By Teddy Lenderman, MBC, Bearable Weddings and Special Events

My company, Bearable Weddings & Special Events, has been providing “peace of mind” to couples and their families for over 26 years. I’ve often wondered how long the business would last, but somehow it has kept going and growing. Just what is the secret to a successful business? When you average 12-14 weddings per year, like we do, doing everything from full-service to wedding weekend—because we all know there is no such thing as “day of”—you’ve got to stay fresh, current, and inspired in order to keep yourself up-to-date and offer the best and most current trends and designs to your clients.

Read everything you can get your hands on
One way to stay energized is to read—a lot! If you’re technologically savvy, follow the blogs of wedding planners and industry professionals who inspire you, or follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Read books about the industry and/or books about business trends and successes. Peruse magazines. Watch relevant television shows. If you’re not into technology, take classes, read books, and learn. Technology isn’t going away. Not only will staying current grow your business knowledge base, it will give you the latest trends and nourish your sense of style, of what is tasteful, and of what is proper etiquette.

Join an association like the ABC
Perhaps the best way to reinvent and inspire yourself is to join an association like The Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC), and network with industry professionals. Joining the ABC was probably the best business decision I’ve ever made. It has opened doors for me that I could never have opened myself. It’s also given me the tools I need to be successful in this business.

Tap into the energy of others
When you do the same business for 26 years, as I have, it can get stale. Sometimes you need a “shot in the arm” to stay inspired. Fresh ideas can be found through employees and associates. In the past year, I’ve taken on a new associate who is young, creative, recently married, and wants to learn this business. She is the technically savvy person I need, and is exploring Facebook, Twitter, a new logo, and updated images for us. She has that “first-look” sense, and the “Oh, my goodness, it’s wonderful” aura about her. It has inspired me. Where before, I’d been thinking about retiring or selling my business, I now have a new outlook. Now, I’m excited about what we can do together to make Bearable Weddings continue to produce great, detailed, and organized events. Through the fresh eyes and new mind of my associate, I see my own energy level rising and being renewed.

Love what you do—or leave it
Currently, we are preparing for our first fall bridal show. The updated brochure draft is at the logo “doctor.” Our new business cards wait patiently for their review. The booth design is confirmed and will include a candy station. And we already have weddings booked for 2012. Bottom line is, you have to love this business for everything it is worth. If you don’t, your business will cease. It takes a special person to work in this industry. It is not for the “faint-at-heart.” Energy, patience, and a huge sense of humor will help you get up, get going, and keep growing. I know. I’ve lived this life since 1985, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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