The other day I wrote a blog post all about how a photography company started by 3 men in a basement achieved compound marketing growth and turned into a $20 million dollar company booking 8000 weddings per year. I spent all day studying the business because I knew that they had to have cracked marketing in order to book that many weddings. If they booked even 50% of their weddings, which is a high conversion rate, then that means they were getting upwards of 16,000 leads per year. Since I know that getting more leads is the number one problem wedding venue business owners face, I thought it was worth looking into how this particular company has been able to achieve such spectacular results. Most wedding business would thrive if they could get just 160 leads per year. They could charge more for their services and afford to turn a lot of budget-conscious customers away in the process. That would surely be awesome. Having said that, I noticed a lot of wedding vendors focussed instead on this large photography company’s customer service results, or their booking model, or how much they pay photographers.
Take What Serves You, Leave The Rest
I think so often as wedding business owners, we see things in black and white and that can be very dangerous. In a case study like the one I presented, it’s very important to understand the goal of the study. If you can figure out how that huge company gets 16,000 leads, you’ll never have to worry about finding leads again. As they say, success leaves clues and this business is no different. By just studying where they are spending their advertising dollars, you can quickly see what is working for them. You know it’s working for them because they repeat it in so many cities. So my advice is to take what you can from every business you encounter. If you aren’t their customer, it really doesn’t affect you what their customer service reputation is like, or how much they pay their subcontractors. It’s actually a very good thing if they get bad customer service because they could be your competitor and that’s a great way to differentiate yourself. If you don’t like how much they pay their staff, that’s great too, but you have every right not to work for them and just ignore that part of their business. The point is, learn what you can from everyone, because you may accidentally bypass a nugget of life changing information just because you don’t like the business model.
Being Open Minded Is The Key
I spent a few years with the Entrepreneur’s Organization, which is the world’s largest organization for entrepreneurs. Seasoned business owners work with startup business owners to try to help them grow from $250,000 in revenue to over $1 million in under 3 years. I was a member of the program with my wedding business and had the opportunity to be mentored by countless business rock stars. I even had a call with Sebastien Tondeur, the CEO of one of the largest event companies in the world. What I learned in the program was how much I had closed off my mind to new opportunities and new potential. I thought that I had “tried everything” and that I knew it all about my business and industry. What I’ve learned is that someone, someday can and will accomplish what I think is impossible in my business. I just have to decide if I want to wait to watch that person do it, or find a way to do it myself. The key though is to maintain an open mind and stay open to new ideas and even old ones we may have already tried. A tiny tweak in a tactic or strategy can produce polar opposite results.
My Challenge To You
My challenge to you is to read my post on the secrets of a $20 million dollar wedding business. Try not to focus on anything but how amazing they are as a company at sales and marketing and how truly special that is. Marketing is not easy and finding a repeatable strategy across 40 cities is a very awesome feat. Don’t even consider their business model or customer service or how much they pay photographers. Thats not the purpose of the post. Just clear your mind completely and see what you can learn about growing your business from them. I guarantee that you’ll be able to learn a lot. The amazing thing is that they should also study smaller businesses, like yours. They would probably learn a lot too. In my opinion that’s the purpose of business, to study and learn from each other.
So, until next time, remember to keep an open mind and learn from every potential source of knowledge you can. It seems like a small thing and maybe like hippie-wishy-washy business advice, but in my experience, it isn’t just important, it’s everything. All of the successful people I have met have one thing in common; they’re open minded.
Until next time!