As the industry prepares to work through a backlog of events, most pros are anticipating one of the busiest seasons in their careers. While it is a welcome departure from the slow year we’ve had, the impending flood of events is presenting unique challenges for businesses that are still recovering from the impact of the pandemic.
Some companies are operating on tightened budgets, others have the task of rebuilding a team after layoffs, and others are learning how to balance multiple endeavors after pivoting or launching a side hustle during the shutdown.
But, worry not—event professionals are resilient and innovative. It’s in the job description! Here’s how industry pros are preparing their business for the busy season’s demands.
Adjust your workflow.
A good operational overhaul can often be all it takes to put you on the right path. After all, much of a business’ flow is less about how much they do and more about how they do it. With jam-packed calendars and an overflowing client base, internal workflows must be streamlined to keep operations running like a well-oiled machine.
See Meghan Ely during The Special Event, co-located with The Catersource Conference & Tradeshow, in Miami July 19 – 22, 2021. Immerse yourself in an inspiring and safe event focused on the new trends and opportunities in events and catering. Learn more
Meredith Ryncarz, a coach for The Restart Specialist, encourages event pros to start with their workflows when they start to feel overwhelmed: “Is there a spot where leads are getting hung up? Can you streamline what you are doing to make them say yes to you easier? Ask yourself when was the last time you sat down and looked at your process and got rid of emails or to do's that are holding you back or that you have outgrown. This will help get you out of the weeds faster when your process is smooth and efficient.”
Implement new systems in your business.
A great workflow can be optimized further with systems that simplify each step and do most of the legwork for you. Jen Taylor, owner of Jen Taylor Consulting, touts the benefits of using systems to create a business that works for you (rather than the opposite): “When you can rely on practical systems in your business, you can rest easy knowing the ship is on course even if you’re taking time off or have tunnel vision with a specific project.”
“Fortunately, we have an abundance of tools and resources at our disposal today,” Taylor adds. “Get comfortable trying out new software and practicing different mindsets to see what feels right in your business. Maybe you need a robust CRM to keep your team organized, or maybe it’s just about changing the way you see time management. You’ll know it’s the right solution for you when you start to experience that beautiful feeling of flow.”
Take advantage of business templates.
When you’re battling a never-ending to-do list, every minute counts. Save yourself the time you spend on repetitive tasks by adopting templates that streamline your client interactions without sacrificing authenticity. Dixie Bagley, owner of The Farm, elaborates: “With automated templates in place, you don’t have to worry about gathering and organizing client information. Not only does it save you the time (and headache), but it also creates consistency in your business.”
“From potential client questionnaires to new client intake forms, we use templates to keep our internal operations clean and efficient,” Bagley shares. “At the very least, get a template for your proposals and contracts—those are things you send out regularly and you really shouldn’t be recreating the wheel each time.”
Systemize your marketing.
A busy season is no excuse for your marketing strategy to fall through the cracks. But, that doesn’t mean you need to have your hands in the pot every day. By adjusting your approach with automation and efficiency in mind, you can keep most of your marketing funnel on autopilot.
“I’m willing to bet that a lot of folks have an abundance of content at their disposal that is currently sitting in the corner and collecting dust,” says Kylie Carlson, owner of The Wedding Academy. “It’s time to make that content work for you. A single blog post can become a series of social media posts, a nurture email sequence, a deep dive vlog, and a podcast. That’s a lot of content generated from one idea. Don’t be afraid to recycle! Better yet, batch it all in one day and pre-schedule everything so your marketing can run while you handle your busy workload.”
Establish your new goals.
Getting clear on your business goals is the first step to navigating any busy season, as owner of Magnolia Celebrates, Laura Maddox, explains: “Being clear with your plan helps you to not just take on any business, but the business that's the best fit for you and your team. Setting goals and limits have always helped me.”
“Knowing how much money I NEED to make in a year as well as ideally how many events I would like to take on in that given year allows me to create some balance and allows me to find margin,” Maddox continues. “Sure, I often find myself taking on that one more event because it seemed like such a great opportunity! However, I also find myself passing on business that's not the right fit for me and my team feeling confident I'll meet my quotas anyway.”
Take time to rest.
While you may feel like your business requires all of your energy during this hectic season, make sure self-care remains a top priority. Remember: We can only show up as our best selves when we’ve been taking care of our health and wellbeing.
Nora Sheils, co-founder of Rock Paper Coin and founder of Bridal Bliss, says as much: “When managing your event calendar, don't overlook yourself. You need time to breathe in between events and not taking a break will quickly put you into burnout. I don't suggest working more than three consecutive weekends in a row—not only will you be physically exhausted but it's so difficult to keep up with all the last-minute asks.”
In addition to all of these wonderful tips, remember that you also have a network of supportive peers to back you up when you feel overwhelmed. Maintain your industry relationships and embrace the sense of community—the reality is that you are never truly alone!