You can launch and succeed in operating a party planning business from home, if you’ve ever found yourself really enjoying the planning of your kid’s birthday parties, your best friend’s bridal shower, or your parent’s golden anniversary.
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The outlook for this market is pretty good as well. In fact, the children’s party industry alone is a multi-million dollar industry with parents spending an average of $500 per party no matter the age of the kid. Imagine how well your business will make if you corner the market in your neighborhood or at your kid’s school.
This post should jump-start your dream of opening a party-planning business and give you a checklist of everything you’ll need moving forward…
Before You Start for Your Party Planning Business…
Like any kind of business, you have to be with the right mindset once you decide to set up an event planning business. This won’t be a piece of cake, and the success won’t be overnight either.
While the returns of a party planning business can be high, you’d need a ton of experience to withstand the ever-changing economy. Here are three major considerations:
- Zooming in on a niche – Do you want to be an all-in-one party planning business? Would you prefer intimate events? children’s parties? garden weddings? Decide on this early on, so you can prepare the equipment, costs and effort involved in that particular niche.
- Competition and Market Research – Even if you’re operating the business mostly from home, your market is important because it is the area where you’ll be targeting clients. Identify how many direct competition you’ll have in town once you decide to stick with children’s party planning, or just weddings. Once you’ve list down your competition, answer this question: do you offer something they’re not offering?
- Employed to business owner – If you’re giving up your job to launch this business, you have to prepare for the inevitable days when you don’t earn a cent for yourself. How much money will you need to survive month to month? This is the reason many small business owners will advice that you start your party planning business from home “on the side” and work your way to full-time once the business pulls in as much as you were making from your day job.
You should understand what it takes to set-up this kind of business because they could make or break your chances of becoming a successful business owner.
Event Planning Equipment
Once you’ve decided on the type of events your business will focus on, gathering the equipment is going to be an easy step.
Because this business is service-based, you’d likely be investing more on hiring good people than things.
You do have to have the essentials, such as a working computer, printer, WiFi, phone, a place you can call your office (even if it’s only just a desk and chair), answering machine (or service provider), a van, marketing supplies (such as business cards and posters).
A FUNCTIONAL WEBSITE: This isn’t technically an “equipment,” but you’ll be using the website as your storefront because your business is home-based. And there’s no better way to give an impressive first impression than to launch a professional website with a user-friendly navigation, pleasing-to-the-eye design, and content that includes the business’ complete info, contact details and useful tips.
6 Steps to Launch a Party Planning Business from Home
Businesses, whether they have a storefront or not, must be planned properly from the start. This way, you’ll just be focusing on the day-to-day operations once you launch your party planning business from home.
1. Create a solid Business Plan
There are plenty of tutorial on how to create a business plan. You can make it as comprehensive, or as simple as you prefer. Just don’t forget these 3 things:
- Business name – This will be your product, your brand, your income-generating name. Make it count. Don’t rush the process. Brainstorm for days and whenever you pick a name, put it aside and brainstorm some more. Once you’ve had several names placed on the side, compare and choose from that list.
- Pricing – One major clue that a company isn’t organized is when you ask about fees and they answer with confusing or missing information. When building your business plan, make sure to identify what kind of pricing structure your company will follow. Do you want to separate a commission for your services on top of all the supplier costs? Do you charge by-the-hour and settle payments across all suppliers? Are you going to offer packages? Spy on your competition’s pricing to get an idea of what you’d like for your own business.
- Marketing Plan – Marketing may seem like an overwhelming task if you’re all alone operating a party planning business from home, but don’t fret. You can take baby marketing steps and still reap rewards. Of course, the first step of your marketing should always be your website. From there, expand your online presence, pinpoint ways to market your business locally, and explore other techniques that would be perfect for your niche. For example, showcase a children’s party that you planned by inviting classmates of your kids with their parents, and then networking after the party.
2. Become Legal and Insured.
Even if you’re operating your event planning business from home, you still have to fulfill legalities, such as registering your business.
- Business permits: The process will vary between cities and countries, so better check your local government about required paperwork. If you have partners, they would have to be present when filing documents since everyone must sign and complete the forms.
- Insurance: It is important to be insured so that your personal assets won’t be included if ever someone sues your business. Take to an insurance broker for other relevant insurance you might need.
- Company bank account: Open a separate bank account for the business. Not only will this help you organize accounting, it will also ensure your personal finances will not mix with the business finances and vice versa.
3. Hunt for an Army of Reliable Contractors.
As the event planner, you will lead a host of suppliers (flowers, cake, venue, musicians, clowns, balloons, and so on) and ensure that everything the client paid for falls into place.
Unfortunately, if there’s a weak link within your group, this will affect your company and not the vendor. This is the reason you should find reliable vendors that provide quality services and products consistently.
And once you’ve found them, nurture these relationships. The more trustworthy people you have as part of your contact list, the better your chances of expanding your business.
4. Create a Portfolio.
With every event you complete, make sure to take pictures, save event details, and try to ask for testimonials from your current clients.
Do this every time, then post event details on your company website. If you compiled enough testimonials, upload them as videos (or audios) with their permissions, the publish as you please.
5. Build Your Online Presence
Your website isn’t the only marketing tool you should work on. You should also open accounts for the major platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and other relevant social media accounts..
Invest in logo design, so the graphics will be uniform across all platforms.
And create a content calendar, so you’d remember to check messages and post every now and then. If possible, make it interactive by hosting giveaways, contests, and surveys.
6. Market Your Business Like Crazy
Like building your online presence, you should also be continuously marketing your business online and offline.
Referrals are important, so announce to everyone you know about the event planning business you’ve just opened up. Your family or friends may not need your service right now, but they could recommend you to other people they know.
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*** These same steps apply if you’re planning to launch a baked goods business, candle-making, brewery, or any kind of business operating from home.
The Bottom Line
Once you’ve taken care of the initial preparations and footwork, most of the communication between clients would be done remotely (via text, chat, video chat, and even by e-mail). Even marketing efforts can be done at the comforts of your own home.
You do have to get to the party on the day. It helps with closing the deal with your current client, and networking to party guests who might be interested in your event-planning services in the future.
If you feel that an event planning business is a little too much for your taste, you can still take advantage of your organizational skills by setting up a travel planning service from home.
For at-home moms who are interested in earning extra cash, but can’t work yet, this list of work-at-home jobs for moms could be a lifesaver.