Angie Toussaint-Billingsly is a veteran entrepreneur who knows what she is doing.
We caught up with her to find out how her event planning business is doing.
Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
My company is KMT Event Management Services.
We provide corporate meeting planning services to corporation, medium and small businesses. In addition, we also provide state of the art audiovisual services.
Where is your business located?
We are located beautiful sunny California on the Island of Alameda, just east of San Francisco.
When did you start the business?
The business started in 2003 and now has clients nationwide as well as international.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
I have been in the hospitality industry for many years. My previous business was two full retail travel stores in San Francisco, CA.
Where did you get the startup money?
The start-up money came from personal savings and family donations.
Who are your main competitors? How do you compete against them?
The main competitors are other Event Planners. However, my services are second to none because I also provide audiovisual services and presentation support. My rates are the most competitive.
How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?
I really have not encountered any surprises because this is not my first business. All of the surprises came from my first experience. I consider myself a seasoned business owner.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
I wish I would have gotten money from the SBA or some other funding source as opposed to depleting my own personal savings, initially. I feel entrepreneurs should take advantage of all resources that are available and I did not.
What have you done that has been very effective in helping to grow the business?
I have implemented "green techniques" and "green philosophies." I have implemented audiovisual training and I specifically support women, non-profits and children's organizations.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Do your research on demographics.
That's smart advice, Angie. Thanks so much for sharing your entrepreneurial experience with us, and good luck in growing your business.