My planning business began after my vow renewal. I shadowed the planner that we hired to plan our nuptials. I learned how to work with vendors, manage clients, and prepare timelines. We even covered the worst-case scenarios, like handling late suppliers and bridezillas. Everything about the wedding business, I learned from this hardcore hands-on training. When I ventured out on my own as a wedding planner, I just knew I was set. Equipped with my enthusiasm, know-how, and even clients—I was ready. However, there is so much more to this business than timelines and pulling together color palettes.
Luckily for me, I had family members who owned businesses, some general knowledge and an extensive background in human resources to help me. I handled many of the necessities from the onset and (in all honesty) I made tweaks and picked up more of the essential items along the way.
Now as a tenured planner and mentor to newbies, I come across so many that don’t have the business basics down. Here are the 5 MUST HAVE items (I always share with my mentees and now with you) to get your event business up and running officially:
Register your business name. After countless hours of brainstorming over the perfect name, it’s now time to register it. There are two reasons for registering your name; the law requires it and to ensure that competitors won’t hijack your moniker.
If you have formed a limited liability company, corporation or other formal business entity, you can relax. You have already registered your business name in your state. Creating a business entity serves as notice that you are using your business name, and no other business can be formed in your state using the same name. Business entity formation fees vary from state to state but are often $150 or less.
Open separate checking and saving accounts for your business. You can choose to open the accounts in your name (like I did in the very beginning) or under your company name, but it has to be separate from your personal accounts in order to avoid commingling of funds. When you commingle your funds, you are using your business resources as your money, whether buying or selling. In law, there is an industry term coined “corporate veil,” which refers to the shield between the business and the business owner. When you commingle your funds, creditors can “pierce the corporate veil,” and get to your personal assets through your business.
Obtain the proper liability insurance. Business liability insurance is similar to having a homeowners insurance. It covers your business for any damage done to a third party or the property they own. If you cause financial loss to someone’s property or injure someone, your insurance provider will cover you as part of your liability insurance property. Injuries happen every day, irrespective of the environment or intent. Unfortunately, an injury occurring to somebody’s property may result in a lawsuit against the owner of the property.
This policy will also cover your office and business equipment and assets. Your assets are covered from perils like theft, vandalism, and fire. Take the necessary precaution and purchase a business liability policy right away.
Establish credibility and trust. Establishing credibility is key to building a successful business. Without it, you will struggle to earn the trust of customers. A custom domain and email with your business name will help build trust with your website visitors. Make sure your site looks professional and well-designed.
Social media can allow you to connect with your audience on a more personal level—adding to your credibility even more. Share authoritative content and share regularly. You don’t need to be on every social media platform, but it’s a good idea to have a profile on one or two.
Professionally designed and printed business cards are still the best marketing tool. Think about this: If you met two people, and one was scrambling to find a pen and paper to write their information on and the other person effortlessly pulled out a business card, who would you want to do business?
Document your processes and operations. Even before you think you may need it, document your processes and operations. Create a detailed workflow and outline each step. This documentation will help when bringing on staff and getting them up to speed on how you manage your business with consistency. It may take a little time to set up at the outset, but it has the potential to save you a lot of time and stress in the long run.