This post was written by Leila Lewis of Be Inspired PR. As a business school graduate from Santa Clara University, Leila (Khalil) Lewis’ career began in publishing, where she worked in marketing and editorial roles for business and lifestyle publications. Since transitioning into the wedding business in 2004, Leila has over 10 years of wedding marketing experience under her belt, and is the industry’s go-to for wedding public relations services, brand development and business consulting.
As a business consultant that specializes in collaborating with wedding industry creatives, I am consistently working with different wedding professionals who are trying to kick-off their new business or revamp their old business. Commonly wedding pros that come to me for business help are what I like to call “slashers” — pros who offer more than one wedding service.
What is a slasher?
A slasher is someone who offers multiple services and/or products. They may be a wedding photographer, but are also a wedding planner/stationery designer/DJ/caterer. If you’re a creative person, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being a slasher and wanting to offer up a wide variety of your skills and passions to your clients. You’re already in the wedding industry and have an eye for aesthetic, so you decide to take on different hobbies that relate to the industry: calligraphy, baking, floral design, etc. While these skills can help you for all things wedding-related, tacking it on as another tab on your website can confuse your clients and can actually distract your business instead of helping to it grow if you’re not careful.
How can being a slasher affect your business?
You might think that having more service options will increase your amount of business, but that’s not always true. Often, it can be better to pick your area of expertise, and hone your skills and offerings in that specific area to do it very well.
For example, let’s look at the popular fast food chain, In-N-Out burger. They have a focused menu of only burgers, shakes and fries, but are one of the busiest fast-food restaurants with the most dedicated and loyal customers (have you seen those drive-thru lines?!). In the same sense, offering one service gives you the focus and dedication to do it to the best of your ability – and you can opt to expand your business in the one category instead of spreading yourself and your offering thin across several categories or service areas.
Offering too many things not only divides your attention, but can also lead to other companies seeing you as competitors instead of collaborators. Will other Wedding Planners refer you to their clients for Photography if you also offer Planning? They will likely turn to another non-competitive Pro. I recommend you find your niche and stick with it – this will help your business achieve its maximum potential and keep you passionate about the work you do. Use your other skills/talents in areas like creating a beautiful social media feed that will impress engaged couples and show off your personality. For example, if you love baking, use that skill to showcase your aesthetic on Instagram and let clients get to know your personal interests beyond photography or planning.
How do you pick your area of focus?
The best way to determine your area of focus is to look at it practically and financially. While it is easy to just want to choose your favorite (or the easiest) skill, you need to think strategically. Ask yourself: which of these skills are you best at, and will bring you the most satisfaction while also being financially abiding? Truly analyze your business and take time to weigh out the pros and cons of each before making your decision.
Once you set your area of expertise more clearly, you can focus on honing your skills, collecting great reviews, networking, and updating your marketing materials to focus on your niche. You can even explore adding more service offering or expanding your packages in your niche to grow your business. You’ll start to see more clients excited about your work, which can help establish your business as a leader in your local area, and then grow your business by increasing prices or expanding your team as demand increases.
If you’re currently a slasher, don’t fret! It’s more common than you think, and it’s never too late to streamline and improve your business. Check out #BIPRconsulting for more tips to meet the maximum potential for your business.