As seasoned professionals in the event industry know, there are few barriers to entry for start-ups and ambitious entrepreneurs. The resources available are plentiful, and we’re lucky to be in a field where many niches are welcomed and embraced. However, just as we can point to an influx of those breaking into the industry and building their new businesses from the ground up, there are always existing businesses struggling to stay afloat.
Unfortunately, the issue continues to be longevity and how to properly safeguard your business in an ever-evolving industry—one notorious for fluctuating trends. It’s important to take a look at those who have successfully cultivated long-term business models, and do your research on how to you can stay relevant and sustainable.
Think ‘scaling and sustainability.’
One of the best things you can do to keep your business growing at a sustainable pace is to scale accordingly. Regardless of how big or small you are within the industry, keep an eye on what’s trending in the market, as well as on any potential opportunities for additional revenue that could open up. Make sure that you’re meeting both personal and professional goals, but don’t focus too much on get-rich-quick growth, as that income and clientele are rarely sustainable.
Within an unpredictable industry such as ours, great business-owners plan ahead and can identify the needs of consumers, often before they know themselves. Setting yourself up for expansion and moving steps ahead of your competition will show both clients and fellow event pros that you are savvy enough to withstand the usual turnover rate.
Remember the importance of a strong team.
Another characteristic of a business with solid longevity is one with a strong team. Putting together a steadfast group of employees takes considerably more money and effort than a temporary, part-time group, but investing in loyal team members is worth it in the long run. For example, very few solo entrepreneurs have the ability to maintain long-term operations when shouldering that task alone.
Looking for a quick fix to handle volume rather than performing quality work won’t last forever, and soon you’ll find yourself repeating yet another hiring process when those employees ultimately move on. When looking to add to your team, think about self-sufficient roles and the work ethics of those you want to hire. Ask about their goals, where they see themselves down the line, and what they care about in an employer. Elevate your standards, and you’ll see wonderful results with a committed, trustworthy team.
Ask: When should you pivot?
It’s tough (and sometimes embarrassing) to admit when something just isn’t working within your business. First and foremost, you should know that this isn’t necessarily your fault or even within your control—the world of events is always changing, and what was important to clients years ago isn’t necessarily the top priority now.
This is where it’s crucial to be honest with yourself and know when it’s time to pivot, whether it’s with your offerings, your internal business strategy, or what-have-you. Take personal inventory of your company’s place in the industry, and reflect on both the good and bad.
Is your client and employee communication at its best? Is there a trend on the horizon that threatens to make you irrelevant, or even a trend that could open a window of opportunity to expand your services? Be open to change, and introduce small tweaks to your structure as you see fit.
Achieving expert status with forward thinking.
Some event professionals don’t realize that the longer you stay afloat, the more you’ll be considered a source of inspiration and wisdom. Remember when you first began in business—didn’t you look up to those more successful and wonder how they made it happen? You’re in a similar boat, and you have the potential to really leverage your knowledge as a thought leader.
One of the main things to take note of when you’ve achieved this status is that you arrived here because you chose to be innovative and forward-thinking. You didn’t focus on the current trends; instead you looked ahead at the next big thing. Encourage those around you to do the same, and explore what excites you--not what will make you the most money.
It’s never too late to strive for longevity! You didn’t miss out by not planning ahead when you first conceptualized your business strategy; there are always ways to make your business sustainable and influential for years to come.
Andy Kushner is the creator and host of The Wedding Biz Podcast, interviewing thought leaders and talented icons in the wedding and events industry, such as Mindy Weiss, Preston Bailey and Colin Cowie. Kushner is also the creator of Kushner Entertainment, delivering unique entertainment experiences with award-winning bands and entertainment design professionals.