The winter season is fast upon us meaning a lot of our special event business is slowing down from the astronomical pace it once was over the summer. While this gives us a chance to take a breather, enjoy a nice vacation and catch up on administrative tasks, it also doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still focus on your business. Here are a number of tips you can utilize to make the most of your off-season:
Research awards and contests to take advantage of in the next year
Before I started working I assumed lists such as Canada’s Best Managed Companies and the Inc 5000 awards were a result of a panel nominating companies – not because of companies themselves submitting applications to be considered. In hindsight, it makes sense – how can a panel possibly weed out what is a best managed company or what is a fast growing company without applications? By researching awards and contests related to your industry, you can get a head start on planning which past or future events you plan to submit. It also gives you time to build in time to work on the submission prior to the award deadline. Being featured on an awards list helps to provide social proof to potential customers that you’re an award-worthy company to work with.
Research bridal/wedding shows to ensure you are on top of the industry events you should exhibit at
New bridal/wedding shows crop up every year – it can be hard to keep track of them when you’re in the trenches of the wedding season. The off-season is a perfect opportunity to catch up and make sure you’re not missing some great opportunities to get in front of your key prospects. Also, it again makes it easier to plan ahead for next year and pre-build your schedule out. (Can you tell I like planning?)
Networking remains an important part of business. You never know who you will run into at industry events and more often than not you meet someone of relevance to your business either to help you grow through education and knowledge or who can pass your information along to someone in need of your services. Events through International Live Events Association, BizBash, Catersource, Special Events, and Canadian Rental Association all can provide you with useful contacts.
Ask for referral business
This one can be uncomfortable for most of us – but referral business is a really good source of business. Make sure you thank the vendors you work with (florists, tent rentals, photographers, caterers etc) and ask them to keep you in mind when they come across a customer in need of whatever your business specialty is – whether it be high end décor with unbeatable service, or creatively arranged flowers. Be prepared to reciprocate by ensuring you have a handle on how each of your connections prefers to run their business. For example, make sure you’re not referring a bride that needs someone who can provide floral arrangements while creatively working with a limited budget to a florist who exclusively deals in extremely large floral budgets. This ensures that the business you refer to them reflects highly on your reputation and makes both your connection and the prospect happy.