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Lessons of Longevity

The wedding industry is one of startups and spectacular entrances, but not nearly as many long-term models for success. There are few barriers to entry in much of the industry. If you miss planning your own wedding on Sunday, you can open up shop as a wedding planner on Monday. However, as quickly as many shingles are hung, even more are taken down as startups fade to obscurity.

This phenomenon leaves us with few long-term models of success, and even fewer veterans from whom we can draw wisdom as we plan for our futures. They do exist, however, and when you can mine their experience for insight to help you keep your business at the forefront of the industry, you certainly should! There are many lessons to learn from their longevity – lessons that you can turn into a recipe for your own success.

Scale for Sustainability

One characteristic of seasoned and successful businesses is the ability to scale appropriately. They neither grew too fast, jeopardizing their product or funding, nor too slowly, missing the opportunities that made them great. Focus on scaling your business so it meets your personal and professional goals. It should provide you with the income you need as well as capital for expansion. You will need a combination of savvy business management, a great team and the ability to analyze and foresee what your market will need next to scale successfully. When you do, you will set your business up to last.

Team Building

Another common factor among businesses that have enjoyed longevity in the wedding industry is having a strong team. Very few solopreneurs are able to maintain operations that will take them into retirement because they are too personally integral to their product and services.

Even as you begin a new endeavor, focus on finding the right people to join your company and fitting them in to the roles where they can not only be most successful but also with room to grow. Ultimately, businesses that last over the long-term are led by visionaries with exit strategies. Assuming you ever want to retire or move on, build your business with the ultimate goal of watching it run like a well-oiled machine without you.

Forward Thinking

When thinking about the future, business leaders need to be innovative and concentrate on the next big thing, not what is currently all the rage. Copying others makes failure a certainty. My goal with both Kushner Entertainment and The Wedding Biz podcast is to think outside of the proverbial box and being a thought leader instead of a follower. Go with your gut and explore what excites you!

Know When to Pivot

The main secret to maintaining longevity is a willingness to pivot when something isn’t working. Develop a business strategy and analysis process that allows you to frequently reflect on what is going right with your clients and your team and what needs to be addressed, and that is focused on where you plan to be tomorrow. When you see that something isn’t working, that a trend is on the horizon that will make you irrelevant, or that something exciting is coming that you can incorporate into your menu of options, be willing to change course and pivot towards what is best for your company.

Leverage Longevity for Expert Status

The longer you stay in this industry, the more you will be considered a source of wisdom and inspiration. This can not only benefit those newcomers who want to be like you, but it can also push your brand even further and attract opportunities. Don’t be afraid to position yourself as a thought leader. Worlds of opportunity open up when you regularly take the stage to educate others.

Longevity and the wedding industry are not mutually exclusive. You can make your business sustainable and influential, but doing so starts now. Set aside some time for some serious reflection and business analysis and start planning your future today.

Andy Kushner is the creator and host of The Wedding Biz Podcast, interviewing prolific thought leaders and talented icons within the wedding and events industry, such as Mindy Weiss, Preston Bailey, and Colin Cowie. He recently launched The Wedding Biz Podcast Network, the only global platform of its kind to serve the business development needs of wedding industry professionals. Kushner is also the creator of Kushner Entertainment, delivering unique entertainment experiences with award-winning bands and entertainment design professionals.

 

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