How do you get the idea for your new business? Often it’s the way entrepreneur Tina Hoang-To did: by having a personal experience and saying to yourself, “This is ridiculous. There’s got to be a better way!”
In 2013, Tina was about to get married. She started planning the big day of her life. As it is with millions of brides-to-be, Tina’s planning turned into a nightmarish process. But instead of just complaining, Tina teamed up with fellow entrepreneur David Ko. They launched The Wedding Spot (www.wedding-spot.com), a unique online platform that makes it easy to find local wedding venues and services, compare them, get straightforward price quotes and seal the deal with each selected provider. Presto: dream wedding without the planning stress!
One of their first steps was establishing a brand appearance for The Wedding Spot.
“For many new founders, building a website is the first thing you’ll need to do,” said Tina. “LogoGarden has provided a very easy way to get this accomplished without spending thousands of dollars on a designer and developer. It’s great to see what they have done for the small business community.”
Beyond branding, Tina and David did their homework. They saw an unfilled niche in the crowded $160 billion wedding industry. No one offered a place online where you could compare and price wedding reception venues in a local area.
Tina picked the greater San Francisco metropolitan area to begin. She did the legwork, contacting wedding venues and pitching the benefits of sharing revenues with The Wedding Spot in return for having the site deliver ready-to-buy customers to the venue — eliminating the substantial cost of conventional marketing in a hotly competitive industry.
Thanks to the research of Tina and her team, visitors to The Wedding Spot search for venues based on budget, location, style and guest count. Visitors can study and compare local venues “apples to apples” for amenities and other factors.
That’s not all. Brides-to-be also face challenges selecting a caterer, florist, photographer and other service providers. The Wedding Spot offers a vetted selection of local providers, also searchable. As a result, couples can easily “build out” their ideal wedding with all the bells and whistles that fit their budget.
What’s it like to use The Wedding Spot? Co-founder David Ko’s unique database technology and user interface lets you see the real-world price of your dream wedding instantly. There’s no guesswork. And you can purchase your entire package as easily as searching for it — ending months of uncertainty and time-consuming personal research.
Tina’s approach caught on like wildfire. Since the launch in 2013, more than 200,000 brides-to-be have used The Wedding Spot to help plan their big day. Why so successful? “The Wedding Spot frees couples to focus on what’s most important,” Tina says. “Each other!”
What did Tina Hoang-To do that entrepreneurs like you can do also? She offers these tips:
1.Always look at your own day-to-day experiences. Whenever you have a frustrating or dissatisfying time of it — that’s your potential opportunity!
2. Do your homework. Put in the “sweat equity” of researching your potential market — and figuring out who would be willing to pay for your envisioned product or service.
3. Pay attention to branding. Visualize everything, as Tina did. Sites like LogoGarden.com let you create a professional-looking logo and website at no cost, so you can experiment for free!