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.
Any business owner knows that hiring the right people is incredibly important to their success. Less clear, however, is exactly how to do it. How can we find good people, train them effectively, and motivate them to represent the brand we’ve worked so hard to create? Here are five steps to building the best team for your business:
Know your brand, inside and out. You certainly can’t expect anyone else to understand your brand if you don’t understand it yourself. And if you don’t understand it, you definitely can’t articulate it to your team! Your brand encompasses what your company does (its service or product), who it serves (your target clientele including demographics, style, budget, buying habits, priorities, and values), how your marketing looks, why you’re different from your competition, and how people perceive your company when they hear its name. Make sure you’re crystal clear on all of these things, so that you can define your brand to the team you’re hiring.
Look for people who are not only good, but good for you. In most wedding-related fields, character traits are as important, if not more important, than education and job skills. You can usually train people on how to do something, but you can’t train them to have the personality, values and qualities that will make them the right fit for your business. I recommend that every business owner identify 3-5 key traits as a starting point for narrowing down new hires – for example, in my DJ business, I chose nice, polished and resourceful. I need genuinely good people, whose appearance and demeanor reflect well on the professionalism of my company’s brand, and who are capable of thinking on their feet and solving problems creatively. My team and I can teach them how to DJ and how to work a wedding, but if they don’t have those three essential qualities, it’s never going to work.
Create a training program that immerses your people in your brand. Of course you can’t send your new hires into the field without training them – but keep in mind that teaching someone how to perform a job function is just the bare minimum. An effective training program goes deep into your company culture – its history, values, philosophy, and brand – and makes its students feel like they’re really becoming part of something meaningful. It also requires a significant time investment on the part of its students. When someone has put a great deal of time and effort into something, this creates commitment.
Walk the walk. As a business owner, your employees and contractors are looking to you not only for leadership, but for inspiration. Do you live by the values you promote to your team? Are you representing your brand the way you expect them to represent it? It’s important to you to come across to your people as genuine and sincere, because no one will ever willingly put more into your company than you do.
Don’t forget about motivation. Once you get a good team in place, believe me – you want to keep them! Creating loyalty can be boiled down to two essential points: be the best in your field (because people like being part of a brand that rocks!) and be better to work for than your competitors. You want to offer not only fair compensation, but also provide ongoing support, training, and a fun and friendly working environment. Talk to the people who work for you and find out what they value in an employer – only then can you ensure you’re meeting their needs and increasing your likelihood of keeping your “dream team” intact.
Once you have a great team in place, representing your brand well at each wedding you work, you almost can’t help but become more successful. It’s a snowball effect, and it takes some of the pressure off you as the business owner when you can rely on great employees and contractors to be your ambassadors.