Wedding Planner Q&A – “How Do I Write a Business Plan for My Wedding Planning Business?”

 

 Business Plan for Your Wedding Planning Business

Have you written a business plan for your wedding planning business? You might dread the thought of making a plan because you’d rather spend your time planning weddings. But, knowing what you want your business to look like now, and in the future, and planning how you can get there is important if you want to become a top wedding planner.

In my Q and A, I offer an easy, and hopefully, fairly painless, way to write a simple business plan.

Question

I am writing a business plan for my wedding planning business and I am having a little problem putting it together. Can you guide me?

Answer

If you’re writing a business plan to help you clarify your business goals and direction and are not planning to share it widely, it doesn’t need to be as formal as the intimidating business plan examples that you may have seen online.

Answering these 7 questions will help you create your plan and start a successful business:

1) Why do you want to have a wedding planning business?

Describe the passion that drove you to want to be a professional wedding planner.

2) What is your big vision for your business?

Maybe you hope someday to be a wedding planner for celebrities. Maybe you want to help the brides in your local area have their dream weddings. Maybe you see yourself traveling and planning destination weddings all over the world.

Whatever your vision is, write it down and describe it in detail. If you don’t know what you want and can’t envision it, you won’t be successful.

3) Who is your competition?

Venues, florists and caterers who have wedding coordinators on staff may be the competition in your area along with other wedding planning businesses. Check them out, see what they offer, who they target and how they promote their services. You don’t want to copy them, you want to learn from what they do.

4) What services will you offer and who will be the brides who will hire you?

Don’t just decide to offer high-end services to brides with large budgets. Do some research, determine a niche and find out the services they want, need and will pay for that your competition may not be offering.

5) What will your business look like?

Decide if you plan to work part-time or full time, and where you will work, at home or in a rented office. Note the number of hours a week you intend to work, the number of weddings you want to plan in a year and the number of assistants you plan to hire.

6) How much to do want to make?

Decide how much you will charge for your services (refer back to my blog post on how to determine your wedding planning rates if you need help) and how much you will earn per year.

7) What are you going to do to make your plan a reality?

Review the answers to your questions and write action steps for creating your successful wedding planning business.

Your plan can change as your business develops so don’t be afraid to write your current plan then make updates as your business grows.

If you’re trying to get a bank to give you a loan, your business plan will need to answer these questions and more. Talk to the loan manager about the type of format the bank requires. There are templates online and some excellent software that you can purchase to help you write a detailed plan. Also, local government offices often offer free classes for new business owners on topics such as obtaining a loan, marketing and bookkeeping. Do some research and see how you can take advantage of their free assistance.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.

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Wedding Planners – It’s Time to Review Your Goals

 

Review Your Goals for Your Wedding Planning Business

It’s June, half way through the year. It’s time to review your goals, the ones you set for your wedding planning business at the beginning of the year. Are you as successful as you wanted to be at this point in the year? If you continue doing the same thing you have been doing the last six months for the next six months, how successful will you be at the end of the year?

If you’re not where you want to be today, consider taking these 3 steps that could help you change your path for the better for the rest of the year:

1) Set new goals

If you’re not reaching your goals, it could be that they weren’t realistic. Any goal you set should be a stretch, but should also be achievable by the end of the year.

For example, don’t plan to book 25 weddings by December 31 if you’ve only been able to book one so far this year. Think about your niche, your experience, the success of your marketing methods and the time you have available each day to devote to your business, then set a realistic number.

2) Decide on one action you can take right away

Maybe you need to spend less time on social media and more time attending social, business and/or wedding association events to make more connections. Maybe you need take classes in floral design or catering so you can add knowledge or skills that will attract more brides. Maybe you have a wedding planner certificate program that you started and need to finish because the brides in your niche want certified planners. Maybe you need to take a good hard look at where you’ve been putting your marketing time and money and make some changes so you get better leads. Or, maybe you need to select a different niche because the brides you are currently targeting don’t want to pay you what you are worth.

Just pick one thing to start working on right away that will motivate you and get you moving in a positive direction.

3) Schedule a monthly appointment with yourself to evaluate your progress

Don’t wait until December to check-in again. Set a monthly recurring appointment with yourself to review your progress so you can make changes quickly, if your business isn’t going in the right direction, or continue doing more of the same things if it is.

Please don’t be frustrated and hard on yourself if your wedding planning business isn’t doing as well as you had hoped. Learn from any mistakes you’ve made and move on.

And if you want help to become a top wedding planner, sign in to get my ezine “Wedding Planner Tips.”

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Wedding Planner Q&A – “How Much Should I Charge for My Wedding Planning Services?”

 

Determine Rates for Your Wedding Planning Services

Are you having trouble deciding how much to charge for your wedding planning services?

Here are tips for determining your rates and avoiding the biggest mistake wedding planners make when deciding what to charge.

Question

I’m not really sure what to charge. Should I call other wedding planners, get their rates, and then base my rates off that?

Answer

There aren’t many wedding planners who would be willing to tell you how much they charge. And don’t even think about contacting them pretending to be a bride to find out their rates. It’s dishonest and, besides, most planners know when another wedding planner is calling.

You don’t decide your rates by just copying what others charge. You’re unique. The services you provide, your level of customer care, your work style, your skills and your experience planning weddings aren’t exactly the same as another wedding planner’s.

You also need to take into consideration the amount of time you put into planning a wedding. This is where many new, and even experienced, wedding planners make their biggest mistake. They don’t realize the amount of time they spend on all of the details of planning a wedding and don’t charge enough.

In order to determine your rates, you need to add up all of the time you spend working on a wedding. This includes phone calls, emails and meetings with the client and all the vendors involved, along with your drive-time to and from meetings. Then there are the hours spent running the rehearsal and, on the wedding day, all the time you spend working before, during and after the ceremony and reception. And, don’t forget to charge enough to cover the assistants you have working with you, even if they’re your friends and relatives.

You don’t need to be specific about the fact that you’re including things like drive-time in your fees but you may want to be specific about the number of face-to-face meetings you’ll include with your services. You can allow brides to pay additional fees if they want more time with you. Also, be sure you stipulate that last minute changes can mean an increase in charges. Changes not only increase the amount of time you spend, but your vendors may have rush charges and you don’t want to be the one who has to make up the difference if you quoted their rates in your contract.

Remember, you’re a professional businessperson who needs to have a profitable wedding planning business. If you don’t charge adequately for your time and costs, you may find that you’re earning a lot less than minimum wage and you won’t be able to stay in business as a wedding planner.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.

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Wedding Planners – Boost Facebook Engagement

 

How Wedding Planners Can Boost Facebook Engagement

As a wedding planner, do you need tips to help you attract more brides and boost Facebook engagement? I recently attended Facebook’s “Boost Your Business Women’s Day” event aimed at helping small business women use Facebook to market their businesses. I received some great tips that I have customized to help you increase your Facebook engagement.

What you need to know before you post

• What are your goals – Do you want to generate leads? To increase awareness of your wedding planning business? Or something else?

• Who is your bride? – Find out all you can about the clients you want

• What does your bride want to know about being a bride and planning her wedding?

• What action do you want readers to take? – Visit your website, meet you at a bridal show or something else?

What to post

• Topics relevant to your wedding planning business

• Wedding and wedding planning tips, trends and recommendations

• News about your business – services you’ve added, workshops you’re running, etc.

• Unique services you offer that other wedding planners in your area don’t

• Spotlights on former clients and how you helped them

• Spotlights on members of your team who havespecial skills that your brides need

How to post

• Write in the voice and style of your business

• Keep text short, sweet and simple

• Address the needs of the brides you want to attract

• Use photos that support your text

Learn more about your audience by visiting Page Insights on your Facebook Page.  You’ll find out the demographics of your readers, the times of day they’re online and which posts they liked the most. This information will help you develop content that will attract new fans and keep them loyal.

Remember that you not only have to have a great Facebook Page, you also have to get out and network in person to have a successful wedding planning business.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “Why am I Having Trouble Attracting Brides?”

 

Why Wedding Planners May Have Trouble Attracting Brides

As a wedding planner, you can put in a lot of time, effort and money into your business but unless you’re working smart, you still may not attract the brides you want.

Here’s advice on how to attract brides and get them to hire you as their wedding planner.

Question

I have officially launched my event planning and interior decorating businesses but am having trouble landing some clients.

I’ve done telemarketing and am thinking about doing television advertisement. I am doing brochures and handing out flyers. I am setting up some photo shoots to create a professional portfolio for my event planning to showcase my creativity.

Is it wise to take pictures off the Internet to create my portfolio to cut down on costs? Or, should I continue with the photo shoots?

What am I doing wrong? Or what am I missing? I feel like there is something I am not doing and I don’t know what it is.

Answer

I see the similarities between event planning and interior design, both are very creative service businesses but I suggest you market and build one business at a time. The way you promote each business and the type of clients you need to attract are different. If you try to do both at the same time, your attention and energies will be divided and you’ll have trouble getting either one of them to do well.

To be successful as a wedding planner, you need to connect with potential clients on a personal level, this is what you’re missing.

If you’re just telemarketing, buying ads and handing out flyers, you appear to be mainly a salesperson. You don’t seem like an expert who can understand the problems people have when planning their weddings or other major events.

You need to determine the type of clients that you want, do some research and find out where you can meet them and the people who can refer you to them. It could be that you need to join some social and business networking groups, wedding and event planner associations, take classes at a fitness center or yoga or Pilates studio or regularly attend services at a place of worship, etc. Build relationships and let people get to know you, understand your expertise and feel that they can trust you. Then they will want to hire you and refer you to their friends.

You professional portfolio, whether online or off, needs to have photos of events you have planned. You can also have photos of designs for weddings and events that you create just for your portfolio, especially if you want to go into event design.

You don’t ever want to use photos off the Internet and imply that you did the work. It’s dishonest and a copyright infringement. Continue with photo shoots and start getting professional photos of your events as soon as you have clients.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “What Do I Write in My Bio?”

 

Write a Great Wedding Planner Bio

Whenever a wedding planner writes to me and includes their social media account information in their signature, I always look at their bio. This gives me great insight, to not only who they are but also what information they think will interest brides and I notice that they often get it wrong.

In my Q&A today I offer tips for writing a bio that will help you attract brides.

Question

I am having a problem trying to figure out what to say in my bio for my social media accounts. Do you have any suggestions for a good bio?

Answer

I see many new wedding planners making the mistake of thinking their bio is all about telling potential clients everything about themselves and how much they love weddings. Actually, a wedding planner’s bio is a marketing piece written to get a bride, who may be visiting your website or social media site for the first time, interested in contacting and hiring you.

Here are 8 questions your bio should answer and tips that will help you give it a professional touch you need to have to attract more brides:

1) Who are you?

2) What do you do?

3) What are some examples of what you have done as a wedding planner?

4) Who do you help?

5) What are some wedding planning problems you have solved or can solve for your clients?

6) What degrees, certificates and awards have you received that are relevant to your work as a wedding planner?

7) What makes you unique?

8) What is your contact information?

Important Wedding Planner Bio Tips:

~ Put important information first – people don’t always read everything so you need to capture their attention in the first paragraph.

~ Keep it short – some social media sites have specific word counts so you might be limited as to what you can say. Even if you don’t have a limit, keep it short by providing a high-level overview of your background and experience that would make a great impression on a bride.

~ Don’t call attention to the fact that you’re a new wedding planner – and don’t talk about how you planned your own wedding and decided to become a wedding planner. A potential client wants to know about your work with other brides.

~ Include a photo of yourself – brides want to know what you look like so don’t just use your logo or a photo from an event on your website and your social media sites.

~ Edit before posting – share your bio with someone else before you post and/or read it aloud to make sure it makes sense and has relevant information.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “My Business Has Slowed Down, What Do I Do?”

 

Wedding Planners - Attract Brides Again After a Slow Period

New wedding planners sometimes start their businesses because they’re in great demand with family and friends. But, after planning weddings of people they know, they can experience a slow period because they’ve been so busy working that they haven’t taken the time to figure out what they need to do to keep attracting brides.

The wedding planner who asked the question today is a good example of someone who is in this position and needs help getting business flowing again.

Question

I haven’t gotten any clients recently. I started out doing really well, I was surprised to get a few weddings right away, but it’s been months now since I’ve seen any interest in my services. I feel like a failure. Should I quit?

Answer

There will be highs and lows in your wedding planning business. It sounds like you may have recently started being a professional wedding planner so it’s too early to call yourself a failure and, I think, too soon to quit.

Here are 7 tips that can help you attract business again:

1) Take a look at who your brides have been

What ways were they similar to each other? What services did they purchase from you?

Use information about brides who have hired you to find and attract future clients.

2) Review what you were doing that attracted these brides to you

Were you socializing more with family and friends? Were you attending social and business networking events? Were you posting more, or differently, on your social media sites?

Just because you told people once about what you do and how well you do it, doesn’t mean they’ll remember. Stay in front of people you’ve met, both in person and online. This doesn’t mean giving sales pitches, it means talking about the benefits of your wedding planning services and showcasing your expertise online.

3) Do an audit on your website/blog and any printed marketing materials

Make sure you’re sharing the benefits of your services and have testimonials from your recent brides. Also, check that your website/blog is mobile friendly and fully optimized for search engines.

4) Reach out to former contacts

Former clients and wedding vendors you’ve working with may uncover some new opportunities so stay in touch with them.

5) Follow up with brides who have shown interest in your services in the past

Drop them an email or postcard or give them a call, remind them of the benefits of your services and find out if they’re ready to hire a wedding planner.

6) Get out and meet new people

Join a fitness class or gym, start attending church, volunteer, attend meetings of local business people or find wedding and event planner association meetings to attend. When you get out and build new relationships, you increase your chances of getting referrals.

7) Stay positive

I know this is easier said than done but if you start to feel or act desperate, begin to deeply discount all of your services and/or beg people for work, brides won’t hire you and no one will refer you. You need to act professional and confident to be able to attract business.

If being a wedding planner is your passion, hang in, keep promoting and marketing your services and do the work you need to do to live your dream.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.



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Wedding Planner Q&A “How Do I Write a Tagline for a Wedding Planning Business?”

 

Write a tagline for a wedding planning business

When you first become a wedding planner, creating a tagline for your new business probably isn’t at the top of your list of things to do. But a tagline is actually a great way for you to quickly tell potential clients who you are and what you do, especially if the name of your business doesn’t make it clear that you’re a wedding planner.

Here’s a question from a new wedding planner who is ready to write a great tagline.

Question

I started a wedding planning business and I need a tagline. How do I write one? Please guide me because I am new.

Answer

It’s a great idea to have a tagline, it can tell people about your business and your benefits and differentiate you from other wedding planners. A good one is short, catches the attention of potential clients and is memorable.

These 6 steps will help you create a great tagline:

1) List every word that you can think of that describes your business and the services you offer

Examples – plan, organize, design, consult, coordinate, help, etc.

2) List all the ways your services benefit your brides and grooms

Examples – save time, save money, relieve them of wedding planning stress, help them have the weddings they envision, etc.

3) List your unique abilities and services

What do you know how to do or what can you offer that makes you different from others who plan weddings or from couples trying to DIY?

Examples – you have a background as a florist and can help with wedding decor, you have a background in catering and can assist with menu selection, etc.

4) List the different names you would use to describe your clients

Examples – brides, grooms, couples, gay couples, black brides, Asian brides, Christian couples, etc.

5) Brainstorm

Using words from your lists, put together some taglines. You can also get ideas from websites of others in the wedding industry, but please don’t copy anyone else. Your tagline must be unique.

6) Test

Take your best taglines and ask friends for their opinions and suggestions. This will help you see if your tagline is simple, easy to understand, easy to say and makes it clear why a bride should hire you.

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “Should I Rent an Office for My Business?”

 

Wedding Planner Q&A – “Should I Rent an Office for My Wedding Planning Business?”

As a wedding planner, do you think renting an office for your business would help you attract more brides? In my Q&A today I discuss the pros and cons of renting space and you can decide if it is right for you.

Question

I have been reaching out to other wedding and event planners to get more information about working in my area but no one has had even five minutes for me. I have been planning to rent an office space with a window showcase. There is a temp agency next door so there’s a lot of traffic in the area. What are your thoughts about it?

Answer

Sorry you haven’t received much help from your peers; sometimes planners can be very hesitant to help others for fear they could lose their clients. Often it’s other types of local wedding vendors and entrepreneurs in other industries who can offer you some advice about having a successful business in your community.

The idea of having a rented office space can be very appealing. It gives you a place to meet brides, allows you room to collaborate with assistants and gives you an air of professionalism and credibility. It also gives you a dedicated work space that is free from the distractions of home and helps you separate your work life from your home life.

However, having an office space is not for everyone. If you’re a new wedding planner and just starting your business, or, if you have had your business for a while but are not yet making a profit, this isn’t the time to invest in office space. When you rent space you have to pay not only for your rent but also things such as phone and Internet services, utilities, and security and janitorial services. If you work from an office in your home, you are already paying for, or don’t need, these things.

Understand too that having an office, even if there’s a lot of traffic in the area, won’t necessarily bring you a lot of brides. People don’t usually shop for wedding planners like this. An office is more for meeting brides whom you have already spoken to on the phone, emailed or met at a bridal fair. Brides are more likely to hire you based on your reputation and from referrals from previous clients, family and friends.

I know you’ve probably seen movies where wedding planners have beautiful offices and this may have made you believe it would be a good idea to have one. Just remember that wedding planners in the movies aren’t real and celebrity wedding planner David Tutura, who has his own television show, meets clients in restaurants and wedding venues. You can become successful even if you don’t have an office!

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here



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Wedding Planner Q&A – “I’m Not Getting Any Wedding Planning Business, What Do I Do?”

 

Wedding Planners Can Attract Clients By Making Changes to Their Business

If you’ve started your wedding planning business, how long would you wait for your first bride before giving up? Six months? A year? More? It’s a personal decision that no one can make for you. But if you have been hoping for a long time for your first bride, or for your business to finally have the success you want, it’s time to take a close look at what you’re doing, or not doing, and make some changes, as I suggest to the wedding planner who asks the question in today’s Q&A.

Question

I’m a stay-at-home mom who is running my wedding planning business from home, but it’s not working. I launched my wedding and event planning business three years ago but I’ve never gotten any clients. Most of my business comes from making wedding cards and table stationery. This has dampened my spirits. I feel like giving up. Please tell me what I need to do.

Answer

Don’t give up yet! First give yourself some credit for getting business for your wedding cards and stationery; you must be doing well with marketing your products or you wouldn’t have any business at all. As far as your wedding planning business, it’s time to take an objective look at it and determine what you need to do.

Here are 4 questions I want you to answer about your business that can help you see where you need to make changes:

1) How much time do you spend focused on your planning business?

There are stay-at-home moms who have successful wedding planning businesses because they are very careful to spend some time each day totally devoted to marketing. Make sure you are setting aside time away from you family to work on your planning business. It might be you have to get up in the morning before everyone else in order to get uninterrupted time, but it will be worth it. Be sure you have a plan for child care when you need to meet with brides and vendors and be sure your space is quiet when you do business over the phone, Skype or FaceTime. No one wants to hear a lot of noise from children when they are doing business with you.

2) How are you marketing your planning business?

Marketing a service, such as wedding or event planning, is different from marketing a product, like wedding cards. Clients can see and touch your cards and that makes them confident that they are getting what they want. In order to get a bride to hire you for wedding planning, she needs to see that you’re a professional and an expert at planning weddings and she needs to feel like she can trust you to do a good job.

You can prove yourself by showing her photos of work you have done and testimonials from couples whose weddings you’ve planned. Since you haven’t gotten clients yet, you can offer information from weddings you planned for free while getting experience.

3) Where are you marketing your wedding and event planning business?

If you’re doing the same things today that you did when you started three years ago, you have to try something new. Many times I’ve spoken to struggling wedding planners and have found that they stuck to one type marketing and advertising, even though it didn’t work, because it brought them lots of leads. They felt like there was potential for them to get eventually get a client. However, when leads never turn into clients, it’s time to market another way.

4) To whom are you marketing your services?

In order to be successful you have to have a niche to focus on and create marketing messages that speak to those specific brides. If you try to sell your services to every bride, your marketing will be too general to attract any brides.

One word of caution, be realistic about the type of brides you can attract when you are starting out. Many new wedding planners choose high-end brides with big budgets as their niche and they fail to get clients. This isn’t because they aren’t good wedding planners, it’s because brides with large budgets want experienced planners with good reputations, they don’t want someone new. Target brides you can easily help, build a solid reputation and the brides you want will come looking for you!

And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at questions@sharonhill.com. I’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.



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