How to be SMART for a Successful Wedding Business

The New Year has rolled in again, signaling new beginnings. Apart from any preparations that you may be doing for future wedding fairs, January tends to be a pretty quiet time on the wedding front. So why not put the time that a temporary lull in orders may bring to good use? Let’s get SMART!

So What Exactly Is SMART?

Have you ever used targets in your place of work? If so, they should always be SMARTSpecific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Bound.

I am aware that some people poo poo the whole idea of using tools and techniques to grow their business, but they are used by some of the largest companies in the world – and for good reasons:

  • Being Specific can help you to focus your thoughts and energies. Specific answers the questions, “What do I need to do?” and  “How will I know when it’s done?” By answering these questions you will be able to plan more efficiently.
  • If your objectives are not Measurable then you will never have more than a vague idea of how well your business is growing and which strategies are working. Measurable refers to the extent to which something can be evaluated. For instance: an objective with a quantity measurement will use terms of amount, percentage, etc. Whereas a frequency measurement will use terms of time – daily, weekly, monthly, etc.
  • Knowing what is Achievable in your business is vital. You need to be able to answer the question, “Can I/we do this?” In other words, can the measurable objective be achieved by you? Do you have the knowledge, experience and capability. 
  • We all want our businesses to flourish, but we also need to be Realistic.
  • Time Bound will answer the question, “When will I/we get this done?” Each task/objective you undertake will need to have an end point and check points. Some tasks/objectives will have a natural end point or due date and some will have several milestones.

So How Do You Implement SMART Into Your Wedding Business?

I think the best way to explain how to utilise SMART is to give you an example. So meet Sue, Sue designs and decorates bridal shoes which she then sells on Etsy. Her aim is to to build up a decent stock throughout the year, so that she can make the most of the busy wedding season without running out of product. How can Sue implement a SMART target?

This is what Sue had to say, “I want to decorate more bridal shoes throughout the year, putting some of them to one side for the busy periods.”

It sounds like a good idea, but it’s not really Specific. How many is ‘more’ or ‘some’? So let’s make this idea SMART.

Sue needs a target. So let’s say she decorates 10 pairs of shoes per week for 48 weeks of the year. Sue knows that she needs to list 7 pairs on Etsy to garner enough interest to make sales. She will put the rest into stock ready to list during the busy wedding season. Four weeks have not been accounted for in order to allow for holidays/illness.

It’s specific –  it gives a plan of how many shoes she intends to decorate and what she intends to sell and how.

It’s measurable – she’ll decorate a set number of shoes each week.

It’s achievable? – Only Sue really knows this.  Only she can calculate how much time can she spend decoration shoes and still have time for marketing, paperwork, etc – and have a life!

It’s realistic – built-in time off for holidays/illness gives her a little wiggle room.

It’s timed – Sue knows exactly how many shoes she’ll decorate each week. This information can be divided up into days or multiplied into months and years. This will help when trying to calculate income.

Is it perfect? Nope – there’s no mention of marketing, but can you see how it’s much more useful than just deciding to “make and decorate more shoes this year”.  There’s also no reason why marketing plans can’t be made into SMART targets in exactly the same way.

You may very well have more complex targets than Sue, but if you have several things you want to achieve you can create SMART targets for them all. Put all your targets and together and start to build an action plan for the whole year. Try creating a week-to-week table, and don’t forget to build free time into you action plan

An annual action plan can give you a solid idea of how your wedding business is growing at the end of the year – and it’s a great base from which to organise next year’s plan.

What do you think? Will you get SMART?

Caricature of Michelle Lyndon-Dykes

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