Marketplace: Consulting firm aims to help organizations reach goals
There has hardly been a dull moment in Alison Kuhlow’s life.
Shortly after graduating from college in Iowa, she took a job in the Park City Planning Department. She continued working at City Hall for multiple years in other departments, then moved into roles with the Utah Legacy Foundation, the Historic Park City Alliance and, most recently, the Park City Chamber/Bureau.
Now, Kuhlow is taking her experience at those organizations and putting them into her own consulting firm, Alison Kuhlow Consulting. She plans to work with businesses and nonprofits to help them organize and improve their operations. The business launched in April.
She said her desire to create a consulting firm stemmed from her time working in Park City. As the executive director of the Historic Park City Alliance, for instance, she frequently met with small business owners about their concerns. She said she enjoyed partnering with them to find solutions. While she was the alliance’s director, she also collaborated with stakeholders to help the city pass an increase to the local sales tax in order to make improvements to the downtown area. She thrived off of the teamwork that made the change happen.
“I love bringing groups together into consensus,” she said. “Whether that’s groups from different organizations or all from one.”
Kuhlow first thought about starting her own consulting firm in 2007, and again in 2010. But each time she was offered a position that she did not feel she could turn down. Last year, she took a step back from her life to think about where she wanted to be in a couple of years. She decided to leave her position as vice president of member services for the Chamber/Bureau and chose to pursue her dream, no matter what.
She said that she was partly inspired by the entrepreneurs and small business owners that she worked with throughout her career. From them, she learned to take a hard look at her goals and to not fear the risks of taking steps toward them.
Besides starting her own business, Kuhlow also decided to enroll in a master’s program at Gonzaga University in Washington to study organizational leadership. Most of the coursework is online but she must occasionally visit Washington. for classes She is expected to finish the program next spring.
Kuhlow is eager to now help business and nonprofit leaders set plans for their organizations and work toward them. She said that having goals and reevaluating them is a key component to success for any organization.
“It helps you make decisions and know what you are striving for,” she said. “If you don’t know where you are headed, it is easy to get side-tracked.”
She said that it is fulfilling to see people and groups reach goals that they have set, and she is excited to be a part of that process as she grows her business.
She said that, as she expected, it has been a little nerve-wracking to start a business from scratch and learn the ins and outs of running it. But, what she did not expect is the support and positive feedback she has received from the community. So far, business has been going well.
Kuhlow plans to build her network in Park City and expand to Salt Lake City in the future as well. She also has plans to start a podcast.
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