This post is by Jennifer Reitmeyer. Jennifer has worked in the wedding industry since 1997. In addition to owning MyDeejay, an award-winning wedding entertainment firm serving the Washington, D.C. market, she also maintains a wedding business blog, WeddingIQ, and a blogging and social media service for wedding businesses, Firebrand Messaging. Jennifer is available for small business coaching, speaking, and writing opportunities. Read more at jenniferreitmeyer.com.
Last month, I shared some tips on working effectively with photographers to secure the images you want and need for your marketing. That was just one example of how a good relationship with other Pros can benefit our businesses, and it illustrated the value of professional partnerships. Partnering with other wedding vendors should be a priority for any business owner in this industry, for a number of reasons:
Partnerships create opportunities to collaborate. Vendors with great relationships can find a variety of ways to work together: co-hosting an industry event; organizing and executing a styled shoot; dually offering a special promotion to clients; even launching a new venture like a blog or a side business. I’ve done several of these things myself and I’ve always appreciated the experience of working alongside others I respect, as well as the added benefit of exposure to one another’s network of clients and colleagues.
Partnerships generate referrals. Practically every wedding vendor gets asked for suggestions in other service categories. And when that question arises, we naturally think of other professionals we trust. Partnering with other vendors often results in referrals not only to clients, but also to other vendors and to opportunities we might never have had otherwise (wedding shows, media exposure, speaking engagements, guest blogging…the list goes on and on!).
Partnerships build credibility. Being associated with other reputable, high-quality Pros is a boost to your own reputation – clients and vendors alike tend to think more highly of business owners who can work well with others in their field. Face it: if one of your colleagues recommends you for something – let’s say an award, or placement in an exclusive vendor list, or a leadership position in an organization – that recommendation is more likely to be considered than if you were “nominating” yourself.
Partnerships provide support. There’s been a big push in the wedding industry toward embracing the concept of community, something I wholeheartedly support. (I do have some concerns about the vilification of healthy competition, but that’s another story!) I don’t know a wedding vendor alive who doesn’t count other Pros among their closest friends, and that’s invaluable in an industry as exhilarating – and exhausting – as weddings. When you partner with someone on both a professional level and a friendship level, everything seems more manageable, and you’ll receive more practical support than practically anyone else could give you.
How do you form a professional partnership? A great starting place is at your weddings. Consider which vendors you’ve worked with lately – have any of those done a great job, been personable and relatable, and made you want to work with them again? Try reaching out for coffee or a chat and see where that leads. Look into joining a networking organization, one that focuses on idea-sharing and collaboration. Even joining the right Facebook group or taking a business-related class can introduce you to fantastic Pros you might not have otherwise met. The key is identifying people whose business practices and personality both resonate with you, and then proactively pursuing a connection. It’s easy for any of us to procrastinate about forming new relationships (or strengthening existing ones) – but if you make yourself take the lead, I’m pretty sure only good things are going to happen for you and for your business.