So you’ve got your new party planning business underway to fit around the family and you’re buzzing with excitement at the prospect of hosting fab parties for friends and family.
But after the third or fourth party, do you find yourself running out of steam? After all, there are only so many times you can sell your products to the same round of people. And there are only so many times your friends and family can step in to hold a party in their home for you.
It’s time to find new customers and party throwers. But how can this be done? How can you spread your wings in the party plan world without persistently relying on your mates?
Running a successful party plan business means being aware of how to develop the business to keep abreast of new ideas and ahead of other sellers.
The school gates
Be brave and speak to the mums and dads waiting to collect their children up at the school gates. The same goes for any after school groups and clubs that you attend.
Mention that you sell XYZ products and they could earn a few pounds by hosting a party. Be friendly, but back away if they are not interested.
Of course, don’t forget to reciprocate in some way, for example, by attending an event they arrange. Who knows you may find a new friend and expand your acquaintances which is all for the good.
Fetes and garden parties
School fetes, church fairs, local garden parties – there’s always an event happening somewhere. Especially during the summer. Why not negotiate a fee to hold a stand there. If you have a website, offer to promote them in exchange.
To increase turnover on the day sell some items and have a raffle or competition with the winner announced at the event. If you are attending a charity event be generous with your time helping to set up and clearing down afterwards. Give something to them for future fundraising and you are sure to be invited back.
With a home computer and printer it is possible to run off leaflets about your party plan business. If technology is not your thing then printing companies such as Vistaprint (www.vistaprint.co.uk) can supply pamphlets and handouts at reasonable cost. Plan a leafleting campaign in streets where you feel people will be interested in holding a party.
Keep the wording simple but make the earning potential stand out so that hostesses ring you to ask more about your business. A special offer such as, ‘an extra 5% commission if a party is booked by the end of the month’ will encourage customers to ring and not simply file the leaflet for future use.
A simple website showing a range of your products along with how to place an order will increase turnover. Getting your hands on a do it yourself websites and domain name is a low cost affair nowadays, with sites such aspanies such as Mr Site www.mrsite.com or Moonfruit. www.moonfruit.com. You could be up and running within 24 hours!
Once it’s up and running, add it to as many mumpreneur websites such as the marketplace at Club Work Your Way or the many other mumpreneur Facebook groups and forums on the web to get your name out there.
Talking of Facebookdo you have a Facebook page for your business where people can be directed to your website or to book a party? How about twitter and Linkedin? Getting your name out there only costs time, so dedicate a few hours each week to self promotion.
Hiring a Helping Hand
Many direct selling busineses are network businesses, which means that you’re encouraged to bring others into your ‘group’. By recruiting them, you earn a commission. For any others who don’t have this option, or if this is your own party plan business, rather than attend every party yourself, why not hire someone to run parties for you?
By staying home and controlling other sellers, you can be earning more money and saving on child care costs. Look closely at your profit margin, so that you still make a healthy profit after deducting your costs. You might also need to set time aside for ‘staff training’, so that your products are sold in the correct way. This could really see your business turnover expand.
Diversifying the range
And finally, you can’t sell the same products year in and year out. People usually spend more at Christmas, so bring in special lines at that time of the year. If summer is quiet, use it to sell older stock and go out and promote yourself at those summer fetes and garden parties.
Plan ahead, visit stock exhibitions and ask the press office of suppliers to keep you abreast of any changes in fashions/styles/products relating to your line of business. Go back to customers who threw parties for you the previous year and encourage them to sell your new stock for you to take advantage of your great new offers.
Good luck, and have fun! Let us know how you get on.