I have a simple question for all of you; How many of you plan on being in business in 2010? My guess is that most of you plan on being in business, but don’t Have a plan on how to make that happen. This is not a slight or insult, but simply an observation. I am hearing many people pulling back their advertising right now. May I suggest that should your plan be to be in business next year, that pulling back your marketing is a horrible, terrible idea. The reason why it is easy to pull back your advertising is simple; it costs you money and you don’t know if it works. You may have solid ideas of whether it works (or not). It is simple to believe that it doesn’t work because it can be so blasted expensive! You may even ask your Brides when they come in “how’d you hear about us?”. Put yourself in their shoes-they’re stressed, they’re spending more money then they have ever spent (and probably will never spend again except when their daughters get married), they have people pushing and pulling them in each direction-Overwhelming isn’t it! Now being overwhelmed like this, do you think their priority is to give proper credit to the advertising source? Every business needs to market and advertise their business. Failure to do this will cause them to not be known and not get the proper prospects to come through their doors. As I mentioned before, most Advertising sources are pretty expensive. Because of this, it is imperative that you learn how to track or measure your advertising and marketing efforts. Measuring your results can be a challenge. I have seen most people simply give up because again it is too hard. I have found that there are specific ways to make this happen, however everyone who touches the Bride needs to be on the same page of music with this. If you have any other people other than yourselves who meet with the Bride, they need to understand the necessity of finding out how she go there. There is also the case of referrals (both from other professionals as well as other Brides). When they come specifically from a referred source, you will typically know when it comes from another vendor (Hopefully they will have let you know prior to the Bride walking through your doors). I have developed a list of proven ways that have been effective in helping Wedding Businesses find out which advertising/marketing was working for them. For a copy of this free report, “7 Ways to track your advertising”, simply reply to this email, and I will send it out to you. If you can measure it-you can manage it. The biggest issue that most Wedding Businesses face is simply not having enough Brides. Finding effective marketing is the key to solving that issue. When you measure accurately and can better define the good sources of business from the bad, you can both reward the advertising that works and cut out the advertising that takes money out of your business. One final point for this week. The news is filled with nothing but bad news lately. Can I point out that we as small business owners face the greatest prospects. Let me explain; When you work for someone else (even the government) you are subject to their decisions, their directions, and their failures (they will share failures with you, but are typically hard to find to share the successes). By owning our own businesses, we hold our fates in our own hands. We have the ability to act and make things happen. We have the responsibility of failures as well as the joys of our own successes. Simply put-it is square on our shoulders. It may seem scary in hard times, but again, it is better to at least have your own abilities and your own judgement at the help, no? I have said that we were having a day at the beach and a Tsunami washed us out to sea. We now have the task at hand to swim like crazy to make it back to shore. We Will. We will again bask in the sun and enjoy our businesses again. Hold your heads up and just keep swimming! (to borrow a line from Nemo). There is no place I would rather be, but to be in control of my own destiny!