Two Women and a Business Plan
The Birth of Bright Ideas Event Coordinators
Welcome to the first blog entry in my life! When I thought about using this space to share my event planning thoughts, tips, ideas, and secrets, I thought wouldn’t it be a great idea if I explained how I got to where I am today? Believe me it’s been quite a journey, so let me start by telling you how it all started 24 years ago.
I have been asked a million times about the kind of schooling or experience I have. What would you think if I said I had neither? I started my first business when I was a young girl of 8 years old and sold my first business when I was 18. Neither of them had to do with event planning. They both had a common denominator though; I was good at making lists and organizing things. And I could sell – anything! My mom said I could sell snow to an Eskimo. The gift of the gab she called it.
In the fall of 1988 I was studying business at SFU Harbourside in Vancouver, majoring in marketing. In my spare time I played mixed slow-pitch with friends and always went for drinks after the game. My girlfriend on the team asked me to help her write a business plan for a new business idea she had. She had recognized a need in the marketplace for someone to plan events for corporations in the Metro Vancouver area.
In our first year of business the most frequently requested corporate events at the time were Golf Tournaments, Boat Cruises and Company Picnics. In addition, we managed to coordinate a few weddings and private parties. We were trying everything and anything to get experience and bring in some revenue.
We also tried our hand at public events, such as the Downtown Economic Development Society (D.E.E.D.S.) trade show, which offered young entrepreneurs on Vancouver’s East Side an opportunity to promote their business. This was so good for us. Here we were a new company ourselves and we were putting on a trade show for young entrepreneurs just like us! The trade show was very successful and gave us the confidence to continue planning events.
We chartered boats and sold tickets to the public for such cruise events as Oktoberfest, Fireworks and the Carol Ships. We even tried our hand at selling pizza during the First Night New Years’ Celebration. We were all over the place.
We learned a lot this first year. The most important lesson I can remember? Thank goodness we had a business plan. It was our road map as we navigated our way through the unchartered waters of event planning. My partner had some previous event planning experience but I had none. We had no idea what was in store for us and at many times felt like packing it in.
For me however, coming from an entrepreneurial family, I was handling the stress of running a business much better than my partner. She was accustomed to regular paychecks, holidays, company benefits, weekends – you know. All the things that come with a regular 9 to 5 job. Me – I was loving the unknown. I was in my element!