Business evaluation and personal recOmmendations
The Stylist Abroad
Thank you so much for participating in our free business evaluation. Below is my evaluation as well as recommendations for each area of the business. I have also included an action plan of what goals and tasks you should be prioritizing based on your answers. ;)
Love your work!
Love your brand!
I think that you are right on the mark with who you are and who your ideal client is now it's just time to take things to the next level!"
I think your brand is on point and you do a great job of making sure that your photos, website and social media appeal to and connect you to your ideal bride.
My only recommendation would be to add a little more verbiage on your website to let brides know that they are in the right place when they come to your site.
The goal is to have someone look at your brand and say (enthusiastically) YES...they get me!
I LOVE how you describe what is unique about your business I would even suggest that you create a "tagline" to put on the front page of your website that will let that ideal client know she is in the right place.
"Celebrating the unique beauty of each individual. No one should ever feel like they have to fit into a mold or be someone they're not."
Statements like these are really powerful and can help to connect you to your ideal client.
Your Policies & Procedures
It looks like all of your policies and procedures are very clearly set...good job!
My only suggestion (which I will get to later) is to possibly look over your policies and procedures when it comes to your stylists. There may be things in this area that you want to look at.
It looks like your systems and automations are also pretty set.
Because you do already have a great start to systematizing and automating your business, it's time to start looking at those areas that could be made better and more efficient.
What are the areas that are taking up the most of your time?
Following up with interested brides?
Communicating with clients?
Communicating with stylists?
Whatever those areas are, start thinking of new and/or better ways to streamline those processes.
While there are no "right" or "wrong" ways to create systems and automations...there are ways that are better than others to facilitate business growth.
You may currently schedule weddings and trials manually using Google Calendar and this may be manageable now but a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself..."would this system work if my business were to double (or triple) tomorrow?" If no, it may be time to at least start thinking of an updated system.
The fact that you are already doing 50+ weddings a year after only three years in business tells me that what you are doing is working. Now, it's time to start looking at new and creative ways to market your business.
It looks like The Knot is working for you but I agree that it is important to branch out and not put all of your eggs in one basket.
The one thing that stood out to me is the number of inquiries you get versus the number of unique visitors to your site. Based on your brand and your work, I feel like this number could be higher.
The great news is that once someone does contact you, your booking rate is really good!
As far as getting more brides to reach out for information, I am wondering if the "how to proceed" page can be played with?
I know that sometimes brides are just shopping for information and may be a little discouraged by feeling like they HAVE to do a phone or video consultation in order to get pricing.
I am also wondering if it is necessary for you to do custom packages for each bride or if you could have a "general" pricing outline with the extras listed.
I am suggesting this only because brides have SO many options and SO little patience!
The goal is always to require as little as possible up front so that you can get their information and be able to follow up with them. This gives you more of an opportunity to connect with them and show them your excellent customer service and professionalism.
Just a suggestion and something to think about. You could always try it and see if you notice any difference in the number of interested brides.
As far as branching out with new marketing ideas...there are so many things you can try but the one strategy that I think works the best is what I call IRL Influencer marketing.
This is connecting with other wedding professionals (particularly coordinators and venues) who have a connection with and influence over your ideal client.
One of the downsides of running any type of bridal business is that there is not a lot of "lifetime" value. A bride may refer her friends and family but it is typically a "one and done" transaction. BUT...if you can get in good with a handful of other vendors who love you and what you and your brand represent, it could mean an unlimited potential of new clients brought in each year.
When we were still doing hair and makeup services at Hair Comes the Bride, we were exclusively referred by several venues but two in particular brought us in over 50 weddings a year...just from those TWO venues!
This is a strategy that is not going to necessarily bring in lots of new business overnight but will absolutely be worth it in the long run.
There are several different ways to nurture these relationships but a good place to start is by making sure that you are following up with ALL of the vendors that you work with after each wedding. Send them an email or even a cute note card just letting them know how much you enjoyed working with them.
Also, make sure that you are following them AND liking and commenting on their posts.
Your business is SO on track for rapid growth in every area and this is the one area that I suspect is your real "roadblock"!
You have worked so hard and you put so much heart and soul into your business and it is hard find people who appreciate this and will work just as hard to uphold the standards and values that you have created in your business.
But...it is possible!
The most important thing to remember when hiring stylists and staff is to focus on creating a "system dependent" NOT a "people dependent" business and this starts with a rock solid stylist hiring, training and management system.
Here are a few steps to get you started:
1) First, determine exactly what it is you need and are looking for in a stylist and write these things down. This includes not only their skills and level of expertise and availability but also the character traits that you are looking for to ensure that potential stylists fit into your company culture.
2) Create a solid hiring, training and managing system for your stylists. Start by having a page on your website that clearly articulates your requirements for working for your company. Once a stylists knows what is expected and involved in working with you, create an online application for them to fill out. Doing this is going to eliminate a lot of time and weed out any stylists who AREN'T able and/or willing to work within the parameters you set out, including their availability and pay.
3) Once you have determined exactly what it is that you are looking for and you have either a website or an email template to send to interested stylists, it is time to cast a wide net! Create a page on your website, post on social media, post on job boards, online job listings, craigslist and Model Mayhem. ANYWHERE you can think that you may find a potential stylist.
My final piece of advice when it comes to finding and hiring stylists is to remember that this is YOUR business and you are not going to be able to please everyone. That’s ok…if you are persistent and patient AND you have all of your policies, procedures and systems in place, you will eventually find stylists who are exactly what you are looking for!
Create your policies, procedure and systems in regards to your stylists and adopt the attitude of "This Is How We Do It Here." If a stylist isn't willing to work within your parameters then they are not the right stylist for you. Just make sure that these parameters are clearly articulated so that you can be sure that any potential stylists are on board BEFORE you hire them.
Most stylists have NO idea what it takes to build and sustain a successful business and all of the work that you do behind the scenes. They just want what they want when they want it and this can be incredibly frustrating!
Again, the key to this is going to be to create solid stylist systems that clearly articulates your expectations as well as the consequences for not meeting these expectations.
There are going to be times in which a stylist just isn't the right fit for your business or company culture. If this is the case, trust that "spidey sense" and don't be afraid to let people go. The saying really is true that one bad apple spoils the whole bunch. It only takes one entitled stylists to start complaining to everyone else that they should get paid more or that they don't like the way you do things and before you know it you have a mutiny!
This is the worst case scenario but I have personally seen it happen and it isn't fun to deal with!
You should always be open to listen but make sure that everyone knows that you are the boss and at the end of the day, you get to decide what is "right" and "fair" for your business.
My attitude with my stylists was always loving but firm, "This is how we do it here and if you don't like it, I completely understand. Thank you so much for your service, I have enjoyed working with you and I wish you nothing but the best."
Your web presence looks great!
You are on the first page of Google My Business and the second page organically with your blog!
My only suggestion would be to continue with your blog posts.
Google LOVES blogs and yours is very dynamic so keep up the good work and I can definitely see you moving up to page one very quickly, which is incredible for only 3 years in business!!!
With what you have already created in such a short time, I absolutely see you being able to fulfill your dreams and goals for the business!
I know I keep mentioning it but with the success you have seen in such a short time, you are doing a LOT right!
Continue to try new things and when you find those things that are working or show promise...refine and then duplicate!
The only area I can see you struggling in as far as growing your business is your stylists so it is very important that you create those solid stylist hiring, training and management systems!
It is understandable that you are anxious, burnt out and exhausted...you have a lot on your plate!
My first recommendation is I want you to stop for a minute and look at everything you have created!
You have done an amazing job and you are BEYOND capable of creating a very thriving and successful business!
Keep trying new things & refining your policies, processes, systems and marketing and in no time, you will have a business that runs like a well-oiled machine and you will have more time for yourself and to focus on implementing new ideas and growing the business!
A successful business contains a lot of moving parts and each part plays a role in the success of the other. In order to create a thriving business, it is important that you take a "holistic" approach meaning that you understand how all of these parts work together and you recognize that the business is ONLY as strong as the weakest part of the business.
Because there are so many moving parts, it often becomes confusing and overwhelming to know "where to start" or which area to focus on first. Below are our recommendations as to what areas or goals you should be focused on first, second and third.
Goal Number One
Because this seems to be the area causing you the most frustration, I would like to see you take the time to get your stylist hiring, training and management systems in place and rock solid!
Goal Number Two
CONNECTING WITH VENDORS
I LOVE what you and your brand stand for! I am the proud mom of an amazing, beautiful transgender daughter so to see a business that is so dedicated to love, acceptance and inclusivity warms my heart!
Find your people within the bridal industry...those vendors and wedding professionals who you can connect with and relate to and who stand for the same things that your business stands for!
You have so much to offer not only in the high quality of beauty services that you offer but in who you are as a human being and people will appreciate that and be happy and proud to work with you AND refer you!
Goal Number Three
I think that getting the first two goals are going to take a little time so I don't want to overwhelm you and recommend a third goal at this time.
I am going to end this evaluation the same way I started it...
Love your work!
Love your brand!
You are a rockstar and I have no doubt that you will find your rockstar team and take this business to incredible heights!
You still have a 60 minute business strategy session available as part of your membership so feel free to use that to have me go over this evaluation OR anytime you need a little help!
You also have VIP email access for quick business advice or guidance so don't be shy in taking advantage of that perk!
You also have access to all of our online education and I know I have a lot of videos that can help you to create your stylist systems. ;)
Let me know if you have any questions and keep up the good work!
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If you would like more personalized guidance, you can book a FREE 30 minute business strategy session to discuss your business goals in more detail!