Last week we ran our annual wedding business retreat. It was an amazing week, and importantly there were lots of learnings that I wanted to share with you. This weeks episode covers a wide variety of topics from customer service to listening to your business instincts.
Join me as I share with you all of the lessons learnt from this years wedding business retreat.
Want to be part of an amazing wedding business community to support your business as it grows? Take a look at my Wedding Pro Members Lounge.
The impact of good customer service [00:04:00] Becca highlights the exceptional customer service experience at Beamish Hall and emphasizes its importance in creating a positive guest experience.
Recognizing the stage of your business and relevant training [00:07:11] Understanding that different stages of business require different levels of help and training, and the importance of focusing on what is relevant to your current stage.
The importance of convenience [00:11:02] People are willing to pay more for convenience, as shown by Becca’s experience of ordering Starbucks coffee to the hotel.
Educating your audience [00:13:52] Offering simple tips and education in your content helps you stand out as an expert in your field.
Trusting your instincts [00:15:40] Don’t doubt yourself or seek approval from others. Trust your gut instincts when making decisions for your business.
The importance of a supportive community [00:18:44] Becca emphasizes the importance of surrounding oneself with supportive and encouraging individuals in the wedding industry.
Benefits of finding your people [00:19:53] Becca encourages listeners to seek out like-minded individuals in the wedding industry to inspire and celebrate each other’s successes.
Final thoughts and invitation to join a community [00:21:00] Becca concludes by urging listeners to find their people, be authentic, and not take business too seriously.
Becca: Last week I had the most incredible week at our wedding business retreat. It’s the third time that we’ve run the retreat and it was incredible. The people who came showed up with so much energy and enthusiasm to grow their wedding businesses and we learned loads and of course had a lot of fun along the way.
In today’s episode I want to share with you some of the things that I learned on the retreat that I think will help you and your wedding business too. I’m Becca Pountney, wedding business marketing expert. Speaker and blogger and you’re 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. The wedding business is an experience like no other. We go away for three nights in a luxury hotel and it’s a real opportunity for us to dive deep into the businesses of the attendees.
It’s the third year that we’ve run it and I run it with my wedding industry colleague, Kelly Mortimer. It’s the only thing that we do together, but I absolutely love that we can bring our knowledge and experience together. to give the guests that week the best possible experience. This year, we had our retreat up in the gorgeous Beamish Hall Hotel up near Newcastle, and it was the most stunning venue.
We had exclusive use of the hotel for the whole few days. All of the facilities, we had singers, magicians, gorgeous food cooked for us, and the most beautiful bedrooms. We just felt like we were treated like. Queens. So I wanted to share with you some of the things that came out of the retreat this year that I thought might help some of you in your wedding business as well.
Now the first thing is actually from a guest speaker session. So this year we had the fabulous Carol Perez came and gave a guest session during the retreat that me and Kelly could also benefit from because we could sit back and listen to someone else talking rather than doing all the talking ourselves.
And it was something totally different for us. Carol was Talking all about joy and happiness and how we can bring more joy into our daily lives and more happiness into our lives as well. And she said something that really resonated with me that was that one day she woke up and realized she’d become too serious in her business.
I’m going to say that again. One day she woke up and realized she’d become too serious in her business. And I could really see how that can happen. I feel like I can be quite fun and bubbly, and I’ve got loads of things I love. I love Disney. I love musical theater, but sometimes the world around us tells us that to be successful and to run a business, we have to be a certain kind of archetype.
We need to present really professionally, or we need to dress in a certain way, or we need to look a certain way on Instagram. And we can. kind of fall into this trap of becoming too serious. And as I talk about a lot in my sessions, becoming quite vanilla, trying to fit in with the crowd, trying to be like everyone else, instead of injecting our personality into it.
And I really enjoyed what she said on that because actually we should all have more joy in our businesses. We can all find more joy in just Being ourselves and bringing a bit of personality into our businesses. So if you feel like you’ve become too serious, maybe you feel like you’ve got to fit into a certain mold, or there’s aspects of your personality that you’re squashing that you don’t want people to see well.
Actually, you can have permission to do what you want. One of the things I said, I’m going to do more of is just seeing and have fun and talk about my personality more on my social media and not feel like I’ve got to be this archetype, perfect professional person. So that’s the first learning from me is actually from Carol’s talk.
All about joy is if you’ve become too serious in your business. It’s time to change it up a bit. If that’s your personality, absolutely fine, but if you feel like you’ve become something that you’re not really, then it’s okay to inject a bit of fun and a bit of personality into your life and business.
Okay, the second learning is all around customer service because my experience at Beamish Hall as a retreat venue was incredibly good. I have very rarely been to a venue or a hotel where every single member of staff is polite, is friendly, is helpful, says good morning to you, says good afternoon to you, says how are you doing, can I do anything to help you.
And that was my experience at Beamish Hall. So big shout out to the Beamish team, thank you for being so amazing. Because often in these places, you know, you have some people who are maybe running the event, who are really kind and polite and helpful to you, but maybe some of the other members of staff, maybe the Bar staff or the waitresses or the reception don’t necessarily have the same energy or maybe are a bit short with you or maybe even sometimes rude to you.
And it really stood out to me this week at how much the staff at Beamish Hall were not like that. Every single member of staff made me feel welcome. Every single member of staff was helpful and friendly and that made such a big difference to the week. As a whole, if your whole team can bring that kind of positive energy, it has a huge impact on your guests.
So it’s a reminder really that a real positive good customer service experience makes all of the difference because ultimately sometimes things do go wrong. All right, you’re in a hotel, maybe something breaks in a room or, you know, someone forgets to do something, they forget to do housekeeping or, you know, mistakes happen all of the time.
But when you have that level of good customer service. It’s much easier to apologize and make a mistake better because you’re already in a good light. You know what it’s like when we start complaining about something, then we start finding more and more things to complain about. Well, it’s the other way too.
So when we’re in a really good thought and mindset about something, we’ll find reasons to defend it. So are you thinking about the customer service level in your own business? Whether it’s just you making sure you’re always doing things with a smile and always replying on time and doing all those good things, or if you have a team making sure…
All of your team are having a positive impact because one team member that’s letting the side down really can make a difference to that experience for the customer. Okay. Third thing. And we are going to be bouncing all over the place because over the retreat, we learned about loads and loads of different subjects over three days.
So some of these things might be a little bit left field and not quite concurrent with each other, but I want to share them all with you. So. The next thing is that each different stage of your business needs a different level of help. One of the things that’s interesting when we come together for something like the retreat is that often people in the room are at different stages in their business.
That’s always going to be the way, whether you’re in an online membership, a free community, going to a training day conference, or coming on the retreat, you’ll have people that are just right near the start of their journey that are wanting to launch onto the scene in a positive, impactful way and they’re investing in learning how
to do that. You may have people that are very, very experienced, but actually have kind of lost touch with how to do marketing and things like that. Or you might have people that are incredibly successful, but know how important it is to keep their personal development up to date or how important the networking side of things are.
Or if it comes to the retreat, just want a bit of a rest from day to day life. And it’s okay that everyone’s at different stages of business. But it’s also important for you to recognize the stage that you’re at and to know that not all training and not all business help is for everyone at every stage.
What do I mean by that? Well, actually, sometimes you need to realize that a certain business training is possibly too advanced for you or isn’t relevant to you right now. So, for example, if we’re talking all about finance and we’re talking about higher tax brackets or becoming VAT registered, and you’re just at the start of your self employed journey, that probably isn’t necessarily 100 percent relevant to you at this stage.
Now it might be down the future and hopefully it will be, but don’t use up your time listening to trainings that aren’t relevant to you now. On the other hand, if you’re really struggling with just the basics of what to post on social media or how to use Instagram, then don’t feel like you’re any lesser because you’re having to watch more basic.
kind of levels of training. In fact, that’s your superpower. You want to go through those basic levels to make sure you understand that before you move on to the greater levels. So I just want to encourage you to think about the training that you’re immersing yourself in, the things that you’re watching, and to think why you’re watching them and are they relevant to this stage of your business.
Sometimes we can get a bit Training and challenge and free training overloaded. Sometimes it’s important that we take a step back and think about, okay, what do we actually need help with right now, rather than whats shiny on the internet right now that I feel like I need to watch. Now, this realization has actually changed a huge amount in my own business.
So you may or may not know, I have a community paid membership called the wedding pro members lounge. That’s been going since 2019. So it’s been. established quite a while now and inside there we have loads of business training. However, because we’ve been going so long, there’s now loads of training and it has become a little bit overwhelming and not all of the training is relevant to all of the people at all of the levels, exactly as I’ve just said.
So even in my own world, I’m addressing this. So within the roadmap.
So that when you come into my membership, you start at the bottom and you can go to the build level and watch all of the trainings that are suitable for you when you’re just starting to build your business. And then when you’ve completed those, if you feel like you’re at the next level, which is grow, then it tells you what trainings to watch at that stage.
And then we go up to advanced as well. So if you’re a more advanced level, you can watch the more advanced trainings. So I want you to have a think about where you’re at right now and make sure that you’re listening to and learning from things that are relevant to the stage of business you are at.
There is no point in watching a training about growing a team and outsourcing if you’re right at the start of the journey and you’re still getting things set up. Instead, you might want to watch something about branding or marketing messages or sustainability, but you don’t necessarily to be watching things on VAT returns or employing staff.
Okay, the next thing I want to talk about is how people will pay more for convenience. Okay, we’re going off on another different tangent as well, but this is just from my experience last week. Now, at the retreat, we were in the middle of nowhere. That’s often the case with these beautiful manor houses. We were in acres and acres of beautiful land.
We had the place to ourselves. We were But there’s one thing that I really like to have in the morning and turns out Kelly does too, which is a nice coffee. Now I’m a bit of a coffee snob. Most of you have probably looked down on me for this, but I just don’t like pure coffee, right? It’s too bitter for me.
I like sweet coffee. So I love a caramel latte, anything like that, but just a pure filter coffee. I just can’t drink it. Tea. Yes. Coffee. No. So as we’re at the hotel, obviously all of the coffee available at the hotel while we were there was filter coffee and instant coffee, which is fair enough. And Most people were happy with that.
However, I kept thinking, I just wish I could have another kind of coffee and it turned out Kelly was thinking something similar. And so I went on to Uber Eats just out of curiosity to see if I could order coffee to the hotel. Well, it turns out even in the middle of nowhere, I could order a Starbucks coffee for myself and Kelly directly to the hotel to be delivered within half an hour.
Now obviously I’m going to be paying a premium for that. I could use the free filter coffee in the hotel that was provided. I could have had an adequate. cup of coffee. But because I wanted something better and it was so convenient, I was willing, and we were willing, to pay a little bit of a premium to get that service.
Now, why am I telling you about my coffee? Well, not only because this poor man had to cycle with my coffee all the way down to the hotel that day. Don’t worry, I gave him a nice tip to say thank you. But it’s a reminder to us that people will pay more when things are convenient. If you could help someone at the last minute, or you can help someone with a problem they’re struggling to solve, or you can make it easy for them to work with you, they are more likely to pay a premium.
So if you’ve got this money mindset, that the only way people will work with you is if you’re cheap. Or if you cost less or if no one else is offering it cheaper, then you need to change that perspective because people will pay more if they want something, if you’re offering a superior or luxury product, or if you’re convenient, if it’s easy.
I mean, how often when we can pay for something on Apple Pay, do we do it really quick? Like I have, um, thing where I have to pay for my child’s football and they now let you do it on Apple Pay and I do it every time. But when someone sends me an invoice and I’ve got to log into my internet banking and find the details, normally it takes me slightly longer to do it.
It’s not convenient because I don’t have my card to hand. So the more convenient something is, the more likely you are to make the sale and the more likely they are to pay. Premium. So have a think about your offering and your own money mindset and think how could you make it more convenient? How can you charge a premium for a service and what can you do to solve people’s problems?
Okay, the next thing that I want to talk about is how you are the expert and you need to tell people about it. One of the exercises we did on the retreat was to get people to create reels and blog posts in the room because me and Kelly are all about action taking. We don’t want to just teach you the theory.
We want you to actually go out there and get stuff done. So we set people a task to find something that they’re the expert in and to talk about it on a reel or on a blog post and to go away and make it. And the response people had back to those reels after they posted them was really, really positive.
If you want to help your couples, education is one of the best ways to stand out and to do that. And making it really simple, just because you know a lot about your subject doesn’t mean that they do. It’s the first time they’re getting married, and probably, or one of the first times, and they’re not an expert.
in the wedding industry like you are. Now, if you’re a cake maker or a florist, you’re doing this stuff day in, day out, and you understand it to a tee. But the general public don’t understand what you do. So if you can break it down for them into some really simple tips on a video or a reel, that’s really going to stand out.
Now, don’t overcomplicate this. You don’t need to do a half an hour live or a really long podcast like I’m doing here. Instead, you can just say something like how to choose your wedding dress part one, and then just give a really simple tip about being open minded and making sure you go into the appointment with an open mind.
Now, the great thing about doing a series like this, as in, you know, how to find your wedding dress part one, is you can then do how to find your wedding dress part two, part three, part four, part five. And down the line, when people find part five or part three and they enjoy it, Guess what they do? They go to your profile and they start watching your other videos as well.
Keep it short, keep it snappy, but remember you’re the expert and the people that did this on the retreat had a really great response almost immediately from people commenting and liking and contacting them because people like to be educated and if you can show yourself to be the expert then that’s a really great thing.
Okay, my next tip may sound really obvious, but I think sometimes we doubt ourselves, and that is to go with your own gut instincts. I had some great conversations with people on the retreat about ideas they had for their business, or things that they wanted to do differently, or creative ways to exhibit at a wedding show, or creative ways to market themselves.
And quite often they have a sense of doubt, they’re looking for approval and what happens in that scenario is maybe they go to their friends or their family to ask their opinion and because maybe it’s outside of the box, their friends and family say, Oh, I don’t know if you should do it like that. Well, actually, I want to say to you.
Be brave and go with your gut. You know, your business, you know, yourself, you know what you want to do. So sometimes you need to go with your gut feeling just because your friends and family maybe don’t agree with it. Doesn’t mean that they are right. They are not experts in the industry. They’re not running your business for you.
They don’t necessarily know. They just know what everyone else is doing out there in the world. And as you know, comparisonitis is not the way to grow your business. So I want to remind you to go with your gut. If you want to put your prices. If you want to make a change in your business, if you want to take away a service, if you want to offer a new service, if you want to change your branding, change your website, do something totally different with your marketing, and you feel in your gut that you should, why not go with it?
Go with your gut. Don’t look for approval from others all of the time. So some of you might need that reminder right now to go with your gut. And if you are looking for approval, go to places where people understand what you’re talking about. So go into a group. of wedding professionals. Talk to your wedding professional friends, go to someone like myself or Kelly and talk to us about it from a business strategy perspective.
But don’t undermine yourself and don’t let your friends and family influence you when they don’t necessarily know what they’re talking about. Okay, this brings me to my final learning from the retreat. There’s so much more I could talk to you about the retreat. We had so much fun and I think particularly the importance of having fun.
We let our hair down and it’s so good to see wedding pros having fun. Honestly, so important, but that’s not my final point. My final thing is this. Remember to surround yourself with people who get it. Find your people. Whenever I do anything in person, I remember how important it is to surround yourself with people who get it.
The thing that makes The Retreat incredible isn’t just the teaching that myself and Kelly give, but it’s the people in the room and the way that they show up for each other, the way they lift each other up, encourage each other and grow their businesses. together. And it’s really important to find your people.
One of the questions I got asked when I was away was, how do I decide which wedding membership to join and what communities to be part of? And my answer was, They might be teaching you the same things, but you’ve got to find a leader that you align yourself with and a group of people that get you and you get them.
All right. The culture of a group, the culture of a leader is so, so crucially important. If you are going to invest in any kind of wedding membership or wedding business training, if something or someone makes you feel uncomfortable, then maybe it’s not quite the right thing for you. That doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing for someone else, but you know, yourself best and you want to find the right people.
I absolutely love it when my members get together or when I see people in my world get together because I know they’re my kind of people. They’re up for a laugh. They’re not taking themselves too seriously. They can appreciate my love of Spice Girls and even if they don’t like it themselves. But most importantly, they’re not putting each other down.
There’s no culture of I’m better than you and you’re not good enough. And you need to stop treading on my toes. There is none of that. The people in my world lift each other up, support each other, promote each other, tell each other, encourage each other. And that is so crucially important. And that’s what happened on the retreat.
The culture of the people in that room, it was just incredible. They are the most incredible people and they’ve made great business relationships. And that isn’t by accident because they put themselves in the right room with the right kinds of people. So I want to encourage you, if you feel like you’re not in the right space, if you don’t feel like you’ve got a community, if you don’t feel like you’ve got wedding industry friends to support and encourage you, or you feel out of place, or like something’s a bit weird and cliquey, then change it.
Go find your people, whoever your people are, wherever your people are in the wedding industry, go find them and be part of something incredible. Because surrounding yourself with people who get it, who are there to inspire and encourage you in your business walk, who are there when things feel hard and are there to celebrate you when things go well, is completely invaluable.
So if you’re listening to this and you haven’t yet found your people, go out and find them. It is the best feeling in the world when you have a great group of wedding pros to be your friends and to support you in your business pursuits. However, that’s with me and my members, which you’d always be welcome to pop.
be part of, or whether that’s elsewhere, go out there, find your people and enjoy being part of a community that lifts each other. The wedding business retreat was so, so incredibly exciting. I absolutely loved it and I hope that today from me sharing just some of these things that I learned has given you a bit of a taste of what it’s like and given you an opportunity to learn from the experience.
as well. Go out there, find your people, be unapologetically you, and back to what I said at the start, don’t be too serious in business. Life’s too short. I’ll see you next time.