Sourcing florals, and linen and having coffee with your clients. Beautifully branded questionnaires, pretty pictures on Instagram and Pinterest. Cute names for your packages and a gorgeous logo on your business card and newly designed invoice. Are these the things you associate with ‘being in business’? What about pricing, insurance, tax, and your legal obligations? Did I just lose you with the mention of these things? Ok come back. Today I want to encourage you to see the creativity in everything to do within your business; from hanging that floral chandelier, to ensuring you are covered if it drops on someone’s head during the toast. Today I want to inspire you to be a creative business person, not just a creative Planner/Stylist/Designer with your own business.
Today I want to inspire any of you thinking of going into business for yourself, or wanting to grow your existing business, to think ‘creatively’ about the business of ‘working on your business’.
If you are passionate about weddings and events and have launched a business to immerse yourself in this world, it is easy to caught up in all that is creative about your work. But if you have a business, you also need to be passionate about your business. This means paying as much attention to your systems, pricing, finances, insurances, legal obligations and marketing, as you do to client consultations, designing, product sourcing and site inspections in exotic locations. Oh and let’s add posting on social media to that list. Whilst this is an important marketing activity, it is not where running a business starts and ends.
I know that words like insurance and finance sound anything but creative, but finding creative solutions to how you will manage your time, your cash flow and your business if something goes wrong, are as important to developing your ‘designer’s eye’ and do draw on your creativity. They are also the things that are going to make the difference between being in business for the longer term and closing up shop after a year.
Let’s look at pricing as an example. Pricing is so much more than coming up with a creative name for your packages. As we teach in our courses, pricing is a complex process that requires creative thinking and strategies, to get right. It is also something you need to be reviewing regularly, to ensure it is working for you. When you start out it is tempting to have the cheapest prices and not take out the insurances you need because you are watching expenditure, but in the long term, both of these things will do more harm than good to your business. The best in the business are not charging higher prices just because they can, their prices are realistic reflections of the cost of providing the services they offer and your prices should be the same. Getting to a price and pitching it to the market in a way that will make the buyer feel comfortable about paying it, takes creative thinking. Standing by your pricing, in the face of cheaper quotes, takes confidence, but also the ability to be able to explain to a client why choosing ‘cheap’, may not be their best option.
Pricing is just one example. How you handle an enquiry from the moment it pops into your inbox, to the moment you meet that client and send them your proposal is another. What insurance you need to cover you and anyone working with you in your business and how you will manage your tax obligations are two more. The good news is that you don’t have to do this alone. You can put together a team of professionals, to help you manage many of these things (your Accountant for example). Take the time to find the right people too. You want people who have a similar, creative outlook, to you.
The point is that you must pay attention to your business if you are serious about it being a long-term success and doing that doesn’t have to be the boring bit. In fact it can be the more exciting bit because it draws on those creative thinking skills you use as a Planner/Designer. This is the part that is going to enable you to grow your business and keep doing what you love, for years to come. Like a lot of things in life, how you feel about the things you have to do often comes down to how you perceive them. If you find that you struggle to get excited about the ‘business’ side of your business, try turning it around by seeing growing your business, through paying attention to things like finances, pricing and insurance, as a creative challenge.