As wedding planners, we are all about being creative, we love all things pretty, and really just want to be doing the fun parts of our job. We love talking to clients and networking with vendors but the nitty gritty of running a business isn’t always so fun. Or pretty. Sometimes we get so caught up in “doing” that we aren’t planning — or better yet planting.
Planting systems within your business is essential to the growth of your company. In our technology driven culture your clients want immediate results, open correspondence, and a well-organized planning process. They expect you to be connected, have programs to collaborate with online, and to answer emails in a very timely manner. The 24 hour response window is ever shrinking. But you’re still likely one person trying to run this business.
That’s when you need digital help! By investing your time and energy into planting systems into your business you’ll reap the growth of that investment through additional time, less headaches, and a streamlined process for repeat tasks.
You’ve all likely heard about the wedding related systems such as 17 Hats, Aisle Planner, Dubsado, and Honeybook. But let’s talk about other systems that are beneficial to your business but in a totally different way.
5 Systems You Should Be Using in Your Wedding Planning Business:
Outlook and many other email providers allow you to create custom signatures within the system. This means that when you get an inquiry you will already have your form email created. Click on the Template Title – insert into the body of your email – customize to the client — and send. But what’s new about that right? We all know how to create email templates! But do you have an email template for your Vendor Confirm emails? Or how about an email for following up after a consult? Or have you created a template for following up after a bridal show or networking event? All of those repeat emails can be created in advance and used at the proper times, with only a short amount of customization needed. Take these templates one step further by including a branded signature and a branded stationary look.
Tip: If you’re already sending the email, take one extra moment to create the template right then. You don’t have to sit down and write 15 email templates at once. Save them as you create them.
We juggle a lot of appointments as wedding and event planners. There’s clients, networking events, and design appointments. And even cocktail appointments… What? That’s a thing. Keeping a tidy schedule that makes sense with all of your other life commitments can get hairy. Calendly allows you to set aside times that you are available for appointments and turn off times that you are not available. You then send that link along to the client where they can select an appointment time that fits best with their schedule as well.
Tip: Using this system efficiently is key! Don’t ignore new appointments added to the calendar and if you’re a paper and pen person, don’t forget to transfer them to their proper date and time.
The number one struggle I hear with my wedding industry clients is social media and keeping content fresh. It’s nearly impossible to keep up with the daily tasks of your business while blogging and creating engaging copy for your social media. But, with a little time and energy investment Meet Edgar allows you to put your already existing blog copy and social media to good use. In a few hours, you can create a content library that will automatically post at the best times of the day and with the best content available. This system requires a monthly investment but will free up so much of the time you spend wondering what you should say on your social media outlets.
While I have formed a very tight friendship with Trello, I won’t be selfish. If Trello is not your friend, it should be. Trello is essentially a digital wall of post-it notes. You create boards and lists within the boards where you store project based information. One client of mine creates a board for each client where every document and email correspondence is stored. Files and images can be uploaded to the lists, you can set due dates, and collaborate with other professionals and clients. Once you begin to use Trello for your business you’ll start seeing what amazing things you can do with this project system. It’s totally free to use, allows you to add other by their email address, and is totally mobile friendly. I can manage my lists and receive notification from my clients on the go.
Tip: Creating an empty template board with all of your planning processes and client activities. Then when you’ve booked a new client, copy the board and rename. Trust me… this will save you hours!
Zoho is an operating system for managing your small business. It has several different options like a CRM system for tracking client inquiries and retention, an accounting system, email marketing, and invoicing. I use this system completely for free for my small business because it is incredibly easy to use, allows for a ton of personalization, and has a bigger brain than I ever will. Zoho is cloud based so you can do all of your invoicing, client management, and accounting while drinking that cocktail we talked about earlier. While Zoho is not designed for the wedding industry it is certainly a very applicable program and for a much smaller initial investment.
So when will you start to revolutionize your wedding business with systems? What system will you implement first? Investing the time, energy, and money that it takes in the beginning will pay off when it takes you less than 5 minutes to create a contract or to send that vendor confirm email.
It’s just like planting a seed. If you spend the time to dig the proper sized hole, to lay the right soil and fertilizer, and water it – something will grow. Your business will grow and you’ll be flying through your daily tasks with ease while it does.
This is a guest post from Kellie Daab. Kellie is the owner of iDo Collective, a boutique virtual management company for wedding professionals. After 12 years in the wedding industry owning her own luxury wedding planning and design firm, managing high-end hospitality, and producing events for a multi-million dollar catering company, Kellie knows what it takes to grow and operate a wedding industry business. She speaks bride and all things wedding! iDo Collective provides services such as social media management, client care, media and content writing, and creative graphic creations. Kellie’s clients appreciate her deep knowledge of the industry and her knack for creating systems that work and are sustainable for business growth.