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Power User Spotlight: Small Business Event Planner Turns Volunteer Work into a Career

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Power User Spotlight: Small Business Event Planner Turns Volunteer Work into a Career

Published: March 23, 2010

Glenna Tooman has been in the wedding and event planning business in Idaho for over a decade. She left her banking job in 1998 to start her small business, Memory Makers Event Planning, LLC. Today, she splits her time between running her small business out of her home, working part time at Idah;s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and contributing articles and blogs to various print and online publications.

In the Business.gov Community, Ms. Tooman is better known as BizResearcher. She has accumulated the highest number of kudos amongst all Community members for her informative and helpful posts.

We recently interviewed Ms. Tooman about her experience as a small business owner.

How did you start your small business? What was the deciding factor that made you ready to take the leap?

After my husband fell ill, I decided that I needed to quit my banking job and find a more flexible career that would allow me to take care of my family. I needed a business that did-t require huge startup costs, so I thought about event planning. At that point, I had already been doing event planning on a volunteer basis with my church for almost 20 years and I knew I enjoyed helping people with their challenges. I did some market research and found that there were-t any small and medium size businesses in Boise that specialized in event planning, so I decided to take the leap.

What is the biggest challenge you faced in your experience as a small business owner? How did you meet that challenge?

Securing clients was and is probably my biggest challenge. Through initial market research from when I was planning my business, I realized that people tend to think that only the wealthy can afford to hire an event planner, thanks largely to Hollywood. Especially in a small town like Boise, most people here are just regular working families.

To fight this misconception, I learned that I needed to market my business as event planning on your budget. I have used the tagline 'helping you create memorable events while keeping your budget in mind' since the inception of the business.

By understanding the market demand and then marketing the right message to my audience through my website, I can maintain a successful business and even ride out tough recessions like this one.

While you are running a small business, you are also blogging and writing articles about event planning for local and national publications. Has that helped you as a small business owner? If so, how?

Writing articles and blogging is a form of marketing and provides exposure for my business. Oftentimes, I get phone calls or email inquiries where clients mention that they have seen my business mentioned at the end of an article. Prospective clients can see that I understand the various aspects of planning a variety of events, which helps set my business apart from competitors.

If you were to give a person who wants to start a business one piece of advice, what would it be?

Do your market research. Create that business plan. We see so many people come through SBDC who have great ideas but do't understand budgeting, marketing, finances, and planning. They need to do their research and be fully prepared.

How would you finish this sentence?'I love what I do because. . '

I love what I do because I have the opportunity to help make people successful. Throughout my years as a small business owner, I find that there are so many things that people are not aware of. People come to me because they have experienced a bad situation and want me to help them have a successful event and make certain that everything runs smoothly.

Guiding and directing my clients in starting or growing their business and helping them save time and money makes my job fulfilling and worthwhile.

You have been very active on Business.gov, answering questions and providing suggestions. What keeps you coming back?

I first discovered Business.gov a couple of years ago while maintaining the SBDC website for Idaho. I find the forums to be very thought-provoking, especially when I read about all the issues that small business owners face. Answering questions and sharing my knowledge is my way of contributing and helping other small business owners.

Quick Facts

Username: BizResearcher
Date registered: 9/1/2009
Total messages posted: 210
Total kudos received: 353

As of February 12, 2010


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About the Author:


My primary mission is to volunteer in vital community projects in countries around the world. Volunteers live with families in their homes; work in local, sustainable projects; forge lasting bonds that provide lifelong connections; and grow in their own understanding of the world, and of themselves.

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