What Does Your Wedding Planning Business Have to Do With the Slinky? (Part One)
When we were children life was simple. Basically, all we had to think about was eating, a few basic chores, and playing. We had three rules to follow: treat others the way you wanted to be treated, share your toys, and remember to say “please and thank you.” This was our first introduction to structure and customer service. At the end of the day, we all went home happy (usually :)).
Do you remember the Slinky? We were fascinated by it! It spiraled up and down stairs, went sideways, etc., keeping us out of our parent’s hair and busy for long periods of time. We didn’t realize that the way the slinky worked back then could sum up how life would work in the future—the ups and downs, the give and take, and the going in circles– The properties that kept us interested as children are the very same properties that affect our wedding planning business interests today.
This week ACPWC will examine the slinky to see how it can help us in our small business thinking and structure. Here we go!
The Peaks in business are like the “up” movements of a slinky – Everything is lining up; customers are calling and the appointment book is filling up. We all love times like these, but we know it will not always be this way. Continuous monitoring, modifying, and evolving are necessary.
The Valleys are the “downs” – Things are not ideal. We now face, not failures, but challenges. Failure is when there is no attempt, no effort, and no belief (a lack of structure). Challenges provide the catalyst for us to push harder, think smarter. They grant us the opportunity to step out of the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Circular is the ability to roll right out of control if we are not watching carefully. For instance:
- Rolling forward is progress. The effort we are putting in is paying off.
- Rolling backward is losing ground, but sometimes we have to take a step back to be able to move forward in a new direction.
- Rolling back and forth can symbolize indecision, uncertainty, a buying, wasting or costing of time. We are not making progress, nor are we losing ground. This could be hazardous to our business in the long run. If we cannot decide what is good for us, how can we provide what is good for someone else? We must make decisions and get moving.
- Rolling sideways may be getting somewhere, but the process can be slow. Am I moving forward? Like thoughts rolling through our mind, one idea leads to another idea, which leads to another. Are we implementing these ideas for improvement? Are we still on track or did we roll off of our once structured path?
- Balance – Try to balance a slinky in your hand. At times one side will be heavier than the other. We may be placing more emphasis in one area than another. As small business owners we wear many hats. We have to balance marketing and accounting, playing receptionist and fulfilling family obligations, just to mention a few. How do we do this? By having a structured schedule for ourselves and focusing only on the task at hand. If we are working, then work. If it is our family’s time, then be with family. In this way we won’t be cheating our family or ourselves. Search for balance.
Warning: Beware of burnout. At times you may feel like a clown in the circus; you’re juggling so many things, something is bound to fall. Even clowns drop a ball every now and then. Pick it up and keep on going. No one’s perfect, not even you!
Originally the ‘slinky’ was made of metal and was virtually indestructible, even if we yanked on it. Although it often didn’t return to its original shape, it would not break. We need to take that lesson from the slinky as well. The chaotic world of today is much more complicated than when we were children. We are pulled in so many different directions that we don’t remember our original shape, our initial goal, or basic principles. This could make us feel like letting go… giving in…even giving up. Don’t let stress break you – look to the slinky!
Remember that keeping a workable schedule and being flexible is necessary for a progressive and successful business structure. Life may not be as simple as when we were children, but the basic rules still apply. Keeping balanced is the key to success in our business and in our family.
Next Week’s Article: What Does Customer Service Have to Do With the Slinky? (Part Two)