Creating & Managing Growth in Your Wedding Business

Bernadette Chapman

You’ve been running your wedding business for a few years and have achieved some success, now what? It’s time to figure out what the next part of your journey looks like and start creating and managing growth in your wedding business – whatever that means for you.

In my 20+ years in business I have learned how to recognise when a business is ready to grow, and the steps you need to take in order to achieve your big dream. Today I wanted to share with you some of the things to consider before moving to the next level.

Know your client

If you’ve trained with the UKAWP you’ll have worked on creating an ideal client profile right when you first launched your business, but this exercise is an essential one to repeat as you grow your business to ensure your brand, message and marketing is still targeting the people you most want to work with.

Your ideal client will naturally evolve with your business, as you gain more experience, knowledge and a clearer idea of the weddings you do (and don’t!) want to work on, so too you’ll have a better understanding of the people you want to work with. Before starting any growth plans, set aside some time to research your ideal client and create an updated profile.

Make a plan – and a plan B

You’ve decided you’re ready to up-level your business, but what does that actually look like? When planning business growth there are so many things to consider, from your marketing and branding to finances and contracts.

Creating a business plan and strategy with clear goals along the way will give you accountability and a timeline that makes achieving your goal more realistic.

But as every wedding business owner will know, not everything goes to plan! Think about the things that might stop you accomplishing your goals along the way, and plan for alternative ways to reach the end destination. And of course, be prepared to change your plans as other factors influence your growth.

Invest in systems

No matter how much of a spreadsheet whizz you are, there’s only so much you can do in Excel. If you’re serious about growing your business, ensuring your team have access to the right information, and the client experience is as smooth and fuss-free as possible, then you’re going to need a robust CRM to keep your business organised.

You’ll also need to think about automating or outsourcing those repetitive tasks that take valuable time out of your day, replying to enquiries, sending invoice reminders and even scheduling social media posts are all tasks that you should look to take off your plate.

It might be tempting to go for the cheapest solutions but think about the overall plan and invest wisely in the dream solution that will grow with you. Trying to cobble together a maze of inexpensive software now will only mean a bigger job (and cost) in the future, so take the leap and get the right systems in place now.

Focus on marketing

There’s no point in having a big plan if nothing on the outside changes, so show your new ideal client what the dream looks like through your branding, marketing and messaging. Make sure your homepage represents the weddings you want to plan and gives clients a clear route to booking you.

Use your blog, mailing list, press features and social media to drive traffic and enquiries to your business, and make sure you are consistent with your messaging and visuals to attract the right people.

Grow your team

You may have grand plans for your business, but there’s only one of you. Aside from developing super-human powers, there’s going to come a time when you’re going to need to bring other people into your business to help.

Knowing who and when to bring those people in is the key. Rather than bringing in a carbon copy of yourself, instead look at employing people who bring new skills to the business. The ying to your yang, if you like. So if you’re a super-planning ninja who loves a spreadsheet but hates creating designs or worrying about whether the linen matches the bridesmaids dresses, look for someone who brings something new to the party.

You’ll also want to think about how & when to employ, weddings are a seasonal business so perhaps you’ll only need someone to lend a hand on wedding days, or maybe you need someone year-round to look after emails, accounts and admin while you focus on clients and suppliers. Knowing what you actually need before you commit will ensure you get the right help.

Master your finances

If you’ve worked with me or trained with the UKAWP you’ll know that being profitable is one of the most important parts of running a business. During times of growth the pressure on finances becomes even greater, and even the smallest, unexpected cost can have a huge impact on your plans.

Keep one eye on the big dream and another on the bottom line, being realistic about costs and always including a contingency for those unexpected bills.

Take risks

In order to grow you need to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, be prepared to get uncomfortable and take risks. You can make this risk more calculated by using your past experience and knowledge to set goals and create an action plan for getting there, consider any roadblocks you may encounter along the way, and come up with ideas to solve problems before they happen.

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