Venting: “Dear Preston” Has Answers to Your Questions

As promised in my Venting post last week, I have answers for all those business related questions you sent in.

I emailed all of you directly, but I wanted to post four of the most-asked questions here.

I hope I managed to help somewhat with your business issues.

If you need any more advice or guidance on problems you’re confronting, please vent a bit and send me your question by leaving a comment below.

(Because of time restraints I’ll answer the first 20 questions right away and try to get to the rest ASAP.)

1) Beatriz asked: What do you do when a client forces you to introduce a color you think does not match with your design?

My Answer: Yes, there is always a challenge when a client introduces a color we think does not work with our designs. What I suggest is the following:

  • Always say, of course, I’ll make it work.
  • Give them three choices for their color story. Include the color you prefer, along with other potential choices including their suggestion.
  • Explain to them, very clearly, why you think as a designer your choices work.

Most of the time, they’ll choose the one you know works, but they’ll feel like you are giving them choices (which is very important). If all else fails, just give them what they want–with your artistic spin.

2) Stephanie asked: I was wondering how to build a reliable, dependable team of vendors. What are your thoughts on having a non-disclosure agreement because I find more often than not, I share my vision or design concepts and others take it and run with it for themselves.

My Answer: As you probably know, building a reliable, dependable team of vendors is like building your own trusted and reliable family. Like your family, you should always be able to trust your vendors and If you find out that they are using your designs concept for their own use GET RID OF THEM.

I have done this many times, to find better, trusted vendors, that would more than happy to get my business.

In reference to having a non disclosure agreement, feel free to do so, if that gives you a level of comfort. However, I still prefer he honor system.

3) Iris says: I have been in the wedding business for almost a year now but I have to say that business has been very slow. I have only done two weddings last year and this year since putting my website up I have not booked anything. I only received quote requests and when I do that I don’t receive any reactions.

What am I doing wrong? I have spent a lot of money in marketing and my site and I do not see any results.

My Answer: First, I’d like to suggest that you please have some patience. You actually booked two weddings in the first year–not bad! The first year when I started, I had none. With that said, I also have a few suggestions:

  • Call those clients you sent quotes and never heard from and ask why? Was it your prices? This way, you can learn about your market.
  • Whenever you get a quote request, try your best to see your potential client face to face. It’s easier to explain your services this way.

As I’ve said before, these things take time. Just keep improving your sales technique and you’ll see results.

4) Karen asked: I am a wedding and event planner with my own business. In 2007, I went through a very emotionally draining divorce. I think I had bouts of depression as well. I didn’t plan any weddings, I turned down business all because I just couldn’t function at the time. Since then I have been pulled out of seclusion by family and friends wanting me to plan events for them.

I have never been more excited in my life. All the creative juices are flowing and I’m having a ball. One thing, though, that gets me. I’m doing all of this using my name not my business name. I have no desire to use my business name and am really thinking of changing the business name. Do you think that is a good idea? I’m thinking of just using my name with the word “Events” behind it.

My Answer: First, CONGRATULATIONS on your new journey. It sounds as if you are being re-born, both personally and professionally. It also sounds like you are blessed by having good friends and family to help you along.

In reference to your question I LOVE that you are using your name for your business. It sounds like you are loving who Karen is, so yes go right ahead. Personally, I am very glad that I used my own name from day one…developing a brand I am very proud of.

There was one question from Keisha that I get very often, so I’ll answer it in tomorrow’s Frequently Asked Questions post. The question was: Do you believe that advertising at bridal shows are a waste of time or a good marketing strategy?

(Sketch of “Dear Preston” by the amazing Nikita)

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