This post was written by Jennifer Taylor. Jennifer Taylor is the owner of Taylor’d Events Group, a planning firm that specializes in celebrations of all kinds in the Pacific Northwest and Maui.
Let me start with a disclaimer: I will not be telling you how to create, plan, or market your business since that process is different for everyone, depending on what kind of business you want to start and your goals. Instead, I’ll point you in the right direction of finding those answers and getting everything settled.
No matter the idea, I am here to tell you that it can be done – I promise!
What’s In a Name?
At this point, you should already have a good understanding of what you want to do and who your target audience is. With that in mind, think about what kind of name best suits your company. While it may seem natural to use your name, consider whether you’ll want to grow or sell your business one day. If so, stay away from using your name as it may equate with a personal brand, rather than something that can be transferred to other team members or potential buyers.
Your business name also defines what you do. If you’re interested in planning all types of events, don’t pigeonhole yourself by including the word ‘weddings’ in your name because it may deter corporate or social prospects. I also advise to stay away from words like “perfect,” “greatest,” and the like – you don’t want to have that one customer tell you that their day was not perfect.
Once you have a list of potential names, test them out with friends and family to see which ones stick. Run searches on Google, social media, and your state’s business registration page to ensure that it isn’t already in use. While you’re at it, check in on the requirements that you’ll need when registering your own business.
The More, The Merrier
Once you have a good idea of your name, brand, and services, it’s time to bring in your business development team. If you don’t have an accountant already, find one that works specifically with small businesses so he or she will have a good idea of how to structure your business. This will most likely be about the time that you’re ready to register your company with the state, in which case, congratulations! You’re a business owner! But you’re not done yet…Being in the event industry, especially, you’ll also want to bring in an insurance broker to walk you through the options. Don’t wait on this – insurance can be a major factor to being hired, so get this knocked out as quickly as possible.
Every small business should also have an attorney on their team to write up ironclad contracts for your clients. I personally like supporting small business and went with a local law firm, but LegalZoom is another option for any startup that needs legal help.
You’ll also want to get your bookkeeping accounts settled, no matter who is handling it. If you’re like me and can’t stand the sight of numbers, then you can outsource it and let your accountant take care of it. If you don’t mind a bit of math, get some help from your accountant to set you up on QuickBooks or Quicken – you’ll be grateful for a simple input process!
Know Who You Are
Is it time to work yet? Not quite. Understanding what you and your company represent goes hand in hand with my number one philosophy: Never stop learning. After all the paperwork is filed, it’s time for you to really find out who you are as a business owner. You may be an expert at the services you want to provide, but you’ll most likely need to learn about the ins and outs of owning a business. If there’s a local community college offering small business courses, go for it! Sage Wedding Pros is another great resource for an industry-specific focus. Those ladies can help you with everything from developing your Unique Selling Proposition to figuring out how much you should charge.
At the end of the day, your dream business can certainly come to fruition. It may take some strategic thinking and planning along the way, but I guarantee it will be worth it!