When you start a business, it can often feel like a whirlwind of to-do lists, meetings, and other entrepreneurial responsibilities. Some business owners are thrust right into the thick of it (marketing, sales, and client work) without a chance to establish a solid business foundation.
While getting clients and earning money is great (and ultimately your big goal!), skimming over the fundamentals can set you up for disappointment later down the line.
Worry not, though, because it’s never too late to address these elements. There’s no time better than the present to get your business into gear and position yourself to achieve success.
Here are the four aspects of a successful business model and how to optimize them in your biz.
1. A comprehensive brand that tells people who you are
What’s a business without a brand? Your brand is how you show up in the world and introduce people to what you have to offer. It’s your logo, colors, and name, but it’s also your voice, values, and ethics. It’s what allows you to stand out to your ideal clients in an otherwise crowded marketplace.
Your brand attracts and appeals to those who share the same mindset as you, so you need to get clear on how you look and what you say to draw them in. Spend some time working through some branding activities to find clarity:
- Select three to five adjectives to define your brand
- Step into your ideal client’s shoes and consider what would attract you to a brand.
- Write down everything you love about your business.
- Think of your business as a persona. Who are they?
- Create a list of opposites and determine where your brand falls on the spectrum. (i.e., modern vs. traditional, professional vs. personal, playful vs. sophisticated, etc.)
2. A contract that doesn’t leave any room for question
A successful business is one that never has to worry about legal troubles because their contract is built to safeguard their interests. The bevy of postponements and cancellations that happened in the wake of the pandemic made it crystal clear how important it is to have an airtight contract. Before sending it out, hire an attorney to review it and make adjustments to ensure that it is sound and secure.
Once you have a solid contract in hand, take advantage of CRM platforms that allow you to upload and save your contract as a template ready for dissemination. These programs make it easy to send and e-sign, simplifying the process for you and enhancing the client onboarding experience.
3. A networking strategy that connects you with the right people
Who you know is how you grow, so don’t settle for small and ineffective networks. The events industry is vast and expansive — the opportunities are abundant if you know where to look! With in-person networking coming back in full glory, make sure to get out there and start connecting with people you want to meet. Check in with your local associations and business groups to update your calendar with upcoming events and then, grab your business cards and get to it!
With that said, let’s not forget the lessons we’ve learned in virtual networking over the past year-plus. It works well and is a powerful way to cultivate relationships with industry peers in different geographical regions. You might only get to see them once or twice a year at the national conferences (if that!), but social media, emails, and Zoom calls remain excellent ways to stay connected from a distance.
4. A system of tools to foster healthy communication
Running a successful event business is all about establishing reliable lines of communication. Between clients, colleagues, creative partners, and employees, there are a lot of personalities to juggle. Some are inclined to stay in touch regularly, whereas others need those gentle nudges to keep them engaged in the process. A great communication system will help you balance all stakeholders’ needs to ensure everyone stays on the same page.
There are a number of ways to do this, so find the program or process that works best for you:
- Use a messaging app like Slack or WhatsApp to stay in contact with all involved parties. This is great for on-the-go communications.
- Set regular team meetings to keep everyone in the loop, inviting other vendors, your team members, and your clients to share status updates.
- Use a collaborative project management software that allows you to invite clients and creative partners to the event account. Everyone will have access to real-time updates, as well as the ability to share thoughts and ideas as they arise.
- Create a schedule for status emails to ensure you are getting relevant information out to everybody in a timely manner.
One or all of these strategies may fit in your business, or you may have other programs and processes that work well for you. It’s your company and your clients, so do what’s best! Just make sure it is easy and frustration-free for anyone to communicate with your team at any given moment.
At face value, each of these elements is rather straightforward. They might be “common sense,” but that doesn’t change the fact that they are integral pieces of a successful business. In fact, some of the simplest things in life are the most vital — the same goes for your business!