3 Things You Should Do to Make More Money in 2017

By: Michelle Loretta, Owner and Chief Strategist of Sage Wedding Pros

If you’re like most, you want to have a stronger business in 2017 than you had in 2016. Better can mean different things to different people. But, I know a lot of wedding business owners that want to be more profitable. I wouldn’t mind having a little more money in my pocket each week. AMIRIGHT?

Financial profitability for the small business owner is made up of a LOT of moving parts. BUT, based on my experience over the last 8 years of working with wedding businesses on their financial strategies, there are 3 areas that I see most people missing the mark. 

3 Things You Should Do to Make More Money

1.) Raise Your Prices

Most business owners who are struggling to create a healthy profitability in their business don’t have enough profit margin. This stems from pricing being too low. Even if your prices are exactly where they should be at, you can likely do a little bit of a price boost. Even a small boost of 10% on your pricing can lead to big results. Pricing is the #1 way to be more profitable. Now, keep in mind: pricing is a marketing decision. Your price needs to match your market strategy (your target market, your niche, your level of service, etc.) BUT – when I test things financially – it’s always pricing that is the culprit for a business’s small profits.

2.) CUT Out Waste

Most small business owners in the wedding industry don’t spend a lot. Honest. It’s very rare that I see a business that is being excessive in any of its costs or overhead. So, when I say ‘cut out waste’, I’m talking about making small tweaks to your expense budget to see results. Here are a few wasteful things to look for:

  • Ads that don’t give you any ROI
  • Software subscriptions you no longer use (or that you can downgrade)
  • Staff meals (or: getting excessive with how often you buy the office lunch)
  • Rent (do you really need to be an in office – or is it for ego?)

When a new spending opportunity presents itself, get in the habit asking yourself: “Is it more important that I spend this $100 on my business or would this $100 be better off in my pocket?”

3.) Examine Your Marketing and Selling Strategy

Often when I’m looking at a business’s finances I learn that there is absolutely nothing wrong with their financial strategy. The problem doesn’t lie in their money decisions, but in a weak marketing strategy. This is where you need to go from beginning to end of the process. Examine every step from beginning to end. How are people learning (or not learning) about you? How are you promoting your business? Are you actively networking? Advertising? Getting press? Is your website up to snuff? What is your sales process like? Are you considering your brand in your sale? Or – are you just talking about services? Are you creating a connection with the client? Are you short-selling yourself? Are you underselling yourself? Are you not listening for true needs?

Like I said – making money is a strategy that has many layers. But, beginning with these 3 things will help you shift your business. I guarantee you’ll see more profits over time!

What do you think? What’s been helpful in creating more profit in your business? Share in a comment below!

If you are looking for better ways to create a strategy for the New Year, you can plan out your 2017 by downloading the world-famous Sage Wedding Pros’ Action Plan here. If you need more help with your financial strategy, sign up for Accounting 101 .

Michelle Loretta is a consultant for wedding and event professionals and founder of Sage Wedding Pros. She blends her past as an accountant for Deloitte, a sales and marketing manager for DDLA, a merchandiser for Coach, and a stationery entrepreneur to help entrepreneurs better their businesses. Sage Wedding Pros produce The Simple Plan Workshop, The People Plan Workshop, and Be Sage Conference. Michelle has been asked to speak at NACE Experience, ALT Summit, ABC, NAWP Conference, Biz Bash Live, and a number of other seminars and workshops.

 

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How to Build a Solid Foundation in Your Wedding Business

By Kellie Daab, iDo Collective

As wedding professionals, there’s little hurdle to hanging your business flag. A business license, a logo, some creativity, and a lot of grunt work and -viola- you have a business! But many times, wedding pros skip some important foundational steps when building their business. 

Skipping over these cornerstones often leads to apparent weaknesses once the business begins to grow and attract more attention. Investing the time and energy required in building a solid foundation for your business is the single most important decision a wedding business owner can make to guarantee longevity and growth year over year. 

Take time to learn about and be sure that these 4 following cornerstones of your business are safely in tact this year: 

Business License, Registration, and Taxation: 

Understanding and following the requirement of your state for running your business is so important. You’ll need to register and license your business as well as register the business with the IRS. You’ll receive an EIN number and paperwork stating that your business is legally established in the state. Because there is some cost to this, many businesses skip over this step in favor of taking clients and making revenue. But this cornerstone is the single most important investment you’ll make in your business when you’re first starting out. 

Contracts and Legal Help: 

If you’re not using an iron clad contract with your clients, you’re leaving yourself and your business open to litigation or at the very least refunding. Be sure that you develop a contract that protects you and your clients and that it is reviewed by a legal professional. You may also encounter copyrights, trademark, and licensing issues that will need the help of a lawyer. By establishing that connection early in your business you’ll always have a legal backing in the case of unforeseen circumstances. 

Business Financing: 

Waiting till after you’ve spent an entire wedding season collecting payments and making payments isn’t exactly the best time to try to get your finances in order. Don’t hang your sign until you have a business checking and savings account, a checking and balancing software, and an invoicing system. These few investments will help you to get your accounting and business financing on the right path before you begin accepting new clients. This way meeting the needs of your clients, while keeping impeccable records, will be easy for them and will put a professional foot forward for you. 

Business Blueprint:     

Blueprinting your business is an essential step in creating an action plan and strategy. A blueprint lays out the plans and procedures you’ll follow in building your business. It establishes what steps you’ll take and what is required to build a successful business. When you skip the blueprinting step in your business you find yourself “playing catch up”. You’ll be learning what you should have done-- not necessarily what you had planned that didn’t work. Without a blueprint or plan for growth and structure in your business, you’ll find yourself trying many different tactics and not knowing what has or has not worked. Creating a business blueprint keeps you accountable to an action plan, gives you steps for growing your business, and create strategies for working within your zone of genius. 

Does your business have a solid foundation? Are you ready to build up your structures with a firm foundation? If not, take some time and row backwards a bit. Invest time and money into the above cornerstones and you’ll find that growing and scaling your business will happen more quickly, be easier to establish, and will keep your business structure from crumbling. 

 

Kellie Daab, owner of iDo Collective, is a wedding business architect. She is the creator of the Wedding Business Blueprint process and provides services specifically to wedding professionals. Kellie has been working in the wedding industry for 12 years. She has owned her own wedding planning and design firm, worked in high end hospitality, and produced events for a multi-million dollar catering company. Kellie is the host of the free Facebook group Wedding Industry Opportunities and Collaborations. Her work can be found on Huffington Post, Preston Bailey, Evolve Your Wedding Business, Wedding Business Workshops, Aisle Planner, Brides, The Knot and many more local publications. Coffee is her spirit animal and paper products are her obsession. 

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The 2017 Wedding Industry Report

Hello, friends! 

I am thrilled to share some exciting news with you all today! I have been included in the 2017 Wedding Industry Report, an annual publication that is released by The Academy of Wedding and Event Planning and looks at upcoming trends for the year ahead. I am honored by the opportunity to be a part of the third annual report, so be sure to check it out here and read up on everything to expect in 2017.

~Kevin

Kevin Dennis is the editor of WeddingIQ and owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the current chapter president for Silicon Valley NACE, and the immediate past national president for WIPA.

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See You at TSE 2017!

It’s almost the New Year, which means The Special Event 2017 is growing closer and closer! I, for one, cannot wait. TSE has always been a wonderful experience, between all of the educational programs and meeting such great event pros from around the world.

I’m thrilled to share that I’ll be speaking not once, but twice at the conference. On Tuesday, I’ll be covering The Latest and Greatest in Lighting and Décor Trends at 9:45 am. Then, on Wednesday, I have the pleasure of being a panelist on A Technophile, An App Enthusiast, a Skeptic and a Luddite (guess which one I am!), a discussion about the growth of business technology at 4:30 pm.

Last year, I brought home so much valuable insight and a feeling of inspiration. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed with the lineup.

The Special Event 2017 will be held from January 10-12 at the Convention Center in Long Beach, CA. Interested in joining? We’d love to see you there! Get your tickets here and comment below if you plan on attending.

Setting Goals: Here are the things you aren’t doing

By Jennifer Taylor, Taylor’d Events

We all have goals, whether in work or in life, but what’s the point of a goal if you’re not making any progress towards it? Many people have intentions without further plans to reach them and often find themselves disappointed when they realize they’re no closer than they were one year prior. The good news – this problem can be combatted with a few simple steps to create a plan of attack for obtainable goals. 

Put pen to paper

Oftentimes, people think up a list of goals that they would love to achieve – but that’s where it stays. Instead of trusting your brain to keep you on track, writing down your aims is the very first step to reaching them. In school, they told you that writing notes will help you retain the information – well, it’s the same concept! Putting your goals down on paper will give you a visual perspective of what you want to do and the steps that will get you there. Pin them up in a place that you’ll see them every day to maintain your drive. I keep my list up in my office so my team can see them as well. This is especially important if you’re tying incentives into goals, which we’ll cover in a bit.

Dream big

It sounds cliché, but dreaming big is indeed your key to success. Many people are afraid to set such lofty goals with fear of failure or the assumption that they’re not capable or worthy of these ambitions. While this may be a difficult mindset to overcome, it’s important to have faith in yourself and aim high. At the end of the day, even if you haven’t met all of your goals, you’ll at least know you’re making progress and you’ll have a better idea of what your next steps are.

Share them

After you come up with your own goals (see steps 1 and 2!), it’s imperative to share them with your team. Encourage your team to come up with their objectives and set some time aside for everyone to express their top goals for the upcoming year. Some people are afraid to share their ideal numbers, but transparency is crucial in this situation. Your employees need to know your mindset as you go into the next year and you should have an idea of what your employees are aiming for in order to help them along the way. Ask them how you can help support them – they’ll be thinking the same for you! In addition to a built-in support system, your team can also hold you accountable and vice versa.

Offer incentives

We all need something to keep us motivated, so be sure not to forget about your employees while you’re planning out your own year. While your employees may have their own big goals, it’s important to work with them to create smaller milestones along the way as incentives to keep them motivated. It doesn’t have to be a cash bonus – it can be as simple as an extra day off, a spa day, or a trip to an industry conference. When your employees are able to track their progress and feel validated for their accomplishments, they’ll feel much more motivated to keep striving towards their big goals.

Feeling motivated? You should be! Remember that you can achieve only as much as you allow yourself, so take these tips into account and stay confident. Now, about that pen and paper…

Jennifer Taylor is the owner of Taylor’d Events Group, a planning firm that specializes in celebrations of all kinds in the Pacific Northwest and Maui. She is also the creator of The Taylor’d Plan, a self-administered class for wedding planners who are new to the industry and looking to grow and develop their skills.

 

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