Note: I will be featuring several women owned companies over the course of the next few months. These companies are continuting to thrive despite the economic difficulties we’re facing today. I spoke with each owner and asked them questions related to business ownership, and how the recession has impacted their company.
Today’s interview is with Genevieve Thiers, CEO of Sittercity.com.
Headquartered in Chicago, Sittercity.com became the first online care search site eight years ago and continues to lead the industry in this genre, boasting more than a million caregiver profiles nationwide.
When the economy began its downward spiral, rather than run from the changes, Thiers decided to tackle them head on.
“You can either see the recession as a bug or a feature,” she says, who, after realizing that affordable childcare had become a necessity rather than a desire for many parents returning to work, began marketing to this trend.
While the number of parents seeking babysitters for recreational purposes on Sittercity may have dropped some, with 27% of parents who had been staying at home heading back into the job force at least part time and 42% of parents working more hours, an increased need for ongoing childcare assistance in the home has occurred.
“Most of (our marketing) is done (while being) aware of a moms need to save, so all of our messaging has said don’t break the bank.”
When asked what a new business owner should do in order to thrive in this economy, Theirs didn’t hesitate: Look at the recession as what it can do for you rather than against you. “When it broke, we stared at it and said, “Oh my gosh,” and we all sat down and said we are going to look at it and try to use it.”
Thiers states that the recession, while it can be tough on business owners, can also be a help. A great pool of people looking for employment exists, which means a company can hire excellent workers, and with real estate prices dropping, those that need space for their companies can find it for cheaper than it could once be found.
(As a note: Sittercity.com does not only provide babysitters but offers a wide range of care services for humans – and pets! – of all ages.)