Hi. Last night I was driving home from a meeting and a friend texted me to say, “Turn on the ABC.” All the way home, I listened to this interview. It is 45 minutes long, and I think it’s worth the time to listen. This entire post was inspired by the interview (when you click on the link, it will open as an audio in a new window – then you can come back to this tab/window to read more).
As party planners, we are each our own small businesses. The best part is that we only really have to focus on four key areas: Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, and Finance. We get to outsource the rest to our company. Fantastic!
Work for yourself, but not by yourself.
Marketing (and we don’t have to do everything here – just this sort of stuff)
Getting the word out. Networking. Looking good. Smiling. Being organised. Putting our names and contact details on every piece of literature. Hosting home shows. Wearing our company logo. Telling people what we do with pride.
Sales (we don’t have to do everything here, either – yippee)
Going to parties. Listening to our clients. Discovering and unveiling their reason to buy. Taking orders. Getting payments. Processing orders.
As you listen to the interview (are you listening to it? take some time and do), pay particular attention to the discussions about customer service. Do you ask people if they are happy? If they liked what you did? If they have any recommendations for improvement? If they would buy again? If they would refer you? Even an informal survey as part of your client calls might give you some amazing insights. People like to give their opinions.
To be a profitable party planner, you cannot avoid the numbers. You must keep track of your income and your expenditures. You also need to keep track of the time you put into your business (serious time, not time chatting with clients on Facebook) so that you can see if the end result is lucrative. If your hourly wage low, you need to increase your profit (either increase your income and/or decrease your expenses), and/or become more efficient with your time. (I’ll write about this in another post soon.)
The rest of the work is done by your company.
Marketing (there is so much we don’t have to do)
Product Development – Selecting products. Developing. Designing. Packaging. Pricing. Creating catalogues, literature, and websites. And what about all of the promotions! I don’t know if you’ve thought about it, but it takes a lot of effort to develop promotions, to make them exciting for party planners and customers alike, and to implement them in the systems.
Sales (you though you did it all, but there is lots of sales stuff we get from the company)
Direct selling companies provide an incredible amount of training for party planners. We are not expected to know it all. Annual events – most party planning companies host an annual conference of some sort to celebrate sales efforts and to get us excited about what the company is doing. I would guess that the price we pay to attend these is nothing close to the cost to put them on. Incentive programs – if a plumber sets some goals for her business and hits those goals, does she give herself (and her partner) an all expenses paid trip overseas? Well, she should, but it takes a lot of effort to put together the targets, the measurements, and the trip.
Manufacturing et al
Vendor selection, logistics, import/export, warehousing, handling, shipping, labelling. OMG there is so much to do here, I can’t even tell you how grateful I am the I don’t have to do it (or even think about it).
Back office support
This includes consultant website maintenance, calculating and paying consultants, organising group public liability insurance, participating in direct selling associations, legal, finance, accounting, and all kinds of things that ensure that our companies stay profitable. You want them to make money, too. If they stay strong, we can keep selling with confidence.
I’ve owned my own business where I had to think about absolutely everything. I appreciate the fact that as a party planner, I get to focus on the areas I am good at, the areas I like, and the areas that enable me to make an unlimited income.
I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did.
Make it a great day!