Pivoting my business in lockdown

When COVID-19 hit the UK and we were put into lockdown, I, like countless others hit the panic button.

The company I had spent the last few years building, filling my summer full of wedding bookings had literally disappeared over night. I cried – I’m not ashamed to admit, for myself, my clients and countless others whose businesses were affected. Call after call from distressed Brides and fellow business owners - each one asking me what was going to happen – I seriously did not know.

But then I remembered that lots of people were in the same position. The pandemic was affecting everyone. So, I sat at my desk, took a deep breath and picked up the phone.

After speaking to a few of my closest business connections my head felt clearer and I started to think. I had had so many ideas and plans over the years but because I was so busy with the wedding planning side of my business there simply was not room for anything else. Until now.

I had intended to set up an online resource centre to help people who were planning their wedding but did not necessarily want to invest in a wedding planner. Suddenly I had the time to pursue this idea.

Within a week I had set up the Joanne Carly Wedding Planning Academy, containing nine different documents to help couples on their journey through wedding planning.

You can check it out here- https://joanne-carly-wedding-planning-academy.teachable.com

As well as being a wedding planner I also have another side to my business, which revolves around balloons and was something I was determined to continue – there is extraordinarily little to compare to the joy on a child’s face when they receive a balloon or three.

I just had to figure out how to market my business a little differently to ensure not only customer safety but mine too. After a lot of head scratching ‘Parties in a Box’ came along.

These boxes contain everything needed for a mini party during lockdown, including- balloons, plates, cups and napkins, games, party bags and more.

I decided, one late afternoon on a Wednesday, that I would share my idea on Facebook. The post went crazy with countless people sharing it on and commenting that within twenty-four hours my worries regarding money became unfounded as my diary rapidly started to fill up.

The following week I launched my virtual online birthday parties, which allow me to use my skills as a dance teacher. During the online interaction, I host an array of games for the birthday child and their friends and family to get involved in. Again, these soon became popular very quickly and provided me with another stream of income.

In addition to the above I decided to give my overall business a once over and got to grips with those pesky admin tasks that should be so easy but take so much time – that could be because I’d rather paint the fence than actually sit down and do them – I set up a new CRM system, rebranded my wedding planner business and sorted out my storage solutions. Both physical and virtual.

Despite my initial fear way back in March, the crisis has really shaped my focus and helped me develop as a businesswoman. It’s also reminded me that we really should be putting a bit by for that rainy day or an unexpected crisis.

Look out for my next blog: A Wedding at Donnington Park Farmhouse

Tel: 01530353195

Email: hello@joannecarly.com

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