Kawania – or “Kay” – is one of the kindest souls in this industry. If you’ve met her in real life, or even just engaged with her on Twitter, you know that she is completely real sincere goodness. To get a feeling for the kind of person that Kay is, you should know that she signs all of her emails “Love and Soul Always, Kay”. I think this is because she pours love and soul into everything she does. You can see this in her warmth and laughter. Before Kay founded Howerton + Wooten Events she worked for non-profit organizations and foundations in DC and New York. She had 17 years experience planning parties before she started her business! That is an amazing foundation for any solid entrepreneur. This lady’s got smarts, so read on to learn about her goal-setting tips and words of wisdom.
Howerton + Wooten Events
Why did you start your business?
I always wanted to start my own event planning business, but I was afraid to make the leap. I liked the security of my steady corporate paycheck. In May 2007, I found myself out of a job. I decided to seize the opportunity, so I stepped out on faith. It’s been an amazing journey, and I haven’t looked back.
What book do you recommend to new business owners?
When I was rising up the ladder of executive success, I believed that women needed to be cut-throat and aggressive in order to be just as successful as men. I moved up the ladder fine because I produced results, but I left a lot of “road kill” along the way. After I read a book called, “Love is the Killer App,” I did some soul searching. This book helped me find a new personal voice and a new business voice for my company.
Do you have any cool goal-setting tips to share with us?
At the end of each year, I write down our company’s mission statement and our three business goals for the next year. I print this information on laminated index size cards, and I share them with my team. I ask my team to refer to those cards every time they talk about the business, make decisions related to the business, and every time we hold a “post-mortem” meeting. This practice helps our team remain on the same wavelength throughout the year.
What do you find to be the biggest challenge as a business owner?
Running a Business from a Point of Abundance. So often we run our business as if we are on the brink of bankruptcy. We give deep discounts that undercut our value; take on clients who aren’t a good fit; and we constantly change our goals to fit what’s hip. Don’t get me wrong! Money is important. But, you will not stay in business long if money is your only focus.
If you were starting your business all over again, what would you have done differently?
I would have trusted my gut. I wasn’t true to myself when I made a lot of my early business decisions. As a result, my company wasn’t the best representation of my business experience, my style and my business philosophy. About nine months into my first year of business, I took a very candid step back, and re-visited my business and marketing game plans. I made some major changes, and I found my company’s voice.
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