St. Thomas Commencement Day is a day when most students celebrate an end, but May 19 will be just the beginning of big business dreams for St. Thomas entrepreneurship major BreAnna Fisher.
Fisher has set May 19 as the launch date for her business “Go Do,” an application that allows users to send a dollar amount of digital drinks, treats, coffee, and more to their Facebook friends. The digital purchase can be redeemed at any Go Do merchant.
The application’s first launch will focus specifically on the St. Thomas community and feature a small group of participating merchants in the university’s surrounding area, including Tiffany’s Sports Lounge.
“Tiff’s will be one of the merchants and we’re solidifying the other ones,” Fisher said. “We’re looking for our peers to help break (Go Do)…use it, figure it out, see what they like, what they don’t like, get some really good feedback, evolve and launch for June 1.”
Fisher’s company has been evolving since she first started developing her business idea in her St. Thomas entrepreneurship program. In March, Go Do was known as Do Drinks and only offered users the ability to send digital drinks that could be redeemed at participating merchants. Fisher credits market research as the reason for the new name and expanded offerings.
“We did our homework; we went to restaurants and asked them, and we found that it wasn’t just restaurants, it was the hospitality vertical,” Fisher said. “We found that there was much more demand than we even really thought when we first came out.”
Alec Johnson, associate professor of entrepreneurship, said he thinks the expansion of Go Do’s offerings is positive.
“It’s a significant, important, and probably from a marketing perspective, valuable broadening of the concept,” Johnson said. “Being known for just drinks is limiting and I don’t think her application needs to be limited.”
Besides going to businesses and St. Thomas faculty for input, Fisher also took advantage of the St. Thomas network, which she said has been instrumental in helping her develop and evolve her business.
“It’s extended past the classroom to people that are supporting St. Thomas,” Fisher said. “These are people I would have never had access to had I not had the St. Thomas network.”
Sophomore finance major Evan Babekuhl said she thinks the expansion will help the application’s popularity with a wider audience, but that offering drinks is a good foundation.
“The drinks aspect of it is a good marketing tool and I think that’s what’s going to get you customers, especially with college students,” Babekuhl said.
Sophomore marketing major Haley Zajac said even though she thinks the idea will be successful, she doubts how much she would use the application.
“I want to be with my friends when I go out, so I would buy them drinks while I’m with them,” Zajac said.
Fisher said people who are interested in being some of the first to use Go Do can still go to www.dodrinks.com to use the application on the May 19 launch day. She said she is eager to see the response.
“I think if I wasn’t nervous there would be something wrong with me,” Fisher said. “I can’t wait to see how people actually use it.”
Fisher, who is an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, said getting a job after her tour wasn’t as easy as she expected and said St. Thomas was the perfect place for her to develop.
“It’s one thing to have dreams, but how do you actually implement this stuff?” Fisher said. “St. Thomas has really helped me figure out, one, what I wanted to do and two, how the heck I was going to get it done.”
Fisher has a fresh business plan, more than 30 merchants on board, and is hiring a team to help promote the application. She said she doesn’t see progress slowing anytime soon.
“This is my baby, we’re going to ride it the whole way,” Fisher said. “It’s definitely not the last stop for me, but it’s the first stop in many.”
Heidi Enninga can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.