Events & COVID-19: 4 Tips for Pros & Clients
If you're reading this you may be in curious, nervous, or effected in someway by the Coronavirous epidemic. You may even be just overwhelmed. Honestly, you can't scroll through your news feed or social media, flip through TV or even open your mail without seeing the word COVID-19 (sorry).
Well, the truth is, I can see the impact from both the perspective of a business owner and a Mom. Yes, my daughter has been tagging along with me either at home or at the studio (which is by appointment anyway). I see my colleagues being forced to layout amazing workers due event cancellations or postponements. I can't tell you how much my heart breaks for all the couples who are worried about their special day. If or when the day they'd dreamed of for so long would take place. And, for me, one of the most awkward things is not being able to hug people I know who certainly needs it.
I think back to my own wedding, when I got married only hours after a hurricane and I can reflect back to the knots in my stomach wondering what would happen. So, you see, I can truly relate to all of the emotions.
So, I'd like to channel this insight from these 3 perspectives to share some simple but thoughtful tips on what to do as:
A Creative & Event Business
Anyone who wants to support a business
What Brides, Grooms, Clients can do...
Mindset moment - You're not alone and you have help: Wedding planning under regular circumstances can be stressful but with the current environment chances are your emotions are running high. This is the time to take a moment, take a breath, and know you are not alone. Yes, hundreds of couples like you are concerned about their weddings being postponed or canceled but please know that your vendors are here for you. Most of us are open and willing to working with you to find solutions to give you the day you deserve.
Lines of Communication - Are you concerned about your wedding date? If you're concerned and your vendor hasn't already reached out to you, send a quick message to your planner or vendors. Don't be shy, share your thoughts. Especially is you're anxious. Your vendors WANT to work with you and are happy to share information to help calm your fears.
Review & Ask for options - Get all your options and choices. So let's say it looks like re-scheduling needs to be considered. Now is the time to request a contract and even event insurance with your individual vendors or a planning session with your planner to answer any questions you have, review service contract clauses, and present all of your options.
Pivot your plan - Yes, this is NOT what you wanted. I know, I know - it's hard to chance a vision once you've done the work to sketch it out. It's hard to see how it can change now... and more than that, no one wants to feel like they've done all this work for nothing. But I have a question. Have you ever looked back on your life and said, "THANK GOD, I didn't ... (get that one job, stayed in that bad relationship, etc.), if I did I would have never ... (gotten THIS job that I love, ended up with the love of my life, etc.)" Now is one of those pivotal moment in your life... the kind you see in a movie. It's the part of your journey that will actually result in something amazing... when you get past the hard part. You just have to pivot your wedding vision right now. And here's the "good news". Here's were working with all of those top-quality, professional vendors you selected really pays off. These professionals are stilled at working with you to re-scheduling your wedding, which is just a matter of organization and logistics. Your planner will help you refine you wedding planning to work with the new timeline and logistics. If you don't have a planner, then contact each vendor to rework and coordinator all of the your wedding timelines and contracts. Remember, its just a pivot towards so, keep planning, dreaming, and know that it's going to be ok!
What Creative Businesses can do
Mindset - Proactive vs. Reactive mindset. As I watch the effects of COVID-19 unfold throughout the events industry I've see to types of mindset present themselves. One, I confess, is the expected gut reaction of most of us... Reactive. Which manifests in waiting for phone calls, watching the emails populate, and seeing the texts to come in. Wake up each day with this cloud of anxiety+ or a fogg of fear hazing up your vision for you next month, next six months, next year. OR you can choose to take a proactive mindset. This begins with a since of equanimity, we know that in business outside forces can impact in the short term, but your business is a long game... if not an infinite game. Your business, could event be a legacy like Disney, Apple, and even other businesses that expend well into the future from generation to generation. So what if you can't see the road ahead too clearly. The good news is, you have the tools to turn on your business GPS and reroute you pass this... so let's do it!
Be prepared (to communicate & chat) - In 2018 I actually started experimenting with video chat for our "out-of-town" clients. But soon I discovered that using these apps made consultations easier for all of our clients. It was far more flexible for scheduling and allowed use to offer evening appointments without forcing me to have late nights at the studio. I put together a go to "Check list" to help use tools like video conferencing (click here to download a copy of the "Complete check list")
Review and innovate - Part of being proactive is thinking past the current situation. I know, easier said than done. Especially when there's so much "uncertainty". But here's the truth, the future of businesses pivot all the time. The best businesses are the ones who are constantly reviewing and seeing where they can nurture, refine, and innovate what they create and how their client's experiences it. Take a look at an iphone and just think how different the world would be if Apple just stuck to being a "Computer company". After all, Dell doesn't make phones. When the computer industry offered Apple the opportunity to pivot... they took it! And throughout history, many other companies have done the same. I'm not saying change your business but see where and how you can improve or offer your services in a different form. I know a local high-end caterer company that's offering special meas-to-go menu for net week and are currently taking orders. Which is perfect because by next week some parent stuck at home with their kids won't be interested in cooking... any... more. Also, ask for help. It could be collaborating with colleague, investing educational development programs or coaching, or meeting with your team to review current systems to see how you can make things run smoother... this is the time.
Take action today!! - Take a step. It doesn't have to be a big one. Let me put it to you this way. Yes, COVID-19 and the blockage s currently causing in the flow of events, weddings, and revenue but it's like a land slide blocking a stream. But its not a permanent blockage. In fact, the effects are like feel like a drout on our side but on the other side the pressure and building. And soon all those brides, grooms, and event hosts who have been waiting with cabin fever will be ready to celebrate! The question is, will you be ready for the volume in demand that is come? Here's how you can take action now, focus on developing and enhancing your:
Client experience & relations
Vendor & Partner relations
Branding, offerings, and marketing collateral
Staff training & business development/coaching
Improving internal systems, processes, and admin.
What Supporters can do... If you just want to help your local small, creative or event business.
Mindset - As human beings one of the most important impulses is the need to be heard and understood. Why do you think we all like to comment on posts? Too often wedding, event, and creative businesses are left out of the discussion. If we can all start by remembering that "event & creative businesses" are real businesses too that can start the ball rolling. Remember, all the same challenges, expenses, responsibilities, overhead, taxes, etc. that every other small or entrepreneurial business is managing right now - they are too.
Communicate - If you know of a creative entrepreneurs, event or small business owner don't be afraid to reach out to them and check in. Let them know that you're thinking of them.
Ask questions - Sure, you may not have a wedding, event, or creative project but sometimes the best way to help someone is to ask them how. People have been coming up with some great ideas. Some local catering companies are offering individual and to-go meals. Ask if floral designer you can commission a special arrangements for a friend. See if you can purchase a gift certificates or retainers for a future creative or consulting service. You can check with a local baker to see you could purchase cookies to be delivered to school meal program that are still operating (offering meals to kids who'd depend on school lunches).
Take any step - ... even if it's a small step. Share a post. Shout out a great business. Take a pic of their of what you did to support the business and share how they can do the same. No step is too small and everything is greatly appreciated.
Was this helpful? Do you have other questions or need other help. I want to hear from you. And I want you to know I'm hear for you. Don't hesitate to reach out to me or my team. I truly believe that if we are open to help and support each other that we can create fantastic experience, opportunities, innovations, and creative magic.
Be safe, take care, and ... cheers!!
Executive Creative Director,
(Certified Floral Designer)
Vivid Expressions LLC