Wedding Planner & Business Consultant
Lisa D Wilson & LDW Business Consultancy
Serial entrepreneur Lisa Wilson is the founder of Weddings by Lisa D Wilson and LDW Business Consultancy.
Weddings by Lisa D Wilson offers a wedding planning and co-ordination service for couples getting married in London and the Caribbean.
LDW Business Consultancy helps entrepreneurs and small business owners turn their dreams into a reality. The company’s motto is ‘We can make it happen.’
Based in central London, the companies were incorporated in 2011.
Why did you decide to start your companies?
I began to feel stifled at work, I was made to toe the company line but I had lots of opinions and ideas and I wanted to put them to use. I also like helping people; I like to know that people are happy because of my help and hard work.
Knowing that a wedding has gone without a hitch and that the bride and groom have had the day of their dreams makes me happy.
What was your career path prior to starting your first business?
I have worked in both the public and private sectors in senior management roles. I have trained staff, managing both large and small teams. I did lots of purchasing, contract management and project management roles.
In 2002, with a friend, I set up a domestic cleaning company based in north west London. The company ran for two years and in that time we had grown the business from nothing to 30 regular clients and a contract with a worldwide relocations company to spring clean homes on behalf of their corporate clients. Unfortunately we closed the company in 2004 due to personal reasons relating to my business partner.
I went to work for the public sector but soon got the entrepreneurial bug again so here I am.
Did you always know that you would start your own business?
Working for someone else for the rest of my life was never an option. I think I always knew I would work for myself, however, after working in retail for many years and a major health scare in 2000, I realised that working in a job you are often no more than an employee number to the powers that be.
It’s funny how a major incident can give you clarity and focus that you did not realise you possessed.
What steps did you take to launch your business?
I wrote a business and marketing plan and I registered my company. I started an events and wedding planning course to back up my knowledge and fill in any gaps.
I started attending business networking and industry specific events, set up my website and joined and became active on social networking sites.
What are you working on at the moment?
I have recently started planning two weddings which will take place in June and July. One will have a very traditional theme, the other will be very relaxed, funky and chic, each catering to the personalities of the couples involved.
LDW Business Consultancy has a steady stream of clients wanting various help from start-up advice to back office re-organisation. I’ve recently carried out some conflict resolution work for a nursery. I am now working with a budding photographer to help start her business, a female entrepreneur to set up back office processes for her expanding building and commercial cleaning companies and a young man embarking on setting up a courier service.
Which of your services are most in demand?
The business consultancy is in most demand at the moment, as those jobs are usually for a shorter duration than planning a wedding. The wedding planning business will get busier soon as December is a peak time for engagements.
Can you describe your typical working day?
I can’t say that I have typical day, each day is very different for me as one day may be dedicated to weddings and the following day I may be working with a business owner.
However, I start each day by answering emails and phone calls from the previous day; and I end each day by updating my social media account; I think it is really important to keep on top of the admin.
Daily, I will then usually begin working on one of my ongoing projects; these jobs are done in order of priority. I also like to keep up with industry news so, I spend some time each day keeping myself up-to-date on the latest celebrity weddings and engagements, wedding trends, colour palettes etc. I also read up on the latest business news, tips and tools for business.
Weekly, I try to attend a networking event or visit an industry specific event each week. It can be a lonely business working on your own and I believe it’s really important to share ideas and information with other, like minded people.
For individual projects or weddings, I produce a project plan with goals and milestones and I use that as my guide, ensuring that mood boards, process maps, appointments, schedules, visits to suppliers and venues are all completed as required.
What have been the highlights of running your own business?
I like the fact that I am my own boss; I can be flexible with my hours, working late or leaving early if I need to, I make all of the decisions and I take responsibility for anything that does not go as planned.
What is the hardest part of running your own business?
Having no-one to turn to if I need to ask a question or if I need a second opinion. Being disciplined about how I use my time, making sure that I stick to my schedule. Knowing when to delegate a task to someone else, such as my accounts.
I also found it difficult to get my head around all of the different social media options. It’s hard to decide which social media is best for your business type and how much time should be spent updating them. I now spend approximately 30 minutes a day posting to the sites.
What has been your proudest business moment so far?
Being a finalist in the ‘Start-Up’ category in the European Federation of Black Women Business Owners Annual Business Awards in 2003.
More recently I was very proud to register Lisa D Wilson Limited as a business. It gave me a real feeling of fulfilment and achievement.
What, or who, inspires and motivates you?
I am inspired by Preston Bailey who creates the most beautiful weddings and events. His website and blog are full of useful information and advice for someone starting out in those fields.
I also subscribe to some of the wedding groups on LinkedIn, they are very useful as you can ask question to a large group of industry specific people and they are always willing to offer an opinion or advice.
I am also inspired by one of my cousins who has become a well known and respected business man in the Caribbean. He has worked hard remained confident that he was following the right path. He never believed the doubters and followed his vision.
I am motivated by my parents who have supported and encouraged me through my career journey. They have always believed in my abilities, even when I gave up a well paid job to pursue my dream of starting my own business.
I am also lucky to have some really good friends and family members who have given me encouragement and support when I needed it.
Fast forward five years, where do you think your business will be in 2017?
In 2017 I will be known as an expert in wedding planning. I will be planning weddings in locations across the globe, working with a trusted with a team of associates. I will also be helping budding wedding planners by offering them the chance to get some work experience.
LDW Business Consultancy will be known as a business guru, running workshops for entrepreneurs and small business owners, helping them to be successful.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering starting a wedding planning business?
Research your market, define your niche, network and don’t be afraid to go for it.
Try to get some experience before you start the business, and I don’t mean planning your own wedding. You will need to get experience working with someone else’s vision, needs and demands, this can be quite difficult. Also, think about doing a wedding planning course, this will give you basic knowledge and know-how of the planning process.
Lisa, is there anything else you’d like to share?
Please connect with me via my websites, Facebook and Twitter. I welcome your readers to stay connected with me. Depending on which information they are interested in, they will receive wedding tips, countdown and trend information or business help, information and news via monthly newsletters.
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Lisa Wilson was interviewed by Octavia Goredema, founder of the Twenty Ten Club.
Do you have a question for Lisa? If so, please feel free to post a comment below: