After owning a venue for years, a comment I often hear from guests at events, is that they too are planning on starting a venue at their property. Part of me is so excited for them, and part of me thinks, “you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into!” Don’t get me wrong, a wedding venue is a really fun business and can be super profitable. But many people seem to fall into the idea that “if you build it, they will come.” Sadly, that only works for Kevin Kosner in Field of Dreams. If you really want to build a successful venue, that becomes a passive income stream for you, then there is much more work to be done than you might think. After years in the industry and growing a widely successful event business, here are a few keys to success.
- Know Your Strengths- Both personally and with your venue property, you need to identify strengths, and lean into those as you move forward. Focusing on what you’re not good at, or what your venue doesn’t have is important, but not at first. At the outset, focus your business around the best things about your venue, the things that make it unique. For more on why that matters, check out this blog post on Why Barn Wedding Venues are Here to Stay.
- Don’t Advertise- Well, at least not at first. When you’re starting out, you don’t want to reach the masses, you want to reach your most ideal clients. Year one that may only be 5 weddings. The best way to do that today is to tell your story and the story of your space on social media. This takes a lot of tact, and work, but it will be way more valuable at the onset then paying for a magazine or website add.
- This is a business- It is very easy to forget this once you get into developing your venue. On the macro level, of course you know your venue is a business, but on a micro level, it’s easy to fall into making emotional decisions (about development, staffing, marketing, etc.) and slowly your profitable venue can slide into becoming a hobby that looses money. That’s fine if you are starting a non profit, but if you want your venue to become a passive income stream, you have to stay focused on the bottom line with every decision!
To help you think about this last point, I’ve included a link to a sample venue business plan. This is RARE insight into how a venue launch actually works!
CLICK HERE to view our sample venue business plan!