Monday, January 26, 2015

Tips From Top Professionals To Start Your Own Wedding Planning Business

If you’re organized, driven, creative, and don’t mind the occasional Bridezilla, there is no better time than right now to start your own Wedding Planning business. According to the Association of Bridal Consulting, there are 2.4 million weddings each year in the United States forming a $165 billion industry, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects planning professions to increase at a faster than average rate.

You know what that means, don’t you? If you have an extreme amount of ambition and a passion for romance, beauty, soothing down some ruffled feathers (literally and business(ly)), and you’ve been thinking of starting your own wedding business, it’s finally time and we’re here to help! With the assistance of some wonderful tips from industry professionals, here is some vital information you will need to start your own Wedding Planning business.

Learn The Ropes

Whether you’re “go for the gold” or “slow and steady,” there is a lot to be said for gaining experience by working as an on-site event coordinator for another company before starting your own. Industry professional, Lisa Vorce of Oh, How Charming, spoke to and highly recommends that people intern or shadow an established event planner. Vorce says, “It’s so they can really understand the nuts and bolts of the event-planning world. It's not always as glamorous as many people think it is, so it's extremely important that prospective event producers truly understand what they're getting into.”

Learning the business while employed by a professional is a great way to gain the necessary experience in a stable environment without the added risks that would exist in owning your own business. It may even be in your best interest to take some educational programs for accreditation to learn about the various aspects of running a Wedding Planning business. (Here are some good resources: Association of Bridal Consultants, the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants,June Wedding, Inc., and Weddings Beautiful Worldwide.)

Make Your Business Legitimate and Legal

You know that attorney friend who always says, "This is not legally binding information," when you're at lunch asking for advice? Well, now it's time to get it legally bound. Consult with an Attorney that can help you structure your business type (sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation, etc.) and also help you register your business correctly in the state of your choice. If you can, ask for their assistance in drafting your client Contracts and your business Terms & Conditions. It will be worth it in the long run.

Develop A Brand That Reflects You

Clients will be trusting your creativity, style, and ideas when creating their perfect day, so it is important that both you and your company's image--from its name to its logo and branding--demonstrates a style that reflects you as a business owner. Spend the time and upfront costs on branding, business cards, and a great looking website. Women’s Toolbox highly suggests, “you should always look your best and keep a composed and professional demeanor.” Vorce adds, “only associate yourself with projects that you believe in and that you'll be proud of.”

Set Your Goals, Build A Plan, Execute!

When you're your own boss, you'll need to set goals and make a plan--and see it all through. If you want your wedding planning business to grow into a successful career, it is essential that you follow the plans you set in place. "The earnings potential for wedding consultants is awesome," says Richard Martel of the Association for Wedding Professionals International. So, you might really want to start that plan now and stick to it!

Create a Marketing Plan. Advertise, list yourself on sites such as WeddingWire and social media groups, create a blog and become an industry or niche authority. Just put yourself out there.

Choose the Right Software and Technology. With plenty of options out there, it’s virtually impossible to be efficient in the wedding industry without the right technology. You just have to find the right business management tool that has every feature you’re looking for, like Inspherio, the all-in-one event business management solution.

Set a Networking Plan. Join groups, meetups, and schedule the time to meet with local vendors and create goals (ex: meet with 10 florists, 10 caterers, 10 photographers, etc, every month). Hit the pavement!

Create A Portfolio & Network

It is extremely common to give your planning services away for free, or at least heavily discounted, when you’re first starting out. This is the time to gain the experience and create the portfolio. People are trusting you so you have to work even harder; but it’s all for good reviews, word of mouth, networking, and the start of your budding career.

Here is where you create and hone your skills and niche. There are always people that are looking and willing to pay for unique and valuable services--if you can, thrive from this and you will see results. Sharon Hill, of Sharon Hill Events, suggests you “take the time to learn all that you can in your area and become an expert.”

Don't Sweat The Small Stuff

Among other things, you need to be a negotiator, a diplomat, an innovator, a concierge, a confidante, a therapist, a strategist, a problem solver, a cheerleader, a producer, a designer, a team leader, a listener, an advocate and a conductor. But, most important, you need be able to manage heightened emotions and stress, all while smiling the whole time. No matter how much planning you put into your business and weddings, plans will inevitably change, something will mess up, and you, your team, and your clients will freak out. Power through, it’s your job now. Set things right and work hard so that the day runs smoothly. Trust yourself and if you have a team, trust them, too.

“If you're going to go for it, do it for the right reasons. Be gracious and humble. Surround yourself with a quality team of vendors who share a similar philosophy and work ethic as you. Treat each event with the same amount of care and passion as if it were your own wedding or special occasion, and you'll have a great recipe for a successful event,” said Vorce.

Building your own wedding planning business can be tough, but it can also be extremely exciting. Take advantage of the resources around you, such as Inspherio, and give yourself an edge over the competition. Inspherio’s all-in-one event technology allows you to manage your leads from start to finish as well as manage your finances, receive online payments, send and sign electronic contracts, schedule employees, and so much more! See for yourself why Inspherio is the top choice for professionals in the wedding and event planning industry to manage and take charge of business.

Now, go off and make your dreams (and the bride and groom’s) come true!

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