Most of us went into the wedding industry because we love dreamy design or detailed organization or—if you’re one of the lucky ducks who utilizes both sides of the brain—both. But we’re going to go out on a limb and say there aren’t a ton of wedding pros and planners out there who decided to go into wedding planning for the love of business itself. Bookkeeping and time tracking and following up on late invoices aren’t exactly the most thrilling parts of the job, after all. Add the need to build a brand on top of the need to grow a business and you’ve got yourself a task and a half. But, not to fear pros, today we’re sitting down with Lindsay Longacre and Heather Hoesch of LVL Academy to talk about their top tips for building a recognizable brand and a successful business at the same time. Read on for their expert advice!
What’s the difference?
Before we dive into tips, let’s start with the difference between building a business and building a brand. A business, by definition, is meant to make money (cha-ching!). Think of your brand, on the other hand, as your recognized mark. Your business is bookkeeping and invoicing and client-courting; your brand is color and logo and voice and social media presence. There are very successful businesses that aren’t at all brands—just as there are highly recognized brands that aren’t really businesses. But the magic happens when you’re able to build both—a money-making machine of a business and a brand as recognizable as they come. Make sense? Awesome! Let’s move on to some of my top tips for building both at once.
1. Prioritize what’s really important.
As wedding pros, we tend to be drawn to all-things pretty (and these typically fall under the “brand” category rather than “business”). But, when you’re first starting out, there’s a huge difference between nice to haves and must haves. Legally registering your business is a must-have; purchasing those luxurious letterpress business cards is a nice to have. Don’t get so caught up in the aesthetics of you brand that your business ends up losing money over it. Also, remember that a custom website is definitely not worth the time and money when you’re first starting out. With so many website builder options out there, you can get by with paying a small annual fee for a template as opposed to shelling out thousands for a made-from-scratch website.
2. Attend industry events.
That’s right—get out of those yoga pants (we know you hate us right now) and attend some industry events. Networking is always a two-for-one deal—it gives you an opportunity to get your brand out there and make connections that might potentially bring you business. Plus, you can typically write-off the cost of attendance, mileage to/from events, accommodations, etc.—and, when you’re first starting a business, you’ll need all of the tax breaks you can get.
3. Accept that it doesn’t happen overnight.
For overachievers and perfectionists alike (ahem), this can be the hardest part of all. We want success to happen and we want it to happen now. Unfortunately, instant gratification isn’t exactly part of the package when you’re building a business and a brand. Not only does a need to have it all at once put unnecessary stress and pressure on our already packed schedule and busy lives, but it can also lead to financial trouble if you’re not careful (i.e. you don’t need to order the most luxurious custom letterhead right off the bat and rent the most expensive studio space in that coveted downtown location). Building a highly recognizable brand and thriving business takes time. Don’t put pressure on yourself to make it happen overnight. Remember, it’s a marathon—don’t burn yourself out at the beginning.
Looking to invest in yourself and your business by attending a wedding planner workshop? LVL Academy has 2 workshops in 2018 and the next one is June 5-7th! Use the code AISLEPLANNER200 for $200 off your registration when you sign up!