Ah, the Off Season!  

Deep down, most of us welcome it a little bit- that little lull at the end of October heading towards the next year where the weddings drop off and we all get a bit more rest.  However, if you are relying on business to make ends meet during this time, Hallowe’en can be more than scary if the business levels are dropping.

So, what can we do to make the most of this downtime?

Tips for a great Off Season:

Tip #1: Use this time wisely: You have a (semi) clear 3 months in which to make your business work hard for you next season.  Use. This. Time. Wisely!  Take some time for rest and relaxation, of course, but use this time to build on what you have learned in the previous year and to work on a plan for the next.  

Tip #2: Review and Reflect: Set aside some time – a day, a week, an evening – whatever it takes, to review and reflect on your last year.  What worked?  What didn’t?  What would you change if you could?  How could you make it better?  What marketing did you use?  How much business did you get?  Was it hard to get or easy to convert?  Were you overrun with non-quality leads or were you trying to feed into your enquiries with tonnes of special offers just to get the business?  Were you spending a lot of time self-promoting or does your marketing work for you?  

Keep asking questions to get to key areas which may need improving.

The 5 Whys: Once you identify some areas which perhaps gave you some problems over the year, you could try this fabulous technique by one of the forefathers of industry in Japan:  The 5 Why’s.    

This technique is designed to get to the bottom of how you feel about something – the root cause of the problem, if you can’t say “why” again then you have your answer.  

This is applicable to any issue within a business – note: sometimes additional “whys” are needed for more detail – and if you are going around in circles and getting the same response, try making your “why” more specific.  An example below:

Problem: I didn’t earn enough in March and April

Why?   Because I didn’t get enough bookings earlier in the year
Why?   Because I didn’t promote in the right areas and places
Why?   Because I didn’t have enough budget left to do so
Why?   Because I didn’t budget accurately
Why?   Because I didn’t plan and research marketing enough

So the root cause of not earning enough in Spring was that the marketing plan wasn’t thorough enough.  Simple!

Prepare for the Next Year

So now you have identified areas where you perhaps could have improved on last year – now it’s time to put those into practice.  Outline the key areas you feel you could do better next year and make a plan to give yourself structure. You then can give yourself some action points to solve this.  For example:

  • Problem:  Not enough business in March and April
  • Root Cause (5 whys identified):  not planning and researching marketing
  • Solution: Research marketing options and plan marketing strategy
  • Action Point 1: research – online and offline, get prices
  • Action Point 2: choose appropriate marketing tools – target suitable audience
  • Action Point 3: Budget
  • Action Point 4: Purchase Marketing tools

Once you have made your plan you can structure your year much more accurately.  Use this with each of your identified areas of improvement.  

The Next Off Season

Get ahead of the offseason for next year – if the downtime in offseason affects your finances and cash flow too much then prioritise this time when you make your plans.  Think about ways you can increase this business – special offers are a great way to incentivise couples choosing an off-season wedding.  Remember – when couples get married in offseason, it’s likely they are looking for a deal – prices usually increase for the Summer so Winter weddings can be a much more cost-effective choice.  Consider weekdays, weekends and bank holiday rates, also consider special dates such as Black Friday sales, Fireworks Night, Hallowe’en and Christmas deals.  

Market, Promote and Sell

Now you have cleaned up your year and have considered next year’s offseason, you can move on to getting that business in.  Your clients won’t book you if they don’t know who you are – it’s time to start building that branding and promoting what you do.  Blogging, Podcasts, Videos, Webinars etc. all provide amazing outlets for giving you promotion and exposure.  

Some items to think about:

  • Consider your price point and choose outlets which appeal to your demographic.
  • Make the most of your listing with Weddingly by providing content for the blog and the YouTube channel; real weddings, styled shoots, blog posts, videos, podcasts – Contact us to get involved
  • Use Social Media – it’s low cost and can have high impact. Join us for #HCWedHour and get in touch on Facebook – we want to introduce you to couples!

What other tips can you offer?  We want to hear from you!

Tell us what you think!