There’s an upcoming event in Atlanta for Wedding Professionals that’s all about business plans. Although, the thought of writing one kind of brings one back to college paper writing days, my journey to Atlanta Occasions started as a direct result from my business plan so I have a special place in my heart for them… no matter what stage of your business. The irony is however, I didn’t write the business plan for the current business I own…… so here’s my story.
In 2006 I moved to Atlanta knowing no one and nothing about this city. I left behind a well established career in the Spa and Salon industry, but I knew that this new city had new experiences for me, so I wasn’t looking for a job in the same field. Instead, I got a job at David’s Bridal that paid a whopping $7/hr…. a far cry from my previous salary, but a clock-in and clock-out type gig with no responsibilities besides making sure the mirrors were fingerprint-less. Heaven.
While working there I found an opening for a Spa Director position at a Medical Spa near my house and ultimately left the hourly job for a career back in the spa world. While it was tremendously rewarding, it wasn’t ME. I’m terribly assertive and a go-getter.. My way or the highway type person and I knew I had the desire to be an entrepreneur, I just didn’t know in what fashion.
Everyday on the way to work I would pass this super cute old Antebellum home just outside of my neighborhood. Restored and currently outfitted as a restaurant, that place had been for sale since I moved to the big ATL. One day I said, “I think that place would make a great event venue.” The next day I viewed the property with the realtor and the day after that I began putting together what would end up to be the thickest, most well thought out business plan for “Bear Creek Manor” (that’s what I was going to name it), a new wedding and special event facility in Hampton, GA. I spent months planning, researching, acquiring financing, meeting with contractors and when it came down to closing the sale… those people just wouldn’t take my low ball offer. So, I walked away from the project. By this time I had quit my job and was left soul-searching for where I was meant to be.
I went back to my business plan thinking “what the heck am I going to do with all this now?” I got to thinking about how I was going to market the facility in the first place. How would I reach the Henry County bride. Metro Atlanta is so large, how could I have ever really made this new venue stick out in the sea of facilities online. I just had this thought, spark, idea… call it whatever, that made me wonder why Atlanta, or any other major metro area, doesn’t have a website where someone can narrow their search by region and county. Something that gives us Henry County businesses, our own spot in the limelight. And because one didn’t exist… I decide to make it myself.
From that moment on I immersed myself into what was now known as AtlantaOccasions.com with no business plan, prior planning, major research or financial backing. Fast forward two years and I now have a very successful AtlantaOccasions.com AND an Atlanta Occasions Magazine that’s morphed a tad bit from my original inspiration, into something even cooler. I have made mistakes along the way, nothing of too much determent to my biz, but things that had I forseen in my initial pre-planning would have saved me big bucks along the way. Had I paused to create a new plan for this idea I had been inspired to created by my initial business plan, I may have made different decisions that could have quite possibly saved me time, heartache and money-honey.
Everyone needs a little pause and focus time in their business. Time to stop, smell the roses, reflect on what you’ve created and reanalyze your path. Maybe you’re headed in the right direction, or maybe the currents are moving and so should your business. You’ll never know, unless you give yourself the time to think it through. Business plans do not make or break a business but they do force you to completely analyze your business from every facete and angle. They point you in the best direction and serve as a guide to keep you on that path or highlight new paths that you may not have considered.
Atlanta Wedding Professionals have the opportunity to do just that in a few weeks. A course completely designed for the bridal industry business plans is coming to Atlanta. I encourage you to seek out more info the Sage Wedding Pros are offering and consider what a class like this could do for your new, established, or in need of some TLC business. For more details click here.
I do this a lot. Some may say too much, but keeping a keen eye on your business and your market keep you tuned into the reality which surrounds you. Many people think that I have a glamorous publishing background, and sadly it’s just not so. I’m on my way there though. What I did have was inspired thought and the guts to act on it. Sometimes, that’s all you’ll ever need.
How’s your business going? Is there advice, questions or new marketing topics you’d like to see discussed that would help you succeed?