Who’s on your Board of Directors?

Have you heard you’re the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time?


Yeah, me too. Turns out you can find lots of studies on how people influence you, from how happy you are to how much you weigh to how much money you make. It’s not as simple as a “law of averages,” but the general sentiment of how much your environment impacts you is the big takeaway. (BTW, Jim Rohn, motivational speaker and business guru, is the source of the original quote.)


Here’s another one I like: Your network is your fishing net to develop business leads and your safety net when you fall on hard times. I read that one somewhere but can’t remember the source. It’s a good one though.


Networks, big and small


The wedding industry is filled with networks and networking. Speakers talk about growing them. Conferences that encourage are built around them. Books are written for people who aren’t naturally wired to build them.

I’ve found that bigger networks are typically the kind that act as your fishing net. Cast that net as wide as possible to get as many leads as you can to your business. Many people have become quite successful through this strategy, especially if they develop business largely through personal charisma.


On the flip side, support groups are often used in smaller settings. A group of like-minded pros in the same field or market or client base do a regular call or Zoom, or even keep an ongoing chat thread. Maybe you’re one of these?


These informal, peer-led masterminds are all over the place, and if you’re not on one I absolutely recommend it.


Stay tighter to get better


The thing about small groups that you don’t get with a bigger one is depth. Wider is almost never deeper, and in times of stress – when you want support – those who know you best (almost) always provide what you need the most. This is one reason peer masterminds typically top out at 10 members.


You want people to know you and your issues before they give advice. I’ve written about how dangerous it can be to take an out-of-the-box suggestion from someone who doesn’t know you, your business history, your current situation, your future goals, your market, your buyers, your strengths and your weaknesses…and then do what they say without fully vetting it. I’ve seen it happen too many times, and it can set you back in your business for months or even years. (For some reason, pricing and website seem to be two areas people take advice without doing much research. So, don’t do that.)


Leading v Managing


Let’s play another round of “Have you heard this one before?” It’s from Stephen Covey, and it’s one of my favorites: What’s the difference between a manager and a leader?


A manager is someone who makes sure you’re doing things right.


A leader is someone who makes sure you’re doing the right things.


Read them again if you don’t see the small difference at the end. Pretty powerful insight.


Who’s leading you?


The tough thing about being the leader for your business is you don’t always know if you’re doing the right things. You don’t know what you don’t know. As a small-business owner you climb trees every day that are tall and scary, and you do it blindly without any real training or much experience.


Many of you have a coach like me who’d guiding you through these tough choices. Smart move. If you’re not into getting a coach or you can’t afford one right now, don’t let that stop you.


You might be tempted to use your friend-group to tell you if you’re doing the right things. It’s possible, but only if a true expert is offering his or her perspective. People don’t have to be a professional consultant or coach or mentor to provide expertise.


Find the right people


Maybe you need a certain perspective to give you input on what you’re struggling with. Amazing! Find someone with that perspective. It’s one of the reasons I always defer to what your clients tell you over your professional peers.


For example, if you want to know if you should raise rates, look to the feedback your buyers are already giving you. Say they’re booking the highest package more than any other. Guess what? They’re telling you even your highest is still affordable to them.


Or maybe you want to pick a new hero image for your website update. Put a poll on IG stories for your buyers (not friends) to pick. Make it fun by doing a final four. Pick your four favorite, then poll each one individually (love or hate?). Then pit the top two vote-getters in a side-by-side competition. Winner is your new hero image.


Your ideal clients are some of the best experts you can tap into, you just have to ask the right questions. They want to be involved, so give them what they want.


The problem with taking advice from other wedding pros in your peer group is when they don’t have much more experience and expertise than you do. It’s so easy to ask the people you hang out with the most what they think of an idea or decision. Guess what? You tend to hang out with the people who are like you, share the same background and experience as you, and see the world the same way as you.


What you need is the exact opposite


Think about a board of directors. Each one brings expertise from a different company, field, or even industry. They meet regularly but not frequently. They do not provide support, but they provide direction. They offer big-picture direction and don’t get caught up in the operational weeds.


Sound like what you need? Yeah, me too.


I have my own board of directors. All but two have known me since I was 10 years old. All but one has been a GM, partner or owner of multiple businesses. All are excellent problem-finders and problem-solvers. Every one of them knows my weaknesses and has no problem reminding me off them when I’m about to be blind-sided. Oh, and only one is in the wedding industry. 


Who’s on your personal board of directors? Who do you go to for direction on tough decisions? Not support when times are tough. Not referrals for future business. I’m talking about the team that’s up in the trees with you looking around to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.


If you don’t have one set up, today’s a great time to get started.


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