One of my obsessions for quite some time has been systems. I love the idea that every business is basically just a machine and if you set it up just right, it can run without you if needed. I know some of you probably LOVE being involved in the day-to-day of your business, but I still feel like it should be systemized in case you get sick for a few days, or want to go on vacation etc. If you have dreams of expanding, I can say from personal experience that if you don’t turn your business into a system, you’ll never grow. I spent over 3 years with the Entrepreneur’s Organization learning how to systemize my DJ company and as a result, it could run almost completely without me now if I chose not to be involved.
The purpose of the systems section of this blog is to share the systems I’ve learned with you so that you can slowly implement them into your own business. I highly recommend turning your entire business into a system even if you never plan to step away from it because it will give you the freedom to hire others, take a weekend off and it will make your working life so much more pleasant. Systems aren’t just about what invoicing system you use, but also about establishing client boundaries ahead of time so that you don’t have to worry what you’ll do when a client changes their mind and wants their non-refundable deposit back. If you take the time to systemize your business, you’ll have a happier working life and the option for freedom, so it’s really a no-brainer to make the investment.
What a Wedding Venue Business Really Is:
It took me a long time to realize this, but a wedding venues are like any small business. I used to think that we were different as wedding vendors. Our customers were more demanding. We were more creative. We had different problems than other business owners. Eventually I learned that simply wasn’t true. All a wedding venue business is, is a service business. That’s good news because there are MANY great examples of service business that have been systemized out there.
Let’s look at what it takes to successfully pull off a wedding:
To make money as wedding vendors, we need to do the following:
• Market our services to get leads (prospective clients)
• Follow up with those leads until we get to talk to them
• Sell the client via phone, email or meeting (get them to book with you)
• Sign a contract
• Pay the deposit
• Schedule the event on your calendar
• Make a to-do list for the event
• Do the required planning work (it will be different depending on what kind of vendor you are)
• Coordinate with all parties involved (client, other vendors, etc)
• Get the remaining payment owing
• Execute the event
• Get a review
• Start marketing again and begin the process from the beginning
That means you can break your business down into 5 main parts.
4) Service Before The Event
5) Service At Event
Then you simply repeat again.
Why this concept changed my life:
When I was working with the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO), I got a chance to speak with business owners who’d grown their company well into the millions. I even had a phone call with the CEO of MCI Group, an event management company who is doing nearly half a billion in revenue a year. EO is basically CEO school for small business owners, but I always believed I was different because I owned a wedding DJ company. I wasn’t like the other businesses. It had to be different because I owned a wedding company, right? Wrong.
During my 3 years in their $3000 a year program, they kept drilling the same concept into my head. They even gave me a text book on how to run a service business. Opening it up today, it says a business has 5 main parts:
1. Sales and Marketing
It looks quite similar to our list above and what I realized once I read the entire book is that it is the same thing. A wedding venue works just like any other service business. It can be systemized and it can be grown. As big as you want to grow it, you can grow it. It can be a vehicle that creates freedom in your life or it can cause you endless stress. But the truth is, you can turn it into a machine that behaves in a predicable, scalable way.
The first step is believing you can do it. I hope I’ve proven to you in this blog post that your wedding venue is just a few big groups of tasks. Over the next sections, I’ll help you systemize each part of your business until the entire thing can be turned into a manual. That will enable you to be fairer to your customers, hire team members more easily, take more time off and have less stress in your business and in your life. Who doesn’t want that right?
Take it from me, I’ve seen the light and I know it’s possible. It will take a little bit of work, but in time, we will get your wedding venue running like a well-oiled machine, and you can be confident you are running it in the most professional way possible.