By Joye Speight
Picture this- you are sitting at your desk at your corporate job daydreaming about what you would be doing if you owned your own business. You think to yourself that you would be able to work in your passion and work out at the gym in the middle of the day, make a lot of money and have much more time to spend with friends and family. That’s the picture that most people have entrepreneurs but the reality is far from that “perfect picture” that I just painted. Everyone wants to work doing what their passionate about and having experienced this firsthand let me tell you that the satisfaction that you get from it is indeed intoxicating. But aside from the “lightheaded” feeling, you must consider this one this thing “what about your passion brings profits”?
When you are considering leaving your day job to open your own event planning firm, there 5 things that you must do in order to get on the “path to profit” in your business:
1. Find Your Niche: What specific type of event do you want to plan?
Event planners are becoming a dime a dozen these days, so figure out what will make you different and stand out from among the masses. Creating your own niche will help you start thinking about the specific types of events you enjoy planning. Are you more interested in kid parties, multi-cultural events, weddings, or social events? Don’t make the mistake of opening your business without knowing which specific services you offer, because you will find yourself planning events that don’t contribute to your business model. If you enjoy planning kids parties, chances are you shouldn't open a meeting planning firm, they are two polar opposites and you will find yourself being frustrated and uninspired.
2. Find Your Target Market
For every niche, there is a market. Once you determine the specific niche that you want to provide you need to find the market that will pay for that service and that’s where your profits come from. Without this important step, you will find yourself running the “rat race” trying to stay in business. You will need to know your ideal customer back and forth: where do they live, how much do they make, how often do they use your product and/or services, what associations are they members of, do they have kids, are they married, what is their age range, etc. The more detailed that you are about your ideal customer, the more targeted you can be when you develop your marketing plan to reach them.
3. Research your Competitors
Who are your competitors? What services do they provide? Where are they located, and what are customers saying in their testimonials? These are all of the things that you want to consider when you are analyzing your competition. This same information can help you as you create and design your marketing and sales materials. Conducting this research will also help you solidify the niche that you are interested in pursuing. Afterwards, you should know everything that there is to know about your competitors and what’s the most important is to know how you differ from them.
4. Set SMART Goals
Setting effective goals and objectives is a science. We have all set goals that haven’t been executed but if you are seriously considering starting your own business, you have to be able to follow through on your goals and objectives. Setting SMART goals means that you set goals that are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Specifically list out your goals for your business, for example a great goal is: “To acquire 10 new event leads per month as a result of networking events.” The more specific the goals are, the more likely you are to accomplish them. Measurable, by listing the number of leads you want you acquire it gives a specific number that you can track on a monthly basis. Attainable; is 10 too many people to connect with or can you do more? Relevant, how does that contribute to your business model and revenue stream? If the task isn't relevant then it may not help you meet your objectives. Timely; is the amount of time that you give yourself to accomplish your goal?
5. Develop a Marketing Plan
Now that you know what specific niche of the hospitality industry you’re interested in and your target market you can start developing marketing materials that connect with your demographic. You also know what your competitors are offering and who their customers are so it should be very easy to differentiate yourself from the masses. You’ve set SMART goals to connect with networks, and key people that can help you get the word out about your business. Now all you have to do is create a marketing plan with clear, concise, and targeted content to make you an authority in your field. All of your marketing materials should be consistent: Your cards, your website, and all of your social media should be reflective of each other. Marketing is defined as, “ the action or business of promoting and selling products and services.” So unless you both promoting and selling your marketing plan isn’t effective. Go back to the drawing board and develop a plan that targets your ideal customer.
All of these steps contributes to the initial success of your business so make sure that you do your due diligence to set yourself up for success before you open your business. Passion alone does not produce profit. It takes passion, knowledge, networking, strategy and marketing to give you success. Spend the extra time developing your business before you actually launch it so that you can indeed profit from your passion. With the proper planning your passion will ultimately pay your bills!
Passion + Knowledge+ Network+ Strategy+ Marketing = Success
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**I LOVE LUCY**