Would you consider this as limiting my biz?

1,006
10
Joined Feb 6, 2002
Hey Guys,

I'd like your valued opinions on this. Since Im not allowed to cook and sell from my residence in the state of NJ, Im going to go with my Plan B and start a Personal Chef Service. I won't be starting the biz for about a year and a half....my kiddie situation should be taken care of by then.

I live near a hospital that has a children's hospital and outpatient clinic for pregnant women. It's also where I take my kids for their checkups.....great market possibilities there. There are also lots of day care centers and preschools in my area. So there are lots of families who could be potential clients.

So here is where your opinion comes in. I was planning on targeting the new mommies in my area. The new mommies would have a great turnover rate and I could throw in my spiel for making fresh and wholesome baby food when their baby starts solids and leave my brochure/biz card. I'd be able to get a repeat client. Right?

Ive been a new mommy almost three times already and I know that for those first few months you hardly have enough energy to wash your hair much less cook. And many a time I've wished that someone else would do the cooking so I could relax. As for the baby food Ive been evesdropping on supermarket/baby clinic conversations and the one thing I keep hearing is that they wish there was better baby food available.

So am I limiting my biz by only targeting new mommies? Im only looking to do this PT for now and thought 2 or 3 clients would be fine.

Thanks,

Jodi
 
579
10
Joined May 6, 2001
When I was a new Mommy for the first time I remember wishing there was a frozen dinner available in the grocery stores that would taste good and take care of a few new Mom issues: Getting enough calories for keeping milk supply up, Eating foods that taste good but don't contain a few basic "trigger" ingredients that cause tummy aches in my DD. (garlic, onions, etc.), Meals that are lower fat so that losing pregnancy weight is easier, meals that I could feed to my husband as well-if I don't have enough energy to cook for me I wont be cooking for him either. In one of my third-feeding-of-the-night-brainstorms I actually thought of doing this myself. I was going to call them "Stork Dinners".:)
 
1,586
11
Joined Jan 5, 2001
I think that's a really great idea. What better targets than families with dual needs and no energy? However, many will drop you once they regain their energy so make sure you target the high end, those who can afford you over the long run. It'll make your life much easier if you don't have to chase after clients all the time.
 
1,006
10
Joined Feb 6, 2002
Just thought of something else...

I could also say that I can stock the fridge DURING their hospital stay. That way they can have plenty of quiet time bonding with baby without someone clanking around the kitchen.

And single mommies! How about shopping, stocking the fridge with a 5 lunches, 5 entrees and sides for mommy and fresh baby food? If she can't afford the service by herself, I could always charge the family rate if she can team up with another single mom in her area. One week the food will be at her home and the other week her friend. Makes great socializing for the single mom and maybe she can also network her friend for babysitting. I'll definately have to think about this Single Mom Package some more. The nuts and bolts may not click.

I was a single mommy with my first. I remember picking up my little girl from the babysitter and spending OUR time before bed COOKING. By the time I was finished I was too tired to play. On weekends I cooked and washed. She hardly saw me and we lived together!
 
1,006
10
Joined Feb 6, 2002
Hey Anneke,

Yes, that's what I mean about a turn-over rate, but that should't be a problem since I have contacts on the maternity ward and my hubby's family diner does deliveries to the docs and nurses. There are also my clinic visits...there is a bulletin board where I can place brochures. :) Everytime I go to the clinic it is always bursting at the seams with either pregnant women or new mommies. Im also friends with the EMTs, Hospital Security, Hospital Front Desk, and a few docs and nurses.

And if I target the businesses, like my contacts at the temp agencies for one, I'm sure I can scare up a bunch of single mommies. :) Wow! I just realized how many favors I can pull in due to my Admin Consulting days. That thought just made my night. :D
 
1,403
37
Joined Jan 1, 2001
What you are doing, Shawty, is defining a "market niche" for yourself. I think it's a great idea. One way to get your name and service out there is to contact the people who provide childbirth preparation classes. People should be aware of you before they go to the hospital and contract for your services in advance. Advertise in those free local parent and baby newspapers that they provide in the doctors offices and schools. You may also want to slip a coupon of some sort into the bag of goods the hospital sends home with new moms. Also, you should target the higher end private hospitals where the fancy moms go to have their babies. Although repeat business might be tricky, word of mouth with Mommy groups could do you a lot of good.
Good Luck!
 

phatch

Moderator
Staff member
9,595
1,107
Joined Mar 29, 2002
While niches are good, you've picked a tough one. High turnover is a tough business expectation. That means you've got a fresh tough sell with each customer and customers are almost always new. You won't have much word-of-mouth as you're targeting a customer base that doesn't have a lot of contact with each other.

Will the hospital let you market yourself to their "captive" audience? You're likely going to have sell much more time-wise than cooking wise. Will your target market support that kind of overhead?

Your best marketing would probably be with the in-laws and friends of the mother-to-be. See if you can get gift certificates in some baby stores to be given and redeemed for a week or a day or two of your services. When these show up in baby showers, other guests will remember them and either give them next time or want them themselves. Also, it doesn't hurt to recieve more than one of these as they are each useful. Probably want an expiration date on them though.

Perhaps try and associate these certificates as corporate gifts or benefits to employees on sick leave, family leave, and such. Even during times of death, families stop cooking and taking care of themselves so maybe hit a mortuary to see if you can affiliate your short term services?

In the long run, I think getting a few long term clients is much better business than selling new ones all the time.

And ALWAYS join your local chamber of commerce. Lots of freebies and exposure through the chamber.

Phil
 
1,006
10
Joined Feb 6, 2002
Wow! :eek: I never thought about all this stuff. Those are some really, really great ideas. Hmm, defining a "market niche" for myself. That sounds about right. I already thought about the catalog called "Kids" that I pick up at the supermarket. Has lots of really neat services in it. Never thought about the dept. stores though. Or about giving the gift certificates. Ive finished typing up page one of my marketing brochure. Just have to fine tune the page layout and add the graphics. As for a group that doesn't talke to each other....you haven't hung around mommies with kids have you? :cool:

If one mom sees another mom ANYWHERE, it is guaranteed that we will be trading pregnancy, birth, new baby care and toddler stories. Ive gotten heads up on sales, babysitters, good daycare centers etc. And from complete total strangers who just happen to be moms just like me. :D One of my neighbors told me about one of her co-workers who just had a baby and was all by herself. She didn't have anything. No husband/boyfriend, no family, no support, no crib, not a lot of baby things, nothing. I had my baby a few months before and didnt need some things and could afford more so I sent her 3 boxes of my stuff. Ive still NEVER met the lady. Then there is the WashoMat that we moms hang out at. There are always regulars there and at your second or third meeting and they get to know you......out comes the advice on great deals. Trust me. We mommies do a lot more talking than you think we do! We have an secret Mommy Network. :) :p

As for the turnover....I practically don't have much of an over head. And don't mind. I love helping people out and if I can also get a supplemental income out of it so much the better. The low end people, single mommies for example, are the ones who need this service and I can tell you that if they can't afford it by themselves they will pool money with a bunch of other single mommies and become one bunch of loyal customers. I'd charge them a family rate. Its tough finding good stuff when you are a single mom and when you do you hold on to it.

Thanks Everyone!

Jodi
 
7,375
69
Joined Aug 11, 2000
+Having a set menu is then imparative for you.....streamline your services so that you don't spend 5-6 hours figuring out what the newbies want to eat. Sounds good.....just make sure that when you have group rates everyone is OK with the meals....You want to make larger quantities of the same thing and divide them....so who picks what meals your making that week? Sounds wonderful, just remember that you are supporting your children...if you want to do community service so be it, but if your supporting your children make sure it works fiscally for you. Been there done it, unfortunately .
 

phatch

Moderator
Staff member
9,595
1,107
Joined Mar 29, 2002
One more consideration. Churches often bring dinners over for the first while for a congregation member with a new-born. Might hurt your business, or if you can make some church connections, might help your business.

Phil
 
1,006
10
Joined Feb 6, 2002
Really? Churches do that? I haven't seen them doing that in my neck of the woods, but Ill take it into consideration. Wonder what happened to my church dinner when my little boy as born? :( All I got was balloons all over my front steps and a sign saying "It's a Boy!"

Oh wait a minute...I just re read your post. You said "church members" Oops, Im not a member of any church around here. :blush: Im not catholic. :rolleyes: :D

Jodi
 

isa

3,236
11
Joined Apr 4, 2000
The best way to see if your advertising is paying off is to print, with your add, a coupon giving either a discount, a batch of brownies or a plate of cookies, just anything you want really. If you get lots of those back you know it's working. If you don't, save your money and put adds elsewhere.
 
1,006
10
Joined Feb 6, 2002
THanks for the great advice Isa. :)

I print everything from home.....we made an investment by getting 2 laser printers for my other biz. So I planned on dropping off some brochures at the baby clinic waiting room, prenatal clinic waiting room and children's hospital waiting room where I know a few people. Then hitting the laundromat and the public library community board before going to the local businesses. Hey it works for the Chinese takeout guys! :bounce:

The only rags around here that are worth taking a crack at advertising in is the KIDS mag that targets families with kids and the local newspapers. I'll take your words to heart when I begin composing my ads. Thanks.

Jodi
 

isa

3,236
11
Joined Apr 4, 2000
You're welcome Jodi.


Don't forget to visit the pre natal classes in your area.
 

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