Jessie Sanders was frustrated with her job search for a “normal” veterinary job. So instead of settling on a job she wasn't excited about, she designed her own perfect career: Aquatic veterinary medicine. She had always wanted to work in aquatic medicine, “So I went ahead and started my own specialty practice,” she says.

She sought guidance from her father, a successful entrepreneur, and two SCORE mentors. Since opening in 2013, Sanders has moved her mobile practice into a new clinic space and also opened a complementary retail business.

Aquatic Veterinary Services of Northern California specializes in veterinary care for fish and all other aquatic pets. 

My Successes: 

“My business transitioned from a one-person, on-the-road business to a two-business veterinary hospital and retail store with six employees,” Sanders reports. “This would not have been possible without the assistance of my mentors.”

Sanders’ retail shop, Santa Cruz Koi, offers koi pond supplies, equipment, treatments and koi food. “It has added physical products to my veterinary service and a whole new batch of challenges.” 

How SCORE Helped: 

“I needed help designing a business plan to take my ambulatory veterinary practice to an in-house practice and retail store,” Sanders recalls. Mentor Barbara Humphries walked Sanders through a six-month planning phase before referring her to fellow mentor Michael Sarka for marketing plan assistance.

Sanders says the planning process, while lengthy, “Was completely necessary for me to implement the correct steps to get to where I am now.”