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A Community Over Competition Approach to Business Strategy


Why Referring Couples to Your Competitors Isn’t Bad for Business

As you set the course for your business, it involves thinking through a lot of scenarios. What happens if this service isn’t well received? How will I find and hire associates or day-of help? What is my 5-year plan? And, while most of your business strategy is built around how you are going to grow your business, there actually is a part of it that should outline what you are going to do when you have to turn business away. 

Referrals are commonplace in the wedding industry and it is very likely you’ve referred a couple to a vendor friend more than a time or two. But today (and in the spirit of community over competition), we wanted to talk about why you should think about sometimes referring couples to the people you consider to be your competition—we promise there are lots of good reasons for doing so. And, whether you are going to revisit your business strategy this week or in the future, here are the reasons why referring couples to your competitors isn’t bad for business and is actually good for it.


How does “community over competition” have anything to do with business strategy?

The two actually have a lot to do with each other, but let’s start with the basics. A business strategy is an outline that documents the decisions you plan to make in order to reach your short and long-term goals and, when it comes down to it, the decisions you make should be rooted in your company’s core values. From how you are going to position your brand and price your services to what you look for in potential new hires and who you refer business to, they all point back to how you define your approach. 

Over the years there has been a shift away from operating out of a place of scarcity and towards a community-focused approach to doing business—both of which are fundamental decisions that impact how you choose to run yours. So, the community over competition mindset is much more than a phrase at this point—it’s a mantra many people use to drive their wedding businesses.


3 times referring couples to your competition is good business strategy

Choosing community over competition is embodied by the act of referring a potential client to someone else, especially when that someone else is a competitor in your market. But, more than a symbolic gesture, passing off a lead to someone else can be as good for your business as it is theirs. And here are three specific reasons why.


1. You can open a new referral source

It happens all the time—getting an inquiry for a date you already have booked. And, while some pros have the capacity to double (or triple) book weddings over a single weekend, most people don’t. So, in the instance that you don’t have a specific date available, you can consider passing along the inquiry to a competitor. Why not send the lead to a friend? You surely can (and they will certainly appreciate it) but, if you think your competition might be able to take the client on and will return the favor in the future, you can start to build a mutual relationship where you both are referring clients to one another.  


2. It can help you provide the best service possible

Growth is an important part of the journey when it comes to running a wedding business but knowing when you are ready for it or not is also an important skill. Because when providing a high level of service is the name of the game, there are times that a growth opportunity can stretch you too thin and have negative impacts on your couples. (Read: sometimes you have to trust your gut and accept that this is not the right time for this project.) When you find yourself making this hard decision, sometimes it is your competition who is the perfect pro for the job—and making the referring means you’ve still offered an impeccable level of service to your lead.


3. You can turn a competitor into a friend

We mentioned relationships earlier but it warrants its own section here because this is why referring couples to your competitors is good for your business—it helps to turn the relationship into a friendly and collaborative one. Whether you’re extending an olive branch, making initial contact or wanting to show someone you respect and admire them, building strong relationships with your competition can be an important and fruitful part of your business strategy.

Community over competition is good for the wedding industry because, the fact of the matter is, we all thrive when the people around us are thriving. So, next time you find yourself setting strategies for your business or simply looking around you at the people you can connect with, think about all the ways you can grow your business, relationships, and this industry in one go.


Photo Credit: Sergey Causelove/

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