The first thing you will need is a place to work. Your choices include working from home or renting a space.
Working from home
Many wedding planners choose to work from home when they start their business, because it saves them on the cost of an office.
There are many benefits to working from home. For example, there’s no commuting, you can take breaks whenever you like, you can work whenever you like. Another advantage is that you may be able to claim a percentage of the rent as a tax deduction.
It’s a good idea, if you can, to have an entire room dedicated to your business, in order to keep distractions from family members to a minimum. It’s also important to decorate it beautifully but professionally as you may have clients dropping by. Remember to make your work space functional with as large as desk as possible, and a comfortable chair.
* If you’re using your home as a place of business then specific regulations may govern the impact of your business activities on the surrounding area, such as pollution, energy use and parking. You may need special permits relating to zoning, signage, noise levels or health issues. Check with your local council to find out what restrictions and approvals apply to your business.
If you find it challenging to stay motivated, or tend to get easily distracted when you’re at home, an office may be just what you need to help you focus on business. A separate space can also create a better impression if you plan to have clients or vendors visit you.
Look for a space that’s convenient to get to from your home, and that gives you quick access to any services you might need, such as your bank, suppliers of materials, even a good coffee shop! Pick an area that suits your needs, and budget.
Equipment and supplies
You’ll notice this section is titled in the plural. That’s because many wedding planners have more than one phone. For many business owners, the basics are:
It’s a good idea to have a separate business landline, if you are working from home. It should be off-limits to the rest of the family, and should always be answered professionally with the name of your business. Some people do not want to call a mobile number as it costs more, so it’s handy to have a landline for this reason.
However, a mobile is also essential in this business. You can expect to be out of the office a lot, visiting clients, venues and other vendors. But you don’t want to miss calls while you’re out of the office. You should have a mobile with you, and an answering service on your business line. You can also arrange for calls from your business line to be directed to your mobile while you’re out of the office; or to be able to check your messages on your land line, from your mobile. Ask your service provider for advice.
Computer or Laptop
If you don’t already have a computer or laptop, you should consider buying or leasing one for your business as soon as you can afford it. A tablet can be difficult to do invoices up on, but may be useful for client meetings to show photos of your work. You will also need:
Many computers already have the basic software needed to run a business. While Microsoft Office and other programs that came with your computer can be used in your business, the following types of programs can make your work easier (though they are not essential). You can find them online or buy them from your local office supply store.
Bookkeeping – Xero can help you keep track of your income and expenses more efficiently, and it’s only a low cost per month.
Database – MS Outlook (which comes with Microsoft Office) can be a useful way to keep track of your customers contact details.
Wedding planning software – This software can help you keep track of every aspect of the wedding including: guest lists, vendors, budgets, to-do lists, and details of the ceremony, reception, and even the honeymoon. If you do a search on wedding planning software, you’ll find many available to purchase from online. An example is http://www.planningpod.com.
In addition to wedding planning software, there are also a number of professional floor plan software packages available. Although quite costly, you may find one of these programs helpful to your business.
You may need to scan documents to send to clients, as well as print out important information about the wedding details. You can also use a scanner app on your smart phone to scan and email documents.
iPhone / Smartphone
You might consider managing your calendar using this technology. You can also access the Internet and your email this way. The iPhone combines all of this technology with a mobile phone as well.
A calculator can make your job much easier. You will be constantly working out budgets so a calculator is a must. You can use the calculator feature on your phone.
You may be able to get away with a desk drawer for a while for holding your files, but if you are successful, you’ll be needing a 3-drawer filing cabinet sooner rather than later!
You’ll also need all the supplies any business would need – pens, paper, stapler, clips, CDs, labels etc.
Your stationery should present the image of your company to the world. It should encapsulate the message of your company, in the same way your company name does. At a glance, it needs to impress – remember, first impressions count.
You will need:
Beautiful stationery can reassure prospective clients that you have a good eye and can make their weddings look beautiful too. If you decide to go all out on creating an impression, you may want to consult a graphic designer. Many printers can also help you with design, as well as printing your stationery.
In the early days, if your start-up finances are limited, you may want to consider business cards from vistaprint.com. They offer color business cards on heavy paper stock, available in a number of different designs. You can purchase 250 cards for around $19.99 plus shipping.
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