Episode 93 - Protecting Your Business with Crystal Marshall
Learn how entrepreneur Crystal Marshall avoids problems for her event planning and paper flower business.
Problems happen with any business, but it’s always best if you can avoid them.
How in the world do you do that, though?
In our latest episode of Paper Talk we chatted with Crystal Marshall of Faithful-E Planning. She shared so much useful insight into running her event planning and paper flower business. One thread that stuck out to us was how good she was at making smart choices that protected her business in the long run.
Here’s a little taste of what she shared with us and how she has protected and built up her business so successfully.
Listen to our conversation to hear:
► How Crystal incorporates paper flowers into her event business.
► Handling rentals, including installation and delivery fees.
► How Crystal balances her day job, parenthood, and being an entrepreneur.
► What we do to protect our items during shipping.
► BONUS: Advice from our pricing chapter of Paper to Profits.
Include protective contract language
Now more than ever, it’s important to include protections in your contracts.
You can’t always anticipate what will disrupt business as usual (like a pandemic), but you can add in contract language that gives you flexibility and protection. Covid reminded us of how necessary clear and fair cancellation policies are. Including a damage fee for rentals is always a good idea.
For Crystal, she’s been able to have ongoing conversations with her clients about her Covid policies, like setting up for events before guests arrive or when customers are expected to wear masks around her. As the pandemic continues to shift, these conversations will have to continue happening.
You’ll be able to negotiate with customers and work out an agreement in most cases, but you should have a contract to back you up if things do get thorny. Take a look at your standard contract and make sure that it protects you.
Avoid shipping mishaps
Our art is so delicate! Who among us hasn’t had nightmares about a box of fragile paper flowers being squashed in the back of a FedEx truck.
We shared lots of ideas about how to protect your flowers on the podcast, but in general, it’s always a good idea to reinforce your box. Because paper flowers weigh so little, you can usually add in some more packing materials without increasing the cost of shipping. It’s worth the extra expense to make sure that your products arrive safely.
Of course, as we acknowledged in the episode, at a certain point you’ve got to let it go. There’s only so much you can do to protect your art. Accidents and mishaps happen. Once you’ve done your part, don’t worry yourself away about the worst case scenario.
Choose the right clients
In the episode Crystal talked warmly of her clientele, and she acknowledged that she’s been lucky to work with many wonderful people. She did point out a couple of red flags to watch out for when deciding to say yes or no to a potential customer.
First, if the client doesn’t seem to know what they want, they could be difficult to work with. These people tend to ask way more questions than your typical customer, and they often struggle to make decisions. If they don’t have a clear vision of what they want, it’s much more likely that they’ll be dissatisfied with the end result. It might be best to give them more time to decide what they really want before agreeing to anything with them.
Next, Crystal mentioned one client who confided in never being satisfied with anything, be it a haircut or a restaurant or whatever. If you know that a potential customer is very difficult to please, think twice about working with them. These people are luckily rare, but keep an eye out for anyone who complains about multiple other services or products.
Finally, remember that the artist-client relationship goes both ways. You shouldn’t let clients walk all over you, but you should also be courteous and understanding of them as well. Most customers will be lovely to work with, and when you reciprocate that kindness, they are more likely to turn into loyal clients.
“What really shows you that you’re doing a great job is when you have a repeat customer. That’s always the greatest pleasure when someone’s like, ‘I love what you did before. Can you do it again?’”
To learn more about Crystal, head to our website, www.papertalkpodcast.com