If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I was fortunate enough to attend the Engage!10 luxury wedding business summit at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman last week. Created and produced by Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce of Engaging Concepts, the event was a chance to connect with many amazing friends, both old and new, in the wedding industry.
I posted a recap with some beautiful images of the conference and the Cayman Islands over on Elizabeth Anne Designs, but here on Edit and Post I wanted to delve into just a few of the recurring themes from the conference and my insights and takeaways based on the panel discussions and conversations with other attendees.
On the very first day in the very first panel discussion, Harmony Walton posed a question to a small group of us: “Where do you want to be in 10 years?” I sat there, relatively clueless, awaiting my turn to answer and wondering what the hell I’d say.
Because the truth is, I HAVE NO IDEA.
And you know what? I am OK with that.
During the past ten years my life has changed in ways that were both completely expected and incredibly surprising. I love the thrill of the unexpected. I thrive on change, constant revision, and self-examination. I came away from Engage! with several budding ideas of ways to change my business, and if I had a “goal” that I was single-mindedly set towards, I may not have been open-minded to these new strategies.
Know that the wedding industry is changing faster than we can even realize. Are you ready to change with it?
So many of the conversations that I participated in throughout the conference centered around growing your business when you provide a personal service. One conversation went like this:
Her: “I went back to work 5 days after having my baby because my clients needed me.”
Me: “Don’t you have a team working with you on the client’s wedding?”
Her: “Yes, but they only wanted me.”
Me: “Then you’re doing something wrong.”
So I tend to make blunt statements and brash generalizations, but here is my point (which I clarified to her during this conversation). There is only so much of you to go around. If you are giving a little piece of yourself to each and every client, soon you won’t have anything left. This is when burnout occurs. This is why businesses become stagnant.
I’m guilty of this – we are all guilty in one way or another – but it’s so important to keep perspective in an entrepreneurial business. In order to grow, you must find, train, and give creative control to your team. You must trust them. If you don’t trust them, how will your client trust them? And if your client doesn’t trust them, how will you be able to let go and focus on growing your business?
Are you giving a little piece of yourself to each of your clients? How many pieces do you have left?
One of my personal action plans from the conference is to put a great deal of thought into diversifying my business from the rest of my industry. Perhaps because it was so applicable to me, this subtle thought stood out to me as a conference “theme”, if there is such a thing at Engage!.
What am I doing to differentiate my business?
In the first moment of interacting with my business, do you see what I want you to see?
How do I stand out from the crowd?
If you are in the wedding industry and are considering attending an Engage! event, I would definitely recommend it. Engage! is not a “how to” or “what to” conference. Rather, it is a thought-provoking environment that allows you to connect with like-minded industry professionals and gives the opportunity for reflection on your business.