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Etiquette training gives lessons to people of all ages on the proper way to conduct oneself in a variety of settings, especially in the professional world. Etiquette can cover how to act in both international and domestic settings, from a formal dinner in Japan to a debutante ball in Georgia. As globalization becomes more common, these types of lessons can be invaluable for many companies and professionals. Etiquette trainers may give online lessons or in-person lessons, depending of their budget and location. The instructions may be anything from cell phone etiquette for teenagers to the best way to send a thank you letter after a job interview.
Who is this business right for?
This business is good for someone who understands how and why we use formal behavior to signify the meaning of certain events. An instructor can be successful though even if they only specify in one event, such as teaching Americans how to eat continental style. To really exceed and expand the business, entrepreneurs should have a background and interest in their chosen field to give the best possible advice and instruction to their students.
What happens during a typical day at an etiquette training business?
Owners may have the following agenda for their day.
- Marketing etiquette to groups or individual clients
- Maintaining an up-to-date website
- Creating lesson plans for each class
- Coordinating and planning formal practice events
- Ongoing education about new customs or changes to business etiquette
What is the target market?
Typically the people you’re looking for will be in the professional world, attending college, or families who want their children to learn proper manners. Technically, this could be anyone, but you'll find typically find the most demand with the more affluent members of society. You should also offer a way for interested parties to obtain their own formal certification as well.
How does an etiquette training business make money?
These businesses make money by charging people for lessons, or for charging event fees which also includes the instruction. Etiquette training can be marketed to colleges, families, businesses, and individuals. You may also want to consider opening up a franchise branch from an established company, such as The Etiquette School of Singapore.
What is the growth potential for an etiquette training business?
It is highly depends on where you’re located, but the need is out there. You can also offer online programs to expand your services further if there is little interest in your own community. Most companies or colleges do not need a full-time etiquette trainer, so you need to find a variety of clients to hit your revenue goals.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful etiquette training business?
You don't necessarily need a formal training certificate to open this business, but it may help your credibility when trying to attract talent and clients. Being personable will help you build an etiquette workshop or training business, as you’ll likely be doing some of the teaching. You’ll also need to have a real eye for detail, and a love of coaching people to help them find their best selves. Owners also need to be willing to adjust their seminars based on client wishes and demands. Parents may be much more interested in teaching their children what they can and can't post online to maintain their reputation, so you may need to offer more specialty courses and single classes.
What are the costs involved in opening an etiquette training business?
If you're doing everything online, the costs will be minimal. You can get started with just your computer, a professional website, and an advertising budget. If you choose to conduct business in person, you’ll need to rent space to conduct your lessons in. You may also need a small business license, which can range in price based on where you are. Owners will typically need to budget practice events as well so students can show off their skills in a real-life situation. This may involve renting out a formal banquet hall and hiring caterers. You should also invest in an excellent website, or potentially even print media (flyers, etc) to get the word out about the new business.
What are the steps to start an etiquette training business?
Once you're ready to start your etiquette training business, follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and avoid wasting time and money as your business grows:
- Plan your business. A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. A few important topics to consider are your initial costs, your target market, and how long it will take you to break even.
- Form a legal entity. Establishing a legal business entity prevents you from being personally liable if your etiquette training business is sued.
- Register for taxes. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
- Open a business bank account. A dedicated checking account for your etiquette training business keeps your finances organized and makes your business appear more professional to your customers.
- Set up business accounting. Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
- Obtain necessary permits and licenses. Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
- Get business insurance. Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
- Define your brand. Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
- Establish a web presence. A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Where can I find a business mentor?
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
What are some insider tips for jump starting an etiquette training business?
You should be willing to do some free classes for businesses and families so they can get a sense of the value you can bring into their lives. Because most people will eventually go on an interview or attend a fancy wedding, there are ways to market this service to practically everyone. For companies in particular, they need to hear the specific ROI if they choose to take one of your classes. For example, a business is likely to close more deals if they make a good enough impression on a potential partner or client.
Contact local competitors to learn more about the courses they offer and consider marketing services that are different. Plan out your lesson times and instructions before you start attracting clients, though be ready to make changes if need be.
How to promote & market an etiquette training business
You’ll be marketing to very different types of people, so you need to keep that in mind. One group may want their kids to learn the best ways to interact with peers and adults. One group will want to further their professional career. Another may just want to avoid embarrassing themselves at a particular event. You can either stay flexible, and cater to different types of people, or you can pick a particular group and aggressively target them with your marketing. Colleges and businesses are two major groups that may need a steady stream of lessons if you’re planning to only target one group.
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How to keep customers coming back
Either conduct a stellar online lesson for people to see on your website, or offer to do mini-lessons to major corporations or for affluent parents. The best way to attract customers is to give them a real taste of how you can transform their presentation skills whenever they have an interaction. For those looking for ways to better themselves, there will be an instant connection to your services.
How and when to build a team
You should likely wait to build up a team until you have a steady base of clients, and a distinct need for more help. Choose people based on both their knowledge level, interest, and people skills.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate an etiquette training business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
In addition, certain local licensing or regulatory requirements may apply. For more information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office.
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
Maintain Personal Asset Protection
Don’t think that just forming an LLC, or any other type of business, will save your personal assets in case of a lawsuit or other matter by itself.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Two of the simplest steps that will protect your business, and yourself, are to:
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
How much can you charge customers?
This is a specialty area, so your prices will likely reflect the need for the skill in the area. Schools for children may charge about $6,000 per child for a 6-month course. Business lessons may run a company about $1,000 per person, depending on the level of instruction. Online courses will typically be much less, or around $500 for a comprehensive course. Check on the competition’s prices before setting those of your own.
What are the ongoing expenses for an etiquette training business?
The expense can climb quickly, depending on the types of events you offer. Here are some examples of ongoing expenses your business might have:
- Rental/leasing costs for the space
- Marketing/website upkeep
- Office software
- Fine food, linens, and glasses for formal dinners
- Staff salaries
- Handouts/booklets for students
- Teaching materials to certify instructors
- Ongoing etiquette training
How much profit can an etiquette training business make?
Etiquette training businesses can make quite a bit of profit, so long as they have enough clients. If you have 20 children take a class at $6,000 per person and you spend $3,000 per person on salary and supplies, that's still $60,000 profit for 6 months. The good news is that most etiquette trainers will only need to spend for formal events that have already been scheduled and paid for.
How can you make your business more profitable?
The best way to make a business more profitable is to expand the definition of etiquette. From online and video communications to how to dress, there are a number of questions people have that need to be answered. Each situation may have its own particular quirks, so these answers won’t be readily found online. Market your services as one-of-a-kind, and constantly be on the lookout for the next medium of communication!