If you’re a new wedding planner who is trying to build your network of wedding vendors and other business owners, you’ll probably want to join a professional business group. Today I talk about some of the different groups and how to decide if you should join one.
This is the first time I’ve had my own business. Someone suggested I join a business group to get referrals and meet wedding vendors. What kind of group should I join? I’ve heard that there is a chapter of an event planner association that meets nearby. Should I join it?
There are wedding and event planner associations, business referral networking groups, and local business groups, such as chambers of commerce, who are eager to have you become a member when you start your business.
Here is some information about some of them:
Wedding and Event Planner Associations
Members are wedding and event planners and vendors who help planners run their businesses, such as event insurance brokers and event planning software designers, and vendors who help plan weddings, such as caterers and florists. You could build your network of peers and wedding vendors, get the latest information on weddings and events, take educational classes and get opportunities to attend conventions that feature some of the top names in the industry. Typically, these are national or international organizations that have local chapters throughout their respective countries, or the world.
Business Referral and Leads Groups
Members are professionals of diverse occupations, they usually only allow one person per profession in a chapter which means you would not have competition. The organizations provide education and practice in networking. Many occupations might not be related to wedding and event planning and it might be difficult to give or receive referrals and leads so research thoroughly before joining.
Chambers of Commerce
Members are business people who are located in a specific city or area. They can be from many different types of businesses and it does not matter if there is more than one member per profession. You might meet some local vendors whom you can add to your network but the professionals who join and benefit the are often those with have retail establishments.
Before you join any association or group, ask yourself these 5 questions:
1) What is my purpose for joining?
If you want to be able to network with others in the industry, you would need to join a wedding and event planner association instead of, for example, a local chamber of commerce.
2) Does it fit into my budget?
Membership in organizations should be a part of your marketing budget, not a spur-of-the moment decision made when someone writes or calls asking you to join. Memberships run hundreds of dollars plus there may be additional fees for attending meetings, events and conferences.
3) Can I attend meetings on a regular basis?
The meetings and events need to be at times and in locations that work well for you or you won’t attend regularly and you won’t be able to establish relationships with others.
4) Am I willing to actively participate?
If you are active in committees and take leadership positions, you will get recognition, which could translate into more business relationships and referrals. Just be sure it won’t take too much time and energy away from your wedding planning business. And don’t volunteer to give away free event planning services for every event they hold!
5) Have other wedding and event planners benefited from membership?
Before joining, find out if others had success finding the networking, educational and/or referral opportunities that you are looking for.
Before you join any organization, take advantage of guest and visitor events where you can meet members and find out more about the benefits of membership.
And you can learn more about starting and running your wedding planning business in my Free Special Report “7 Steps to Becoming a Top Wedding Planner.” You can get it here.
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