By: Tracey Manailescu, Co-founder and Vice President of WPIC Inc.
This article might not be what you wanted to read first thing on a Monday, but I’ll bet it peaked your interest. If you are happy with your wedding planning business the way it is right now, than that is wonderful! If you want to take your growth further, then I hope this article helps you in some way to do it!
- Have you been in business for more than two years?
- Is this, or will this business eventually be your main source of income?
- Do you have a separate business bank account?
- Do you have business insurance (Liability and E & O)?
- Do you have a business plan in place for the next 3-6 months?
- Have you taken any small business courses, been WPIC certified, attended conferences or online seminars, attended networking events, etc?
- Is your pricing within industry standards? Meaning that you are priced for profit and charging as a certified wedding professional to be able to sustain yourself and your business
Congratulations! You are on the right track to growing a successful wedding planning business.
However, it could be a hobby (and an expensive one at that) if…
- You are pouring money into your business and not seeing ROI (Return on Investment).
- You find yourself consumed by social media, but are not seeing engagement or interest, never mind bookings from your hours of engagement.
- This is not your first, second or even third source of income. You really are just doing this for the pretty factor.
- This might not work out, but you will try it for a year to see how it goes. You can always find someone to take over the weddings for you if you want out.
For some new businesses, things fall into place at the right time, wedding inquiries come in, referrals are made, and legends are born! Let’s focus on the majority for the sake of this article. Good things take time. Experiences mold and shape you to learn more, and be better time and time again.
By taking the WPIC certification course, we give you the theory, share our experiences with things that have gone wrong, explain how we fixed it and how to avoid the same situations in the future, we keep you up to date with laws and legalities, share best practices and industry standards for pricing and work ethic, etc. We provide templates and systems that work, we connect you with other WPIC alumni through our WPICalumni Association, but we cannot give you the hands-on experience that helps mold and shape you into the planner that you need to be. No one can do this, except you! (*On a side note, we do offer a paid/unpaid job board but we cannot guarantee a job after graduation).
ROI -Return on Investment Your business is not going to magically take off by itself. It can take hours, days, months and years to get to the point where you feel you have made it. Everyone grows at their own speed. One thing is for sure though; You are going to have to invest in your business if you want others to take notice. What that magic number is, only you can say. However, tracking your expenses for marketing and advertising is crucial.
There are a ton of marketing and branding experts out there. Make sure it is someone who listens and understands your vision and needs. Think about what you really need to do this:
- Business plan
- Business bank account
- Business insurance (Liability with E & O)
- Brand identity
- Business cards
- Social media accounts (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Snap chat, Ticktock, or whatever you feel comfortable with)
- Social media strategy
- A good accountant
Create a budget for the year, track your spending every day, or at least once a week (the smallest amounts add up), keep an eye on your spending, and re-evaluate when needed. Zoho is free to use, and Quickbooks are both great!
Social Media When you figure this out, please let me know! Algorithms and ever changing rules are exhausting. (I have a serious love-hate with it all!) The practice of follow to delete, buying fake followers and all around shady practices are a complete turn off to me. I am happy to see that Instagram and Facebook are wising up to this, and making it a bit more work-for-reward based.
Experts say that you should invest a certain amount of time each and every day into your social media connections. That could be a time block of thirty minutes in the morning and thirty minutes in the evening, or whatever works for you. Reach out and leave thoughtful comments on a few of your followers posts, not just emojis, or a like for best engagement as it won’t count as an interaction. They are also now saying that the 30 #hashtag count is too much. Narrow it down to well thought out (not overused) handfuls of targeted hashtags. Studies have shown that the effectiveness of leaving the hashtags in your original post or in a comment below is the same. Some say it looks cleaner in the comment section.
Focus on Growth Get WEDucated. Thee is nothing wrong with growing your business while working full-time elsewhere. BUT, when you are working on your business, truly work on your business. Think about your goals and where you want to be in three months, six months and one-three years from now. Perhaps you always want to keep it as your second source of income, that is great, too! Run it as you would your full-time career and all of the power to you!
It’s Time to Get Serious! If you are not going to take your business seriously, why should anyone else? Weddings are serious business. This is the most expensive business transaction that a new couple faces aside from purchase of a home and raising children. Respect them. Also respect the tried and true wedding professionals out there. Undercutting the industry, bad-mouthing wedding professionals and shady ethics is not the way to build a reputable brand and respected name for yourself and your company. Please remember that the wedding world is a small world. Defamation and slander, along with unprofessional antics will catch up with you. We see it all of the time!
Named one of the “Top 20 Most Fascinating Women in Events 2017” by Canadian Special Events Magazine.
Tracey has been consulting on, planning and coordinating hundreds of weddings and international events professionally, since she was certified in 2000. She has owned the wedding planning firm, Tracey M Events, since 2012.
You have seen Tracey giving expert wedding advice on television, in most wedding magazines and major newspapers in Canada, the United States and across the Caribbean. She has written articles for Today’s Bride and her weddings and events are regularly featured in media outlets around the world such as Elegant Wedding, EventSource.ca, The Wedding Opera, Wedding Obsession, Poptastic Bride and Partecipando.
Tracey has planned weddings, events and conferences in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Cuba, a Caribbean cruise, The Bahamas, Barbados, Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, Turks & Caicos, Jamaica, a European cruise, Italy, Ireland, and Romania.
In addition to planning weddings, teaching WPIC courses and planning events for WPIC Alumni, Tracey regularly speaks at Wedding and Event Industry conferences.