As we head into the heart of summer and start to check more and more 2016 weddings off of our list, chances are things may start to die down for you work-wise. So, with this month’s focus on productivity, we wanted to break down some ways to stay productive and prep for next wedding season. That way, you’ll set yourself up for success when all of those holiday engagements start rolling in. Get out a pencil and get ready to take notes—we’ve got plenty of items for you to add to your to-do list:
On the Business Side of Things
There are so (SO) many things we can do as planners to stay on top of our business. Unfortunately, these tasks often get pushed to the backburner as they aren’t deemed an immediate need. There’s really no better time than the off-season to sit down and tackle tasks that we otherwise avoid. We recommend a handful of things to help you assess (and reassess) where things are in relation to where they need to be:
Profit & Loss Statement: As planners, this is something we should assess annually—and the off-season is a perfect time for that. Take a day to sit down, go through your finances and really look at your P&L. Did you make money? Did you lose money? How much, on average, did you make per hour or per wedding? Simple math and a solid log of your financial history is all you really need to figure these numbers out. Once you do so, you’ll feel empowered and you’ll have solid information that you can work with to help you improve next season.
Set a budget: How much can you afford to spend next year and what should you spend it on? Take a few days to look at your P&L statement and your projected revenue for the upcoming season, and use that information to come up with a solid budget for the future.
Set goals: Along those same lines, set finance- and business-related goals for next season. What are your forecasting you’ll make? What are you forecasting you’ll spend? Where can you make improvements and adjustments to increase your profits?
Map out your Marketing: Create a separate budget for marketing and take some time to assess your marketing ROI. Where did you spend money last year and what results did you see? Did Facebook ads help to bring in more customers or were they not worth the cost? Should you shift your dollars away from print and toward digital? Take account of every marketing dollar you spent and make strategic adjustments to ensure you’ll see an even better marketing ROI next year.
On the Planning Side of Things
When it comes to planning, we can always improve. The off-season is a perfect time to reassess your planning practices to ensure you’re tackling each wedding in the most strategic and productive way possible. We recommend taking note of a number of things to help you do this:
Reassess Your Workflow: We are huge fans of implementing a solid workflow. After having planned so many weddings, it’s so clear to me that a consistent and effective workflow is really the only way to ensure your sanity during the busy season (well, workflow and wine, if I’m being completely honest). Take some time to look at your workflow. What worked for you this year and what didn’t? What tasks are absolutely imperative to your workflow and which bogged it down?
Redefine Your Workflow: Once you have a solid idea of the kinks that need to be ironed out, take some time to redefine your workflow. Add any necessary tasks and remove those that are unnecessary or that bog down the process. Rearrange items if need be. Never defined your workflow before? Not to worry—take a look at our Defining Your Workflow piece for expert tips on getting started.
Update Your Aisle Planner Account: Once you’ve defined your workflow for the upcoming season, be sure to update your Aisle Planner checklist template to reflect those changes. You should be able to use this template as a guide for every single wedding you plan, so be sure to keep it up-to-date and reflective of your current workflow.
Overall, there’s not time like the off-season to tackle all of those tasks we’ve placed on the backburner all season long. It may seem tedious at first, but you’ll end up feeling so empowered and in control of your business once you’ve taken the time to reassess your business planning processes. And, remember, the more productive you are during the off-season, the better off (and more sane) you’ll be during the busy season.