Small Biz Matters

Welcome to Small Biz Matters, where IBJ discusses issues of interest to small-business owners and entrepreneurs. I'm your host, Associate Editor Andrea Davis.

Small Business

Event-planning startup extending its reach

June 13, 2012
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Four months ago, I used this space to introduce you to Crystal Grave and her startup online event-planning resource, Snappening.com.

The website, which offers a searchable database of central Indiana event venues and professional planners, has drawn more than 45,000 visitors since its April 2011 launch. Now Grave is expanding the service to four new markets: Bloomington, Fort Wayne, South Bend and Louisville, Ky.

“I’m wavering between total excitement and total exhaustion,” Grave admitted last week.

Snappening.com has information on 1,600 local event venues and 90 planners, which Grave said is the most comprehensive list of its kind in central Indiana.

Grave is making connections with existing organizations in the other cities—chosen based on feedback from existing Snappening.com users—and expects to spend about six months working with them to build similarly robust databases before marketing the expanded service.

“We don’t want missing, incomplete or weak data,” she said.

Event venues and planners don’t have to pay for a basic listing on the website, but optional “premium” services include online tools and promotional efforts. Consumers likewise can search for free or pay for subscriptions that allow them to receive multiple quotes and accept online RSVPs.

Expansion has been part of Grave’s grand plan since the start. “It has always been our intention to take this as far across the county as we can,” she said. But she doesn’t want to rush the process.

The key to Snappening.com’s early success has been its “boots on the ground” familiarity with the local event-planning market, Grave said, and she is trying to replicate that expertise in other cities.

“This is a relationship-based industry,” she said. “We are not resting on the laurels of our technology alone.”

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