As a business owner in the wedding industry, you know how incredibly rewarding it can be to help a couple bring their vision for their wedding day to life. You got into this business because you’re good at what you do and you want to make a difference, but you also want to make money! The last couple of years have brought the importance of shifting and finding different ways to generate revenue into sharp focus. Fortunately for you, you already have experience in this area, as you have learned to plan for the ebb and flow of the wedding seasons. However, we wanted to highlight the value of diversifying your business – offering more than one service under your brand.
We reached out to local Colorado wedding business owners who have done this successfully to get their insight and advice and spoke with Sarah Gregor, the founder and owner of The Planning Co. Her brand specializes in Day of Coordination and Floral Installations for the Colorado area. What began as a deep desire to serve people well has turned into a multi-faceted, successful and fulfilling business. Let’s dive into her advice!
Did you always want to expand your business into more than one area in the industry?
The short answer – yes! A more expanded version is that when we decided to start our family, I wanted to launch my own company, and I was not sure the exact direction I wanted to take. I just knew I wanted an incredible team, and I wanted to serve people well.
I started writing down everything I liked doing and, even more important, what I did not like doing. My dreams, goals, visions, and everything in between went to good old fashioned pen and paper. I took these things to a very wise friend of mine and asked him if I was crazy, and what was actually possible. We then spent weekly time together creating a business plan to expand in the industry that aligned with my passions and areas of expertise.
What made you decide to expand your business?
With all of the directions that I wanted to move, I knew I could not be the one in charge of each area. So I began to seek out the right people for each branch we were launching. I spent time training them and teaching them the values of why we do what we do. Then I empowered them to bring in their skills and do the same; “replace yourself”.
I will never forget when I was younger, my father told me, “never be the only one who knows what you do. Once you master a skill, share and teach others to do the same.” He said that some people live in fear that this will put you out of a job, but it’s actually a secret to growth.
Through my time in various roles, I have put this into practice and seen it to be true. It’s a beautiful method for multiple reasons. Firstly, taking the time to share knowledge freely with others enriches their lives, helps them grow, and will never be a waste of time. It’s a good deed. I am forever grateful to those that poured their knowledge into me. Secondly, when you are the only person that knows how to do something, you will be the only person doing that thing. Leading a team, this is terrifying to me. What happens if you get sick, if there is an emergency, or a better opportunity? You are stuck, and that makes my heart leap with fear. If you are stuck, you cannot do more important things. Things like growing your business, taking a step back and seeing where you can do better; or the simple luxury of having peace of mind that if you stepped away, your company will still function the way it was created to. Lastly, I think expanding your business is knowing that you cannot do it alone. You will always be your own glass ceiling, if you will. But when you know how you would like to serve your clients, and empower your team to run with the vision you have taught them, your ceiling keeps getting higher and higher.
Our goal has never been to grow to be bigger and make more money. Our goal is to expand our capacity in the industry to serve our couples well and teach others to do the same.
Do you have any words of advice for anyone who is interested in expanding as well?
I would encourage them to really clarify their vision and their why. There are plenty of good ideas out there, but they may not all be the right idea. When we know the direction we want to go, have a plan on how to get there, and know why we are going there, it makes it easy to know what to say yes to, what to say no to, and who to invite along the way. I often find great ideas, and I even love them, but it’s not where we are going, so it’s a no for now.
One of my favorite quotes is: “As You Climb the Ladder of Success, Be Sure It’s Leaning Against the Right Building.” By Allen Raine. I believe we are all built to expand and climb the ladder if you will. Just be sure to check your building before you start climbing, and remember to bring others along with you. It’s more fun that way!
How about tips for someone who has no interest in expanding? Do you think it’s a good idea to remain in just one space?
My thought is, if the desire to expand is not there, don’t force it. You get to decide where you are going; you’re in charge! I would check your goals – is this a hobby? A passion? What do you want from your company? Choosing a niche and perfecting it by focusing on how to make it the best it can be is so profitable. I would focus on where there are creative ways to automate your processes and streamline as much as possible. And I would still strongly encourage you to find someone, maybe even a team, to empower so the company can run without you. In my opinion, It’s the best kind of insurance you can invest in.
Anything else you’d like to mention about diversifying your business?
I would just like to say if this is something you have been thinking about, or a direction you want to move in, stop waiting until you know what you are doing! The fear of failure can be so crippling. But I would encourage you, the way so many people have encouraged me, to befriend failure. Get really cozy with the idea of failing. Because that means you are trying, and our world needs you to try. None of us really know what we are doing, we are not just born with talents or success. I encourage you, whatever your venture is, to find your why and try. Find problems, and solve them.
Groom Photo Credit:
- Photographer: Hailey Pierce (@hailes8)
- Production + Design: Felicia Anzaldúa (@thecoloradoweddingmagazine) + Sarah Gregor (@theplanningco.co)
- Venue: ALMAGRE (@almagrevenue)
- Hair Stylist: Brook Mae (@coloradobridalhair)
- MUA: Jennifer Velez (@abstractbeautyco_) + Brea Rochelle (@skinbybrea)
- Rentals: Max + Livie (@maxandlivie) + Event Rents (@eventrents)
- Florals: Sarah Gregor (@theplanningco.co)
- Videography: Corey Davis (@prsmfilm)
- Bridal Dress + Suit: Something New (@somethingnewboutique)
- Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Amanda’s Bridal & Tux (@amandasbridal)
- Sweets: Jenny (@bonbon_bombardier)
- Assistances: Abigail (@absdeardorff ) + Lorianne (@ldlasalle)
- Couple Models: Darryl (@d.l.merritt) + Michelle (@michellekmerritt)
- Bridesmaids Models: Lois (@lolasolarpanel) + JayLynn@miss_jaylynn
- Custom Hat: Christelle (@ladyayewew)