Today I’m sharing with you the 7 things that I absolutely couldn’t run my business without! From software to paper diaries – here’s my run down of the things that make my business better!
I would LOVE to know what things would make your list? Send me a DM on Instagram or send an email to email@example.com.
Becca: [00:00:00] Sometimes I like to think back to life before mobile phones and just think how on earth did people survive without being able to contact each other 24 hours? In my business, I also look back and think about how the tools I use on a day to day basis save me so much time and effort and how I just couldn’t run my business without them.
So today I’m gonna be sharing the seven things that I couldn’t run my business without, and hopefully some of them will help you too. I’m Becca Pountney, wedding business marketing expert, speaker and blogger, and you are listening to the Wedding Pros who are Ready to Grow Podcast. I’m here to share with you actionable tips, strategies, and real life examples to help you take your wedding business to the next level.
If you are an ambitious wedding business owner that wants to take your passion and use it to build a profitable, sustainable business doing what you love, then you’re in the right place. Let’s get going with today’s episode. If you’ve been following along on my Instagram recently, you will have seen I’ve been [00:01:00] incredibly busy up and down the country, and I know some of you have been really busy as well.
Last week I was away on the wedding business retreat, the annual event I run with the fabulous Kelly Mortimer, helping wedding business owners and venues to improve their marketing. And supercharge their sales. It’s an incredible week, but boy, it’s tiring. Then over the weekend I was in London at the National Wedding Show at London Excel, and just this week I’ve been speaking away at an event for Guides for Brides.
So it’s been an incredibly busy time. Now, why am I telling you all this? Well, it’s to give you a pre-warning that today’s episode is gonna be a little bit shorter, so if you’re busy as well and you just want a little short bit of information from me today, then this is the perfect episode. So today I’m gonna be sharing with you the seven things that I just couldn’t run my business without.
Some of them might feel obvious to you, but maybe some of them you don’t actually have at the moment. So let’s dive in with number one. The first thing I could not run my business without is my accountant. Now, hopefully you already have an accountant for your [00:02:00] business. If you don’t, I urge you to consider getting one.
Now, my accountant doesn’t do all my bookkeeping. I do all of my bookkeeping myself through QuickBooks. I upload all of my receipts. My accountant just looks over my accounts once a year when I come round for my self assessment, and she goes through those accounts and she makes sure there’s no errors, but most importantly, she knows what I can and can’t claim for in my tax return.
She makes sure that I get my allowances for things like electricity from working in my home office, a certain allocation towards my petrol, towards my phone bill. She knows exactly what she’s doing. I totally trust her, and it’s an incredibly important part of my. I used to try and do my tax return myself, and then I went to a training session one day where they explained why it’s so helpful to have an accountant.
And let’s just say ever since that session, I’ve always employed an accountant. If something goes wrong with my tax return, if HMRC come back and query something or question something, when you have an accountant, they [00:03:00] go and query that with your accountant and not with you, which is really, really reassuring because obviously as long as your accountant knows what they’re doing, they’re taking that on board for you.
I would never go back now to not having an accountant. You don’t need to spend a huge amount of money on your accountant, especially if you’re willing to do the bookkeeping yourself. But the money it costs you to hire them to do that tax return for you once a year is worth its weight In gold, often they can save you more money than it’s actually costing you to go through the accountant.
So that’s my number one thing. If you don’t have an accountant yet, Absolutely make that a priority and find one. My accountant specializes in small businesses and she’s really approachable, so if you want her details, drop me a message. But do go out there and find an accountant. Now, I don’t know who’s with me on this one, but the second thing I absolutely can’t live without is my paper diary.
I know, I know I really should be going more online and I’m trying, and I do have a digital diary. I do use Google Calendar on my phone, but for me, there’s nothing better [00:04:00] than having pen and paper in front of me. So every year I buy one of these big planners. It’s cost me quite a lot of money. They’re very pretty.
But what I love about it is I can write everything down and I can see it visually in front. In my planner, I can see the whole month, so I can see when I’m getting too busy. I can see when I’ve got too many events booked in, and visually I can make sure I pull back from my work. Everything is in that planner, and yes, I am starting to transfer some of it to being digital.
I do try and put all my events in my calendar as well on my phone, but for me, there’s nothing better than a paper diary if you are in that camp to send me a message in Instagram and let me know that I’m not alone with my love of stationery. Sometimes having that to-do list written down in my diary in my planner, where I can physically see it and physically tick it off is so satisfying.
So for me, I couldn’t live without my paper diary. If anyone’s got any other solutions, I’d love to hear them, but I just don’t think anything beats pen and paper. The third thing I can’t live without is something that I both love and [00:05:00] hate in equal measure, and that is social. Do you ever have days where you just think, I’m gonna come off social media, I’m gonna quit Facebook, I’m gonna quit Instagram, and then your head reminds you that a lot of your business happens in that place?
That’s me on probably a daily, if not weekly basis. I find social media so incredibly frustrating, but yet I know it’s a necessary evil as part of my business. I have to remember, it’s a great marketing tool. It’s free for me to use and I can use it to reach people that would otherwise not know that I exist.
But I get it. It’s hard. One of the best things I’ve done in recent weeks for my social media is to switch my notifications off. I hadn’t registered how often my Instagram was notifying me that something was happening and how often that was interrupting my. Since I turned the notifications off and I just go into the app to have a look, I’m being interrupted a whole lot less.
So if you are like me and you struggle with social media sometimes, and you find it’s always distracting or taking your mind off tasks, then I urge you to go into your Instagram, go into your Facebook, [00:06:00] and make sure you turn your notifications off. The other thing while we’re talking about social media, because I honestly feel like I couldn’t live without my social media, and I know lots of you feel that too, which is why it’s so painful when someone comes in and steals it from you.
And we know there’s loads of hackers out there trying to get into our accounts all of the time. So if you have not yet got two factor authentication turned on for your Facebook and Instagram in the settings, that’s the thing where it sends you a text code so that you can get into your account or it sends you an email to check it’s you.
Then please, please, please, before you get to the end of this podcast, go into your Instagram or Facebook apps and turn that setting on. That makes it so much harder for the hackers to get into your account and just protects you from losing your account, which I know is really important. A couple of people have come to me in the last few weeks to say they’ve lost their account and it’s devastating.
Neither of them had that turned on. So if you haven’t already got two factor authentication, make sure you’ve got that switched on. And I know social media is tough sometimes, but turn those notifications off, [00:07:00] get some breaks, and remember, it’s actually a really positive marketing tool that can get you in front of potential couples.
Okay, the next thing that I cannot live without, and again, I just don’t know how I would survive without it. Is Canva if you’ve never come across Canva before. It’s a web-based graphic design tool and it basically allows you to do loads of amazingly cool graphics that look really trendy and well designed with no knowledge of graphic design or little to no knowledge of graphic design.
You can upload your brand colors, you can upload your logos, you can upload your fonts. There are so many templates to choose from, and you can make just about anything in Canva these days, you can make a presentation, you can make a photo slideshow, you can make an Instagram post, a Facebook post. A real, there is so much you can do within Canva and for so many of these things, you don’t even have to pay to use it.
If you don’t already use Canva, well, where on earth have you been? Get on there C A N v a.com. Go set up a free account and go and [00:08:00] dive in there. If you wonder how everyone else’s graphics look better than. It’s probably because they’re using Canva, and I really don’t think I could live without it.
There’s also loads of great stock images that you can use in there. There’s just so many great tools that you can use. You can make backgrounds go transparent. You can resize posts so that you have something that fits Facebook, and then you can resize it for Instagram. Whatever you need to do in the graphic design world, I guarantee there’s a template on Canva to help you.
So if you don’t already use Canva, then I’ve just changed your life and your business. So go and sign up for a free Canva account now. Okay. The fifth thing that I couldn’t live without in my business is my appointment calendar. So this is a piece of software, something like Calendly or I use Kartra where I have that piece of software synced up to my phone calendar, and this is why I can’t just rely on a paper diary and then I can send that out to my potential clients for them to book in a discovery call or a podcast interview with me and they can see when I’m available and book it without having to go [00:09:00] back and forth on.
If you don’t use something like this, if you don’t currently have a calendar for your couples to book appointments with you, then again, this piece of software will change your life. On Calendly, you can have one set up which doesn’t cost you anything. You can set it up for free, and all you do is you put your availability in there, or you sync it with your Google Calendar and it can see your availability.
You set the parameters, so if you only wanna meet during the school day or you only wanna meet in the evening, you can put that in there, and then you just send that link to any couples and they can find the best time that suits them and book into your Calendly. They get into your calendar, it’ll add it to your phone calendar.
Sometimes it’ll even send them the Zoom link or wherever you’re gonna try and meet them. Oh my goodness. It saves so much time. It stops that back and forth on email of, Are you available Friday? No. Are you available Thursday? No. Can you do next Wednesday at 10? I can do next Wednesday at 12, and all those back and forth emails.
Whereas with Calendly, you show your availability. They click and book the appointment, and then off it goes. [00:10:00] It also sends them a reminder so if they have forgotten or they’re no longer available, they can cancel that appointment too, which means no more wasted time for you. So if you don’t already have this kind of system set up, Again, go and set it up.
Calendly is a great one, but there are other ones available as well, and you might already have a calendar as part of a software that you already use. So before investing in a new one, check and find out if that’s a feature of something you already have. The sixth thing on my list of things I couldn’t run my business without is my mailing system.
When I set up my mailing system, it totally changed everything. It saved me so much time because I can automate so many things. Have you ever got to the end of a wedding fair with a clipboard full of names and email addresses, and then had to go home, try and type them all into your system, trying and send them an email.
Sometimes you can’t read their writing. Sometimes it just takes forever and you don’t have the time or energy to do it. While a mailing system takes the pain of that away from you and saves you so much time and [00:11:00] energy, and there’s loads of clever things you can do with it. Now. When I first started, I used Mailerlite.
It was a free account I could use. Do loads of the features without having to pay, and it was perfectly fine for what I wanted at the time. And for most of you, mailerlite will be the perfect solution. There’s other systems such as MailChimp, uh, and loads more different ones that you can use. But if you don’t currently have a CRM or a mailing system,
have a look into it and consider it, especially before you use it at your next wedding fair. Instead of collecting people’s details on paper, it allows you to set up a form that you can have available to them, either via a QR code on your stand or on an iPad on your stand, where they can come and fill it out.
They give you the details. You want their name, their email address, perhaps their wedding date, their venue, and then it puts it all automatically into your system. It can then automatically send them an email to welcome them into your. From there, you can do whatever you like with it. You can tag them by certain things like where you met them or whereabouts in the [00:12:00] country they’re getting married.
It’s up to you how you tag them, but it will save you so much time, especially if you wanna follow up on some of those colder leads. So no more typing up email addresses or using spreadsheets anymore. Get yourself a mailing system. Mailer Light is the one that I recommend if you’re just starting out or you are new to this kind of thing.
And if you need training on it, there’s some Inside My Wedding Pro members lounge. Okay. Finally, before we wrap up to today’s episode, I’m gonna share with you the number seven thing on my list and well, this one could be seen as a little bit controversial. Number seven is something that I only introduced into my life and my business earlier this year, and I didn’t realize the impact it would have and for me that’s a cleaner.
I have a fabulous cleaner. She’s so lovely. She lives in my village and she comes around to my house once a week to clean, to do the deep clean. Mop the floors and do all the things that I felt like I never had time to do. Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re running from Pillar to post. I’m being super mum all of the time trying [00:13:00] to get them to all their clubs and classes.
I’m trying to run a business and I never have time to breathe. And cleaning was falling to the bottom of my priority list, or I was having to stop working to get my cleaning done, and I didn’t realize how much of a burden that was putting on me and how much guilt I was feeling when I wasn’t keeping the house clean and.
Since I employed a cleaner just once a week for a couple of hours, it’s made a huge difference because that burden has been lifted off of me and actually I can use that time in those two hours to be really productive in my business, and my time is more valuable than the money that I’m having to pay out for her services.
I really didn’t realize the impact this would have on my life and my business. It’s freed me up. I love seeing her every week. I love chatting to her and I love supporting her business because she’s a small business owner right in my village. She’s trying to get her cleaning business going, and I love to be her customer.
So if that is you and you’re just struggling with the day to day trying to get on top of all the housework, trying to get on top of your business and you have some [00:14:00] budget left in your business or your marketing budget, then why not consider even once. Thinking about whether that could free up some of your time and free up some of your head space so you’re not quite so overwhelmed.
Okay, let’s recap then. The seven things that I could not run my business without. Number one is my accountant. She is incredible. Number two is my paper diary, and I know I should be going more technical, but I’m just not ready for it yet. Number three, is social media love it or hate? It’s absolutely essential to our businesses.
Four is Canva, if you don’t use it, go download it. Go get it on your computer. Now. Next is my appointment calendar, which saves me so much time. Number six is my mailing system. I use Kartra, but I recommend Mailer Light if you’re getting started. And finally is the fabulous Charmaine, my cleaner, who comes into my house and does an incredible job much better than I could ever.
I know it’s been a short and sweet episode this week. I’ll be back next week. If you wanna tell me what your things you couldn’t live without in your business are, I’d [00:15:00] love to hear them. Drop me a message on Instagram @beccapountney or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what you couldn’t live without in your business.
I’ll see you next time.