Beginning-of-Year Business PlanningBy
Advice from our WeddingPro Educators
It’s the beginning of the year, and we all know what that means—it’s time to take in all the inspiration and business advice we can get! From thinking about the goals and targets you want to hit to what you’ll need to do to set your plans in motion and keep motivated throughout the year, we wanted to provide guidance from some of our trusted WeddingPro Educators.
Read on to see how they are approaching their beginning-of-year planning.
“Give yourself grace.”
I know that my amazing colleagues will all be giving you some incredible advice on the right and measured steps you should be taking in order to have an incredible 2023—everything from marketing to sales to best practices and so much more. I, however, wanted to share my expertise closer to home. My advice is about you, the person. Yes, you as the person—not the business. My advice for a balanced 2023 is to give yourself grace.
Giving yourself grace is permission to forgive your mistakes, lapses in judgment and hurtful behavior because (let’s be honest), no one is perfect. It allows you to grow and move on from mistakes that can sometimes haunt you and that you hold onto for far too long as a business owner. But grace-giving isn’t just a quick “get out of jail free” card. It has to involve more than just putting yourself at ease—it must prompt you into action. Whether that’s performing better self-care, repairing a damaged relationship, revamping business practices or taking responsibility for your mistakes in a way that acknowledges the people you may have hurt, you have to put in the work.
Grace isn’t an excuse for feeling less conflict, be it internal or external, but an opportunity to be kind to yourself. So, for each and every one of you, I wish you a grace-filled year of blessing! – Brian Green of By Brian Green
“Set strategic goals every 12 weeks.”
In 2019, I read the book “The 12 Week Year,” and I quit annual goal planning right then. The main idea of the book is that when we set annual goals, most of the time we spend months and months ignoring the goals, and then we really push ourselves to accomplish them when the deadline is looming. Instead, I now set strategic goals every 12 weeks, and I highly recommend giving it a try! The shorter time frame allows you to hyper-focus for 12 weeks on a few set goals and progress toward those every single week. It works so much better than giving yourself a year-long timeline and really big goals, which can be really daunting. – Sara Dunn of Sara Does SEO
Pro-tip: Goal setting is an important exercise for every wedding pro! Here are the reasons why goal setting is a must.
“Let go of perfection.”
As a new mom, I am applying the skills I’ve learned wrangling a newborn to my 2023 business planning. My intention is to let go of perfection, rigidity and masculine energy goal setting. This year, I am leaning into what it means to show up in flow with radical authenticity and a mindset that everything can (and probably will) shift—which is ok. As we all navigate a recession, the great resignation, a pandemic and whatever else 2023 has in store, I urge myself and everyone else to remember that change is neutral. Our reaction to change determines if we perceive it to be “good” or “bad.” Choose to see the good. – Aleya Harris of Flourish Marketing
Goal setting with a vision board is one of the most valuable things you can do for your business and your life. I use Trello and create a board with a beautiful background image that inspires me, and I create one list for each area of my life that I want to focus on: one for my relationship with myself, one for my marriage, one for my kids, for travel and several for my business goals. I add a photo to each and list my goals and the plan I have for achieving them. I check this list every morning, and it helps me set my intentions and focus on actions that bring me closer to my goals. – Andrea Eppolito of Andrea Eppolito
“I block a week each quarter.”
There are a few habits that I’ve developed in the recent past that help me close out the current year and focus ahead for the new. I’ve always had a dashboard to take a quick glance at key numbers and see how I’m progressing against my goals. This year, I expanded the dashboard to include these metrics. At the end of each month, I write down cash collected, cash created (this includes invoices I’ve sent that haven’t been paid yet), cash borrowed, events booked, guests served and hours worked during the month. As the year winds to a close, I will add up the monthly figures and drop them into a chart to compare year over year and consider a few questions:
- Do I want to book more or less events in the coming year?
- Do I want to work more or less hours? (thus far, the answer has always been less)
- What can I do to increase cash created and collected each month?
- Am I comfortable with the debt that’s still outstanding? Or do I want to focus on debt reduction in the coming year?
I also block off time on the calendar when I want to be away from the office for a week or more. Typically, that looks like a week in January to celebrate my birthday, a week in April for “Spring Break,” a week in July or August for “Summer Vacation,” the last week in November, and the last two weeks of December for a year-end reset. Mapping out those days in advance makes sure that I plan around time off during the year and avoid burnout. I find that blocking at least a week each quarter keeps me renewed and full of fresh ideas. – Nadia Anderson of The Anderson Group
“Self-care is not selfish.”
2022 was a non-stop whirlwind with all of the COVID-delayed weddings from years before compiled with the busiest year of weddings on record! To prepare for next year, I am being very intentional about spacing out onboarding new clients as well as wedding dates, so I have built-in time for me to rest, recover and rejuvenate.
I am also going to be much stricter about my time off and not work when I am out of the office—just because I can work all of the time, does not mean I have to or should. Balance is the goal for 2023, and I want to be sure I am taking care of myself so I can be fully present to make the magic happen for my clients! Self-care is not selfish, it is required to be well and do well. I will repeat that over and over this next year and build healthy habits that allow me to take care of myself physically, emotionally and mentally so I can be a full person for myself and my clients! – Jove Meyer of Jove Meyer
Pro-tip: Check out this self-care toolkit to make your plan for rest.
“Determining what could work more efficiently is worth your focus.”
As we start fresh and begin full-swing engagement season in the wedding industry, it’s critical we have our finger on the pulse of what is working and what is not working for our businesses! The new couples we onboard will shape what our businesses look like potentially over a year from now after their weddings. Determining what has worked (and what could work more efficiently) is worth your focus. Perhaps buttoning up your website to attract better clients is priority number one, but then I would look closely at setting what your new minimums are and how far in advance you are willing to take new work. Also, inquiries and the pace of commitment have slowed compared to the last two years. It’s not you but a new chapter in the wedding business pace. Build relationships, be personal and you’ll get the business! – Kaleigh Wiese of Kaleigh Weise
Pro-tip: Thinking about what might be worth trying? Here are business investments to consider.
“We aren’t too anecdotal when reflecting.”
I find that my best planning includes two elements above and beyond goal setting: dedicated time to review performance from a quantitative perspective and a true action plan to ensure we stay on track. Before I meet with my team, we gather proper metrics (number of inquiries, conversions, publicity output, etc.) because this ensures we aren’t too anecdotal when reflecting. As we make plans, we continuously revisit the question, “What can we do to support this initiative?” We may set up follow-up days to check on progress, set to-do’s to research resources for implementation and so forth. – Meghan Ely of OFD Consulting
“Say no to jobs that don’t fill your goals.”
2023 is the year of getting your business back to normal. We’ve been in reschedule and re-coop mode for the past two years just trying to play catch-up, but this year is going to be different. Sit down right away and start setting realistic goals for your business, which may mean you would like to work a little less! Concentrate mostly on your branding and attracting the right type of clients and practice saying NO to jobs that don’t fill those goals for you. – Vanessa Joy of Vanessa Joy Photography
“Excuses are permission to fail.”
The reason why so many of us fall short of our resolutions both personally and professionally is because they are aspirational and broad instead of being detailed and focused. How many times have you said, “next year I want to lose weight,” or “next year, I’m going to eat better.” Sounds great in theory, but there is no real commitment behind it. We do the same thing when we say “I want to book more clients,” or “I want to make six figures”. Again, great in theory but it still lacks the commitment and detail to our goal. It allows too much room for excuses and excuses are permission to fail.
As I prepare for the new year, I get concrete. For example, “I want to book five weddings at XYZ venue by April 30th.” I have what I want to do, where I want to do it and when I want it done. I could truly niche down by saying the types of weddings I want to book or the types of collections I want those clients to secure. Now that I have my defined goal, the clock starts. I begin researching when the clients interested in that venue generally begin their planning: when do they inquire, what are their budgets, what are their styles and who else would they like to work with? Those answers help me build my content, website updates and overall marketing strategy to get leads to help me meet that goal. – Terrica of Cocktails and Details
Pro-tip: Learn how to create a marketing plan for your wedding business.
In the mood to work on your business as the year closes out? Here are our slow-season business tips to keep you productive after reading all this advice from our Educators!
Photo Credit: Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock.com
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