networking

Wedding Shows - A Supplier's Perspective

After my last blog-post, discussing the reasons why couples should attend wedding fairs, I had a few comments (which led on to lengthy discussions!) about the pros and cons for the suppliers.

The most obvious benefit from a supplier’s perspective, is that they could potentially generate new business. I do think that there’s more to it than that, though; you get the opportunity to speak to potential clients face-to-face and find out exactly what they need or are looking for, which can be harder to do if it’s by email. You can try out your latest ideas on them, see what responses you get, and gauge how well your product(s) or service is being received.

Wedding fairs are also a great, informal place to network with other suppliers. There’s often a lot of talk about ‘rival companies’ or ‘the competition’, but I try not to see it like that; every business offers something slightly different or approaches the way they run their business differently, and there are more than enough weddings and clients to go around! Exhibiting at a wedding fair means that you can meet a variety of wedding professionals in one place, discuss weddings and experiences you’ve had and build relationships. After all, we all work together in one way or another to produce incredible weddings for our clients.

Of course, you cannot guarantee that each wedding show will be busy and that you’ll come away with lots of enquiries or bookings. Various things can affect the numbers attending, from poor advertising of the wedding fair to bad weather, which you can’t always avoid. I once exhibited at a wedding fair in mid-March, when you’d think the weather would be relatively mild, and it snowed, which meant there was a very low turnout. If you’re concerned about how well a show will be advertised, book one through an experienced and well-known wedding show organiser or get a recommendation from other wedding suppliers.

If the thought of doing a large wedding show makes you a bit nervous, try exhibiting at a smaller one first and see what it’s like, and then maybe build up to doing a bigger show. Some suppliers would say that the bigger shows attract more couples and so you stand a better chance of getting more business. However, the bigger shows tend to be more expensive, so you would need to generate enough business to cover the initial outlay to make it worthwhile.

Wedding shows can be a bit of a gamble, but I have found them to be a good way to meet clients, get new business and meet some great fellow suppliers. Why not give it a try?

Collaboration and Networking

Over the past few months, I have been meeting with other local suppliers in the wedding and events industry, from venues and photographers, to bakers and confectionery suppliers. The reason for these meetings is to introduce myself and Caro Events UK, as well as finding out more about the suppliers, their businesses and what they offer.

When starting a new business, it can be incredibly daunting putting yourself and your business out there, but networking and finding these businesses to collaborate with is an essential part of building any business and making it successful. You have to approach each meeting with an open mind and think, not only about how this association could benefit you, but how you can assist the other business.

By meeting suppliers in advance, you can build relationships with these businesses, so that you know which is the best business for a particular event you are working on. From this networking, you may find businesses that you can collaborate with, whereby you work closely together, recommend each other, or offer discounts to your clients for using each other’s business.

Collaboration between businesses can be beneficial to both sides; it can inspire you, educate you, help you to solve problems, and, of course, it enables you to grow your network. It will be unlikely for you to be able to collaborate with everyone you meet, but these businesses will still be part of your wider network that you may work alongside in the future.

Fortunately, everyone that I have met with have been friendly and personable, and several businesses have been added to my list of recommended suppliers, as I know that they will deliver excellent customer service. However, networking is never-ending; there are always new businesses to meet and new ideas that people have about what they want at events, and this means that there is always the potential for your business to grow.