Trekk provides a full spectrum of marketing services that help clients acquire, retain, and grow their customer bases. From strategy through execution of fully-integrated marketing communications programs, we act as an arm of our clients’ marketing and sales departments to set and achieve business goals.
Product / Service Offering: Full-service creative agency
Founder Interviewed: Laura Bennett, CEO
Other Key Management Team Members: Sarah Mannone, EVP
This article is part of our Women Entrepreneurs Spotlight Series featuring female entrepreneurs and their companies. We hope these founders’ interviews inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us a little about yourself with a focus on what motivates you.
I am one of the co-founders and currently 100% shareholder of Trekk. My motivation comes from seeing the ultimate results of the marketing communications programs we develop and deliver. Over the past 22 years, I have also been motivated by the continual challenge of building a business and managing a team that is driven to help clients succeed.
When did you establish your company and where did the idea originate?
Trekk was founded in 1995. The idea originated at a conference about this new thing called the “World Wide Web.” We, myself and three colleagues, knew that it was going to bring significant changes to the marketing and communications landscape, and we wanted to be a part of it.
What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?
Trekk provides a full spectrum of marketing services that help our clients acquire, retain, and grow their customer bases. From strategy through execution of fully-integrated marketing communications programs, we act as an arm of our clients’ marketing and sales departments to set and achieve business goals.
What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?
As an agency, we are unique in our development and use of the latest technologies to help clients communicate. In the beginning, it was in-house web services that differentiated us. Today, it is in-house development of mobile apps, augmented reality, and virtual reality experiences. Trekk has always been tech-driven, but what really sets us apart is our ability to use cutting-edge technologies to create valuable marketing content – the kind of stories that attract attention and drive customer engagement.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge Trekk faced at the beginning was managing growth, which happened much more quickly than we anticipated. I am not sure I can say that we overcame it, but we did make improvements by engaging business mentors and establishing tight relationships with banking, accounting, and management partners.
Are there resources you have utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?
I always encourage other entrepreneurs to take advantage of their local Chamber of Commerce and other local organizations where business leaders network. For me, building relationships through these organizations led to invitations to sit on boards, and joining local boards led to more networking and mentoring. Through the years, I’ve been involved with a variety of organizations, including the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, Rockford Dance Company, the Rock Valley College Foundation, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Engaging with the local community is not only a great way to give back, it has also helped me make connections to build my business.
What steps have you taken to secure funding for your company and what, if anything, would you do differently if you had to start over?
Our banking partnerships have been stable and consistent over the past 22 years. Trekk was profitable from the beginning, so funding has never been an issue. If I were to do anything differently, I would secure a line of credit more quickly than we did. We did not establish one when we received our start-up funding, so that was an extra hurdle when we really needed it to fund our growth.
Have there been any questions you have had as an entrepreneur of a fledgling startup that you had a particularly hard time finding the answers to?
At what point do you know that you have succeeded? What is enough? I still do not have the answers to these!
What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?
I have been 100% shareholder for less than a year, so my biggest challenge right now is succession planning. It has always been important, but now more than ever.
What is the most helpful tip or “hack” you’ve ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?
“Know your core competencies; hire out the rest.”
Is there anything else you would like to share about your company?
Trekk is a creative agency. We spend a lot of time seeking inspiration and turning that inspiration into quality work. We are guided by ideas of discovery and exploration. One of the most important traits we look for in new hires is a healthy sense of curiosity.
Advice to female entrepreneurs…
Do not shy away from demonstrating and leveraging the inherent traits that make women good managers of both people and businesses. Use your empathy, pragmatism, and problem-solving skills to your advantage.
Are you familiar with other Women-led startups? If so, we would like to hear from you. Tell us about them in the comments below!