Nurturing your Network in Unprecedented Times

There’s no denying that these are difficult times for many of us and our businesses and under the latest restrictions, business for wedding venues is certainly not as ‘usual’. This doesn’t mean however that business cannot run at all nor should it mean that you or your client base should panic, stress or worry. These are demanding times but I’m here to assure you that there are ways to be proactive and maintain your business safely, from home. 

Start, with you

Firstly, don’t be ashamed to begin with yourself. Your mental health is of utmost importance, now more than ever, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Working from home might be unfamiliar to you and it can be difficult to manage your time effectively and find the right balance. One thing to note is that this will take time. Forcing toxic productivity is not a habit you want to fall into so be patient with yourself, take time out when you need it; put on a virtual exercise class, read a book, mediate or have a long, hot bath – whatever works for you.  You WILL figure this out. 

Value your staff

Secondly, don’t forget about the needs of your staff. They will be concerned too, some might be furloughed and/or worried that their jobs are at risk while others are struggling to manage their workload from home. Ensure that their efforts are validated throughout and that you vocalise your appreciation for their patience and resilience. Communication is key here and fortunately enough we are living in a technology driven world where reaching out can be as simple as the click of a button. Take advantage of this and implement a clear communications strategy for yourself and your staff.  Perhaps you’re more familiar in doing this through a simple phone-call but now is an opportune time to experiment with video-call services like Zoom, Skype and Google Hangout that will allow you to have the closest thing to a face-to-face conversation in the current climate. Getting comfortable with these platforms will allow you to extend similar services to your clientele, all the while benefiting you and your business. Having regular contact with your staff will be invaluable during this period and you will likely discover that implementing virtual meetings and discussions with your colleagues will instil a little reality back into your life. You might not be heading out as you usually would but interacting this way truly has the ability to improve your productivity and motivation, helping you to get on with business.

For the majority of your staff, yourself included, working from home every day will presumably feel very foreign to begin with. If you’ve managed to construct an itinerary of sorts for the coming weeks, try introducing an induction program to your staff that will help guide them with their workload at home. They too have unexpectedly found themselves in a brand new working environment and are likely uncertain on what their first steps should be. So, just as you would if they were new employees at your venue, provide some guidance and help them to help you in making your business the best it can possibly be right now. Business can still proceed – your clients; past, present and future are still waiting for you on the other side of this, which brings me nicely onto my third and final point.

Nurture your clientele 

Like most businesses, your clients are the backbone of your wedding venue and without them you might be feeling a little lost on how to progress. What’s important to remember here, is that they too are feeling just as (if not more) disorientated and are depending on you to help them through this difficult time. Many of your couples are in a position where they have had to cancel or rearrange their wedding, a life event that they have invested much of their time, money and their heart & soul into organising. This will almost certainly have left many couples and countless friends and family members deflated and perhaps distraught.  As I’ve mentioned before, it’s your job to lift them up and help your clientele realise why they chose your venue to begin with.  Ensure that you’re making yourself accessible to your clients by staying active and vocal across your platforms. Reach out to update your couples frequently and reassure them that you are there to support them, no matter what. Again, make the effort to organise meetings with them using your new-found companion, Zoom (or whichever is your preferred platform) and continue to strengthen that all-important bond that you have made with each of your couples.  This will not go unnoticed and will definitely help you to achieve glowing reviews further down the line!

Whilst we’re on the subject of reviews, don’t be afraid to get in touch with past clients so you can showcase some fresh recommendations to potential clientele across your social media, website and blog.  That’s right, I said it, the dreaded ‘blog’.  I know that many of you might be intimidated by the thought of writing a blog but now is your opportunity to get creative! This time is all about boosting your SEO and refining your brand which means blogging, updating your website regularly and ensuring your social media is as active as ever.  This time spent indoors has forced society to move online meaning social media is seeing some serious activity spikes from its users.  Take this opportunity to advertise your venue and your services!  Couples are still planning their weddings, so ensure you are seen and heard on as many platforms as achievable. If possible, offer consultations to potential clients using virtual reality platforms, such as Virtual Wedding Venues, allowing couples the opportunity to explore your venue in 3D. This is a fantastic way of creating an immersive wedding experience that your couples will no doubt appreciate. It’s worth noting, however, that many of these platforms do come at a price so if that isn’t something that’s attainable for you right now, video chat and talk your couples through your photographic portfolio, helping them to envision their wedding in your beautiful venue.  You can even reiterate this through investing some time in creating a YouTube channel, allowing clients to refresh their memory as and when they please. 

Above all, remind yourself that it’s okay to feel a little overwhelmed during this process but take comfort in the fact that the majority of us feel so too. This is unlike anything that you or your business has had to deal with before, so patience, compassion and an open-mind is going to be essential to your success.

And don’t forget, keep smiling and please, please feel free to get in touch if you need some friendly help or just want some advice!