» Strategic Planning for the “Slow Season”

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.

For many wedding businesses, the insanity of the fall wedding season and winter holiday parties leads to a much-needed slow period in the New Year. Of course we’re all grateful for an opportunity to rest and recharge, but keep in mind that January-March is the perfect time to conduct strategic planning to jump-start your business (and increase your income!).

Strategic Planning for the "Slow Season"Most of us know that a ton of couples become engaged over the holidays and Valentine’s Day, while couples who’ve been procrastinating often resume their planning after the New Year. While you’ll undoubtedly be busy fielding inquiries from these couples, you’ll probably also be executing fewer events in the first quarter, so it’s smart to use the extra time to do things that will positively affect your business all year long.

You’ll want to start by identifying your business goals for the year: quantitative goals related to revenue, number of events booked, and number of referrals earned, as well as qualitative goals such as doing more networking or earning an award in your field.

Once you know what you hope to achieve, you can then break down those goals into individual projects and tasks that can be completed during the first quarter.

Some examples:

  • Set aside time to review all your current processes and workflows. Are you spending your time on activities that increase your profits? Are there ways you could be more effective? Is everyone on your team contributing in a meaningful way? Are there tasks you’ve been putting off?
  • Create a strategy for enhancing your relationships. Relationships, and the referrals that result, are hugely important in this industry. Therefore, you’ll want to create a two-part plan for building relationships with both your clients (past and present) and with other wedding professionals. The plan might include outreach strategies (such as networking events, one-on-one lunch or coffee meetups, or site visits) as well as seasonal promotions (such as cards or tokens of appreciation).
  • Decide where you’ll exhibit your business. If your business participates in wedding shows or venue open houses, now’s the time to plan which of these events will have the greatest rate of return on your investment, and ensure that you’re registered. It’s also a great time to review your display and your marketing materials to make sure they reflect your current brand image.
  • Look for opportunities for additional exposure. Properly utilizing social media, writing for (or submitting images to) wedding blogs, and joining industry organizations are just a few ways you can enhance your profile within your field. As with any opportunity, you’ll want to consider the time commitment involved, as well as whether you’ll actually be in front of an “audience” that can benefit your business.
  • Plan some down time. Okay, so this isn’t technically a “project.” However, it’s important to take advantage of the quieter times of the year, and block off some relaxation for ourselves. After all, many of us chose to start our own business in order to give ourselves some freedom and control over our schedule. Make sure you’re enjoying one of the biggest benefits of self-employment!

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