How to Marry Your Business – and Love It!
So, in past few years I've discovered that one of the most popular blog subjects on the internet is weddings. (Two other highly popular subjects are pr0n and food. Of course.)
Many women, myself included spent a gazillion years planning for The Big Day. From childhood, we start dreaming up the perfect dress, the perfect music, the perfect evvvvrything. And the internet lets us scrounge every corner of cyberspace for perfect wedding inspiration.
Page after page after glorious, beautiful, lovely page.
There's more than just the wedding, too. We dream and plan our honeymoon, our new home, our white picket fence, our 2.5 kids, our dog… Imagine what your business could do if you invested this kind of wedding-level planning into it.
Guess what? You can. Here are 7 ways to plan your perfect wedding, marry your business and live happily ever after.
Get Someone Else to Pay for It (Without Asking for Money)
Traditionally, dear old Dad footed the hefty bill for the glorious day. These days, you might be on the hook for the whole shebang, just like you might be with your business.
Get creative with raising venture capital. Try throwing a fundraising party with family, friends and maybe even other people you know. Make a game out of it. Charge $25 per person as "admission", show them two equally good proposals and sets of business plans, and let them put their money on the winning plan.
Get visual, be clear and concise, then let everyone vote and give you feedback. The winning plan gets the money to put toward the launch – and you might pick up some valuable tips from the feedback that help you rake back returns quickly!
Announce Your Commitment Publicly
Wedding vows make a couple’s commitment public, and it creates a sense of responsibility and accountability to the other person. You'll be just as married to your business, so why not start by announcing the engagement?
Make the decision to commit to your new business public. Announce it to family, friends, and business connections. You'll be more compelled to move forward with your business plans – and help avoid those cold feet! – because people will be asking about your progress.
A commitment also helps you stick with your business during the rough times - because there will be some days you'll want to divorce, believe me!
Bring Ceremony to Your Business
Weddings are full of ceremony and rituals: preparing vows, the white dress, walking down the aisle, the ring, the veil, the kiss, the toasts and the speeches. Rituals demonstrate that your actions are consciously and deliberately performed.
There’s no room for arbitrary decisions in marriage - or in business.
Develop ceremonial rituals that show your commitment to your clients and your deliberate attention to customer experience. Build expected perks for the people that come to you – a cup of chai as they wait, a special music selected just for them, and any other ritual that might show you offer more than just a service.
Honor your commitments as well, by honoring your clients. Send them personalized thank you notes for their continued support and mail out hand-written cards during special holidays. This will make them feel appreciated, and it'll also help to keep your name in their mind.
Be the Consummate Host
Red wine on your dress? No worries – it's just another sign of a successful party. That cute, curly-haired toddler knocked over your cake and set the punch bowl on fire? Ha! That's so funny – get the photographer! Grab it on film!
You can never plan for ultimate perfection, and even in the most carefully laid out weddings (or business affairs), something's bound to go wrong.
Be your best, most gracious self at all times. Never sweat the small stuff and always keep a cool head. Deal with small mishaps quickly and elegantly.
And, if you have a 'difficult guest', gently introduce the person to another therapist better suited to his or her needs. The therapist will get a great referral, the client gets the desired massage, and you get peace of mind. Win-win-win!
Plan it to the End
Weddings are clearly orchestrated events, from the flower petals in the aisle right down to the bride and groom’s final dance. And relationships are also planned, with a good idea of the future in mind.
When planning your therapy practice, do the same – know where you're going now and in the future. Clearly define your core values and business goals. Then create a detailed timeline for pre-launch, launch, one year after the launch “honeymoon”, plus 5 and 10 years down the road.
And that way, you'll be all set for a cherished bond between you and your business, full of true love forever. Congratulations – you were made for each other!