This post originally appeared at American Express OpenForumThe wedding industry is a collection of small businesses that create one big, fancy and relatively recession-proof business in the United States.
Regardless of the economy, people find a way to drop big money in the name of love—or, attention and making money if you’re Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries.
In many ways planning a wedding is a lot a lot like starting and running a business. Both require a tremendous amount of personal involvement, are driven by a passion for perfection, and require great detail and supreme organisation in order to be a success.
I spoke with Tatiana Byron, of The Wedding Salon, who founded the International Wedding Summit this year, a B2B conference designed to help business owners learn from the top experts and entrepreneurs in the bridal industry.
Have a vision
All those dreams, ideas and high expectations are part of a plan. It’s a business plan really, and likely the best piece of technical writing you’ve ever crafted. Whether this document is for your new company or for your big day, it is a solid, well-thought out representation of what you want and what you plan to achieve no matter what gets in your way.
Calculate a budget
In order to make your dream into a reality, you have to be practical and financially realistic. That means setting monetary limitations to make sure your goals and expectations line up with what is in your bank account (or what your line of credit can handle).
Weddings and businesses can both easily go over budget, so setting boundaries and a plan to keep within reason results in a much more sustainable, long-term and less stressful partnership.
Determine your guest list/audience
Who do you want to reach out to? Who are the most important people you want attending? Figuring out who is your target audience for your new business and for your wedding day is paramount to it’s success. A lack of focus and trying to make too many people can result in chaos and unhappy customers/guests.
Develop a team of well-vetted vendors
As you launch your project whether it’s a business or a big event, you’ll want to decide who is the best when crafting and drafting your winning team. Dedicate time and energy first to researching your potential team members. You want to know the ins and outs of the people you are going into business with.
With so many moving pieces in a wedding or business, there are endless details that could fall through the cracks. Vendors that are pros and prioritise keeping in constant communication are best at maintaining a plan. Excellent relationships with vendors directly affect the final outcome of the event or business.
Create a timeline and schedule
Everyone from vendors to audience need to be made aware of major dates and times. To launch a business or throw a party you need a tight schedule to ensure a proper run. While your timelines should be executed as meticulously as possible, they aren’t iron clad as flexibility it critical. Challenges and changes are bound to happen resulting in schedule revisions and alterations.
Build a master database of contacts
Those vetted vendors and customers/guests need to be organised into a an easily accessible database for outreach. A consolidated database of contacts within your networks makes it easy to alert people of new news, changes and for later showing your appreciation—all in an efficient, streamlined way.
Stick to a mission statement and objective
When producing an event or business venture, lots of new ideas can sideline your from your original plan. Consider some, but overall stay true to that original, well thought out vision.
Make sure you have a Plan B
Things happens when you’re creating something you’re passionate about. It’s life, and nothing turns out exactly as you intended so it’s a good ideas to have a backup plan when dealing with unexpected changes.
Being able to think fast and act fast to make decisions is imperative in starting and running a business, and being able to go with the flow with, say, a rain plan when planning a wedding is what will make or break the dance floor.
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