» Creating an Efficient, Sustainable Work Culture

When your work culture is efficient and sustainable, your industry peers, clients and prospects tend to see you differently. It is inviting to top talent and intriguing to those who want to know the secret of your success – attention for all the right reasons. A strong, efficient work culture paired with a desirable and quality product or services is a recipe for great achievement.

What should your culture include?

Begin by examining your values. How do you want others to perceive your business? What sets you apart from your competition? When someone sees your logo or hears your business name, what is the first thing you hope comes to mind?

Choose an atmosphere that both reflects where you and your employees want to work, and the kind of business your prospective clients want to work with. Are you the formal, business-like entity that values strict deadlines or are you more playful and laidback? While you are free to define your work culture any way you want, there is a consequence of becoming discordant with your base clientele. Consider their needs and perceptions before you adopt anything too wildly out of character.

Culture sustainability

Creating a work culture is not a one-off event. You need to nurture your employees, hear their input and resolve their concerns. At Fantasy Sound, we hold an annual retreat to get out of the office, brush off the cobwebs and bring in fresh air and perspective. During these retreats, we hold honest conversations about what is working and what needs improvement. Everyone’s voice is heard.

Throughout the year, we also check in with our team to confirm we are staying on track. The effort to sustain a great work culture is worth the outcome for the business and staff alike.

Efficiency promotes satisfaction

You can have the coolest company culture around, but failure to provide efficient, reliable services will kill even the hippest businesses fast. Take steps to make your company culture is one that prizes productivity and efficiency.

Manage time wisely. We employ time mapping across all of Fantasy Sound, making firm appointments with ourselves to ensure that everything we need to do gets done, and done well. This ensures a high-quality customer experience and great reviews, which in turn feeds employee spirit.

We also seek out technology that resolves issues that would otherwise become pain points. The keys to successfully employing technology to boost productivity are to carefully weigh your options, choose the best products for your needs, and to provide training and support for your staff to make adoption go smoothly.

Managing time and using technology contribute to our ability to serve our internal and external clients and maintain a productive work environment. An efficient team is a happy team.

It is almost impossible to overstate the impact that atmosphere and employee engagement has on the success of a business. The key to achieving this level of employee satisfaction and performance is creating an efficient and sustainable work culture.

Kevin Dennis is the editor of WeddingIQ and the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the past president for Silicon Valley NACE, and national vice president for WIPA.

» How to Balance Work Personalities

This article was written by Kevin Dennis, editor of WeddingIQ

Maintaining a positive workplace is a key to success. After all, a business runs best when employees are engaged and focused on work instead of office politics.

A comfortable work environment starts at the hiring process — qualifying candidates based on your company’s core values will ensure that your employees will form a solid team. I look for someone who is energetic, confident, eager to learn, and interested in our company. In our situation, experience isn’t necessary as we are happy to train on site, but a keen interest and knowledge of our company shows passion to be a part of our team. At the end of the day, that speaks more than job experience.

Cultivating a positive work culture starts at the top — it’s up to a business owner to create an environment where work gets done and employees feel comfortable communicating with one another. At Fantasy Sound, we have daily “Sound Off” meetings that allow us to discuss our service standards for the day and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Employees feel engaged and empowered when they feel that their voices are heard, so listen up. It only takes 15 minutes of the day, but it keeps morale high and sets our company up to continue providing excellent service.

We also have weekly department meetings that help to keep us operating efficiently. Not only do these meetings hold everyone accountable, but I’ve noticed a rise in our team productivity as well since hot issues can be addressed all at once.

In addition to open communication, every business owner wants to instill a culture where employees look forward to going to work. How do you do that, you ask? Simple: plan fun teambuilding activities to get rid of the proverbial cobwebs. For example, we host birthday lunches for every employee which is always a nice time to look forward to. We’ve also recently started an ongoing Mario Kart tournament within the office for a taste of healthy and fun competition.

Even still, internal conflict is inevitable in any office and it’s up to business owners to navigate these waters with caution. I personally try to address conflicts as they happen, as opposed to seeing if they can work out on their own. Waiting too long can cause a minor disagreement to fester into something larger, which can be detrimental to your overall work culture.

With that said, I do recommend waiting a bit if the conflict is particularly emotional. Address it once the emotions pass and everyone involved can approach it with a cool head. Letting emotions mix into the discussion can cause the problem to get even worse. Sit down with each party individually before setting a time for a group meeting. That way, you can go into the discussion with the full picture and offer ideas for solutions. When counseling employees, avoid taking sides by sticking to your company values. Appeal to their commitment to the company and work together to find a solution that keeps everyone happy. Chances are that if you hired the right people from the get-go, any internal conflicts can be overcome with open and honest communication.

Kevin Dennis is the editor of WeddingIQ and the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the past president for Silicon Valley NACE, and national vice president for WIPA.

» Wedding PR: What’s a Company Philosophy and Why Does It Matter?

WeddingWire Education Expert

Meghan Ely

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. As a highly sought-after speaker in the wedding industry, she is the exclusive Wedding PR Education Expert for WeddingWire as well as the national Communications and Marketing Director for WIPA. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you, as well as more about our new wedding PR kits, please visit us today.

There are a number of considerations when starting your wedding PR process, from research to branding to organization. However, there’s one piece of the puzzle that will guide you along the way – your philosophy.

Wedding PR: What’s a Company Philosophy and Why Does It Matter?“Isn’t that for big corporate companies?”

While large organizations wear their philosophies on their sleeve, it’s just as important for small businesses to have tenets that keep them on the right track. A company philosophy explains the mission statement – how do you plan to achieve it and why is it relevant?

Philosophy goes hand-in-hand with branding – it’s what makes your brand come to life. Not only does it motivate you to achieve success, but it points you in the right direction. When developing your philosophy, remember that it’ll follow you every day, so it must fall in line with your personal values.

“Although we’re always working to grow our philosophy, we hold a few tenets close to our hearts: perfect fit, responsibility, handmade craftsmanship, and exceptional value,” shares Araceli Vizcaino-S, Community Manager of Azazie. “This guides every decision in the business- including how we grow our press portfolio. When you see us in the news, you’ll find that we often incorporate our tenets into our commentary in an effort to better educate readers.”

On that note, it’s important to establish a philosophy that is simple and realistic. It has to be actionable, so limit it to three or four tenets that are most important to you. Once in place, allow it to lead you in major decisions – from hiring to partnerships to press submissions.

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» Are You Addicted to Competition?

Pro to Pro Insights

Laura Cannon

This post was written by Laura Cannon, President of the International Association of Professional Wedding Officants and owner of Ceremony Officiants™, an award-winning team of officiants serving 8 states on the East Coast. A member of the National Speakers Association, Laura is passionate about bridging the gap between spirituality and business and teaching others how to bring more love, balance, and mindfulness into their lives. Visit her website to learn more.

It’s no secret that competition can be fierce in the wedding and events industry, with a crowded marketplace of wedding professionals vying for business in practically every corner of the globe. Competition can bring out the best in entrepreneurs by spurring innovation and creative solutions, and fueling a desire to constantly push the limits of what’s possible. But is there a hidden cost in being addicted to competition?

Arm wrestling competitionThe Art of War

Inc. Magazine recently named The Art of War by Sun Tzu, an ancient Chinese treatise on military strategy and tactics, as one of the top ten most influential business books of all time. Although it wasn’t written as a business book, it has had a huge influence on capitalism in both the East and West, with many Japanese corporations making the book required reading for executives. The notion of treating competitors as enemies to be conquered, an “us against them” attitude, is generally accepted and encouraged in business – with few questions asked about its effects on companies, people, or the broader economy.

Viewing competitors as enemies can have many short-term benefits, but it’s a perspective that also comes with unintended long-term consequences. Like anything in life, a competitive mindset is best used in moderation – it may be helpful in some situations, but could become detrimental if it gets out of hand. What happens when a competitive mindset becomes an addiction?

The Price of Competition

Anyone who has achieved great success in business, or at anything in life, can tell you that winning feels good. The problem is, the good feeling doesn’t last long, and once you’ve had it you only want more. To get more of that good feeling, you stay locked into the competitive mindset.

Focusing too much on competition can easily become an addictive cycle that takes on a life of its own. Just like any addiction, the competitive mindset may have short term rewards but it also has long term consequences.

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Comparative Social Science, happiness decreases as the level of competition increases. It is nearly impossible to win 100% of the time, but of course as business owners, we want to be the best in our trade. When it doesn’t happen we are left feeling angry, humiliated, worthless, and ashamed.

To make matters even worse, since people typically avoid feeling those types of negative feelings, they tend to unconsciously project that negativity onto others by gossiping and attempting to discredit them in some way. This way of being creates even more negativity in our lives and in our industry as a whole. It’s a way to become caught in a never-ending loop of habitually focusing on the external world to determine our internal sense of self-worth.

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» Inside WeddingWire: Housewarming!

This Wednesday was WeddingWire’s 6th birthday! What better way to celebrate than to throw a party in our new WeddingWire Headquarters and cheers to the many great accomplishments over the past six years?

We celebrated by inviting some friends to our official WeddingWire Headquarters Housewarming reception. We loved sharing our new space with the local Washington, DC area community, and reflecting on the company’s growth – from a living room set-up with four employees to an entire 25,000 square foot floor with over 200 employees – in six exciting years!

At the reception, WeddingWire CEO, Timothy Chi, was honored to accept a certificate of celebration from our local Montgomery County Executive, Isiah Leggett. After quick remarks, guests and the WeddingWire team enjoyed mixing and mingling over light fare and some bubbly, while giving office tours to get a full view of the new space. Guests viewed our event-themed conference rooms, got a feel for our open floor plan and the  Executive Suite, and of course, checked out our popular WeddingWire Café for grab and go snacks and drinks! All guests left with fun party favors including a WeddingWire cookie from Kalorama Cookie Company and a packet of Forget Me Not flower seeds to say “thanks for helping us grow!

Check out some photo highlights from the reception and an inside look at our Headquarters, below!

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» Inside WeddingWire: Core Values

If you ask any WeddingWire employee their favorite element of our company, the culture and great people are always at the top of the list!

We firmly believe that great people make a great company. WeddingWire’s core values reflect the top characteristics that make up our dedicated team, and are important principles of how we function as a business day-to-day.

What are our values?

  • Delight Customers
  • Work Smart
  • Be Curious
  • Be Bold
  • Fail Fast

What core values does your business follow? We would love to hear from you in a comment!

If you do not already have values established, the start of a new year is a great time to reflect on the missions you build your business around, the qualities that all your employees should reflect, your passion, and what sets you apart from the competition!

» Inside WeddingWire: Company Culture

One of my favorite things about working at WeddingWire (and I think a majority of our employees would agree) is our amazing company culture.

From our “take what you need” buzzed about vacation policy, to exciting company-wide events and parties to celebrate important milestones, there are a long list of reasons that make working at WeddingWire a positive and fun environment! That, combined with the fact that we get to develop great products and provide education to grow the businesses of wonderful Wedding Pros like you every day, makes us a very lucky team!

Check out a few examples of how some of our employees let their personalities shine through at their desks!



















































» Inside WeddingWire: Flag Football!

At WeddingWire, we are not only the #1 Wedding Network, but we are also on our way to being the reigning champions of our local flag football team!

Members of our WeddingWire team look forward to flag football season every year. Currently, this year’s  team is 4-2 and are in a three-way tie for the lead in the division, with just 2 games remaining in the regular season!

For all you football fans, be sure to check out some of our season highlights:

  • General Manager and Team Owner, Lee Wang (COO) has done a great job putting together this year’s co-ed football team,  “WaiverWire” (seen with team mascot “George” Wang)
  • The offense is scoring in bunches, averaging an all-time best 29.5 points/ game, led by WR Chris Brooks (IT Support), WR Cristina Fiormanti (Sales Team) and WR Kate Sanford (Development Team)
  • The defense has been a highlight of the year, only allowing 18.8 points/game, led by DB Mike Wilde (Sales Team), DB Alex Daniels (Sales Operations) and DB Becky Matlack (Sales Team)
  • Although starting QB Joe Ruzzi (Sales Team) was unfortunately lost for the season due to a broken wrist, TE Brendan McClellan (Customer Success Management) looks to step into the starting quarterback role with two games left in the regular season in hopes of getting WaiverWire its first birth into the playoffs

At WeddingWire, our close-knit team enjoys spending time together inside and outside of the office, and flag football is one of WeddingWire’s favorite team building traditions. Stay tuned for more Inside WeddingWire posts to take a glimpse into our office and our people!

» Inside WeddingWire: Q1 Celebration!

At WeddingWire, we believe in “working hard and playing hard!” At the end of every business quarter, we  look forward to bringing the full company together to celebrate all the hard work and accomplishments from the past few months, and spend time enjoying great company, food and drinks!

Recently, we held our annual Quarter 1 party at Cafe Asia in downtown Washington, DC, which has become our traditional location over the years. Check out some photos below of the WeddingWire team celebrating the end of an excellent start to the year!

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