tan as our mentor for this project. We started to conduct an interview with our potential users as he guided us to do. We were so delighted after hearing most of them seem to be interested in our ideas and looking forward to seeing it becoming an actual application. I was so confident that this project would definitely become successful. We also talked to a vet and he also seemed to be liking our idea as well. But then, we got a chance to talk to another vet, he was kind of against our idea and kind of said it wouldn't work. We felt quite like we come to a dead end at that time, we almost gave up on the project.
But still, we wanted to try if this is going to work so we created an official Facebook page and Line account anyway. Then, we started to recruit vets. It turned out that there were so many vets interested to join us, so much more than we expected. On That day, we spent the whole day replying to messages from the vets. Eventually, we decided to recruit 20 vets, not too many and not too few, and begin to officially open for service.
There wasn’t a lot of customers in the first few days. Only 4 in the first week, and 2 of them didn’t even pay. But as we continue to promote, more and more people started to be aware of our existent, and we started to gain a lot more customers every week. Now we have over 6,000 likes and followers on our Facebook Page and we already have more than 200 paid customers. I think we’ve come a very long way thinking back to when it was just an idea and I’m actually quite proud.
However, the path wasn’t so easy, we encountered some obstacles too. We were able to fix some of them, but some we just had to let them go. There are customers who used our service and didn’t pay, some customers said the service was too expensive, and some complain about the service. Moreover, two of the vets already resigned.
As for now, I think the situation is kind of okay, but there are still issues that we have to improve as well. I don’t know how is it going to be like in the future. It may be successful, or it may be not. There are still many more things that we have to learn and to do. But what I definitely learnt from this is that to start a start up is hard, a lot more complicated than I originally thought, and to make it successful is even harder. But we never know if it is going to work if we don’t try. If we had given up on this project after the talk with that vet, we wouldn’t be at the point we are now.