It all started with a conversation between co-founders Bruce Jeffreys and Nic Lowe: “Wouldn’t it be great to share a car with our neighbours?”
They soon discovered that their idea was already a reality elsewhere in the world and in June 2003, GoGet’s first member took their first journey — a shopping trip to Auburn.
Starting with just three cars, the business now has 530 vehicles Australia-wide, ranging from inner-city-friendly compacts to wagons, utes and people movers. The company now has over 11,000 members.
In this Q&A interview with Alex Pirouz, GoGet CarShare’s operational manager Tristan Sender shares how to create an innovation, why market research is so important and what aspiring entrepreneurs can learn.
Q: What was the main reason for wanting to start GoGet?
“GoGet was first started because we thought that it would be a great idea if people could share a car with their neighbours. We believed that car ownership for many people was an old model and we cared very much for the environment.”
Q: How did you identify a need in the marketplace?
“By speaking with people in the local areas which we were looking to enter and understanding whether or not we were solving a real problem for citizens in that area. We also spoke to companies in Toronto and Montreal who were doing something similar to us and they were all open to sharing their ideas.”
Q: What was the thought pattern behind this innovative new approach?
“We believed that there were too many cars on the road and the stats showed that a car was only being used 1.5 hours a day and the rest of the day it was not being used. The thinking behind this new approach was all about sitting down and saying, ‘How can things be used more efficiently? What if one car could be used by 20 people?’”
Q: What were some challenges associated with starting a new concept and how did you overcome them?
“Because it was something new and we were changing people’s behaviours, getting buy-in from potential customers was difficult. The best way we overcame this challenge was by servicing our very first clients well from the start to ensure they rave about it to their friends and family. At the start the founders used to meet all customers at their car to welcome them, but we can’t obviously do that now with over 530 cars on the road nationally.”
Q: What was one of the main reasons for the growth of GoGet?
“We looked at the feedback our customers gave us, both good and constructive, and we looked at creating ways to best meet their needs. We also use our customers as sounding boards before making decisions on our services.
“The more insight you gain from your customers the greater the level of precision you will have in delivering a solution to one of their problems or needs. Market research helps you keep on track. We survey our members every year.”
Q: What form of marketing helped you the most?
“Publicity was the main thing that helped us, it provided us credibility. Clients start to trust you a lot more when you have been featured in the media. This in turn acquired our customers who were passionate about the environment and word of mouth spread.”
Q: What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are looking to create a new and innovative business?
“Innovate through scarcity. If you have a scarcity of funds you really look closely at what you spend. Be passionate about it, don’t do it just because of money. Research the market to ensure you are providing a solution to a real problem for the majority not the minority. Don’t wait for perfection; if you keep waiting someone else will do it.”
Alex Pirouz is the founder of RIDC Advisory Pty Ltd, a Business and Sales Advisory firm partnering with the top 1% of Australia’s largest and fastest growing companies to further increase their sales revenue. (Visit www.ridc.com.au for more details)