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Wedding Business Solutions Podcast with Alan Berg CSP - Are you doing transactions or building a business?Are you doing transactions or building a business?

Every wedding or event sale involves a transaction, but doing transactions is not the same as building a business. What’s the difference? A lot depends upon whether you’re just focusing on today, or if you also have your eye on the future, and what you want that future to look like. Listen to this 9-minute episode and get a clearer view of your business’ future.

If you have any questions about anything in this, or any of my podcasts, or have a suggestion for a topic or guest, please reach out directly to me at [email protected] or visit my website www.AlanBerg.com

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Below is a full transcript. If you have any questions about anything in this, or any of my podcasts, or have a suggestion for a topic or guest, please reach out directly to me at [email protected] or contact me via textuse the short form on this page, or call 732.422.6362

Please be sure to subscribe to this podcast and leave a review (thanks, it really does make a difference). If you want to get notifications of new episodes and upcoming workshops and webinars, you can sign up at www.ConnectWithAlanBerg.com


– Are you just doing transactions or are you actually building a business? Want to find out what the difference is? Listen to this episode. I was working with a, I was working with a customer the other day, and we were talking about whether he was building a business or whether he was just doing transactions which is the impetus for this particular episode here. And we were talking about what the difference is. He was looking to expand into a different type of a field. And I was asking him what his goals were, what he was trying to accomplish and everything that he talked about sounded like a transaction, which let’s face it everything is a transaction when it comes to your business, people pay you to do something. They need an outcome and they pay you to get that outcome. And I said to him that’s fine, but what are you trying to accomplish? Naming the business was one of the things. If he was trying to build a business that he wanted to sell, then it was probably better not to have the business, have his name as the business.

For instance, when I started my business about 10 years ago, when I left The Knot, I made a conscious decision that I was not going to have any other speakers, sales trainers, consultants, or anything else. It was going to be me, I am the content creator and that’s why my website is Alanberg.com. My business name is the same as the podcast, Wedding Business Solutions and I use that for certain things but I’m still the guy. You’re going to get me to come and do sales training at your location, or you’re going to have me do a remote consultation or me speak at your conference. It’s still me, so Wedding Business Solutions and Alan Berg, we are one, so if you go to weddingbusinesssolutions.com it takes you to alanberg.com, just the particular page on there. But this is the decision, it has to be a conscious decision.

I knew 10 years ago that if I wanted to build a business and I wanted to have other people, and most importantly, I wanted to think about an exit strategy of selling the business, then I should not have my name. The website should not be my name. I should build something bigger because who wants to buy alanberg.com if Alan Berg isn’t there? Now, there is the legacy issue of that where if you’re going to go multi-generational, somebody could take that over. I remember when I first started in the industry, it was very common somebody bought a photography studio that was somebody else’s name and people would always come in asking for the person who’s the name was on the sign, but that person wasn’t there anymore.

So, what are you really buying? Or what do you really have to sell? If you’re doing transactions because you’re making money and that’s fine you’re not thinking about that exit strategy that’s okay, but I want it to be a conscious decision for you which is, what are you trying to accomplish? So if you just want to make some money, if this is a side hustle for you and you have no goals for building the business, growing the business, selling the business, transactions are fine. Transactions are fine. I’m talking in another episode about the difference between transactions and being transactional. That’s another side discussion here, but what are you trying to do with your business? Do you have any plans? What is your one, three, and five-year plan let’s say? What do you want to do? I know this is a kind of a funny year, but in a normal year, what are you trying to do? Do you want to do more events? I know a lot of wedding and event professionals that are not trying to do more events. I was just working with a photographer recently and he said he wants to do 25 weddings a year. That’s what he wants to do.

So, what I wanted to help him accomplish is more profitability from those 25 weddings. So, one of the things we did is got rid of his lowest package, we don’t even offer it anymore. If you’re only going to do 25 weddings a year, let’s not offer the cheap stuff. Now, that’s not to say that if somebody comes along and is getting married on a Wednesday and it’s an elopement and they want him to go for a couple of hours and take pictures, he might take that gig, that won’t count towards his 25. The 25 weekend weddings that he wants to do, we want to maximize profitability. Redid the pricing, redid the packages, cut down the number of packages to increase that, that’s his goal. It’s not an exit strategy for selling the business. He doesn’t have that particular goal. He’s a photographer. His name is on the studio. It’s mostly him, if you’re going to get him and another shooter or you’re going to get just him.

So, we talked about that, the exit strategy isn’t selling the business because there may not be as much to sell that’s of value. Not to say that there’s nothing, but may not be as much. I just helped the wedding planner with that. She had somebody who approached her about buying her business, because she was thinking about transitioning to another industry. And we talked about, what does she have a value? What is it that she has if she’s not there? And that’s the key, some people have physical assets. You have a building or you have vehicles or you have equipment, and some people don’t. As a wedding planner, she had decor items and things so there was a value, but a lot of it was more in the relationships and things that she had which if she’s not there are not as valuable.

I remember when my dad sold his accounting practice, he was a sole practitioner, and what did he have to sell, his client list? But the transition was going to be a three-year transition so that he would still be there as it transitioned to the new people so the handoff would be smooth as opposed to, hey, I’m out of here and I am headed down to the islands, that’s it. Not as valuable when you’re not there anymore, because the relationship is part of what you brought. So, thinking about your business, are you thinking transactionally or are you thinking about something else. Now, I’m not going to tell you what’s right. I know people that have scaled their businesses up. I know people that have scaled their businesses down. Some people had to do this with what happened with COVID. Some people have had to pivot, but what are you trying to accomplish here? So are you building a business? If you’re building a business, you need to think like a business person.

On one of my dialogue episodes in scaling, I have someone on, Eric Moss from Complete Weddings and he’s got a franchise organization. They were in over 200 cities with I think it’s over 70 franchisees. And one of the things that he tells people when they come to him about becoming a franchisee, if you’re running a business, you’re not out there on Saturday night doing, in his case, deejaying or photography or video or whatever it is, you’re running a business, you can’t be running the business if you’re doing that. Not to say you can never do it but you have to scale back if you’re actually going to be steering the ship, you got to have your hand on the wheel. You can’t be out there doing those other things. Are you building a business or are you just doing transactions? Neither one is wrong, just make it a conscious decision so that you know what’s right for you, what’s right for your business, what’s right for your goals, what’s right for your family.

That’s what you want to be thinking about. What are you trying to do here? Is it just about the money side hustle? That’s fine. If it’s a full-time thing for you, I’d like you to have a different kind of a goal. I’d like it to have something bigger, which doesn’t mean I’m trying to do more weddings and events but you can be more profitable. One of my clients came to me and they said our goal is to be the biggest rental company in our area. And I said, you know what, let’s work on making you the most profitable, if you also happen to be the biggest, fantastic, but if you’re not and you’re the most profitable, you are the most successful. But I guess it also depends upon how you define success. So, hope I gave you something to think about, think about transactions versus growing, building a business. And I said growing doesn’t mean doing more events, just building something more substantial as that foundation. Something that you can build upon whatever your goals are. Think about that, I look forward to your feedback. I’m Alan Berg.

I’m Alan Berg. Thanks for listening. If you have any questions about this or if you’d like to suggest other topics for “The Wedding Business Solutions Podcast” please let me know. My email is [email protected]. Look forward to seeing you on the next episode. Thanks.


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