It’s hard to believe that the year is coming to an end and industry professionals are busily crafting their goals for 2022. For many, this year has felt like a continuation of 2020. Between the pandemic and subsequent economic instability, most business owners have been in fight mode trying to roll with the punches.
Fortunately, 2021 did see the return of weddings and live events — and, in many markets, it has been a resurgence that is keeping industry professionals at full capacity (and then some). The pendulum has swung and experts are forecasting that this busy season will last through 2022 and even into 2023.
As you prepare for the year ahead, it’s vital to look back at the road you’ve traveled to identify key learning lessons and takeaways to support your business’s future.
Here are four highlights from 2021 to reflect on as you look to 2022 and beyond.
Digital systems are essential
Managing a heavy workload and, for some, a remote team requires an organized structure that is built to support a business’s growth. Many companies have adopted new software to track payments, send invoices, sign contracts, store client information, and perform other important tasks.
Most business responsibilities no longer need to be done manually. Investing in event tech to streamline those processes will ultimately save time and money in the long run. Plus, today’s clients expect brands to support a digital experience, so smart systems are beneficial for all parties.
There’s no “I” in team
Thanks to the event boom this year, most entrepreneurs are discovering the true value of having a great team. Those who have been solo have brought on associates, assistants, and contractors to lessen the burden, while existing leaders have prioritized the care and wellbeing of their employees.
Burnout has been a prevalent concern with the rapid growth of events, which does not discriminate between CEOs and their staff. Anyone is susceptible to feeling overworked and exhausted. Burnout counters productivity, so supporting your and your team’s mental wellbeing is in the best interest of your business.
Communication styles matter
Even though most of our communication is still done through impersonal screens, what we say (and how we say it) is critical to how we’re perceived in the market. Some conversations are best saved for a video chat, while others may suffice in a quick text message or email.
At the same time, the person on the other end may also dictate communication styles. While some folks prefer to hop on the phone for the smallest of questions, others may prefer conversing through emails so they can think over the matter at hand. On a similar note, what we don’t say is just as meaningful. Staying in touch with clients and colleagues helps keep the lines open and shows that you care.
Adaptability is key
Despite your best plans and intentions, sometimes things still go awry. Of course, we see this on a micro level whenever a wedding detail doesn’t go as planned. But, on a macro level, the pandemic has forced businesses everywhere to roll with the proverbial punches and adjust their processes at a moment’s notice.
Pandemic aside, be mindful that there are a number of uncontrollable factors that may turn your business on its head. From natural disasters to significant market changes, solid and sustainable businesses need leaders with their ears to the ground and their eyes looking ahead to make swift, agile decisions that support the greater good.
As we head into a new year full of possibilities, it might be tempting to dive in headfirst without turning back. However, don’t forget to recognize what has gotten you all this way: resiliency, innovation, dedication, and passion. Together, these qualities will help you navigate difficult and bountiful seasons alike.
Elizabeth Sheils is the co-founder of Rock Paper Coin, the first software platform to bring together wedding planners, couples, and vendors into one system for managing and paying contracts and invoices. Elizabeth is also a lead wedding planner with award-winning firm Bridal Bliss, where she manages the Seattle team. In addition to recognition by Special Events in its Top 25 Event Pros to Watch series, she also earned a spot in The BizBash 500 for 2021.