The saying “No man [or woman] is an island,” exists for a reason. As small business owners working for ourselves, it’s easy to feel isolated and adrift. Building your support network with friends, colleagues and other like-minded individuals can prevent you from burning out, keep you motivated and get you through the times when you just need someone to talk to. Making sure that you are connected is one of the most important things you can do for your business.
It’s a way to access resources
When you’re planning a wedding in a part of town you’re unfamiliar with and need some advice, or your usual go-to vendors are all booked and you need some new recommendations, or you’re at a loss as to how to write your contract; these are times when having a network of wedding planners and professionals who you can reach out to for answers and resources are invaluable. As members of The Bridal Society, our certified wedding planners/professionals have an amazing network of resources in each other. We post questions to our facebook page, ask for vendor recommendations and advice in difficult situations. We are able to draw on the experience and expertise of other planners who have been through similar situations and can offer advice that will prevent you from making mistakes that can effect your business.
It’s a way to keep yourself in check
As business owners we should constantly be asking ourselves how we’re doing. For instance, are we giving our clients the best service? Are there other ways to do things better? Do my clients walk away happy with their experience? Asking these questions of yourself and giving honest answers can help you to improve your business practices, client interface and vendor interaction, which ultimately keeps your business moving and growing in a positive direction. Sometimes it is hard to answer those questions yourself and I often find that turning to friends and confidantes, or to the other members of The Bridal Society for an objective opinion can give me the hard answers I need to hear. If I’m thinking of trying something new or wasn’t sure about a new product/tactic or experience I had provided a client with recently, I will run it by some of my close friends in the industry and often times I will get feedback that will improve the way I’m doing things.
I have also found that telling someone my goals and speaking my plans out loud to a colleague or friend helps me to commit to them and form a plan of action to reach them. I have a friend and colleague who also owns her own business and once a week at the beginning of the week we get on the phone with an outline for our week and discuss what each of us has planned for our business. We break our week down into tasks and categorize them as long term goals (things like marketing strategy, branding, business systems) and short term goals (finding a DJ for a current client, creating the timeline for another client). On our next call, we will review how we did with our previous week’s tasks and hold each other accountable. It’s a tactic that we have found works well for us and keeps us connected and productive.
It can keep you sane
While there are any number of valuable things you get out of your network, sometimes you just need to vent and having the support of a group of people that will pick you up when you’re feeling a little down can be the difference between giving up and soldiering on. We’ve all had a difficult bride or mother of the bride or something that hasn’t gone right that is discouraging and disheartening. Luckily, when we share these experiences with each other, we find that we are not alone and that feeling of connectedness and understanding can be the thing that helps you get through the hard situations. Having a group of people that understand your experiences and can relate to you and offer help or advice is incredibly comforting when you’re feeling discouraged.
For all these reasons and more, building your network is one of the most important things you can do for your business. Reach out and start building one or, if you already have one, grow it and invest in it.
If you are interested in gaining your Certification, The Bridal Society is the nation’s leader in wedding planning certification and training and has conferences throughout the year in various cities. Visit their website for additional details, http://www.thebridalsociety.com.