Richard Dixon made entrepreneurship accessible at his Saltire Masterclass, emphasising that "there are no secret answers" to running a successful business but it does take careful planning, common sense, hard work - and the odd talk like a pirate day.
As a former vet, Richard recognised a gap in the market for out of hours emergency vet care and he knew that filling this gap could improve the quality of care pets receive and enable vets to achieve a better work life balance, while improving the standard of service they are able to offer pet owners.
VetsNow was founded in 2001 with the money raised from the sale of Richard's student pad. The company now has a £27 million turnover with 550 employees treating 100,000 animals a year in 52 clinics around the UK. The business has also diversified creating online social media communities for pet owners, a specialist referrals service and the charity, Pet Blood Bank UK.
VetsNow is known for its distinctive working culture with dogs, beanbags, photos and a gym at HQ in Penguin House, Dunfermline. Richard explained that there are high expectations for the staff at VetsNow and this culture creates an environment where team members can achieve their potential.
It hasn't always been plain sailing for Richard and the team at VetsNow and he described the entrepreneurial journey as a gruelling marathon with success only achievable through planning, perseverance, determination and hard work. So if Richard's success in completing the Edinburgh Marathon this year is anything to go by - the future looks bright for VetsNow.
Two Saltire Scholars are interning with VetsNow this summer and you can read their blogs here - http://bit.ly/inYNdg