Posts Tagged ‘starting a wedding business’

The 3 Biggest Hurdles for Wedding Vendors

March 27, 2012

In 20 years of working one on one with Wedding Vendors (over 2100 individual businesses now) I have found that they typically suffer from one or more of the following 3 mistaken belief systems , which if they were able to overcome, they would soar like an eagle in their businesses (instead of waddling like a duck). Those three mistaken Belief Systems are Fear, The “Build it and they will come” syndrome, and Undue Patience. Here is a deeper explanation of each:
1. Fear
When a Wedding vendor has fear in their business, they will find excuses to not improve (such as “I don’t have time”, “I have to improve my ‘skills’ first” or , they will find excuses to excuse their results (such as blaming the economy, blaming the Brides, or blaming the competition) or they will find excuses why they will never step out of their situation which is deadly (If you are not growing, you are dying) . There is a certain amount of risk that any entrepreneur needs to take, but when you can learn from the mistakes of others, you minimize that risk. Simply said, 1 ounce of success will overcome 50 pounds of fear. Most of the fear that wedding vendors have is in their heads.
2. Build it and they will come.
In the movie “Fields of Dreams”, Kevin Costner’s character heard the whisper from the field “If you Build it they will come”. Many Wedding vendors try to employ this philosophy when it comes to their marketing. Simply put it out to the world that you provide stuff that Brides need and you are naturally a match. Sorry to say- doesn’t work that way. Just because you have marketing out there, does not assume the match with the bride and your product/service nor does it assume that your marketing connects with your prospects. It is your responsibility to put every effort into insuring you have the best possible message out there to the best possible medium. Those who really do well in their wedding businesses focus on their message and insure they get it out there as much as they possibly can.
3. Patience for the above to be overcome
95% of wedding businesses I speak to (not consult- that is a lot, but those who I speak in front of are about 80 times larger) do not track or measure the proper areas of their businesses. Because they do not track or measure, it is as though they are simply waiting around patiently for “something” to happen. Waiting around patiently will kill your business. You need results now and every day the doors of your business are open.
Let’s face it; there are risks involved with owning your own business, but nothing and I emphasize NOTHING is secure. Sure you can go work for someone else and wonder if one day you will walk in after 15 years of blood sweat and tears and simply be “let go”. You have also seen in the news people who contribute to a pension plan, only to have it wiped out in a day because the company filed for bankruptcy. The only security you have is what you create. Once you have started to create your security, you need to learn the techniques to make it easier, better, stronger. You and you alone are responsible for your results- Good and Bad. Further- you need not become complacent in your poor results. You need to get personally upset until you get to where you want to go.
Take a look and see if you suffer from any of these issues. It may be just slightly, but by improving slightly, you potentially see great results!
Until Next week, Here’s to Your Success!
There are ways to overcome these three “Business-Blockers”
In this complete home study course, you will learn the techniques of those who OWN their marketplace. This home study kit is 12 audio CD’s with a companion 64 Page workbook at a price that is affordable on any budget.


The three things to know about Facebook

March 21, 2012

If you are Facebook (and you should be for business- approximately 90% of your future brides are), you are no doubt ready for the upcoming timeline changes that will happen at the end of this month. I have seen many comments about timeline, whether people like that format or not. The share some thoughts with you about Facebook that may help you get past liking or not liking the new changes.
1. You are the product- not the customer. With Facebook, the way that they make money selling ads to the people who use Facebook. The people who use Facebook like you and I are the product. As Facebook is a free format for us, and we are the product, we must accept that and press forward using Facebook as such. When you’re the product you don’t get the ancillary benefits that you do as a customer. Facebook is a wonderful, wonderful creation, which has changed the way in which we communicate. I see things such as “I am leaving Facebook. In going to Google Plus”. It is my recommendation that you do not leave Facebook. Not yet. It is also my recommendation that you do get a Google plus account.
2. Change is inevitable. Can you remember back to when you first got onto Facebook? The look, feel and function of Facebook has dramatically changed over just the past three years. Guess what – it’s going to keep changing. Facebook was recently evaluated at a $100 billion value. Last year, gross receipts from Facebook were around $3 billion and the net off a that $3 billion was approximately $1 billion. In a former life I worked for a business brokerage. We would find businesses to sell and in doing so we would have to put a valuation on them. Never in my career did I ever see a valuation that was 100 times its net value. This indicates to me that once Facebook has stockholders, they will want a lot of performance from Facebook. Performance on Facebook means more advertising. More advertising means Facebook will change. You may have already seen on the login screens, advertisements. Is my view that they will start charging to advertise on the timeline cover photo. Currently, the terms of service state that no marketing message can be put on your timeline cover photo (even though many are already blatantly disregarding this). It’s only a matter of time before Facebook starts to enforce this. If and when they do enforce list is my suggestion that they will probably start to sell a premium membership. Nonetheless, things are going to change at Facebook – you can count on this.
3. b2b Facebook vs. B2C Facebook. In my world I work primarily with a business-to-business model. In your world you work primarily with a business to consumer model. When using Facebook on a business to business model, my goal is to simply warm up the lead and let people know I am here by giving great content and engaging conversation. In your business to consumer model you need to do the same. The one slight difference between B2 B and B2C on Facebook is this; on a B2 C model you cannot sell at all. On the B2 B model the rare times where you can sell is when you have a special offer to a select audience, i.e. your fans on your business page. Using Facebook in a business to consumer model in the wedding world, you need to offer them great content which is all about their wedding. Remember that this is social media and social media has been way over emphasized (in my opinion) as a way of marketing your business in the wedding world. Girls do not get engaged and say, “let’s go to Facebook to find my wedding vendors.” They go the more traditional routes (and I know I’m going to get a lot of static for this) of doing searches on Google, going to bridal shows, and picking up magazines that they find at places such as bridal shops and venues. The principle of Top of Mind Awareness is where you want to keep your business, not In Your Face obnoxiousness.
Facebook should be a tool for you to use and understanding the three principles spoken of here will help you in that strategy.
Until Next Week, Here’s to your Success!

The 5 irrefutable laws of Marketing to Brides

March 12, 2012

In 20+ years of Marketing to Brides and helping Wedding Businesses figure out their advertising, I have come up with what I call the 5 irrefutable, immutable absolutely Rock-Solid Laws of Marketing. These laws may seem simple. Maybe they even seem fundamental, but simply said, when followed and adhered to your marketing will take off, it will launch higher and will soar with results.
Here are the 5 Rules
Rule #1 of Marketing
If they do not know about you- You cannot be an option in their purchase. Have you ever went to the store to buy something that you had no idea existed? Usually doesn’t happen. Those who find you did so because of your marketing. Those who don’t, well….
Rule #2 of Marketing
You are not their only option so you need to stand out. Unless you have a really really dumb idea for a business, you will have competition. You will always have competition out there. You need to stand out from your competition and make them understand your differences. If you market based upon who you are, you stand a better chance of attracting the Brides who will be drawn to what you offer.
Rule #3 of Marketing
You need to speak to them on their level about what matters to them. Speaking about things in industry terms or even worse, what matters to you, will repel your prospects. You need to stop speaking to your prospects like an owner, but start to “Speak Bride”.
Rule #4
You can only take one step at a time in their process. Most Brides have not bought what you sell (or at least in the quantity that you sell it – they may have bought flowers before for example, but not as much as they will need for their wedding). Taking her by the hand and showing or telling her what to do next is what you do.
Rule #5
To keep your customer, you need to exceed with your customer. When we get what we expect we are rarely thrilled. Think about how many weddings/Brides you have sold in your career- how many were satisfied Brides? How many of those refer you on a regular basis. By exceeding expectations, you stand a better chance of getting referrals (we don’t usually or seek after repeat clients in the Wedding World )
In my new Home Study Kit- The Wedding Mastermind, I cover how to specifically work with each of the above rules and how to “tweak” your marketing to give you the better results you are looking for this year. In this 12 CD set (and a .pdf 64 Page workbook ) you will find solutions to help you get in front of more Brides, and Sell more Brides. This set will have a limited time offer. Here is the link for the Sales page:
This set is an outstanding value and I will be opening it up to more than just my subscribers. Check it out to see if you can build your business with this product!

Until Next Week, Here’s to your success!

Facebook Faux Pas – what not to do….

February 28, 2012

Last week I noticed that one of my colleagues had placed a response on a facebook page, to which someone else placed what was basically an advertisement for their wedding business. My colleague responded “Not sure how you think you will get any business by spamming other people comments?” which I fully (FULLY) agreed with. I see folks like this who think that simply putting out on facebook that they are a business who does “xyz” will somehow magically bring them business. I write this article with these folks in mind.
First things first- if you do this- it does not benefit you. It would behoove you to stop.
If you see someone else you know doing it- Tell them to stop.
Facebook is referred to as Social Media- meaning that is where you go to see your “friends” and “like” things. You socialize there. That is the place you go to relax (and sometimes, people are too relaxed). You don’t go there to argue (well, some people do) or to stress. Some people are less than social, but simply said- it is the place where you go to hang. Can you imagine a friend showing up to a Backyard Grill and setting up a card table to start selling you and your friends a financial product?
There is a component of business which can be effective for you on facebook. Keep in mind that my business model is different than yours, so my strategy on facebook is different that what I will suggest to you. I apply a Business to Business model, whereas you mostly apply a Business to Consumer model. That said- you also have other “friends” in the industry who can potentially do or send business to you who are on facebook.
Here is what I want you to realize about facebook- it is only meant to warm a relationship- not solidify or close the deal. When you post up your “stuff” (by the way- especially to a group who will not buy from you- remember your fellow vendors are not your customer and posting on their walls will not make you warm and fuzzy with them to where they want to refer you either).
There is another conversation that we should have- what do you do with your facebook fan page and all the “likes” you strive to get? I , again, see vendors asking for reciprocal “likes” (you like me, I like you). What will that do to get you business? If you are looking for pure numbers, give me a call and I will tell you how to get hundreds of “likes” for a few bucks (I don’t by any means recommend it- I got all of my likes by being out in front of thousands every year, didn’t buy any and I give my facebook fans unique content and special offers- but again, my customer base is different from yours.
My advice is to do 2 things with facebook: 1) give content 2) drive conversation. When you are giving great content, it is content that matters to your prospective client base. It is something that will benefit them and set you up as the expert. If you drive conversation, you are getting your prospective clients to engage and interact with you. By doing this, you are creating trust, you are getting them to get to know you and sidle up to you as someone they may go forward with.
If you use Facebook in these 2 manners, you will warm up many more relationships. You may not close a single deal, but this may be the water that gives life to the seed. The water starts the production of the fruit, but in and of itself does not create any fruit.
Until Next Week, Here’s to your Facebook Success!

Selling Results

February 8, 2012

If I were to ask you to tell me 5 reasons why a Bride should book with you, what would you tell me? Maybe that you offer excellent customer service. It might be excellent quality. How about you care about your clients. All of those are excellent reasons to do business with someone. The problem is that none of those mean anything to your prospective clients. Let me explain before you get all in a wad (trust me when I say- I have around 11,000 people who receive my emails and every week, I hear the differing opinions who either misunderstand or interpret what I say fully differently than the other 10,999 people who read the same message ). Brides do not buy features- they buy results. They also do not buy on logic- they buy fully emotionally. Selling in a style which is suitable to how they buy will not only increase your sales, but will increase your referrals.
Back in the early 90’s I took a sales course called “FAB Selling” . This course taught us how to sell Features, Advantages, and Benefits.
Here is what a feature looks like- A photographer gives 5 hours of on location photography.
Here is what an Advantage looks like- With 5 hours of shooting, you will get about 1200 images
Here is what a Benefit looks like- Out of 1200 images, you will get photos you will want to share with everyone you know all the way down to sharing with your grandchildren.
We live in the Wedding World 24/7 and forget that our prospects do not understand or comprehend what our “features” mean on a deeper level which would actually mean something to them. We often put industry buzz words, we speak in vague terms (i.e “we offer outstanding quality”) Speaking to our prospects about what A) matters to them B) They understand C) they will respond to will help us to get more of these Brides to act how we want them to act.
Here is another example: Nobody has ever bought a shovel to hang in their garage and admire. They bought that shovel to dig holes- the result. When you sell based upon the result- and again, please note: the result that your customer is looking for, you end up selling more effectively. Pretend you to go into a travel agent looking for the result of sitting on a lounge chair , soaking up the sun, sipping on a cold drink, listening to the sea gulls and the ocean gently lapping at the beach, yet the travel agent spoke about customer service, and quality, and guarantees. It may not touch your buttons as much as a travel agent who starts in by talking about, “you must be in desperate need of a vacation- when was the last time you went on a vacation?” or “That sounds like a perfect getaway- are you able to do it often?”
Homework assignment: Go find the nearest Wedding magazine and start browsing through the ads and see how many sell features vs. selling results. I pick up magazines in every city I visit and browse through them. Let me share with you that were you to make this adjustment correctly (by correctly- run it by several people – let me take a look at it and make sure that it is truly pushing some buttons), you would be amongst the 1% that sell and market results.
Results matter- they are sexy, exciting and fun. Features bore the hell out of me and your Brides.
What are your Results? (please comment below)

You won’t believe what this Bride had too say…

January 31, 2012

This posting was made (of all places) Craig’s List. As you read it, put yourself in this Bride’s place as best you can (I left the typos and the misspellings in there-not me  )
WHY is finding an amazing wedding photographer so difficult? :/

I am a Bride who is getting married this summer and have yet to find a decently priced, exceptional, amazingly talented, fun photographer.

WHY because the word “WEDDING” is involved photographers think they can change you $ 3,000.00 for wedding photos? Oh, because no bride is going to go without so they are going to pay it, because they HAVE to. They are ripping people off for all they have! Why when you want to get married it costs you AT LEAST 15 grand after all is said-and-done? Its such CRAP!! I love all you $ 3,000.00 photographers out there but i think your prices are WACK. All your doing is hanging out at a wedding taking tons of photos and editing them.. and thats owrth 3 GRAND!!! You’re making so much money its crazy. I just wish people would be more realistic. I mean the “average” persons salary for 1 freaking month is somewhere around 3 grand. (Thats making 19$ an hour) So you’re going to take someones WHOLE MONTH paycheck for one flippen day of photos? Just because you CAN!!?????? So that maybe they will not be able to feed themselves or pay any other bills they have, right? It makes me SICK!

I know im speaking for more than just myself right now. Alot of brides out there think the same thing. & I bet all you fancy photographers wont even read this. oh-well.
Maybe there are cheaper photographers that will read this and LOVE to take my photos 🙂
Here was my response:
I have read your letter and wanted to hopefully enlighten you.
The tone of your letter infers that there is a great conspiracy to out there to “rip off Brides”. As someone who is firmly in the middle of the Wedding Industry, let me tell you that you could not be more wrong.
The average Photographer will spend typically 8-10 hours of “taking pictures” as you put it , on your Wedding Day. For each wedding they “take Pictures” for, they will also have to do approximately 5-7 hours of continued education so that when they “take pictures” they will be doing the best and most advanced techniques. Many times this education costs money. Further, the average Photographer will spend around $300 and 4 hours (for every time they “take Pictures” ) of marketing efforts and dollars. The Photographer will on average meet with 2 brides for every one that books (to “take Pictures”), which takes around 3 hours. Let’s pretend that the admin stuff of their business magically takes care of itself (the bookkeeping, the licensing and the ordering of supplies, hiring and firing of employees- the day to day operations) This admin stuff doesn’t magically take care of itself (and the expenses are still there too) , but let’s just pretend. Going back to the “taking pictures” there is also approximately 6-8 hours of back end time for every 1 hour of shooting time. This includes the “editing of a few pictures” as you put it, sorting down from 1500 + images (and they have to look at them all) to a manageable amount (this alone takes around 8 hours) and putting together albums, as well as uploading them to the internet. So your 8 hours of “taking Pictures” added with the 5 hours of continued education, coupled with the 4 hours of marketing and the 48 hours of post production adds up to 67 hours (at a minimum) worth of work divided by what ends up to be around half- $1500 = around what you suggest the average bride makes (based on if they stay booked which there is not guarantee)= a little more reasonable rate. Oh, but wait, I did not include the thousands of dollars in equipment, the travel time to and from the event, the insurance, the fees for phones, internet and studios which it costs , not to mention if they have to pay an employee. You are further assuming that they simply go out casually for a few hours once or twice a week and knock down 200-300k a year from “unsuspecting brides”.
Here is the good news- You can find someone who is cheaper. The Problem is that a camera and a business card does not a Wedding Photographer make. If once you find that person, you may decide to keep looking, you can find someone cheaper than that. If you even keep looking all the way up to the day before your wedding, guess what- there is always someone cheaper. Fact is you are equating these photographers as a commodity which they are not. Ask around the industry with non-photographer wedding professionals and see if they have heard of nightmare stories of the photographer a) not showing up b) screwing up the pictures when they did show up c) not providing the final product (it got lost, destroyed or otherwise) afterwards. I see cases such as those all the time on Judge Judy. I mean, why does Lexis rip off people so much- it has the same tires, steering wheel, windows, engine, etc.. as a Kia doesn’t it?
My advice for you is to not blame the price, but to appreciate the reason behind it. Good luck on your wedding (btw- if you need a referral, I am happy to share some names of professionals who care in the Puget Sound area. They will probably cost more, but you will get what you pay for)


What are your Thoughts?

The High end Bride Myth

January 23, 2012

I see articles, I see advertisements I see people trying to “lure” in Wedding Vendors to get more “High End Brides”. Let me be blunt- there is no such thing. Maybe there is though….. I think they are standing next to the Polka Dotted Unicorns. The High End Bride that is being touted here is the Bride who has tons of money and she wants to spend it with vendors like you. We like to think that she exists because Price is such an issue in the wedding world. Of course we get Brides who spend more money, but simply said- does that mean they have more money to spend or this- She has more priority on the amount of money that she is willing to use with you.
I want you to think about this: How would one attract a “High End Bride”? Do you only advertise in certain parts of town? Do you make them bring a W-2 with them for their consultation? And even if you determined that this Bride had less income, would you turn her away if she paid for your services? Probably not. The Idea of searching after the High End Bride is a pointless search.
Let me prove my point. When was the last time you had a Bride who said- “Money is No Object! – Here is my No-limit Credit card, do with it as you will. “ Doesn’t happen. Think about the girls from the best, more upscale parts of town. It has been my experience that those Brides are even more keen on negotiating, than are the Brides with less affluence. Just because she lives in a nice house, in a nice part of town does not indicate that she wants to just throw caution to the wind. In fact, she probably got to the nice house in the nice part of town because she is very cautious.
Let me repeat- Stop going for the “High End” Bride and Start going for the “High Priority” Bride. This does not mean that you should not take a Bride who wants to spend a Bunch of money with you. Let me explain:
The High Priority Bride is one who will spend what she needs to spend with the right person because she truly believes she is getting value in exchange for their offering. She is the one who may come into the consult with a $1500 budget, but you end up writing a contract that is twice that amount, maybe 3 times as much! Each Bride has a different set of priorities, so my advice to you is to not pre-judge any brides based on economics, geography, how they dress or anything that has anything to do with price.
Now the obvious question is , “How do I find out what their priority is?”. Simple, they are the Brides who call, email and show up for appointments. They are focused on potentially hiring you for their wedding and they are following the steps of someone who is motivated to get what you have. Those who do not show up, who show up late, who never call or email simply do not have the priority.
Very rarely in the Wedding industry do I come across someone who will be so selective in their processes of hiring a Bride (it is hiring when you do the choosing) that they will exclude someone who looks or is lower income/means. My suggestion that if you do not meet that category of Wedding vendor, that you proceed and meet with as many Brides as possible. You can not predict which ones are willing and able to spend money with you. Further, while there are major indicators out there of what their budget is, their budget for other items such as venue, dress, etc… have little to no bearing on what you potentially sell them. Do not pre-judge Brides who could potentially spend money with you to the point to where you lose business.
Until Next week, Here’s to your Success!

How to use Email Successfully

January 17, 2012

I recently read a headline on how to make a multi- million dollar company through email marketing. As I opened up the email and read about how Groupon had used email marketing (combined with referral marketing) to become a $6 Billion company (that is what Groupon was offered by Google to buy them). For those of you who are not familiar with Groupon, there is great benefit to using them- Here is a link for you to check out the local deals that they offer:
(click here and then find your local city)
Groupon offers it’s users something they want- local deals on things they are interested in.
Now you may be wondering “How do I make email work for me” I will share 2 ideas that have and will work when you use them correctly. The fact is, if you can get your email opened, you have a chance of getting your consumers attention. If you can get their attention, you have a chance of getting them to engage or take another step. If you can get them to take that step (i.e. go to your website) you have a chance of building trust to get another step out of them.
Let me first ask you this question; Are you trying to get your consumer to take too many steps at a time? If so, how is that working for you? Fact is, the consumer who does not purchase what you sell often if ever will move forward with great caution unless you clear the path (in other words, show them you are trustworthy). Most people use Email completely wrong, and in so doing, lower the bar to where when used correctly, the proper email will not only shine, but will become extremely effective.
The wrong way in using email is in these three manners; 1) they blast out offers which are trying to get the Bride to take too many steps at once 2) They assume the need/relationship/sale 3) They are written from a business centric bias rather than a consumer centric bias.
Here are two email methods that work : 1) Be free with information- give them the reports, the ideas and the information they are looking for without giving them too much to where they think they have it all and can do without you. 2) Set yourself as the Gold Standard giver- when you are the expert and state your information as such (i.e. “When hiring a Wedding Consultant, be sure they have these 5 qualities to insure a magical, stress free day” is much more concrete than is “I feel that you should want 5 certain qualities when looking for a Wedding Consultant”. The Gold Standard Giver is the wedding vendor who sets themselves up as the expert and freely imparts advice, tips, and useful information to the Bride that is not “salesy”. Invite the Bride to interact, whether she does business with you or not.
Using the above 2 techniques together is the only way I have seen Email work in the Wedding World. I know that many of you are gathering your lists from the Bridal shows. These lists have value. These are Brides who have raised their hands and essentially said, “ I am going to buy certain things for my wedding, I may buy them from you if I am convinced”. Brides are mostly new to getting married, and while they can find a myriad of info online, there are 2 main reasons why she hesitates: 1) She is scared of making a bad choice 2) She gets too much conflicting info.
Help her to trust that you have the info she needs and that you will not steer her in the wrong direction and use email to build this trust. Email when used right is AWESOME- I would not go without it!
Until Next Week, Here’s to your Success!

The Christmas Orange

December 20, 2011

This is a story a friend of mine shared with me years ago- Thank you Lori:-)
(btw- they sell chocolate oranges at Walgreens- you can share this story with your family like I do and break open one of these chocolate treats- The kids love when we pass it around and they share with each other!)
The Christmas Orange
In the very early 1800’s, a young boy about 14 years old named John lived in an orphanage in England along with several other children. Orphanages were dreaded. Orphan meant unwanted and unloved. The orphanage was administered by a master and his wife who were results of meager backgrounds themselves and were short on love but high on discipline. No childlike play, no expression of compassion, no understanding.
Every day of the year was spent working. They worked in gardens, cleaned, sewed, and cooked sometimes for wealthy children. They were up at dawn and worked until dark and usually received only one meal a day. However, they were very grateful because they were taught to be hard workers. John had absolutely nothing to call his own. None of the children did.
Christmas was the one day of the year when the children did not work and received a gift. A gift for each child — something to call their own.
This special gift was an orange. John had been in the orphanage long enough to look forward with delight and anticipation of this special day of Christmas and to the orange he would receive. In Old England, and to John and his orphan companions, an orange was a rare and special gift. It had an unusual aroma of something they smelled only at Christmas. The children prized it so much that they kept it for several days, weeks, and even months — protecting it, smelling it, touching it and loving it. Usually they tried to savor and preserve it for so long that it often rotted before they ever peeled it to enjoy the sweet juice.
Many thought were expressed this year as Christmas time approached. The children would say, “I will keep mine the longest.” They always talked about how big their last orange was and how long they had kept it.
John usually slept with his next to his pillow. He would put it right by his nose and smell of its goodness, holding it tenderly and carefully as not to bruise it. He would dream of children all over the world smelling the sweet aroma of oranges. It gave him security and a sense of well being, hope and dreams of a future filled with good food and a life different from this meager existence.
This year John was overjoyed by the Christmas season. He was becoming a man. He knew he was becoming stronger and soon he would be old enough to leave. He was excited by this anticipation and excited about Christmas. He would save his orange until his birthday in July. If he preserved it very carefully, kept it cool and did not drop it, he might be able to eat it on his birthday.
Christmas day finally came. The children were so excited as they entered the big dining hall. John could smell the unusual aroma of meat. In his excitement and because of his oversized feet, he tripped, causing a disturbance. Immediately the master roared, “John, leave the hall and there will be no orange for you this year.” John’s heart broke violently wide open. He began to cry. He turned and went swiftly back to the cold room and his corner so the small children would not see his anguish.
Then he heard the door open and each of the children entered. Little Elizabeth with her hair falling over her shoulders, a smile on her face, and tears in her eyes held out a piece of rag to John. “Here John,” she said, “this is for you.” John was touched by her youth and innocence as he reached for the bulge in her hand.
As he lifted back the edges of the rag he saw a big juicy orange all peeled and quartered. . . and then he realized what they had done. Each had sacrificed their own orange by sharing a quarter and had created a big, beautiful orange for John. John never forgot the sharing, love and personal sacrifice his friends had shown him that Christmas day.
May your Christmas season be filled with the thought of abundance and blessings we enjoy. It is our goal to be reminded to share with another and to keep in mind that while perhaps there were challenges in the past year, the best is yet to come!
Merry Christmas from the Brewer’s!

Dealing with Down Time

December 14, 2011

In the wedding world, there are distinct times during the year, where your business comes to a crawl. Many of you out there are very good at keeping busy and welcome the restful periods. Some also keep busy with different types of business (Christmas parties and summer picnics come to mind). For those of you who are slowing down and have some extra time on your hands, here are some items you may want to look at on your check list to help you to tie up loose ends or prepare for a great year next year.
1. Have you written your goals for next year? I will actually be giving a free Goal setting webinar next Tuesday (information below). Let me challenge you to write your goals before then and then attend the webinar to give you some ideas to adjust your approach. It is CRUCIAL that you write your goals. A goal not written is merely an idea. We all have ideas every day. When you write your goal, it makes it much more concrete.
2. Analyze your systems. Do you have a written marketing strategy and a written sales approach. Do you measure most things that you do? If your strategy and approach are not written, write them out. If you do not have standards and measurements other than “your best guess” you need to look at this. One of the biggest items I look at when I work with a business is to see if they’re systems are a servant or a master. A big indicator of a failure in business is typically a failure in their systems. By having structured approaches to how you deal with your day to day operations of your business, you can adjust and improve upon those approaches. Further, you are better geared for change. Change is inevitable in any given business and failure to change will leave you behind the times and losing business.
3. Measure your year end results. By now most of you should be able to put an accurate measurement on your year end results meaning Profits and Losses. You should be able to look at a comparable year to year view and measure are you up, are you down, are you better or are you worse than the past. Many times you will be able to look at what happened and again adjust for the coming year. I looked at one year where I went for 2 solid months (in fairness, I was busy ) of not sending out a weekly email. I determined to change that for the following year and saw an approximate 35% increase to my bottom line from this singular action. I have found it is the fundamental actions, the basics, the blocking and tackling that really makes a difference in your business and by figuring out what these fundamental money making areas are and measure them.
4. Take time to tie up loose ends. File all the stuff on your desk, get your marketing tuned up for next year, get ready for Bridal show season, re-vamp your website or social media approach. You know what the loose ends that you have in your life. Find 5-6 of them and get them done while you have some ability to accomplish it.
5. Give yourself a pat on the back. You have finished the year (hopefully strong) and are set for another year in business. It is hard being a small business owner, and I am sure you know the mortality rate of small businesses. You have made it through another year and by all indications, next year is going to be great. Allow yourself to have some mis steps , to have made some mistakes and to have had learning experiences. These all are building blocks for your business and necessary in many cases to grow to the next level.
Down time can feel like a curse when we want/need to make money, but recognize the benefits and take full advantage of them.

Until Next Week, Here’s to your Success!