I’ve been inspired to write this blog post, not just because it’s something I believe strongly in, but because I want to give other small businesses the confidence to know that you do not have to compromise on what you truly believe in, sell out, or give in to large companies who think that they can hold you over a barrel and insist on getting a discount, or a better deal than anyone else.
Photo by London Bride
I wish I had been given this advice when I first started our little business, and didn’t feel the need to give discounts when it really didn’t sit right with me. Now don’t get me wrong, if you offer discounts, and you’re happy to do so, then keep doing what you’re doing. But if you feel that one client getting a better deal than the next isn’t right, then just don’t don it! The first year of running A.V.H we did 10 weddings! I felt like I was chasing every enquiry, and in reality, we were. Every enquiry filled me with excitement (and believe me it still does!), and I wanted to secure a booking.... no matter what. I mean come on, I had a 5 month old baby and needed to pay the mortgage! Now, things are different. But they’re only different because of experience and confidence to know that the product and service we offer are right for our customers.
Photo by Kelsie Low Photography
It takes time build a brand, a reputation, and a business. I get it. Starting your own business is a massive risk, and one that should not be taken lightly. We all have bills to pay after all! But if I had one piece of advice for people starting a new business, it would be have a strategy, have a purpose, and stick to it. Otherwise...what do you stand for? And believe me, it’s important to stand for something in this world we live in (Donald Trump is president after all and god knows what Kanye might do after him!). Doing the right thing, and treating people equally may sound a bit pretentious for a furniture hire company, but believe me it goes a long way! In my previous life I used to be an HR Manager, I couldn’t bear it when I saw one person getting away with something that someone else would get the sack for, and I’ve continued that in this business.
Photo by The Kitcheners
Don’t be swayed by companies who think they can tell you that just because they could bring business your way, means you have to compromise on how you run your business. You will find business elsewhere....believe me, I promise, or those people will still go ahead with the booking even though you have politely said you won’t offer a discount. This year we will do over 300 weddings and events. Now that’s not me trying to blow my own trumpet, but it is me telling you that ‘Mighty oaks, from little acorns grow’ (one of my Dad’s favourite sayings!!). You can create a successful and profitable business from saying no to the big dogs (or those that think they are said big dogs!), have a strong brand, offer great customer service (even when things go a bit tits up!), and build great relationships with people. You want to work with those who respect what you do, and want to work with ‘YOU’....right?! Be brave, be bold, be confident. For those of you who are wedding suppliers, have a flipping awesome wedding season. For those of you who are hiring from us this year, know that every single booking means the world to us and we will offer you the best service and product possible, and for those of you just starting out, go get ‘em. Xx