The intention of this post is not to start a political debate. If you care to see what my personal stance is on the recent decision by President Trump on immigration in the United States, you are free to visit my personal Facebook page. The following is to discuss the impact of the recent changes in the United States immigration policy on our industry. As always, I’m focused on the economics of things.
Over the last few days I’ve heard from several event organizers and wedding planners that have had events impacted by the tightened controls in regards to immigration and entry into the United States.
How Your Business May Be Impacted by New Immigration Policies:
- Weddings and events held in the United States with a large foreign representation (as guests) may see event attendance diminish.
- Clients who live overseas who are planning (or hoping to plan) a wedding in the United States may cancel plans. They may feel unsafe. Or, the current policy may detrimentally impact the ability of foreigners to enter the United States. (Regardless of the level of actual risk, the fear of getting dejected is enough to dissuade some people.)
- Americans seeking to have a wedding overseas (a destination wedding) may decide against doing so if they feel that the political climate makes makes it uncertain for travel abroad and a complicated re-entry into the United States. Even if the client doesn’t have any direct impact with the seven countries that have been banned, the American client may feel that their status in the United States is precarious. They may not want to leave and/or plan an event abroad. We are certain see a decline in destination weddings and events.
- International corporate events and conferences will be impacted. Not only will this impact attendee attendance, but also participation by vendors, speakers, participants, marketers, sponsors, and so on.
What Can You Do?
It’s difficult to know how to properly guide your client if any of these scenarios apply. Things are changing so rapidly every day – but in six months we could be looking at a much different political climate – better or worse. I want you to focus on the following things.
TIP 1: Don’t freak out.
No one can tell the future. You and your clients need to continue moving forward with celebrations in their lives. You have a business to run.
TIP 2: Consult an attorney.
This is a good time to take a look at your contracts and redefine how your cancellation clause is written. Examine:
- when monies are due
- when cancellation of events are allowable
- what are the terms of termination and/or cancellation
- what defines a breach of contract
I would encourage you to talk to your attorney about possible leniency in your contract. How lenient can you be with a client? And – when should you be stricter in your contract terms? Because this is an uncertain time, clients will want some level of flexibility. If people feel too ‘on the hook’ for a contract, they may not sign. (Given the climate, they may want to know there is an out.) HOWEVER, it’s important that your needs as a business owner are covered. Having a wedding cancel on a high inventory date could be damaging to your business financially.
This is why I encourage you to have a heartfelt conversation with an attorney to figure out how to balance this appropriately. This should be a win-win for both parties.
TIP 3: Examine your insurance policies.
I would recommend that you also bring up the topic of insurance with your attorney and have them walk you through some ways to gain assurance that you’re properly insured. You can take it a step further and talk with an insurance advisor also. The goal is to ensure that you are free from risk of liability. With politics and economics, it’s unlikely that your insurance will come to play (unless there is a direct political conflict at an event). Regardless, it’s a good time to make sure that your bases are covered.
TIP 4: Start saving.
There are several economic indicators that I’ve been watching over the last several months that point to a good economy over the next year or two. However with an uncertainty in the political climate, international security, and global economics, it’s time to be watchful.
I’ve talked about several things that you can do to financially prepare for an economic downturn. The big thing I want you to focus on is saving in your business. (Saving personal funds is a good idea too. But I don’t talk about personal finances here.)
I encourage you to set up a business savings account if you don’t already have one. Start saving at least $100 per month – more if you can. The goal is to secure 1-3 months of business expenses. This will protect you from any volatility that our economy might experience. The good news is that people always marry and plan events. You will continue to have weddings and clients. The savings will serve as safeguard so that you can ride through some possible economic ups and downs. (If you want help with your finances make sure to check out our Accounting 101).
One more thing: Mojo.
If you are concerned with the uncertainty of our world right now, focus on remaining positive. (I’m finding this hard myself and found this article to be helpful.) Your disposition affects the business you are able to attract. Sadness turns people away (even if you are trying to mask it.) Keep your mojo up.
Has your business been impacted by the tightened security measures? What are you seeing? (I want the business and event impacts – not your personal political perspective. I’m on facebook for that. 😉 )