When starting any business, there are business things you need to consider and then there are industry things you need to consider. Of course, many times the industry things drive the business things, so I thought that maybe I should list what I consider 4 very important industry things that, although not specific just to wedding businesses, are very critical to your success in the wedding industry.
1) Very Personal Business: If you don’t like people, or you are an introvert, or you believe that any personality type other than your own is wrong… this is most likely not the business for you. Even if you identify and only work with your perfect ideal couples, you still must work well with other wedding professionals, of all personality types, at networking events, site visits, and on many of the aspects of the wedding day (because referrals are key!). You also will most likely have to deal with the couple’s family members and friends. There are plenty of stories about how the most chill and flexible couple in the world was actually surrounded by friends and family members who are raving lunatics.
2) Bad Days Really Make an Impact: There are very few businesses in which the service/product being delivered – especially the ones delivered on the wedding day itself – are so important and have so much focus on them. Think of it this way, even if your couple isn’t one of those who has imagined their wedding day from the time they were 12 (as the industry stereotype might tell us), the couple you are working with still has likely put a lot of time, effort, and money into the planning of this one day, and thus, you as a wedding professional must consider everything very important. Being a little late or not having something small that the couple was expecting might seem, and even be, inconsequential, but it can have a domino effect not only with the couple, but with family, friends, and other vendors.
3) Always Need New Customers (Little Repeat Business): Of course, photographers can take a couple’s wedding pictures and then their maternity shoot, or a DJ can work a couple’s wedding and then work their office party. However, that is follow-on business, not repeat business, as you aren’t doing a wedding for that couple year after year. Unlike a car wash, restaurant, grocery store, hair salon, etc., for most of us in the wedding industry, we have to spend a lot of time working to get new clients vs. the relationship nurturing involved in keeping current clients. This means spending more time and money on our marketing, and that our businesses, even if we grow them over many years, won’t ever necessarily hit a mature stage of business. Many long-term businesses in this industry have learned that lesson, when they stopped focusing on marketing and advertising, thinking that they were getting enough business from referrals alone.
4) Age of Customers Stay Relatively the Same: Let’s assume you have been in the business for 20 years. In those 20 years, the average age of a couple getting married might have gone up a couple of years, but that is not much compared to fact that you are 20 years older. 20 years ago, you might have been in tune to the culture, and technology, of those getting married, but are you now? You need to make sure each year that your ideal couples are still out there in enough numbers to support your business, or that you are evolving your business to attract and work with a slightly different ideal couple. You also need to always be paying attention to new trends. And, you need to relate and be relatable to the couples that are currently looking for your services.
If you understand, accept, and factor in these four things into your planning, you have a great start to building a successful wedding industry business!