We can remember getting booked for our first wedding like it was yesterday. It started with a simple message on Facebook letting a friend from high school know we were about to launch our wedding planning business and we’d love to help coordinate her upcoming wedding. We waited for her reply and about died from excitement when she wrote back to say “you’re hired”!
It was honestly the best and probably scariest moment all wrapped into one. We had been building our formal business plan, but this meant we would now have to put all those dreams and aspirations into action. Not to mention, the success of our business was relying on it!
Looking back, we still smile thinking about that time in our business endeavor together. We weren’t quite sure how it would all pan out, but we knew we were going to give it our all to make it work. We had a general knowledge of what others in our local industry were charging for the services we were offering, but we also knew we had a lot to prove. So, we set a price we felt was fair but planned to steadily increase our fee as we built our portfolio. In all honesty, we practically gave our services away at that time, but the experience we gained and the lessons we learned paid for themselves tenfold.
Business looks quite different at The Bee these days, but it is our hope to share what we learned through our journey so that fellow and aspiring planners (and even other creatives) can use those lessons as a way to elevate their growing business and implement strategies to propel them to a level they could only dream of. One of the major pillars of building a successful business is profitability and that’s exactly what brings us here today. Sure, you must be passionate about what you do and love serving your clients, but at the end of the day, if you’re not turning profits, it’s not doing much for your livelihood.
Friends, we are only going to scratch the surface when it comes to profitability in this post, but we will be diving deeper as we progress in this 5 Part Series. So, without further ado, today we are sharing Part 1: Find What You Love and Plan to be Really Good at It of our top Tips for Building a Profitable Wedding Planning Business. (Keep in mind, these tips can be applied to various types of businesses, so we hope you find them helpful.)
Find what you love and plan to be really good at it.
When it comes to wedding planning, there are several different types of services you can offer. From wedding coordination to full service and design, there is an array of services you can provide to your clients based on their needs and your desires.
The first step in building a sustainable and profitable business is knowing what services you love to provide and want to establish your expertise in. Focusing your time and energy on being really good at one type of service will help you become specialized in that area, better understand what it takes to provide those services and discern how much of your time and resources are required to provide something exceptional.
Focusing your time and energy on being really good at one type of service will help you become specialized in that area, better understand what it takes to provide those services and discern how much of your time and resources are required to provide something exceptional.The Busy Bee
When we first started out, we offered 3 different service packages including Wedding Day Coordination, Partial Planning and Design as well as Full Planning and Design. What we found out early into our endeavor was that we wanted to be involved as possible with every little detail. We wanted to provide a more consultative service to our clients and help them make logistical and design decisions the duration of the way. Furthermore, we wanted to have an in depth understanding of all the elements and vendors and how they’d all work together on the wedding day which required much more of our time invested.
What did this mean? Quite simply, we weren’t really good at Wedding Day Coordination. Why? Because we had a hard time drawing boundaries and staying within our contractual agreement. Every wedding, we found ourselves going beyond the scope of the services we agreed to provide, allocating more time and resources than we accounted for in our fees. Not because we felt obligated to, but because we cared and we wanted to.
What did this mean for our business? Technically, we were taking a loss. We were dedicating hours we weren’t being compensated for and thus, cutting into our profits. It didn’t take us long to realize the amount of time we were putting in compared to what we were earning was not a sustainable model. As much as we loved what we were doing and as much as we loved our clients, we knew we had to make some strategic adjustments.
It was evident early on just how much we loved getting involved with every little detail, how much we craved getting to know our clients on a deeper level and how much we enjoyed being a part of the design process from conception to execution. The more we listened to our hearts while planning each wedding, the more we knew it was time to focus our efforts and stop offering services that did not serve our business well. That’s when we decided to stop offering our Wedding Day Coordination and Partial Planning and Design and focus solely on our Full Service Planning and Design package.
But friend, please keep this in mind. Only offering Full Service Planning and Design is not the only profitable model. There IS a market for Wedding Day Coordination as well as Partial Planning and Design, because there are couples out there who need it. So, if these are the type of services you want to focus on, know that they, too, can be profitable. The important part is to know this- Before you can start crunching numbers, you HAVE to know what type of service(s) you want to offer that you can provide an exceptional service for in order to set yourself apart from the rest.
The important part is to know this- Before you can start crunching numbers, you HAVE to know what type of service(s) you want to offer that you can provide an exceptional service for in order to set yourself apart from the rest.The Busy Bee
Here are a few Do’s and Don’t’s to help you build a profitable wedding planning business:
Do offer services you look forward to providing day after day.
Don’t offer services that don’t spark joy in your day-to-day.
Do offer services you can easily stay within your scope of work.
Don’t offer services you frequently find yourself going beyond your scope of work.
Do pay attention to services you frequently go beyond your scope of work and build a package that includes all the tasks you are taking on and charge for it.
Don’t continue to offer services where your dedicated time outweighs your compensation.
Do assess and adjust your services to better suit your personal desires and business sustainability.
Don’t continue to offer the same service if it’s not working for you and your business and expect different results.
Once you’ve decided which service(s) will serve you, your business and your clients best, it’s time to double down and become really, really good at what you do. Learn what works and what doesn’t. Make adjustments as you grow. Learn from your mistakes. Automate as much as possible. Delegate the required tasks to keep a business running to someone else who’s really good at what they do. Think outside the box and different ways to make each of your clients feel special. Continue your education and find a mentor who’s achieved a level of business you strive to be at one day. Continue to assess and adjust and find more ways to be efficient. Know you will falter along the way, but continue to believe in yourself and never ever give up.
Also, be sure to stay tuned for Part 2 of Building a Profitable Wedding Planning Business: Set a Goal for Profitability, and if you haven’t already, check out our 5 Easy Steps for Successful Business Goal Setting.