Identifying the biggest challenge when starting out in the Wedding Industry (or looking to reinvent yourself, for new ideas, etc.) is one thing many business minds long to do. Asking business colleagues, i.e., networking, can be one of those untapped resources to not neglect. The power truly is in networking. It isn’t just about what you can learn, but how you can develop your own business presence through networking. By doing this, you can even eventually have something to share, making networking a success for all involved in this trade.
The first question is though, where can you find these business colleagues easily, and through resources you can trust? Joining groups related to the Wedding Industry on Linkedin is an excellent way to start. Check out this conversation, from the Wedding Professionals Networking Group. You’ll have to join this group first, and get a Linkedin account if you don’t already have one. Kelley Wade, Wedding Industry Consultant in the Greater Los Angeles Area, and creator of the group, asked, “what do you think is the number one challenge for someone starting their own wedding business?”
A great question, and again, one that is on everyone’s mind, whether a newbie, or a business veteran with some great insights. The responses were (and are continuing to be) many of course. It would be well worth it to spend some quality time in the conversation yourself (we can’t do all the networking for you), but here are a few tidbits to get your mental wheels spinning.
1. Just Get Yourself Out There
Ann Pintiliano, owner of Amazing Floral Designs by Ann, writes, “getting started in any business is getting your name and reputation out there… join your local chamber and attend some of the functions. Go to halls or hotels [venues] and talk to the event planners there. Get your body out there and make yourself known.”
This kind of networking like this is key. Getting yourself out there let’s people know who you are; being known is like being in the know. Exposure is everything. Still, being known can be an even more expansive process, but still simple, and with great effect. As Kathleen Riley of Dreamcatcher put it, “standing out from the crowd,” is what can make you memorable to others when you network. Making an impact can play a powerful role when you network; as you learn from colleagues, they learn about you, and from you.
2. Prepare to Make an Impact
So how to make an impact when you network? How does one stand out? Coming up with your target, or niche audience, is an creative and effective way to develop your brand and industry-focus. This simultaneously allows you to present yourself as someone “in the know” and to be known. In other words, being unique is the way to standing out.
As Jeanette Kharisma Aro, Founder and CEO of Kharisma Luxe writes, “I find that one of the significant challenges for wedding professionals is about taking the time to define their niche and target market. To do this, find what niche resonates with you, and then it will come naturally.”
By taking the time to define your initial niche market, you also make your business shine with that all important unique quality. Asking yourself what you bring to the industry, who you would like to business with, and then following what and who it is you want, automatically makes you stand out. Then, when you network, people won’t be able to forget who you are and what your business is about. With this in mind, you’re well on your way to boning up your networking skills.
3. Cultivate Sustainable Networking with Ease
As many of us already know, one of the best ways to make a longstanding impact, and to cultivate sustainable networking, is to get online. This means to develop an online presence, but not just with any ol’ website. As Reverend James Condit points out, make sure to develop the right kind of website for you by comparing what other people in the industry have already done. Also, spend time to make sure you have a way to promote positive reviews from customers on your website. That way, you have an online following that precedes you, and speaks for you.
In other words, take some of the work out of networking. “You got the look and if you are good at what you do your business will explode,” says Condit. Moreover, as Anna Crates, European Director at Fragrance du Bois, also points out, using social media outlets can be great when looking to extend your networking efforts internationally and beyond your local network. It can never be said enough to not to be afraid to utilize the power of (mostly free) social media platforms to fuel your networking.
4. Power Secret: Be Passionate
Supercharging your networking in these ways will impact your business growth positively through an even larger principle. That principle is reflective in the tautology of your efforts in the first place: the passion for what you do. Being passionate drives your networking, encourages you to continue to develop your business, and with some even more outstanding bonuses on the way if you really give into it. Anne Ager, Director and Proprietor at Côte Weddings, says, “You need to tempt, inspire and convince! You need to have good head for business, a passion about what you do (which you can be easily transmitted to your clients), and tempting and convincing publicity ( really good web site is the best wedding planning tool that you can have on your side).” Echoing this sentiment is Terry Grahman, owner of Ivy Place, who writes, “The biggest challenge may be maintaining flexibility, energy and customer focus. Customers will sense your passion and energy so above all you must love what you do!”
In this way, networking can also be a powerful conduit, and reflection, of your passion for what you do. This will be contagious both to your colleagues, who will be inspired by you, and by your clients, who will love to work with you. Just like with marriage, when you love what you do, it shows. And of course, anything you love is worth the challenge, even the facing the biggest challenges to success within the Wedding Industry.
Next and Last: Get to Networking!
Check out listings on sellthebride.com’s directory for Wedding Professional Online Groups for great networking sources.