There is a concept in business I use with my clients called the strategy calendar. This concept, when used well will, helps to add a few more brides to your calendar each year. Problem is, most people have not a clue what this concept is. I will explain the concept and the implementation of the concept. Please note that this concept is for many in the wedding industry, but not all. If you sell a product and are not limited by the amount you can sell, this concept may not work as well for you (though there are slices you can use to better plan your year).
The strategy calendar is simply looking forward with your best guesses (based on experience) and color coding a calendar so you have a best possible vision towards your year. The purpose in having this is to know going into a potential meeting with a bride the value of the day that she is looking to book. For example a Saturday on a prime date which you know is going to book, you will be less apt to haggle with the bride to book. With that said, if it is two months out and you understand that most brides book 6-8 months out and the date is not filled, you will know ahead to act accordingly.
Here is your homework: grab a 2013 calendar (you can find one online to print out -one page preferred). Once you have the calendar, grab three color highlighter markers (doesn’t matter which color, but for arguments sake, we will use green, yellow and blue). I now want you to mark up the prime Saturdays that you would bet will be booked. For example if June is a prime month for you, mark (use yellow) those Saturdays which you would bet will book. It is best that you plot out the holidays and seasonal events (keep in mind what is happening in the local area, whether it be festivals or college sports, what have you). Use blue to mark those dates.
Next I want you to plot out secondary dates that you feel would be good to book. (Mark these dates green -like money ). These would include off season Saturdays and prime season Fridays and Sundays. The cool part about this part of the calendar is that being armed with this information of the prime and sub-prime dates when you go into an appointment, you will be a bit more prepared which always helps and never hurts.
Having this calendar in a place where you see it everyday further causes a little fire to light under your fanny. You will see this every day and become much more aware of the times of year that your marketing should be booking for you without trying hard. Further, it might give you a little leverage to get out there faster, stronger, better, further. You can also plan ahead for the major conferences and industry events which are important for your business that you be in attendance.
For those of you who have employees or subcontractors, it is almost crucial that you share this calendar with them. The reason why you should share is simple: you need them there in the prime time of year. If they know in advance that taking a vacation or asking for time away for work needs to take place when there is less business happening, not more.
The strategy calendar will take about 2 hours out of a day to set up, but will help add and protect your business for the coming year.