It’s usually easy for a business to define its target customer. But when you’re trying to offer something for almost everyone, it can be much more complicated.
Such is the case for Janet Perret and Lynn Kamps, owners of Bring it! Errands and Delivery of Green Bay.
“If we have a niche, it’s that we’re a one-stop shop,” Kamps said. “If you call us, we can do pretty much anything and everything you want done. It has been a hurdle that people think we cater to the elderly, but our target market is much broader than that.”
Perret added: “Defining the target market has been the hardest part of our business plan. It is hard to have a marketing strategy when our services are so broad.”
And the services offered are extensive. The pair will pick up groceries, walk pets, do laundry, take in vehicles for servicing, wait for the cable guy, provide vacation services like watering plants and bringing the mail, deliver milk, and so on and so on.
Yet, after seven years in business, they are still trying to get the word out and arrive at that place where the schedule is consistently full and the business is humming along.
“We started this business because Green Bay didn’t have anything like it, and there is a need for it,” Perret said.
“Businesses like this come and go because it is difficult to get your name out there and it takes a long time to pull off your strategy. It’s something you have to stick with and continue to work on new ideas for marketing,” Kamps added.
The pair, who are related and also friends, have complimentary personalities. They share tasks and are open to each other’s ideas. It is a rare occasion when they disagree on direction. Most importantly, with years of customer service experience between them, they have a love for service, and meeting and exceeding client expectations.
“We respond within 24 hours for sure, and usually within the hour," Perret said. "Customer service is the most important part of our job, and we try to go above and beyond. I don’t think we’ve ever disappointed anyone.”
As they build their customer base, they focus on learning by attending Green Bay Packers Mentor/Protégé programs and meeting with a Green Bay SCORE mentor. They have experimented with print, radio and social media marketing. They have printed up flyers for veterinary clinics and senior assisted living centers. But, despite those efforts, the biggest return seems to come from referrals.
“Word of mouth is probably most effective,” Kamps said. “But, we also have a marketing plan and move from one step to another and back again so that we are always getting new material out there. We try to figure out how to reach such a vast market of people.”
They also seek new markets. Their website, www.bringiterrands.com, shows up first in searches, and has led to interesting jobs. When the Wisconsin Badgers football team played Louisiana State University at Lambeau Field, they were hired by out-of-town fans to find housing and stock the rentals with food.
As they reflect on their years in business, Kamps said they have established themselves and want to continue to build clientele. They want to get to the point where they can say they’ve figured things out and their name is well-known.
They wrote a business plan to track progress and set direction. There has been much trial and error in the process of building the business, but they plan to stick with it.
“Within the next year, our goal is to be the go-to company for people who need errands done,” Perret said. “In five more years, we’d like business to be booming.”
Tina Dettman-Bielefeldt is co-owner of DB Commercial Real Estate in Green Bay and past district director for SCORE, Wisconsin.