Build A Global Wedding Business in 6 Steps | Axioo
Build A Global Wedding Business | Axioo
So, would you like to hear the good news or the bad news first? Let’s begin by appreciating the wedding business as it’s truly unique, and as much as you love the beauty of weddings and romance, a solid business plan is essential for the successful blossoming of your wedding business. You have probably heard about how saturated and competitive the wedding market is, just like every other industry. Here’s the bad news, the pandemic has brought upon great impact and raised many questions in the wedding industry. Venues are forced to close, vendors are going out of business, couples are scrambling to reschedule or even cancel their weddings. Everyone is hitting a rough patch.
The good news is, to help, we have talked to the founder of Axioo, David Soong, and rounded up an episode of Passion to Profit, a Bridalgram Business Series that streams live on Facebook every Thursday, 8.30pm; navigating you through the uncharted waters and making the setup, or even the reset for your wedding business promptly, and get effective business preparation with just 6 steps! Dear wedding vendors and business owners, are you ready to dive into it?
MEET THE EXPERT
David Soong is the advisor of Bridestory, a technology company missioned to make every engaged couple's dream wedding come true. He has helped the platform to be acquired by Tokopedia, making the valuation to be between USD 30 - 35 million. David is also the founder of both Boga Group and Sweet Escape Global Photography.
1. Begin with a Branding Strategy
Most companies would use the fishing method as a branding strategy. To successfully hook a fish, live worms are needed to use as bait to trap the fish in fishing. However, David shares that he tries to not use the fishing method for his company, instead, he inspires to create and be a magnet — to attract instead of draw clients. “With fishing, you fish one fish at a time. If you can build a magnet where you let clients come to you, that’s something else,” he says. David introduced a quote that inspires his concept: “Don’t chase what you can attract.” David gave an example like a single man shouldn't chase after a lady, instead, he should find ways to attract her. It’s the same thing for wedding businesses and clients. Build a magnet and let clients come to you! “Another thing we always talk about in the office is to do the opposite and do things that people don’t do,” David added. It is noteworthy to understand that a company needs to be set apart and be ahead of things by experimenting and creating new things, keeping in mind it’s alright to share and create/have some competition!
2. Pick Your Investments
Setting up a business is one thing, but maintaining and growing it is an altogether different game. Axioo has been a top brand in ASEAN for a good 18 years. David shares one of his secrets in maintaining Axioo is to ensure all clients are well-received and happy. “We didn’t start with a goal in mind like to be famous or to be big in regional or global. Our goal was simply to make every client happy and treat one client as if they are our only client!” he says. Investing in our clients has always been Axioo’s philosophy.
Generally, we’d think plunge in certain equipment helps in the maintenance, but not for David. “Equipment? Yes or no, it’s in fact, the cheapest investment any company could invest in. The most important investment is in learning and the change of mindset. Becoming a curious company, that is willing to try new things, willing to fail and to do something new and fresh is a way that helps us grow and expand. It’s all about giving your best shot, trying and the willingness to fail!”
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3. Practice Teamwork and Team Spirit
Defining the improvements of team management is always the first step in building a high-performing team. This comes from understanding the strengths of different individuals in a company, placing them in the roles that best fit them, and knowing how your team collaborates most efficiently. “Well, I don’t want my employees to hate me.” David laughed. “I truly believe each of us has our way to lead people, like the way we communicate and the values we find importance in.” According to David, there are no right or wrong ways in leading a team and instilling team spirit. It’s the personality of both leaders and team that helps shape the company. He points out giving the team freedom to create, empowerment, positive and appreciative environment to work in because, in his words, people create out of joy.
One of our favourite lines from David’s is: “Always remember you are the DNA of the company.” This is just awe-inspiring, especially to the wedding professionals that are the founders!
4. Retain Your Talents
It’s true to say that the most valuable business assets are the employees. Employee retention is the utmost concern and priority of all businesses in any industry. “Here’s the thing, none of the employees is under contract. You can buy your talents using contracts but you will never buy their hearts, that’s the truth and reason. They are exclusive to Axioo but they are allowed to leave Axioo anytime they want,” David reveals. He highlights and nudges the audience to focus on building a relationship with employees; ensuring that they’re appreciated, growing and learning in a company rather than signing contracts.
“The reward shouldn’t only be financial, but it should also include recognition and many other ways,” David added. So far, only 3 employees have left Axioo in the past 18 years, and Axioo aims to raise and groom new generations of creators continually under David’s guidance.
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5. Think International
The local wedding business market is big enough for most small businesses to expand almost indefinitely, but entering the international arena can protect you against the risk of decline in domestic markets. Most importantly, it’s about improving your overall growth potential.
“There are a few things I would suggest if wedding vendors seek international growth and recognition. First of all, you’d have to go out of your circle and participate in larger circles. You’d need to be strategic and be present for your brands-known in different circles,” David says. “Just get out of your comfort zone, reach out, try to get featured left and right. I can’t promise you that you’ll get clients but if your work resonates with people, I’m sure they’d want to know more about your company.” David shares that it’s important to be in the right publication media, wedding exhibitions and organisers due Axioo has been receiving quite a few weddings from Vietnam and Myanmar this year, too.
While many wedding businesses organisations fear their competition and chant to destroy the enemies, David has another explanation entirely. “I returned from WPPI expo in Las Vegas in February. There were 10,000 photographers and videographers, getting together, sharing, learning from each other. Instead of treating other businesses as a competitor, we see each other as a colleague.” David added. It needs to be borne in mind that encouragement, keeping an open mind and heart is needed in wedding business organizations especially at times like this.
6. Prepare, Not Wait For 2021
We are halfway to June and it's sad to say that 2020 has already been a tough year. Instead of wallowing in sadness, the action is the antidote to fear, and ARE things we can do right now to help us reset. “The word we’re looking for right now is “pent-up demand”,” David says. “The demand for weddings is not entirely gone, they are just postponed, and might get smaller. So it’s crucial to use this time to get everything reset and prepared — available dates, renewed/better portfolios or products, relevant offering, price changes and so on!”
David suggests all wedding businesses could also use this time to get connected with people or other businesses. “Don’t be shy! Reach out and have a chat with someone in New York, or in Singapore, request for partnering, collaborations and so on in all platforms because you have so much time!”
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We hope you takeaway few pointers in this episode! From the team in Bridalgram, we feel and understand what all industries are going through, especially in the wedding business. It’s disheartening to see couples’ wedding plans go by the wayside and how stressful businesses are coping with the pandemic, but whatever you do, do not throw up that white flag! When loss, anguish, and distress become overwhelming, all we have is our faith, hope, and resilience to move forward from. The Coronavirus might have gone global (literally) but keep in mind that the world is your oyster, so your business can too! So stay hopeful and let’s look forward to a better future! Perseverance is what that helps us all to make progress and not give up. The year 2020 might be tough but it will get better when you know you find the strength to persevere.
Click here and watch the full live episode!
Bridalgram’s Passion To Profit livestream series on Facebook is designed to help aspiring and professional wedding vendors to grow and scale their business. We’ll be inviting successful leaders in the wedding and relevant industries across South East Asia to share their insights and experiences. Join us!