An Interview with Dr. Tim Shu, CEO of VETCBD

by Jerome Knyszewski
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Dr Tim Shu, founder & CEO of VETCBD, talks about how to take your company from good to great

Dr. Tim Shu retired from veterinary practice in 2015 to found VETCBD, the next step in fulfilling his mission to “improve the lives of animals.” At his new company, he educates pet owners about the possible health benefits of cannabis for animals, as well as offers them the products to see if it works.

As a healthcare professional, Dr. Tim Shu follows a strict “moral and ethical obligation” to conduct research on cannabis’ “therapeutic effects.” Through research and exploration, he is able to give his clients accurate information so that they can make the right decision for the wellbeing of their beloved pets. However, he realized that simple information may not be enough. He realized that he also needed to give his clients the means to make their pets’ lives better.

Dr. Tim Shu started looking into the therapeutic benefits of cannabis after a few years of practicing veterinary medicine. He knew the substance had medical uses for humans, so he wanted to see if the same was true for animals without the side effect of getting high. His study found that the substance could help animals, too.

At VETCBD, Dr. Tim Shu develops the safe and effective products that owners could use for their pets. As CEO, he also “manages direction and strategy,” as well as “oversees research and development, marketing, sales, and support.”

Dr. Tim Shu has earned recognition for his work from several outlets in the United States and around the world. He has been featured in The New York Times, CNBC, and The Today Show.

Check out more interviews with dedicated medical executives here.

Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Dr. Tim Shu: Our purpose. We’re here to improve the lives of animals, and when we get feedback from pet owners about how much our products benefit their pet, it brightens our day so much. I remember when we were first getting started, and I was walking through a shopping center wearing our company shirt. A woman stopped me and asked if I work for the company. After letting her know that I’m the founder, she went on to tell me how much our product was helping her dog. That made my whole month and made the 80 hour weeks feel like a breeze, knowing that my products were helping pets out there feel better.

Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Dr. Tim Shu: Take time off. If you don’t take time off, the quality of your output will eventually start to decrease. Like a computer that starts to get bogged down, trying to do more will result in sluggish, inefficient performance. Take the time to reboot and start fresh. This will allow overall productivity to be higher. Life should be enjoyed. Take time to enjoy it.

Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Dr. Tim Shu: There are so many dispensary owners I’m grateful to. They took a chance and gave me an opportunity to provide value to their customers. Especially the first year I started out. I had no CPG experience, but I wanted to help improve the lives of pets and they saw that. Some gave me advice, and some simply let me sell my products in their stores. I’m eternally grateful for the opportunities they gave me.

Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The title of this series is “How to take your company from good to great”. Let’s start with defining our terms. How would you define a “good” company, what does that look like? How would you define a “great” company, what does that look like?

Dr. Tim Shu: A good company delivers value by providing a solution to a customer’s problem. A great company provides the best available solution to a customer’s problem with superior customer service, while continuously improving those solutions and service.

Jerome Knyszewski: What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?

Dr. Tim Shu: Embrace change through innovation. What works today won’t be enough for tomorrow, because tomorrow’s needs are greater. To meet those needs we need to build upon current solutions or create new solutions.

Jerome Knyszewski: Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?

Dr. Tim Shu: Be adaptable. The one thing we can always count on, is that things will change. If you didn’t have a mentality of operating lean, now’s the time to learn and implement that. If there’s channels you previously haven’t explored because of complacency, now’s the time to understand and utilize them.

Jerome Knyszewski: In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?

Dr. Tim Shu: Giving back to society. Businesses are in prime positions to improve the world. Not just through product offerings, but what they do outside of the office. Every business should have a plan to support their communities and to provide their employees Volunteer Time Off.

Jerome Knyszewski: Great customer service and great customer experience are essential to build a beloved brand and essential to be successful in general. In your experience what are a few of the most important things a business leader should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience?

Dr. Tim Shu: Go above and beyond. Customers have so many options to choose from. They chose you. Show them why they made the right choice by being accessible, responsive, empathetic, and solution-oriented.

Jerome Knyszewski: What are your thoughts about how a company should be engaged on Social Media? For example, the advisory firm EisnerAmper conducted 6 yearly surveys of United States corporate boards, and directors reported that one of their most pressing concerns was reputational risk as a result of social media. Do you share this concern? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this.

Dr. Tim Shu: It’s crucial to engage with your audience. If you don’t, you’re out of touch, and your customers will see it that way. You’re given the opportunity to connect with individuals from around the world and impact their lives in a positive way. Why wouldn’t you take that on?

Jerome Knyszewski: What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

Dr. Tim Shu: Creating solutions that are looking for problems to solve. People don’t need new problems, they have plenty of them already. Start with those and work back.

Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Dr. Tim Shu: To appreciate life more. The universe has given each of us a unique opportunity to experience consciousness, and there’s no limit to the heights we can reach. Let’s make the most of it.

Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?

Dr. Tim Shu: They can visit our website listed at the beginning of this interview, or connect with us on social media, @vetcbd @vetcbdhemp.

Business website:

Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

Dr. Tim Shu: Thank you!

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