The unpredictable nature of 2020 has caused many event professionals to reconsider and refine their existing business structures. What worked in 2019 may not have worked this year and, with 2021 just around the corner, it’s an advantageous time to make necessary adjustments to ensure your business is primed and ready for whatever may come.
You might already have your plans in place, or perhaps you’re wondering what you can do to better position your brand for a successful 2021. We spoke with event professionals from across the industry to see how their businesses are changing in the new year in the hopes that their responses will serve as inspiration for anyone questioning their next steps.
Practicing sound financial planning
Michelle Loretta, Founder of Be Sage Consulting, says: “In 2020, it’s become even more apparent that financial strategy and cashflow management can be a game-changer in terms of business survival. It’s become even more important for me to guide my clients into crisis management of their cashflow. The goal is to have pliable plans that can handle swift changes in the economy and the pandemic crisis without devastating my clients’ businesses overnight.”
Exploring new directions
“We’ve seen many of our users offer new packages to try to book business from ‘COVID couples,’” shares Nora Sheils, Co-Founder of Rock Paper Coin. “Those that may want to elope or host a much smaller event in the near future, pushing back their big reception. COVID has made everyone rethink their offerings, their processes, and how to streamline their business.”
Jordan Kentris, Founder and Creative Director for A Good Day, tells his experience: “We’ve had a lot of downtime since COVID started and it’s allowed us space to sit down and evaluate our business and overall services. We’re in the process of expanding our services in the new year to add new lines of business we can cater to. In hindsight, I wish I would have explored these expansions when I had inklings years ago. I would say explore and test early and fast — don’t be afraid of ‘failing fast’ as it’s not a true failure as the expansion/test is a work in progress.”
In a similar fashion, founder of Bubbles & Bowties, Juls Sharpley says: “We've taken on a lot of smaller stuff that we normally wouldn't, but in doing so have found an opportunity to create and sell all-inclusive packages. We've chosen the best of the best to work with and come up with pre-negotiated rates with each of these vendors to give our clients the most value! We are extending the all-inclusive packages into 2021 and are excited at the trend towards booking this, which in a way has bridged the gap between our Event Management packages and Full Service Planning.”
Enhancing the client experience
Aleya Harris, Owner of Flourish Marketing, reveals: “The 2021 service focus for my business will be about integrating upgraded customer service and relationship-building features. With everyone so disconnected because of the pandemic, personal touches that are normally delivered in-person are lost. While I can’t cure the physical effects of the pandemic, I can focus on building up my clients emotionally and mentally so they can feel supported despite social distancing.”
“We took the time during COVID to really speak to our clients,” tells Shannon Tarrant, Founder of WeddingVenueMap.com. “Asking them to complete surveys, have one-on-one meetings, and provide feedback to clarify how we could be of better service. The information was so valuable to change the services we are offering in the new year. Options like extended monthly auto-charge payment plans and packages that may cost more but include greater value were just two of the shifts that are on the horizon.”
Adjusting pricing structures
“We’re looking at an increase in delivery fees to our B2B clients—not because we are looking to increase profit markets, but because we must adjust to cover the costs,” explains Lisa Anhaiser, founder of LBL Event Rentals. “Our delivery and pickup prices to our B2B partners were based on regular deliveries and routes. The reduction in standard orders, current closures, and unclear future will make it necessary for companies to cover expenses on an individual basis instead of a shared cost basis.”
Building new partnerships
Kristin Wilson, Owner and CEO of Our DJ Rocks, says: “One of the things we did was partner with local creatives to not only increase our packages with the products and services we offer, but also include theirs. For example, if a couple books us for DJ, lighting, and a photo booth, we can now offer additional upgrades like LED-lit dance floors, LED-drapes, custom backdrops and facades, as well as livestreaming services. We’ve already had great feedback from clients who like the ability to get all of these services from one company, as well as from our partners that now have another way to get more events.”
Change can be a good thing for your business, especially when it helps you to better adapt with ever-evolving market demands. The key to positive change is to be proactive and begin planning your next moves well in advance, so you can hit the ground running when the new year comes around.