12/02/2014 05:48 pm ET Updated Jan 31, 2015

I Built a Business That People Told Me Not to Build

A few years back, I was Director of Finance for a nonprofit in Chicago, and it was frustrating to watch that group plan their very first fundraiser. I was also involved with planning the fundraisers and I found there was a lack of resources to help me through the process. But the real problem was the booking problem. I've always had the entrepreneurial spirit but when I discovered the inefficiencies in the event booking process, from inquiry to actual event, I was inspired to bring a product to the world that would make people's lives easier.

From finding the right venue space to confirming with the venue coordinators if the venue was available and within budget, the average time spent finding a venue was typically five to seven days! I knew there had to be a better, more efficient way. When I first had my vision to build VenueBook, many thought I was crazy. I was told not to take the harder path. Regardless of everyone else's advice on how to build, and how hard it would be, I was inspired to flip the market on its head and digitize the venues' booking process first. I chose to build an impactful event booking solution that reduced many of the event planning frustrations -- one that was a booking platform, digital and in real-time, starting with the venues.

A Real Market Need

I saw a real market need for a resource that went beyond event listing sites. I was passionate about customizing the venue searching process to make it easier for the organizer to communicate exactly what they were looking for to the venues that match their criteria, and the venues to effortlessly find and book business. VenueBook is the software solution for our venues, so the experience for our event planners is equally efficient.

Growing With Our Biggest Customers

Regardless of how brilliant of an idea you may have you need to be prepared for the negativity you'll hear when others try and tell you how to build, or what not to build. I steered in the direction of building a product that was continuously verified with who our biggest customers will be -- so we can grow with them while satisfying a real need in this new market that's being created. My advice for all business owners is to talk to your future customers and talk to them often about how your product can make their lives easier.

At the end of the day, you need to grow your business FOR your biggest potential customers because if no one wants your product, you are left without a business.

- Kelsey Recht, CEO and Founder, VenueBook

For more information, follow me on Twitter (@KelseyRecht). Or, follow VenueBook (@VenueBook) or visit