This post is written as support only – if you require any legal or medical support please contact the correct authorities.
As we hit the restart button and our industry revs up, finally, you may still have business challenges; a lack of staff, financial instability and decisions to make about masks (yes or no) or your business survival in general.
So what can you do that is positive for your business right now?
Here are a few ways to help your business survive and thrive now. The following suggestions are a general list, take from it what you can, if it suits your size and line of business. I hope it helps you look forward with some positivity. If you require legal or medical advice please do go to the relevant authorities for the latest facts. Take a look at our Resources Page for contact details.
The first thing to be affected right? So start by looking at your expenses and outflows – can they be reduced?
Can you get any support? check out your local council website and the Gov.uk website to see if there are any relevant to your business.
Can you reduce your utilities or other services? Speak to your mortgage and utilities providers to discuss your situation, discuss options – it’s always worth asking!
Will your landlord consider a rent reduction? you may be using the facility less, or even consider closing a few days a week. Always look at contracts and talk to them direct – stay calm and establish a good working relationship with them and remember they will be affected too.
Cut out unnecessary spending personally and through your business – do you really need to provide expensive, fancy freebies at wedding fairs ? are printed handouts necessary in this digital world?
Can you get better terms ? speak with your suppliers
Can you lease rather than buy?
Can you get paid earlier? send reminders now for any outstanding payments or invoices. Something along the lines of “I’m sure you will agree that we are currently experiencing a very unique situation and as a small business payment of our invoices are essential to our continued smooth running. Can I therefore ask that our invoice attached be settled with immediate effect” Adapt to suit.
Overheads and stock – can you cut back? store less? or sell on to other suppliers at a good price. With the restrictions and delays from outside the UK this is a perfect time to share stock with others where possible.
Keep talking! Talk to your couples – ask them how they are doing, how you can help, reassure them via a FB or Instagram post
Talk to other suppliers and venues you work with – ask them how they are doing and how you can help them too. Connect through online groups – if you are over stretched then shout out for job referrals or second shooters. Especially with the ‘Ping-demic’ causing so many to isolate and business on hold – make sure you have back up.
In times like this communication is paramount.
Look after your existing couples. They will still recommend you if they love what you do and the way that you do it.
Look after the suppliers you work with regularly on collaborations.
DON’T CUT BACK! of all times this is not the time to cut back – it is too easy to be forgotten or overlooked. Those that say in full view have more chance of not only surviving but thriving.
Look at different ways to market your business, be creative.
Obviously social media is ideal but look at other ways too – directories, blogs either on your own website or on others, Facebook and Instagram lives, IGTV, TikTok and Reels affordable sponsorship for awards or other online businesses.
Above all, stay visible.
Look at this previous blog entitled 15 Benefits of Listing Your Business on a Directory.
If people are going to be spending more time at home, either isolated, working or for school holidays, then you have an audience waiting for you – use it.
Send out questionnaires or ask for feedback to past couples and top up your reviews and testimonials – use them on your website and on social media posts, all good content.
4. STAFF OR TEAMS
If you have staff or a team, we feel your pain! With a huge departure of industry trained staff it has become more difficult to find good team players able to hit the ground running so make sure you have a back up list and hold on tight to the wonderful team members you have. They will be like gold dust!
At this time of year there will be an abundance of University leavers looking for work, connect with them via social media posts. Shout out to other suppliers in Facebook Groups like 4C Wedding Community and TWISN and We Work in the Wedding Industry for last minute support.
Are there skills you could be working on now or be planning ahead for to do in the quieter months? Start researching now to see what will be available and check out our Training Directory for ideas.
Take the time to go through your website with a fine tooth comb – check all the links are working, update any information, include your latest covid requirements (your rules regarding masks etc), add a note about the services and products you will not be able to provide, due to the lack of stock or deliveries coming into the UK. Make sure anyone reaching your website has the latest information.
Hide certain pages if you need to, maybe for services you are unable to currently provide – you can always make them live again when things change.
Update working hours – if you have to reduce or increase them
Depending on your business – update visiting times or suggest drop-off’s in a safe place rather than at your office, shop, salon.
7. NEW APPOINTMENTS AND BOOKINGS
With limited time and whilst you are busy with weddings, you still want to offer the best possible service to new enquiries so look at online booking systems like Appointedd – they will even help set it up for you on a call, take a look at this link for an exclusive discount offer. They even notify bookings before and after the appointment so you don’t have to.
8. HAVE A PLAN
If you are taken ill or have to self-isolate – have a plan in place that you can share easily and quickly with couples, family, suppliers and venues. This can be in a form of a pdf that you can email out or send via Whatsapp or DM to those that will be affected.
Give details of what should happen if you cannot be there in person – a delegation letter to those that need it.
And communication again – keep everyone in the loop, quickly and regularly.
Have your trusted team of suppliers at the ready and let them know all about your plan. On the day is too late – do it now.
9. STAY CLEAN
We are all aware that we need to be washing our hands but don’t forget your digital and household items too – regularly wipe your phone, your keyboards, laptops, door handles, tools of the trade basically anything you and everyone around you touch.
If you work directly with humans – close contact (MUA’s, hair stylists etc) you will already have strict regimes in place, continue to do this and advise your clients what you are doing to heighten the regime – let them see the hand sanitisers, let them know what you have in place, make them feel confident that you have their best interests at heart. Clarify your rules on mask wearing, whatever you decide that is.
10. YOUR SERVICES AND PRODUCTS
Focus on your best sellers! Extras are great but if clients are limited in what they can spend then look at what sells first and the most, put your efforts into these.
Look at what you can do online – is there a service you provide that could be re-packaged and provided online? Do you have a website or Etsy shop? spend some time updating this or maybe consider setting one up.
Look at your business as a whole and see where you can diversify – maybe add a free resource to your website for those signing up to your newsletter – show your expertise through helpful information, keep them interested until the time they can book you.
Look at ways of offering a service or product at an entry level or maybe something bespoke or VIP – it may not be something you have done before and now may just be the time to consider this.
Look at sending something in the post rather than collection
Make it as easy as possible for couples to still use your business
11. SOCIAL MEDIA
Suppliers – still connect with venues via post likes and comments
Venues – remember suppliers will happily support you back – stay in touch as you will need each other sooner than you think – recommendations are still key.
Post regularly or employ a freelancer specialist that can do this for you – we have some on our Business Directory that can help you click HERE
Be creative and relevant with your content, stay positive and continue to stay on brand.
Gather as many images from your current weddings as possible – speak nicely to the photographer – so you have plenty of images to use on your grid/page/Pinterest boards.
12. SYSTEMS SET UP
Whichever app or system that you have been considering, to make running your business easier, now is the time to look into the ones that are best for you, for example;
Mailchimp – for your newsletter and emails
Later, Planoly, Buffer – for your social scheduling
Workflow management systems like 17Hats, Dubsado, Keap
Appointment software like Appointedd
Business may change quickly, you may receive more last minute bookings or you or one of you team may have to self-isolate so be prepared. Look back at points numbered 4 and 8.
Whatever you choose to take from these suggestions please do remember the hard work you put into your business so far must be continued and that you are definitely not alone.