While systems and processes may not be the most thrilling aspect of running a wedding business, they are undeniably one of the most important elements for creating the kind of business you truly desire (you know – the one that makes you money without working every single Saturday). Today, I’m going to walk you through the ultimate guide to creating systems and processes in your wedding business, share the six categories I think you need to have systems and processes for and debunk some of the most common misconceptions I hear about systems and processes as a business coach. Are you ready?
Before we dive in, are you inside the Planner’s Playbook yet? If not, you can get on the waitlist here. Each month I dive deep into an aspect of wedding planning, designing, or coordinating a wedding, and I will ALWAYS share the systems and processes (and swipe files) for you to implement them right away. Sound good? Sign up here.
What Are Systems and Processes?
Systems and processes can get a bad rap – so let me set the record straight before diving in.
Simply put, they are the way you do things in your business and the experience you provide to your customers. They are not a precise step-by-step method but rather the way things are done in your business and the experience you offer your customers. Systems and processes embody your approach and philosophy. They are how you deliver on your promises and conduct business. And that's why they're crucial. They are part of your secret sauce in how you operate.
As a wedding planner, your unique selling point lies in your approach and how you plan and design weddings. It's the secret sauce that sets you apart and defines your systems and processes. That's why well-defined systems and processes are important. They should streamline your operations and save you time instead of adding complexity. On top of that, they should help you avoid costly mistakes and ultimately save you money.
And let me ask you this: how many times have you or someone on your team made a huge mistake and it cost you some coin?
If it hasn’t yet, it’s more of a “when” than an “if”. Having proper systems and processes in place is going to help to save you money from making more costly mistakes or making the same mistakes over and over. They should make working in your business easier and not harder.
Having solid systems and processes is also important when it comes to your client experience. You need to deliver on what you sold them during your sales call. Implementing effective systems and processes within your business allows any team member to provide a seamless experience for your customers. This ensures that no matter who your customers interact with, they receive the same level of service as if they were working directly with you – the owner.
Streamlining operations through systems and processes guarantees that everyone on your team knows how to respond, take care of customer needs, and maintain a smooth customer experience without any interruptions.
What Systems and Processes Do You Need in Your Wedding Business?
I hate to break it to you but the short answer is: everything your business does, period.
You should have a system and a process for everything your business does. Here are just six examples:
First, brand messaging and marketing. You should have a process for how you market and sell your services. Additionally, you should have a system for your brand messaging, including fonts, brand colors, and the specific words you use (or don't use). Your mission, vision, purpose, and core values are all part of brand messaging and marketing too.
Next, you need systems and processes for your sales process. As your business grows, you may bring in team members who will be responsible for their own sales. It's important to have a solid sales process—a step-by-step guide on how to sell your services and how the sales process works in your business.
The same goes for your onboarding process. This is one of the most important processes, in my opinion. In fact, I’ve written a whole playbook on it. Put simply, it's how you sign on new customers and the experience and the process that they move through when you onboard them inside your business.
Next, you need systems and processes for your inner office policies. Everything from office hours to what happens in an emergency situation and even how to ask for vacation time.
Then, we need systems and processes for the delivery of your products and services. Of course, there are a multitude of things that you and your team do behind the scenes in order to deliver on your product or service. This is kind of a “catch all” category, but it's everything from how you position your rental orders to your customer to how you design an event or walk a customer through a cake tasting.
Finally, we need to have systems and processes for offboarding. How do you transition a customer from being a customer to a raving fan who refers to you all the time and loves everything that you do? They still follow you on social, and they're eager to write that testimonial. They're commenting on all the wedding photos that you post. Offboarding your customers is an important part of your systems and processes in your business. Want a shortcut to getting this one done? Grab the playbook.
Tackling Common Misconceptions When It Comes to Systems and Processes in the Wedding Industry
The coach in me can’t just write a blog post about the systems and processes you need to have in your business without talking a little about the mindset. Here are some of the common misconceptions I hear when coaching wedding pros around systems and processes:
1. I need to have all my systems figured out before I can start doing X.
How many times have you thought this? I've seen it a gazillion times mentoring folks. You feel like you need to have everything figured out before you dive in, before you land that first client, before you test out a new pricing strategy, before you add design to your services, and on and on it goes. Listen, this is a noble thought. But here's the reality: sometimes we create a system that sounds so good on paper, but it doesn't work in the real world. And that's why I want you to avoid taking on this belief that you need to have everything figured out before you even get started. The best systems and processes are developed from experience over time.
Remember, I started a business almost 15 years ago. It took me over a decade to develop systems and processes that transformed my business into something I could sell and pass on to someone else.
2. Systems and processes are only for organized people.
Listen, if you are somebody who doesn't necessarily have it all together all the time, welcome to the club, sister. Because while it might look like I'm always organized, the truth is that I'm disorganized, just like you. It took me a while to figure out how to get organized. If you are like me, it's something that you’ll have to work on too. As your business coach, I want to encourage you to change the belief that “you are disorganized” and “having systems and processes doesn’t work for you”. Because it’s not true. You can create better systems that work FOR YOU And work on building strong habits that will help you be more organized.
3. If I sign up for this software, it's going to save my business and make me a better business owner.
Have you ever signed up for something hoping that a tool would instantly give you solid systems and processes? Maybe it's HoneyBook. You guys know I love Honeybook, but maybe you signed up for it because it was a Hail Mary to help you figure your shit out.
I'm here to tell you that no amount of tech is going to change your bad habits, all right? That's the reality (and yeah – trust me, I wish I was wrong about this).
And the truth is, your business systems and your processes shouldn't rely on technology either. Tech can't save your business from poor management, only nyou can do that. You want to seek out technology that enhances the systems in your business, (makes them work smarter, makes them work harder for you, makes it easier for your team, etc) but you don't want to seek out technology in the hope and prayer that it's going to save your business and help you manage it better because it doesn’t work.
Creating Systems and Processes in Your Business
When it comes to creating systems and processes for your wedding business, I want you to find a way that suits you. You are unique – with your own personality and thought process. It's possible that if you try to follow my systems and processes, you might feel trapped and overwhelmed. The ultimate goal is to fulfill your promises to your customers. There are numerous paths you can take to accomplish that, and it's important for you to find the right one that works best for you. Remember, your secret sauce lies in how you approach things.
Want a Head Start Creating Your Systems and Processes?
If you are a wedding planner, you need to check out my shop. In it, you’ll find guides that cover everything from creating a full planning process your clients will love to setting up your client dashboard. While I’m not going to tell you that my systems and processes are the only way to do things, I feel pretty confident that they are the best way to do them (or, at the very least, will give you a wow-worthy starting point to create something better from). Shop everything now.
And listen, if you are ready for candid advice on what you should be doing in your wedding planning business on the regular, I want to encourage you to join me inside of the Planner’s Playbook. Inside this low-cost membership, you’ll find a community of incredible wedding planners (who want the same things as YOU do), monthly coaching calls, and a fresh playbook every month that will help you elevate your wedding planning business so you can finally get the business you’ve always wanted (ahem – deserve). I would love to welcome you inside so make sure to hop on the waitlist now!
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