Company CultureBy Kevin Dennis, Fantasy Sound Event Services

A successful wedding business doesn’t simply run off of an inventory of competitive products or a repertoire of useful services. Without a strong company culture, a business can easily derail despite its great offerings, so it’s key to incorporate an effective atmosphere into your company sooner rather than later.

A positive company culture ensures that employees are excited to come to work and enthusiastic about what they’re selling.

If employees aren’t happy, it doesn’t matter how great you are at what you do!

While it’s generally easier and more organic to develop a culture from the get-go, there’s no reason to panic if you’re five or ten years into your business and still trying to figure things out. Whether you’re a team of two or a group of 100, it’s certainly worth the effort to instill an organizational environment that is welcoming to all employees and clients.

How Do You Start?

First and foremost, you’ll want to take a hard look at what your company looks like and where you want it to go.

Whether you’re analyzing this on your own or you’ve brought in a few key decision makers, this will provide you with a roadmap of steps to achieving your ideal company culture. When people think of your business, how would you like to identified? What sets you apart from your competition?

At Fantasy Sound, we like to bring in our whole team for group discussions on the company’s future. Often, we’ll schedule a teambuilding retreat, as leaving the office can sometimes lead to increased productivity.

This empowerment, in itself, is a part of our company culture, but it’s also a great way for us to get to know each other better and set goals for the year ahead.

We ask ourselves four questions:

•    Where are we now?
•    How did we get here?
•    Where are we going?
•    How will we get there?

We’ve found that more people bring additional perspectives, which can be invaluable when mapping out the future of a business.

That being said, you don’t necessarily need to carve out a day to create a culture – it can happen over time as long as actionable steps are set into place.

For example, when we determined that we wanted to exude a fun, hip, and inviting vibe, we found that our first step was to remodel the office with all new furniture. This was an inspirational task that certainly launched us in the right direction of our ideal environment.

Other ways to project your new culture are through the way you dress and the way you treat each other in the office, whether formal or informal.

Once you have a good feel for your company’s culture, it’s important to share it with clients and industry peers so they have an idea of who they’ll be working with.

It’ll also allow your business to attract clients who share your ideals and build more meaningful relationships. Review your website and branding efforts to determine if they fall in line with your new culture – if not, it may be time for a refresher.

Expand your values into the way you work with other wedding professionals and clients, from frequency of communications to the stellar experience that can be expected from your company.

If your work environment is one of excellence, show it!

For us, we’ve really embraced the idea of being different, which has led to a beautifully cohesive family of like-minded individuals. With our new remodeled office, we love hosting events for our vendor friends throughout the year. We also make a point to send treats during the holidays, as well as pick-me-up popsicles when the summer heat gets too unbearable.

Relationship building is key to any company, but it’s not just about answering emails and being polite – it’s about those small touch points throughout the year that make you noticed and keep you on the radar.

When it comes down to it, only you and your team can determine the best environment for your company.

Be it big or small, serious or casual, it’s important to keep organizational strengths in mind while developing a culture around what sets your business apart.

What’s your company culture like?

kevin-dennis-300 Kevin Dennis is the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. He is the immediate past national president of the Wedding Industry Professionals Association.