March 2015… how did thit happen? It seems like only yesterday I was writing down my New Year resolutions. Time is flying by, and with many exciting weddings coming up this season it is important not to loose perspective.
When you are planning a wedding, or multiple weddings, it is easy to loose sight of the bigger picture – your business. In business, success or failure in business is all about perspective. Short-term failures can be hidden long-term successes, while quick wins can sometimes lead to future losses.
Wedding planning is a service, and wedding planner’s income is generated from long term projects ranging between 6- 18 months long. Taking stock, evaluating the quality of the ‘sale’ and calculating ROIs from marketing campaigns can only be done after these projects are completed. Then we have to wait another few months before we can accurately determie if our creative output and business strategy was a success or failure. In a meantime, we might be ‘stuck’ in the commitments made out of poor decision making process from 6-12 months ago.
If you find yourself trapped in the cycle of signing up projects, saying ‘yes’ to everything and anything coming your way and delivering, over delivering and not making a healthy profit from your business, then you probably lost perspective a good few months ago.
It happened to me. In 2013, Splendid Wedding Company ‘made it’, after years in the industry, finally the ‘big’ jobs started to happen. It was exciting, it was exhilarating and it was fun! I got to plan incredible weddings for incredible clients, I got more and more enquiries and I found it hard to say ‘no’ and turn a client away. I figured that I can make a plan, I will figure it out, I am growing and I will make sure that every client was happy. The weddings happened, and they were beautiful, succesful and the clients were happy. The guests who attended 2013 weddings we impressed so much so that the word has spread and in 2014 I was booking even bigger jobs, with bigger budgets, with more demands and I was exhausted. I found myself in the spin cycle of working 18-20 hour days, working, dealing, managing and in the end just coping. On 20 December 2014 I sat in front of my computer, and all I could was to stare blankly at the screen. 2015 was looming in the horizon and I wanted to stick a pen in my eye and swirl it around before planning another wedding, arrange another floral centrepiece or create another mood board.
It was time to change. I read a great advice on Forbes website:
- On a piece of paper draw a long line as if you’re creating a timeline. In the middle of the line, write today’s date. Then fill in the left side of the timeline with every key milestone and accomplishment you achieved over the past year or two.
- Next, with a different color pen, fill in your strategic business goals for the next 12 months to the right of today’s date. For example, how many new clients do you want each month? When do you want to launch a new product or service? How many partnerships do you want to establish? What advertising campaigns do you want to test?
- Finally, compare your accomplishments in the past year to your business goals. Are the accomplishments moving you closer to your goals? Are you missing any key ingredients or is there something you should stop because it’s not helping you move the business forward?
This exercise helped me gain perspective about decisions, goals and strategy to get closer to my definition of success in 2015. I made radical changes in my business model and once again I am excited and passionate about my wedding planning business.
Business is a marathon, with many challenges along the way. The main thing is to learn from the past mistakes, get up after a fall, try something different and never ever give up. Success is worth it!