If you read my article in the last issue (‘3 essential elements for creating a predictable, profitable and sustainable business’) you’ve probably been thinking about devising a strategy, building a system and creating a process. Not only to make running your business easier but to make you more money too.
Over the years, I’ve realised that each time I take my business to a new level I have pretty much followed the same 6 steps. This realisation allowed me to define a cycle that my team and I can use when planning the direction of the business.
We even used these steps during Covid. Of course, we didn’t see the benefit at the time, but it meant that as soon as we were out of the gates, we were ready to hit the ground running. I’ve also shared this system with my coaching clients, who use it to create job replacing incomes, double their wedding business in less than a year, and make serious money. There’s nothing stopping you doing this too.
Now, let’s look at why these 6 steps are important and how they influence each of the 3 elements I covered in my last article. Following them will allow you to achieve any financial goals you set for yourself and for your business.
Step 1: Mindset
The first step is undoubtedly the most important. I cannot stress enough how skipping this part of the cycle could seriously impact your ability to successfully reach your goals.
When you think about it, you can’t quit your job and build a successful business with an employee mindset. I’m sure most of you appreciate that running a business is very different to having a job. Your mindset and focus needs to shift each time you set your sights on a higher goal.
First and foremost, positivity is key.
Think back to when you started out as a DJ. Remember how it felt, just jumping straight in carefree thinking about all the extra money you were going to make and how nothing was going to stop you. Now, a few years (or more) in and you hit a rut. You’ve tried a few things, maybe Instagram or Facebook ads, but you didn’t get the results straight away so you gave up. You want to increase your rates but someone told you, “nobody will pay that round here.” It’s a dead end. That’s why there’s no other option than to be positive. When you’re thinking and feeling positively you’re more likely to take the actions needed to move you towards your goals.
Mindset is responsible for creating your goals; you need a dream and the belief that it’s possible for you to achieve. You also need a reason for achieving your goal – and make sure it’s a positive reason!
Once you have your goal, this can then steer your strategy, helping you attract new customers (throwback to the ‘3 elements’) and guiding your process (element 3) for dealing with them. (With my private clients I dive deeper into this over the course of a few weeks, but it's beyond the scope of this article!)
Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” And this quote nicely sums up step 1. Next time you’re considering a new goal for your business and you’re telling yourself you can’t achieve it, change that perception to something more positive by asking, “How could I?”
Step 2: Message
Now you’re feeling positive and have that goal in your sights, it's time to think about messaging. This includes any messages you put out through social media updates, your website, email responses, and even phone calls, SMS and face-to-face meetings.
Messaging is the key to your strategy (element 1) because it’s what attracts potential customers to your business. But you don’t just want any old customers. You want the type of customers who will help you hit your lofty goals.
Remember how I said this is a cycle? The same messages you’ve been using for years aren’t going to attract the customers you need to hit your new goal, so don’t go thinking you can skip this step! If you try to appeal to everyone, you end up attracting no-one. It's important to be clear about who you want to work for and what they need from you, and to build new messaging on this basis.
In our most recent business refresh we decided to focus on higher value bookings, so when it came to messaging we focused on all day wedding packages. We started talking about that service on our website, in our emails, and we made a bigger deal of it in our brochure and when we spoke with potential customers face to face.
The result? All day bookings used to make up about 5% of our business. So far this year it’s more than 30% and our average booking value is nearly 50% higher.
Be careful what you wish for.
Step 3: Measure
A mentor of mine had a catchphrase: what’s measured grows. And he was making a lot of money, so I paid attention!
Now that you’re getting your message out there, you need to know how well you’re doing. As a minimum you should be keeping track of enquiries and conversions, as well as the value you’re booking each month so you can compare this to your goal.
Forget about your diary for a minute, and whether or not the summer is looking busy, and whether or not you have anything booked in for 2025… the most important figure in your business is your monthly sales of new bookings. If you can maintain a consistent or growing level of sales each month, eventually that will translate into your monthly earnings regardless of when the events take place.
You can use the ‘5 Cs’ formula to figure out how to reach your monthly goal:
Crowd - who knows about your business
Capture - enquiries
Convert - how many become paying customers
Cash - the average booking value
Continuity - how often customers use you (you could also include referrals here, since if you're in the wedding industry you probably don’t get many returning customers)
I call this the business-building formula. Once you start plugging the figures in each month you’ll have a much clearer picture of your business. Then you can adjust the figures and experiment; small changes can make a big difference to your bottom line.
I like to refer to these first 3 steps as the ‘foundation’. You need a strong foundation before you can build your business.
Take time to understand your goal. Think about the type of bookings you need to attract and who you want to appeal to. Then make sure you’ve calculated how you’re going to get there using the business-building formula.
The final 3 steps are the framework that you’ll build on top of the foundation, allowing you to take things to the next level.
Step 4: Maximise
It’s time to break down your sales system (element 2) and make sure each part is working to its full potential. There’s no point in spending money on marketing until you know you’re maximising what you can get from your existing efforts.
Something I see too often is DJs who claim paid marketing doesn’t work for them. Simply put, if you get the message right, then you should be getting leads from marketing. If you follow up and sell effectively, maximising the potential of the enquiries, paid marketing will always work for you (more on that in step 6).
Maximising the full potential of the leads you’re generating comes down to two things: conversions and value. Depending on your goal, one of the two will be more appealing to you. Are you aiming to book more events or do you want to get higher value bookings?
If you want to book more events, your primary focus should be to improve your follow up sequence. This means taking more of your leads and converting them into paying customers. Dedicate more of your time to this one task and measure the results.
Similarly, if you’re looking to increase the value of your bookings then focus on pricing, up-sells, and packages.
Step 5: Maintain
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 114, Pages 44-50.