Most industries have an off-season, when everything goes a little bit quiet. Whether it’s the school holidays, the wrong kind of weather, or the come-down after Christmas, these off-seasons can make or break a small business.
For the event planning industry, it can all go a little quiet from the end of Autumn through ‘til January, which can feel like a long time!
It’s vital to plan ahead and prepare for the quieter times that may be coming, but with a bit of thought, you can really use this time to set yourself up for a buzzing new season.
Here are our top tips for turning a quiet spell in the event planning industry to your advantage.
Set aside a budget
Being sensible with your finances is priority number 1. It can be tempting to pay yourself an extra-juicy pay cheque each time you have a busy month – you’ve worked hard, and of course, deserve to be rewarded. But if you set some of that extra cash aside, you’ll have a pot to keep your income steady in those quieter periods.
Make sure you have a business account and accounting software to keep track of your income and outgoings
- Work out what salary you can afford to take by averaging out your monthly income over a year, setting aside a percentage as business savings
- Run payroll on a regular basis so you can budget your personal finances, knowing what money you have coming in each week, fortnight or month
Over time, you should aim to build up business savings that cover a few months’ income, in case of an extended quiet season, or another unforeseen circumstance.
Develop your business
While it’s frustrating to have periods with few bookings in the diary, these spells of quiet are the perfect time to reflect on what you’ve achieved and make plans for the next year.
- Assemble all your client feedback and reviews, and pick out the best quotes to share in your digital marketing media and on your Poptop profile
- Update your profile with new images, videos, testimonials and written content to keep it fresh and relevant to people looking for your services
- Invest time in your social media strategy, uploading new content and scheduling posts for the months to come
- Set out a calendar of promotions and events you want to run and participate in for the next 12 months, and draft or develop the materials for each one
- Build your audience with live videos, special offers, and competitions to get people engaging with your pages
- Work on your onboarding process to make sure every client is delighted by the service you offer
Developing your plans and marketing materials is the kind of activity that tends to take a back seat when we’re busy performing, so refocusing on these is a valuable use of this quiet time.
Learn something new
When we’re booked up with back-to-back gigs, it can be difficult to find time to improve our offering. Take a chance, while the calendar is a little emptier, to review your recent performances, check out what the competition is doing, take in feedback from your customers, and work out where you could be making improvements.
- Learn some new performance pieces to wow your new customers
- Explore new ways to promote your business online
- Practice recording showpieces on your mobile device or digital camera
- Gain extra customer service skills to make sure your customers are always delighted, and you always get their recommendation
There’s always something new to learn, even for the most experienced performer, so focus your attention on some new skills that could really make a difference to your business.
Getting involved with your community is a great way to give back to those who’ve supported you through the year, and to raise your profile, locally.
- Arrange to perform for a charity or community group as a fundraiser – this is a great chance to practice your new pieces in front of an audience, with very little pressure
- Share some of your skills in a workshop for kids, young adults, or the elderly – teaching your trade is a great way to expand the scope of your business over time
- Volunteer your time to support local events or organizations, and build your personal network in the process
Network, network, network
If you’ve not met with your fellow performers for a while, it’s a great time to do so. Chances are, they are experiencing, or have experienced, the same quiet times that you are.
- Spend time with like-minded people for a real confidence boost, and some great learning opportunities
- Arrange a face-to-face meet up with your local network in a creative space, where you can all relax and spark some ideas
- Network online if there aren’t many people in your area – check out groups on Facebook, Twitter, and in forums where you can engage with and pick the brains of other creative professionals like you
Whether you’re learning from those who have been there and done it, or you’re the one answering the questions of people new to the industry, this kind of networking is a great confidence boost.
Take a little time out for yourself
A busy performing schedule is great fun but can take its toll on the body. Use this quiet period to invest some time in you, and get yourself back to tip-top form.
- Take a holiday or book a long weekend somewhere quiet and relaxing
- Switch off your phone and computer for a few hours so you can read a book, watch a film, or listen to music, uninterrupted
- Spend time with family and friends, who might have to compete for your attention during the rest of the year
Whatever form your self-care takes, this is time well-spent that will help you get back to work with a fresh outlook and new energy to carry you forward into a great new year.