What Did You Invest in to Improve Business or Increase Revenue in 2017? “I increased our advertising budget, to improve customer awareness of our company, and our education budget, to keep our team on the cutting edge, as well as advanced our system processes and improved efficiency in our daily business practices.” - Carol Thomas, PWP™, A-One Weddings & Events, Cheyenne, Wyo. “To improve my business for 2017, OWN (One-Way Naturally) Weddings and Events invested in multiple sources of publication to spark interest to several brides in the Houston area, the great state of Texas, and even nationwide. We hope this investment in the multiple advertisement outlets will allow our company to get off to a fantastic start!” - Ryley Christine Harvey, OWN (One-Way Naturally) Weddings and Events, Houston, Texas “We signed up for a mentoring program with the famous Sasha Souza Events. We have been to a destination wedding in Hawaii with her and her team and got to see how it works from the inside. Also, we have mentoring sessions with her every month (by Skype) and have made tremendous changes to our business! On Sasha’s advice, we redid our website; rebranded and designed a new, updated logo; re-priced our work; and more closely shaped what we wanted to do in our business to outsource what we didn’t want to do ourselves.” - Davii Mandel, Mi Chicas Celebrations, Spring Valley, N.Y. “We know that if you respond to potential customers within 30 minutes, you’re 10 times more likely to close the sale, so this year, we set up text message notifications that alert our employees when someone contacts us through our website so we can respond immediately!” - Kirsten Mussi, NOAH’S Event Venue, South Jordan, Utah “I’ve found the industry to be like a family. And like most families you want to know and be known by other family members. So even though it’s not particularly quantifiable, networking is the most profound and worthwhile investment I’ve found since I started.” - Eric DePangher, Sightglass Photography, Portland, Ore. “I invested in relationships. In 2016, I focused heavily on networking and community building. Not just going to every industry cocktail party in town and throwing around my business card but actually talking to other wedding industry pros about their real lives, struggles, successes—all of it. Getting to know people on a deeper level has enriched my business exponentially. I have more direct referrals from venues and other vendors now, because those people really know me and my company culture. It’s amazing, and I recommend it to everyone.” - Renée Dalo, Moxie Bright Events, Los Angeles “Hiring a business coach was a phenomenal decision for 2017. I am at the top of my industry in Bermuda. It was about finding a way to grow or get out, streamlining my intake process, focusing on ways of monetizing my knowledge, and determining the right opportunities to develop my target market. Watch this space!” - Nikki J Begg, PWP™, Bermuda Bride, Hamilton, Bermuda “I invested in a complete re-branding, including a new professional-designed website. These days couples go ‘Window Shopping’ on Pinterest and on our websites to try to find inspiration for their unique weddings, and I can tell you that since I launched my new brand/website, endless couples have been telling me, ‘By the way, your work is breathtaking. I want you to be my wedding planner.’ Big investment, worth every effort.” - Maria A. Lugo, AWP™, Maria A. Lugo, San Juan, Puerto Rico “In an effort to increase revenue, I carefully crafted a value proposition statement for my business. By taking the time to work through and craft a clear statement of the value of my services, it helped me craft my ‘elevator speech,’ update my website, and identify my ideal client. By fall 2016, I was almost completely booked for summer 2017 and am already booking for 2018.” - Rebecca Kopperud, La Boum Events, Anchorage, Alaska “Education. I always invest in professional development and continuing education—the industry is always changing, and I know that I can always learn more to service my couples better and run my business better, so that is always a priority for me.” - Bethel Nathan, Ceremonies by Bethel and Elevate by Bethel, San Diego, Calif. “After seeing Timeline Genius in action at Wedding MBA in Las Vegas in October, I knew it would make my company run more efficiently and save me hours. Type in some basic information, and ‘poof’ your timeline is 90 percent complete. I have already created nine timelines for weddings booked in 2017 and easily incorporate vital information to each as vendors or events are added. [It’s] a dream come true!” - Carolyn O’Brien, Creative Celebrations, Portland, Ore. “Three words: inventory, inventory, inventory. As a destination wedding planner on a small island, the most important investment I can make is in items that allow me to provide a cohesive and yet customized wedding day for my clients. No two couples are alike and their wedding day should reflect that.” - Michelle Marquis, Weddings by Michelle Marquis, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands “I invested in the HoneyBook founding membership. It was one of my best investments. I can easily respond to inquiries, send proposals and contracts, and get paid quicker and easier. My proposals look more professional, and I keep track of my client pipeline very easily.” - Robyn Bruns, AWP™, Red Letter Event Planning, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho “To invest in and improve my business for 2017, I decided to start using a robust, automated email-marketing platform, called Infusion Soft. This system organizes my contacts and has a special tag system that helps [me] market to perspective clients tagged with a specific need or preference. I foresee that, by setting up these automated emails, it will help free up valuable time [so I can] work smarter, not harder.” - Chloe Atnip, Chloe Atnip Photography, Tustin, Calif.