In a former work life, I was the Southeast regional manager for a construction supply company. In this position in addition to my other duties, I would attend various trade shows to meet with vendors. One such trade show that I attended was the International Woodworkers show in Atlanta, Ga. For those of you who have not been to the Georgia World Congress Center, it is huge (much like the convention centers in Chicago, Orlando and Vegas).
In this show, there were displayed huge machines which one could put in a piece of lumber and it would kick out the cut, trimmed, routed and ready for assembly pieces on the other side (as one of my associates said-“You put a tree in one side and it comes out a rocking chair on the other”) What awesome machines these were which were fine tuned to perform the necessary processes of mass production.
In working with the good, the bad, and the ugly of wedding businesses over the past decade, I have seen one consistent with those of the “good” category; they didn’t become a “good” business by chance. Much like the person on top of the mountain, they did not fall there, but had to climb. They had devolved ways of doing business or processes which worked for them consistently and they continued to use these “systems” towards their success.
Each successful business needs typically to form systems in four areas of their business in order to have a business that has value and does not rule over the life of the business owner. Here are the four areas:
1. Marketing (turning Suspects into Prospects)
2. Sales (turning Prospects into Customers)
3. Customer Service (turning Customers into fans)
4. Fulfillment (Giving your customers what they paid for and more)
I have typically found that most wedding businesses rate somewhere between good and great in the fourth area. They know what to do when they show up to take pictures on the day of the wedding, they know the process for getting the wedding cake from flour to finished, and they know the preparation involved in order to fulfill the product or service that the Bride is purchasing.
The lacking on the other “systems” is why the typical wedding business does not have enough cash flow/revenue coming through their doors and why they struggle from the start of their business to unfortunately the end of their business. In order to overcome this struggle, it is necessary to develop a system which will be able to get the newly engaged Bride who has typically never bought your product/service before to begin the process and end up with a reasonable number of happy customers at the end of the process. At this point, it becomes a numbers game (you know that you need (x) number of Bridal leads each year which will result in (y) number of paying customers).
There are typically steps in each successful system which need to be taken. There are also consistent in successful business the same type of steps taken in order to have the same result. I regularly consult with wedding businesses who, when they take these steps find three things:
1. Greater results in what they are trying to achieve
2. Ease of life-they are actually running their business, not vice versa
3. They save money on wasted marketing, employees and other distractions which do not add to their bottom line.
If you do not have these systems in place, take a strong look at getting them there. You will be glad you did not skip this crucial step towards your business success. By the way, if you need a little nudge in getting started, give me a call.