Small Business Success: Central Event Rentals
“You’re happiest while you’re making the greatest contribution.” -Robert F. Kennedy
We return with the 2012 Small Business Success Series and are honored to begin with the wonderful Central Event Rentals! John and Janeen Fuqua started their business 5 years ago and certainly have a wealth of knowledge to share. They offer quality event rentals for weddings, parties and corporate events throughout Central Oregon. With a tremendous amount of heart and natural business savvy this customer service based business is a perfect fit for their skill set. Today they share with us some of the valuable lessons they have learned during their years in business.
Q. John and Janeen, What inspired you to begin this business?
A. Janeen and I had careers in the medical and soft drink industries. I had worked 31 years as both a salesman (15 years) and a manager (16 years). We both felt a strong desire to do something different in our lives. In early 2005 we rented some event equipment for a memorial service and were surprised at the low level of service the company provided. This was a springboard moment for us and an idea began to grow about starting our own event rental company. We knew we had life experiences we could incorporate into a business such as good work ethic and common sense. The challenge of something new and exciting was very appealing. We did a lot of research and we had many, many sleepless nights. We read an article about a former successful orthopedic surgeon who had a dream of one day creating and manufacturing her idea of the best quality running shoes. At the thought leaving her successful medical practice she said, “I feared regret more than I feared failure.” Her shoe company is now a multi-million dollar per year US Company! That quote helped inspire us to move forward, and in May of 2007 that desire became a reality with our first official customer!
Q. What is the most rewarding part of Central Event Rentals?
A. As with any event service company… event rentals, photography, music, venue, catering, floral, etc; choosing the company you are most comfortable and confident with is a great relief. To see our clients’ confidence when they know they have hired the right company for their needs brings us joy. Seeing an event come to fruition and knowing we had a small or large part of its success is rewarding.
Q. What are some challenging elements of your business?
A. One of the challenges we face is reaching our largest customer base with proper advertising. Finding and reaching our largest demographic of customers is an exercise in financial responsibility. This is an ongoing challenge and we are constantly reevaluating where our advertising dollars should be spent.
Another challenge is time management during the busy summer event season. We quickly realized our time with family, recreation, and friends would be limited. We try to make the most of any free time we do have and spend it with family and friends.
Q. What advice would you give to those starting their own business?
A. Being your own boss sounds good but getting there and staying there may not be successful without many factors being considered. Here are a few of those factors but certainly there are many more:
-Count the costs, not just financial, but time and effort needed.
-Take your time. Study your industry type.find and meet with as many business mentors as possible.
-Seek advice, listen. Proverbs 15:22 says: Plans go wrong for lack of advice; Many advisors bring success.
-Have confidence in your abilities. Be resolute.
-Know your limitations.
Q. What has helped you to persevere while running your own business?
A. Honesty, hard work, and customer service are external qualities that our customers can see and are very important. Internally, we always look for ways to improve on what we do. With customer service as our #1 goal, we understand the next telephone call we get is of utmost importance. Another goal is to have a good reputation and build on it. Perseverance depends heavily on passion, hard work, and staying focused.
Q. Is there any business or life advice that has helped you along the way?
A. Be joyful, do not get lazy, be humble, be positive, and be cheerful
Q. What is the most important factor for you in the success of your business?
A. Integrity, listening to our clients’ ever-changing needs, being proactive, planning ahead, and never stop improving; but the number one factor we have found is to have faith in God’s provision.
Q. How do you define success, in life and in business?
A. Success doesn’t just come to you; you have to work at it, take some risks, and be appreciative always.
Q. Is there a book, quote, piece of music, etc. that inspires you?
A. John: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” -Abraham Lincoln
Janeen: Our two dogs bring us much joy. No matter what kind of day I’m having they always bring a smile to my face. You can’t help but feel loved when you come home to wagging tails and wet kisses. I have a magnet on my fridge that reminds me to smile, be happy, and don’t sweat the small stuff. It says: ”Wag More, Bark Less”
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
A. One of the things that we love about our business is meeting new people. Over half of our business is wedding industry related. It is especially enjoyable for us to meet with brides, grooms, and their families. We always say that we have the ‘necessary’ items but not necessarily the ‘fun’ items. We realize choosing a caterer or florist and tasting yummy cake is much more fun than picking out tables, chairs, linens, and other essential items. We love to discuss what their vision is for their special day and help make it a reality by showing them a variety of chairs, tables, linens etc. We have had many clients tell us that they can see how much we love what we do and to us that is a perfect compliment.
Thank you to John and Janeen for all your thoughtful insights and wisdom.
Join us this Tuesday for another in the Small Business Success series!