2013 Action Plan! – DOWNLOAD

We’ve wrapped up the 2013 ACTION PLAN series!  Wooohooo!  I have given you a lot to do and digest in planning for the upcoming year.  As always, I want to make this easy-peasy and give you actual TOOLS to use in your business.  Here is the 2013 Action Plan in workbook form:

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You can also purchase a version that has all of the downloads available here:


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The 2013 Action Plan is a 34 page book that will help you chart out the upcoming year.  (When you click to purchase, you’ll receive a file emailed to you with the workbook, etc.)  It includes everything from the last 3 weeks of planning in a tight little workbook:

  • Identifying Accomplishments

The workbook with downloads includes the workbook PLUS all templates and spreadsheets you need to work thru the plan if you don’t care to put together some of the spreadsheets yourself.  (They are sold separately in our Toolbox for a value of $57, but we are offering the bundle for $45.)

The downloads include:

  • Sage Wedding Pros – 2013 Action Plan – GOAL SETTING
  • Sage Wedding Pros – Tracking the ROI on your Ads and Other Promotional Activities ($10)
  • Sage Wedding Pros – 2013 Action Plan –SALES REVIEW
  • Sage Wedding Pros – Financial Review – Excel Spreadsheet – $5 (Profit & Loss Report SPREADSHEET)
  • Sage Wedding Pros – Pricing TEST & Sales Plan (how many weddings to make as a sales quota) ($10)
  • Sage Wedding Pros – 2013 Action Plan – MARKETING PLAN
  • Sage Wedding Pros – Promotional Plan & Goal Sheet – $10
  • Sage Wedding Pros – 2013 Action Plan – OPERATIONAL PLAN
  • Sage Wedding Pros – Accounting 101 ($2)
  • Sage Wedding Pros – Expense Budget
  • Sage Wedding Pros – Expense Budget for start-ups (if applicable)
  • Sage Wedding Pros – Cash Flow Plan ($5)


2013 Action Plan: Financial Part, Part 2

(It’s December and we’re working on the 2013 ACTION PLAN.  We, here – at Sage Wedding Pros – don’t mess around.  So catch up with the series if you’re just getting started.)

For a small business, cash flow is critical.  For a small business in the wedding industry, the seasonality of cash coming out and cash going out can make or break you.  You can create sales targets and an expense budget, but if you haven’t thought about cash flow, you could find yourself in a pinch.

What is cash flow?

Cash flow is exactly what it sounds like.  Cash flowing into your business; cash flowing out of your business.  For obvious reasons, you need to have more coming in than out.

Cash flows in when…

  • you sell something (sales, income)
  • you take on a loan or debt (you take on a loan for $15k; that $15k is cash available to you)

Cash flows out when…

  • you pay for something (costs, expenses)
  • you pay off a loan or debt
  • you buy something BIG (assets: equipment, furniture, etc.)

Create a cash flow plan…

The cash flow plan puts the ins and outs together so that you can a) be intentional with your finances, and b) see the changes that your money may go thru in the upcoming year.  YOU DECIDE what you think your cash will do with assumptions that you’ve ascertained.

The cash flow plan can be set up in different ways.  (One is a very technical way that shows cash flow from operations, cash flow from investments, cash flow from financing.  This is all accounting mumbo-jumbo that can be confusing.)

This is HOW I SET UP A CASH FLOW PLAN for small businesses:

1) Show cash that I expect to come into my business each month:

Think about all of the ways that cash will flow in (mostly from sales) EACH month in 2013.  When are those peak times?  When are they slow times?  Use your sales quota that we did last week.

2) Show cash that I expect to go out of my business each month:

Think about all the ways that cash will flow out of your business EACH month in 2013.  Think of all your expenses that you have.  (Use the expense budget that we did yesterday.)  What are the biggest months for expenses?  What are the slowest months?  Think of any debt payments that you make.  Think of any assets you want to purchase in 2013.

3) Look at the net cash flow for each month (inflow minus outflow)… do you have more cash going out than coming in for some months?  How will you prepare for that?  Are you working towards building a reserve so that you can withstand the slow income months?

If you aren’t sure how to set this up (or don’t want the hassle) use our Cash Flow Plan download here:

Sage Wedding Pros – Cash Flow Plan ($5)

So… what do you see?  Do you have healthy cash flow in 2013?

We wish you a super happy and prosperous NEW YEAR!!!!  SEE YOU IN 2013!!!!

Come back on Thursday next week… we’ll have all of these posts bundled into a sweet, little, easy-peasy download to work thru the entire 2013 Action Plan!

2013 Action Plan: Financial Plan, Part 1

(It’s December and we’re working on the 2013 ACTION PLAN.  We, here – at Sage Wedding Pros – don’t mess around.  So catch up with the series if you’re just getting started.)

Today, we are going to being your business’s financial plan for 2013.  But, before jumping into the numbers, it’s important to start with some accounting basics.  Take some time to review the first 5 of 7 parts of our Accounting 101 series:

  1. Accounting 101: Get organized
  2. Accounting 101: Learn the basic terminology
  3. Accounting 101: Buy accounting software (visit the earlier post 2012 financial review if you don’t have any)
  4. Accounting 101: Use accounting software
  5. Accounting 101: Generate and analyze financial reports

You can also download the whole series here: Accounting 101 for Wedding Professionals E-book ($2).

Expense Budget

OK!  We’re ready!  Taking what you learned from the 2012 financial review, how will you spend your money in 2013?

Budgeting is goal-setting with your money.  People always want to be “correct” with their budget – and so they are scared to set a budget for fear of failure.  Here’s news: your budget will ALWAYS be WRONG.  There is no way you’d hit every single mark.  A budget is a guide for your decision-making, not a fortune cookie.

Here’s the thing about budgeting:

a budget is an estimate with the best assumptions you have

So – the first part of budgeting is setting assumptions to help calculate what your expenses will be like in 2013.  Here are some examples of assumptions:

  • In 2012, my cell phone bill was between $150-250 each month.  I will budget the average of $200 for each month.
  • In 2012, I spent $400 on XYZ magazine ad.  I paid it every 3 months.  I will budget $400 on print advertising for January, April, July, October.
  • In 2012, I had an unexpected computer repair of $300.  While, I would hate it to happen again, it’s best to plan for this so I will budget $300 to occur in repairs at some point in 2013.

There are always going to be things that happen, or opportunities that arise, that aren’t in your budget.  That’s life!  You try to stick to the budget, but don’t get frustrated if you go off course.  If you are presented with an opportunity that you didn’t budget for, examine your budget and see if you can tighten elsewhere.  The key is to CREATE that budget so you have a roadmap to go from.  Otherwise, you’re flying blind and spending cash willy-nilly.

So… make your budget!

There are a number of free budget templates in Excel (and in Google docs).  Here is a free one from us:

Sage Wedding Pros – MonthlyBudget (FREE)
(We’ve also got one for start-ups here: Sage Wedding Pros – Start-up Budget for the Wedding Industry (FREE))

Change the template so that it has your expense categories. Take a look at what you did in 2012 and use that as the basis for your assumptions.  THEN, think forward to 2013 and consider what will be different.  What do you want to change about your expenses?  Where do you want to spend less money?  What do you want to spend more money in?

USE the budget every month!

Then… this last part is important… you’ll want to review your budget each month (when you do your monthly accounting review) and: 1) see how you did, and 2) adjust for future months.  Your budget will only be good if you use it and tweak it to your ever-changing business.

Tomorrow, we’ll wrap up the financial plan with a cash flow forecast.  We’ll put together your sales targets from last week with your expense budget from today and see what your cash does each month in 2013.

2013 Action Plan: Operational Plan

(It’s December and we’re working on the 2013 ACTION PLAN.  We, here – at Sage Wedding Pros – don’t mess around.  So catch up with the series if you’re just getting started.)

A business’ operational plan will be much more expansive than anything we’ll cover in this Action Plan.  A thorough operational plan will have systems in place for each of your processes.  But, we can cover the basics here.  I want to get you to start thinking about some of the processes that you can document.  Make this a “work in progress” because it can be time-consuming.

There are a million benefits to create processes (or systems).  Some of them include:

  • Systems strengthen your brand and benefit the client experience
  • Systems are necessary for training your employees
  • Systems give you control
  • A buyer of your business is going to want a “turnkey” business

 So how do you get started?

Define the WHO…

First think of all the key players in your business.  Who are all the people who help run your business?  Obviously there’s you.  Do you have employees?  Do you want to hire any?  What will they do?  Do you have contractors?  Do you have suppliers?


These are all the “things” that happen in your business.  There are the creative activities – the creation of your artwork.  But, what about all the other things that happen in your business?  The sales, accounting, marketing, and so on.

Start a list of all the areas of responsibility in your business and start to define what the systems are that you will want to document.  You can visit the blog for more on how to document these systems.  (Or – ask us for help.  This is a service we offer.)

We’ve got an easy-peasy chart to help define your areas of responsibility and what happens in your business.  Use this as a springboard for your BIGGER operational planning.

SageWeddingPros – 2013 Action Plan – OPERATIONAL PLAN (FREE DOWNLOAD)

We’re taking the next few days off for Christmas.  So come back on Wednesday for the FINANCIAL PLAN 2013!  Let’s make some MONEY in 2013!  

Hope your holidays are happy ones!


2013 Action Plan: Marketing, Part 2

(It’s December and we’re working on the 2013 ACTION PLAN.  We, here – at Sage Wedding Pros – don’t mess around.  So catch up with the series if you’re just getting started.)

Yesterday, we began the marketing plan for 2013.  Today, let’s wrap it up with a focus on promoting your business.  How will you find your ideal customer so that you can sell them your services for the price that you are asking?  There are a few ways you can do this in the wedding industry:

Every business is different.  You need to find what works for YOU!  (And, make sure to consider what has and hasn’t worked in the past.)

Here are 10 RULES to live by when marketing your business:

  1. Think: WHERE is your customer going to make decisions for their wedding?
    Are they reading magazines?  Are they asking their friends?  Go there to promote your business.
  2. If you hate blogging, don’t blog.
    Everyone thinks they need to have a blog.  I think everyone should have a blog if a) they are going to keep it up, b) it’s going to be interesting.  If you are going to lapse in your content or if it is going to be a poor reflection of your brand, don’t do it.
  3. If you want to build a “word of mouth” business, you have to NETWORK A LOT.
    Network in the wedding industry.  Network out of it.  Connect with as many people as you can.
  4. Link your promotion to potential sales results.
    If you decide you are going to do such-n-such to promote your business, ask yourself: what sort of sales results do I expect to see from this?  Sometimes your goal will be something tangible: I expect to see $5000 in sales from this. Sometimes your goal will be something intangible: I want to build general brand awareness in my city about my company.
  5. Don’t make ego decisions.
    YES – we all want to be seen in Martha Stewarts wedding magazine.  But, if this isn’t the best fit to find your ideal client, or you can’t afford the ad, or you aren’t going to get the results you want, then don’t do it.  Don’t make an ego decision with your promotional decisions.
  6. If you can’t afford it, don’t do it!
    Do NOT go into debt for an ad (or any other means of promotion).  The interest you pay on that ad will cost you twice the value of the ad in the first place.  Wait until you have the money to do it the right way.
  7. Don’t do what everyone else is doing.
    Just because XYZ website ad brings a lot of business to your friend the florist, doesn’t mean it will do so for you.  Do a little more homework and make sure it’s going to be the best fit for YOUR client to find YOU.
  8. Beware of FREEBIES.
    All those styled shoots that looks so lovely?  They can cost you a lot of time and money with little return.  THINK of the returns.  (See #4-7 above.)
  9. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
    You know what happened to the super successful wedding planner who got 90% of her business from Hotel Amazing in 2008?  Well, Hotel Amazing went bankrupt.  Successful wedding planner’s sales dried up and she suffered tremendously.  Always spread your promotional efforts over a few different vehicles.
  10. BE YOURSELF – and keep it classy.
    People are buying YOU.  They don’t care about the gear, the stuff, the flash, the glitter.  They want you.  Be yourself in all your promotion, branding, voice, social media.  But remember that your voice carries. And, people are listening.

NOW… how to create this promotional plan?  I decide how many events I want to do in 2013.  (If you need help figure out what you should do to survive/flourish/succeed, then check out our sales/pricing plan here.)  Then I decide how I’m going to promote my business to get those sales.  For example: I expect advertising to bring me this and networking to bring me this.  It looks a little like this:

Advertising – 3 sales
Networking – 5 sales
Press – 2 sales
Bridal Shows – 4 sales
TOTAL sales = 14 sales

I take it a step further by deciding where I’m going to advertise, network, seek press/editorial, and do a bridal show.  I then take this a step further and determine how much I’m going to spend on each (whether it’s time or money).

We have an easy-peasy download for you to put all these pieces together:

Sage Wedding Pros – Promotional Plan & Goal Sheet ($10)

See you tomorrow for the Operational Plan!