Welcome! Today I’m going to be writing about how to decide upon and create the services that you are going to offer in your wedding business. This is part 4 of my “Launch Your Wedding Business Series”. In Part 1, we talked about setting your launch budget for your business. Part 2 was focused on naming your wedding business. Part 3 was a doozy – all about how to get your business registered and make it official! Today we’re going to dig a little deeper and talk about how to decide exactly what services you can offer.
Part 4 – Creating Your Services
Let me start by saying that deciding which services you want to offer can seem like a daunting task. I’m guessing that you have a vague idea of what niche within the wedding industry you want to focus on – be it photography, wedding planning, stationery design, catering, etc – but beyond that, you’re a little lost.
That’s ok. We’ve all been there!
Here’s the good news: It’s really up to you. There is no right or wrong here – there is only what will work best for your business and meet the needs of your prospective clients. I’ve broken the process down into some easy, actionable steps for you, and if you follow each step, you will end up with a very clear idea of what you’re going to offer your clients or customers.
Step 1: Write Down Your Strengths
This one sounds easy, but I want you to really dig deep and think about what you’re bringing to the table here. Think about WHY you’re doing this. Think about all of your past experience in other jobs, volunteer positions, and any other other skillsets that you have developed over the years. This doesn’t have to be complicated – all you need is a pen and paper (or a blank word processing document!). Jot them all down, in no particular order. Some skill areas that you may want to consider are:
- Administrative skills
- Financial skills
- Organizational skills
- Design skills
- Technological skills
- People skills (very, very important!)
- Sales skills
- Niche-specific skills (i.e. baking, graphic design, etc)
Step 2: Research Your Niche
This one is fairly straightforward. Though there is nothing saying that you have to do what everyone else is doing, it’s always advisable to start from a place of knowledge. So head on over to google, and start reviewing what’s out there.
- Make a list of at least 10 companies in your area that are in your niche
- Make a list of at least 10 companies outside of your area as well
- Check out the “services” page on their websites. What are they offering? Make three categories: Service type, Details, and Price. (Note, not all wedding pros include pricing on their websites, but if they do, it’s worth noting for future reference)
- Now, highlight the service types or details that appeal to you, and cross out the ones that you would rather exclude
- Look for patterns, especially in your area. If everyone in your specific market is including a specific service, you can infer that it’s likely in demand or expected. You’ll need to decide based on that information if you’re going to include it or not.
Step 3: Research Your Audience
This one can seem a little intimidating at first, but it’s an often-missed step. So often as business owners, we get bogged down thinking about what services we WANT to offer, that we forget to ask what services our customers want/need! So my challenge to you is simple – find at least 10 people to talk to. They can be recently married, engaged, or even not-yet-engaged. Target people that you think would be the kind of clients you’d want to work with. You can either ask them to have a brief conversation with you, or you can create a simple survey for them to complete using one of my favourite free tools, Typeform.
Not sure where to find these people? Try one or more of the following:
- Ask your friends & family
- Post a link to your survey on social media
- Ask some of your co-workers
- Post the survey in a local Facebook group
I would keep your survey to 5 or fewer questions. Here are some examples of what you can ask:
- If you were getting married and considering hiring a _________, what would you hope they would help you with?
- If you’ve worked with a __________ before, what services did they offer that you really enjoyed?
- When you get married, would you consider hiring a _________? If so, what are the kinds of things you would hope they would provide for you?
… and so on.
The more information you’re able to collect, the better prepared you’ll be to start creating your service offerings.
Step 4: Decide on Your Services
Now that you’ve done some research, it’s time to decide what services your wedding business is going to offer. I want you to make this decision BEFORE finalizing everything that’s included in each service. Look back at all of the research you’ve done, and keep the following in mind:
- Keep it simple. Offering too many services can convolute your brand and confuse your customer. I recommend offering no more than 5 services at the MOST.
- Be realistic. Consider your availability – if you’re still working a full time job, you don’t want to start offering services that you won’t have time to give 100% to. You can always add more comprehensive services later!
- Respect the industry. This will come into play more when you set your pricing (look for the next post in this series!), but I still want you to keep in mind that those who have been in the wedding industry for awhile probably put a lot of thought into their services. If you start offering everything plus the kitchen sink OR start crossing into another niche (i.e. being a DJ that decides to include wedding planning services just for “added value”) you’re likely to make a negative impression with your soon-to-be colleagues.
- You can name your services descriptively (i.e. “Month of Coordination”) or choose to name your services based on a package/theme (i.e. “Emerald Package, etc).
- Start simple and add more later. Most new wedding businesses do exactly the opposite of this (include yours truly, when I first started!) and include a zillion things with each service. Not only does this look unprofessional, but it’s unrealistic and you’ll kick yourself later, I promise. Stick to the basics, and as you gain experience, consider some “value-add” services based on your expertise and the time that you have to devote to each client.
Ok – woohoo! You’ve got your services decided on! That’s a HUGE step – congrats! One more step to go!
Step 5: Decide on the Details
So you’ve decided what services your going to offer – now you need to decide EXACTLY what you’ll be including in these services. You’ve done a little bit of this work in the steps above, and probably have some specifics in mind. This step is all about clarifying – not just for your customers, but for YOU. The work you do in this step will later become the foundation for your Scope of Work (which I blogged about HERE). This step can be confusing, especially if you’ve never worked with a client before – but that’s ok. This is going to be a work in progress, and you’re going to come back to this step many times over the course of your career, as you gain experience and your vision for your company becomes more and more clear.
Here’s where I want you to do:
- Write the name of each of your services on a separate piece of paper (the name of your service)
- Write the sub-header “pre-wedding”
- Now list all of the services that you’ll be including in that specific service that happen before the wedding
- Once you’re done that, add a new sub-header, “wedding”
- List all of the things you’ll be including in that specific service that happen at the wedding (I typically include rehearsal-related services here as well)
- Make your final sub-heading, which will be “post-wedding”
- List all of the things (if any) that you’ll be including for that service after the wedding is over
- Rinse and repeat for each of your services
Now, when you start putting together your marketing materials and adding your services to your website, you have a clear picture of what you’re offering. One quick note: you don’t have to include every detail of what’s included in your packages on your website or in your marketing materials – but that’s a post for another day. I’ve also created a quick DOWNLOAD for you to help get your brainstorming started!
The next – and final – post in this series is all about pricing your services. This is a VERY important topic, and deserves a lot of thought. It’s not as easy as picking a price and hoping for the best. In fact, I’ve decided to offer some FREE TRAINING on pricing, and have launched an online course for those who are really serious about pricing their services to maximize sustainability and profit. You can check it out HERE.