Cooperation or Competition: The Wedding Industry in the New Economy

The news reminds us each day about the state of our American economy………all in all….not very promising.  What does all this daily doom and gloom mean for those of us in the wedding industry?  Will being ultra-competitive insure our financial success, or do we survive and hopefully thrive with a cooperative spirit?  I think the jury is out on this one, but for me, it’s never really been question………………..

When I co-owned Duffy’s Florist in Murphys, Ca., there were several other florist in our immediate and surrounding area.  Being a small town in a relatively small tri-county area, most of us knew each other, or at one time or another, had met at a local function.  Cooperating with other florists, just seemed to be….well…..natural!

Now we find ourselves dealing with a very unstable economy.  One week the news is telling us that things are turning around for the good, and the next week it’s back to doom and gloom.  So we ask ourselves, what approach to take when trying to build our businesses and our reputations?  Are we really living in a “dog eat dog” economy now where, “sorry…it’s nothing personal….just business,” is the norm, or do we band together as industry representatives to help one another achieve at least…modest success?  My vote is for the latter!!

I may not be an expert on business and finance….in fact I’d say I still have a lot to learn.  But one thing I can be sure of is, that a little cooperative effort goes a very long way in establishing a network of trust and support.  The old saying “I’ll scratch your back, if you’ll scratch mine,” couldn’t be appropriate for the times.  Now I’m not as naive to think that this spirit of cooperation will not at some point backfire now and then, but in my experience as a business owner, it has served me well through the years.  I love to see people succeed, and even if it means a little extra profit is taken out of my coffers, I’m happy to do what I can to promote our businesses, and in turn I hope someone will do the same for me.

So wedding planners, florists, photographers, DJ’s, caterers, and bakers…..get to know your competition.  Find out what their similarities are, and what is unique about them.  No two people are alike, and no two businesses offer the exact same thing.  What you might offer someone may be more desirable to your customer, and visa versa……or you may have talents that can actually blend together to create one fabulous event!!  Ask your competition if you recommend them, will they in turn do the same for you?  Social media now lends itself to the cooperative spirit in which we can all display our talents and unique qualities that can strike just the right cord with a particular talent.

Remember, while you may not be able to fulfill your clients wish list at that given moment, a competitor that you have faith and trust in, just might.  Hey…..wouldn’t YOU rather recommend another business than losing them to an outside referral?  Trust me, clients remember that you were looking out for THEIR best interest.  I believe in karma, and one good deed comes back to you many times over.  Get over your ego for a moment…..and I guarantee that with a little cooperation, we’ll all achieve greater success in the long run!!

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