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2016 is closer than you think!  And with the kickoff to the holidays less than two weeks away, it’s time for you to get your game-plan ready for next year.  Here are 9 simple, easy steps that will put you on the right track for next year:

ACTION #1:  Define your Company Vision     Take out a piece of paper or sit yourself down at your computer and write a few paragraphs on what your business will look like in 12 months.  Will you have staff, or more staff?  How many weddings will you have been a part of by December 31, 2016?  How much in sales will you have done?  How many and which magazines/blogs will have included your work?

ACTION #2:  List your Company Priorities     What is standing in your way of making your business look like you want it to (action #1)?  What needs to happen in order to make your business look  like what you wrote down in Action #1?  How are you going to measure this?  Make a list of what obstacles are in your way, how they can be overcome, and what steps you need to take so your Company Vision becomes reality.

ACTION #3:  Create/revise your Ideal Client Profile     Take a look at your best clients from 2015.  Who were they?  What characteristics do they share?  Create or revise your current client profile so that you are targeting the right people with your marketing efforts.

ACTION #4:  Comparative Shop your competition     You need to know what your competition is doing, offering, saying.  You do not want to copy them; you want to figure out how you can be different and better than them.  But to figure that out, you must first study them.  Create a fictitious bride, groom, wedding date, email address, etc and start by contacting your competition via their request form to see how and what they do.

ACTION #5:  Review and update your Online Presence     Online directories, websites (including your own!), LinkedIn profile, The Knot, Wedding Wire…you need to make certain your information is correct and your company is being represented as best as possible.  This means updated pictures, prices, general info about you and your company.

ACTION #6:  Review and update your Sales Process     This means every step, every word uttered, every interaction with a bride from the second she inquires about meeting with you to the second after she books.  Look at it from the eyes of the bride and remember WIIFM (What’s In It For Me).   Make it all about the bride and very, very little about yourself.  Make sure your process is successful at one thing–booking the bride.  Everything you do leads up to booking the bride.  Profitable Weddings’ The Wedding Success Blueprint is a complete system with scripts, templates and all that will guide you from lead to consultation to booking and beyond.  This system allows me to book 90% of the brides I meet!  Read more about it by clicking here.

ACTION #7:  Review and update your Marketing     Oh, this is a HUGE one and quite the task!  First, you need to know that marketing is EVERYTHING YOU DO.  From the clothes you wear to the way your consultation area looks to the marketing materials you hand out and so on.  Focus on the details.  Focus on making the bride feel special.  Focus on showcasing your company as the go-to expert and authority in your community/market.

ACTION #8:  Create your 2016 Profit Plan     You cannot succeed if you don’t know where you are going and how to get there.  Using the information above, create a plan of action including big and little goals that will get you to your Company Vision on December 31st.

ACTION #9:  Track your efforts and revise as needed     The advantage you have as a small business is that your course isn’t charted in stone like the big box stores.  You have the ability to adapt and change very quickly and need no one’s approval but your own (or the boss’es if you are not the owner).  Keep track of your efforts and the results they produce.  If they are not working, change them.  Take a survey of your 2015 (and maybe even 2014) brides and use this data to influence your new efforts.  Your clients hired you for a reason, you should know why and use that information to your advantage.  Likewise, there are reasons non-clients didn’t hire you.  Survey them and find out as well so you know your weaknesses or areas you can improve.

What steps are you taking to make 2016 your best year ever?  Please share in the comments below!