Rapid shred retools for niche market success

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Courtesy of Cresswood Shredding Machinery

In today’s business environment, Predictable Outcomes Rule! And when the task is the secure destruction of their sensitive documents, off-speci'cation product, obsolete computer media, and a myriad of other proprietary materials, companies and institutions demand that every step be under control, transparent and veri'able. Customers for destruction services are challenged both with a rigorous regulatory environment, and heightened consumer expectations. They can accept nothing less than full compliance from their contractors.

Scott Dennis, owner and president of RAPID SHRED Con'dential Destruction and Recycling, Grand Rapids, MI, walked into this industry with his eyes wide open. A native of West Michigan with a master’s degree in environmental engineering, Scott maintained a successful consulting practice in the area which included litigation support. Scott describes West Michigan as “a very tight community, with primarily locally-owned businesses”. Developing strong working relationships with both legal and regulatory authorities during his consulting career, Scott was well networked for secure destruction markets.

While engaged in a project to recover nylon from recycled carpet during the late 1990’s, Scott “found the genesis of my business model”. He zeroed in on shredding opportunities in West Michigan, and discovered “that there was no established regional document destruction company in the market.”

Armed with the results of his market research, Scott, and his wife and business partner, Jodye founded Rapid Shred in December of 1999, and the company was fully operational by mid-Spring of 2000. Although he was embarking on a dynamic new career path, Scott brought his skill-set and thirst for knowledge along for the ride.

Recalling the early days, Scott readily admits to utilizing “a shotgun approach to targeting markets” during the formative years of the company. Growth was “primarily by referral, the word-of-mouth plan”, he notes with a smile. Healthcare services, law 'rms, banks, state and city of'ces, home businesses and doctor’s practices were among the initial customers for Rapid Shred. Despite focusing more attention on speci'c market sectors as the business matured, Scott has maintained in his words “a strategy of robust client diversity.”

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