As we enter the fall, we start to enter the off-season in the wedding industry. Fall business winds down, and as wedding planners, we have time to reset, reorganize, and refocus! While things are slower on the wedding front, now is the time to shift your focus to the backend of your business (aka everything you’ve pushed off for months).
Taking the time to evaluate your business during the off-season gives you important insight into preparing for the upcoming engagement and wedding seasons! Today, I am sharing the top things you should be focusing on and prepping your wedding planning business for this off-season.
01. Quarterly And Annual Planning
There is a reason this is first on the list of prepping your business! Reflecting on your numbers is one of the most important things you should be doing during the off-season. Without looking at your numbers, how will you know what worked and what didn’t? Take a look back at your past year of events and ask yourself these questions:
– What worked in your marketing? Did a particular marketing platform work better than others? Are there any paid platforms you advertise on that didn’t get you the ROI you were looking for? Are there any other paid platforms you want to try next year? To see what social media platforms worked the best for you, make sure to look at your Google Analytics. You can go to acquisition –> social and it will tell you which social media platforms sent traffic to your website.
– Were your packages profitable? Look at the time spent on each wedding, and see if your package pricing is profitable or needs to be raised in the new year. For each wedding, keep track of your hours, as well as your teams hours. I talk more about how to time track your client work here!
– What was your profit and loss? I like to look at my Profit and Loss statements every single month in Quickbooks, but if you haven’t looked at yours in a while, now is the time! P&L statements are the easiest way to see money coming in and going out to help you make better financial decisions for the year ahead.
As you go through your past year, and evaluate what worked and what didn’t, think about where you want to be one year from now. Don’t be afraid to make those lofty goals! Break those dream goals down into both annual and quarterly goals. I find that when I break things down into quarters, it is much easier to visualize a plan to get there. It also allows you to consider your busy and slow seasons, and when you have time to focus on other money-making projects.
And don’t forget to take the time to track these on a regular basis! Outline a CEO day once a month, where you resist these goals and look at your numbers.
02. Revisit Your Tools, Systems, and Workflows
Your systems and workflows are what make or break your wedding planning business. Take the time this off-season to look at your systems, and determine what is working, and what might need to be changed. Think through each process step to see where things could improve and make changes if necessary.
I have a blog post that shares the top document templates you should have in your wedding planning business and how they can save your hours each month!
Another item to look at is the tools and systems you use. What tools could you use to improve your productivity and your client experience? If you find it challenging to get clients to sign and pay their deposit in a timely manner, it’s time to get a CRM. A CRM system is hands down the best investment you can make in your business! I love Honeybook since it lets you easily send contracts, questionnaires and get payments with ease.
Or maybe there’s a platform you purchased that you are not taking full advantage of. Perhaps you invested in a CRM system, but you are still manually sending out payment reminders. This can all be automated in Honeybook! Or maybe you are paying for Dropbox when you could be using GoogleDrive for free.
03. Updating Your Offers and Packages
Every year, you should take time to do a refresh and update your client-facing items. First, start with your offers, packages, and pricing. It is important to raise your rates as you gain experience and book out as a wedding planner! Will your rates go up for the next year? Will you consolidate your offer suite and niche your services? Or will you possibly offer a signature package? A signature package is one single package, that you focus on offering. It allows for an easier buying decision since your clients just have one option!
Now is also the time to look at all the client-facing documents you have. This includes things like your services guide, welcome guide, and all of your document templates. How can these be improved? Are they all on-brand and showcase your style? And are they helping book your ideal clients? Many of these documents are the first impression a potential client will have, so you need to make sure it reflects your company!
Another client-facing document that many wedding planners overlook is the emails. Your document library should also include email templates! These are not just items you can easily template out, which saves you hours each month, but they can also be formatted the same and used across your entire team to create consistency. My 43 Email Template Bundle gives you the most important emails you need, all templated and written for you. They are easy to customize for any wedding planning business!
04. Update Your Website
This is something you should do each quarter, but now is the time if you haven’t done it in a while! Make sure your images are up to date and reflect your current work. I also suggest having some of your friends, who are outside of the wedding industry, take a look at your website. When a potential client lands on your website, is it clear what you do, who you serve, and where you are located? If your friends are confused by your website, so will your potential client! Your website should be very clear about what you offer. And it should be easy for them to contact you!
This is where asking for reviews from your client becomes very important! It’s not just important to have reviews online, but on your website too.
Testimonials should be featured on your home page, portfolio page, and about page. In my 43 Email Template Bundle, I include the exact Review Request Email Template my team and I use, so you know exactly how to ask for the best reviews!
And don’t forget your images! Your website should include up-to-date images from recent events, especially your home page. For your website portfolio, remove any older weddings that do not refelt your current work and update with current weddings. Quick Tip: Keep your website portfolio to your top 10 weddings. Too many galleries can get overwhelming for a viewer! The goal of your website is to get them to contact you. They may get distracted and never reach out when you have too many images.
05. Create a Content Calendar
Creating a content calendar has been a game-changer in my business! How often do you go onto Instagram and can’t figure out what to post? Yep, I’ve been there before! The biggest thing that has helped me overcome this overwhelm is to do quarterly content calendars. Take a look at each quarter next year – what is the overall goal for each quarter?
Is it to book newlyweds? Or to educate your clients on planning tips? Or is it to showcase a lot of real weddings?
I suggest blogging at least twice per month. So in one quarter, that is only three topics you need to come up with, since the other blogs can be real events! That makes it much easier to break down when you look at it as a quarterly task.
Unsure what to write? Grab my list of 72 blog post ideas for wedding planners for FREE!
06. Train Your Team In The Off-Season
Are you bringing on new team members this year? Now is the time to train them on your systems and processes so that they can jump right in and assist come spring! Whether you decide to outsource to a virtual assistant or hire an associate planner or coordinator, this is the perfect time to train and get tasks done. Training your team should be a key part of prepping your business in the off-season.
Let’s take this off-season to reset, refresh and set those goals! Now is the perfect time to work ON your business before the wedding season kicks off. It will be here before you know it!