Tuesday, July 13, 2010

We've Moved!

Please visit us at our NEW blog home...


See you soon!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Just a Few More Tweaks and We'll Be Back...

Moving the blog has been a bit of a challenge. But in the end it'll be worth it!

Have a great week and...

Aspire to Plan!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

To Inspire You For the Weekend...

Planning events is a daunting task...no matter the size or scope.  We love to make things big and dramatic so we can witness all the wide eyed wonder when the guests take their first look.  You know I'm right!  But yesterday, I started planning my soon to be two year old goddaughter's birthday party and I had to hold myself back. 

After writing down my initial thoughts on paper...some cupcakes, a few ballons and a few small gifts, I couldn't help but take it up a notch or two.  Before long, my notes had a few blush pink draped tents, a cake that looked like a castle, maybe a a lady dressed up like a fairy princess to hand out prizes...suddenly it turned into what looks like a HUGE production.   

But then I realized that my precious little one would probably not even notice.  The cupcakes and ballons alone would knock her socks off.  Because to her, it really is a big deal...fairy princesses are important people too, ya know! 

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble."
-Helen Keller

Have a wonderful weekend and go accomplish something great and noble!

Until next time...

Aspire to Plan!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Aspiring Planners: Don't Make These Mistakes

I was recently asked what I thought were the most common mistakes made by aspiring planners when they start their businesses.

Here's what I've come up with:
  1. Aspiring planners don't really take the time to find out if wedding planning is really something they're cut out for.
  2. They don't take the time to learn the proper way to structure their business in a legal sense.
  3. They don't create a marketable and compelling brand or identity for their business...nor do they identify who their ideal client is.
  4. They don't spend enough time on the organizational and operational aspects of their business.
  5. They don't take the time to decide what services they will provide...design, consulting, planning and or coordination; how those services will be priced and packaged (hate that word!); and finally whether those services will be profitable based on those prices.
  6. They don't learn the importance of consistent marketing or the "art of the sale".
  7. Finally, but certainly one of the most critical mistakes they make; they don't set up a system to record and monitor the financial transactions in their business.
Many times, these elements are created on the fly...AFTER they've chosen a pretty logo, published a nice website, printed business cards and placed an ad in a wedding magazine.  They do all this and wonder why they aren't getting the phone calls from all the brides that "need" their services.

Now...I didn't come up with these to throw stones...I made some of these same mistakes.  I merely wanted to share with you what I've seen in the 12 months since I've started mentoring aspiring planners.  Maybe this is one of the reasons so many planning businesses start and fail.  I've personally seen many of them come and go.

And it's not for lack of trying.  Not at all.  Many planners I've talked to are passionate and eager to make their businesses successful.  Truthfully?  The "bright, shiny objects"...the diamonds, pretty linens and gorgeous flowers blinded them.  They didn't take the time to look at the hard stuff and learn what they needed to learn in order to be successful.

Or maybe they found out that they just weren't cut out for wedding planning.  Too bad they invested so much money to find that out...when they could have just done the necessary work BEFORE the brides booked their services.

What do you think?  I'd really like your feedback on this.  Thanks.

Until next time...

Aspire to Plan!

Can You Find Me?

They say in kindergarten, you learn everything you need to know in life.  I don't remember learning much in my half day class except how to paint big, red hearts during painting time.  As a matter of fact, I used to draw them with crayons too.  They were my object of choice!  Guess that's why I love so deeply! :)

Have a great day, everyone!

Red Hearts

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Aspire to Plan - Some of Our More Popular Posts

Um, Er Uh...I was going through the archives recently and thought it might be a good idea to post the links to some of our favorite articles.

(The real story?  I'm working on something BIG for Aspire to Plan and haven't written any new posts this week...yet.  Forgive me! )


There's That Word Again...Niche!

Finding Your Niche, Part Two

What Is a Wedding Planner, Really?

What Goes Into a Marketing Plan?

The Phone Consult

Until next time...

Aspire to Plan!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Mindset Monday: Fear of Rejection Cured by Being a Good Servant?

I was listening to a recorded Q&A session with a business mentor of mine today and a few of the questions were mindset type questions.  One of them in particular really resonated with me...it dealt with feelings of rejection.

One of the callers was explaining that they were fearful of rejection when in the middle of the sale process with a potential client.  Because of this fear, the caller was having a hard time in her business and she was thinking of closing up shop and going back to the corporate grind.

The mentor told her that there were one or two reasons why she may have had this fear.  One, she probably had the mindset that she was about to "take" something from the client and therefore did not appear confident in her sales presentation.  People can smell it a mile away when we are not confident about our product and services.  If we don't believe in them, why should they?

Solution?  She should think of herself as a good servant.  Approach the sales process with the mindset that she is being of service instead of "taking" something from the prospect.  If she can get her mind around that, then she'll also be more confident.  And confidence sells!

Second, there may have been a moment in her life where she put herself out there in a big way, and for some reason, was rejected.  Like asking that cute boy at the 6th grade dance if he wanted to dance and he said no.  (Or like when you attend a networking event for the first time and don't know anyone there.  You try to start a conversation with someone you don't know and they blow you off for someone else they want to chat with.)

Been there, done that!

The mentor went on to say that perhaps these types of situations happened several times in her life.  The combination of these episodes may have caused her to create some sort of negative meaning around rejection that was causing her to be "stuck" in closing the sale in her business.

Solution?  She should search her soul for those moments of rejection and realize that they have nothing to do with her current situation.  Those moments of rejection were a moment in time and have nothing to do with where she is now.  Those moments of rejection make no difference in whether or not she will gain another client in the here and now.  She needs to come to terms with this fact and put it in the past where it belongs.

(A new phrase I learned recently from Rev Run goes something like this..."Leave the past in the past...there is a reason it didn't make it to your future!")

What IS important is that she provides the solution to a gap that her potential client is experiencing.  The gap is between what they have and what they need or want.  When they reach out to her, they feel as if her expertise will fill that gap.  Helping them to understand that gap and how her product or service fills it, is one of the most important ingredients in business...and is all about being of service.  And nothing about "taking" anything from them.

I certainly feel better...do you?

Until next time...

Aspire to Plan!