Sunday, June 5, 2022

What Stops us Growing our Balloon Business from Little Acorns to a Mighty Oaktree!

How many of you look at Instagram and balloon-related Facebook Groups and see pictures of large scale decor, and worry that your business will never be big enough to do anything like that? 

Corporate Decor by Colin Stewart, CBA, of Stewart's Baskets & Balloons
in Toronto, Canada.


What's stopping you? 

  • Confidence
  • Experience 
  • Contacts
When you start out in any profession, the learning curve is inevitable, and balloon artistry is no exception. We need to understand the basic techniques and master them, we also need the opportunity to grow our skills through practice, and finally we need to grow our portfolio so that we can 'wow' our customers with our work! 

Confidence
There will always be others who have more confidence and appear to have the ability to wing it through life! However, for most of us, confidence grows with experience. 

Experience
Experience can be gained in a number of ways: 
  • By attending hands-on training courses and ballooning events
  • By offering yourself as a volunteer to work with other balloon professionals at their events.
  • And of course, practice, practice and more practice! 
Last week I taught a group of students how to make a balloon wall using QuickLinks. The end result was fabulous, and they all agreed that learning how to make the wall first hand gave them the confidence to make it themselves and promote and sell them to their customers!  


Space theme Balloon Wall made by Sue Bowler & Students on her 
'Whats Hot Right Now' course.
 

Contacts
It is often quoted "it's all about the contacts!" But how do you get those contacts?
  • Attend Business Networking Events: The first step in successful networking is to go to places where you can make connections. In the UK, BAPIA, a trade organisation for the Balloon & Party Industry, are offering BAPIA Fundays to their members and non-members, where balloon artists can meet up at regional events, and network with other members, wholesalers and manufacturers. 
  • Get Social in your 'Off Hours.' Business networking doesn’t just happen between the hours of 8 and 5. Networking can happen any time and day. It just requires you to step outside your comfort zone and start talking to people. Strike up a conversation with people at the gym or talk to other parents at your child’s activities. You never know when you might meet someone who can be a useful source. The most successful networkers are those who look for opportunity every place they go!
  • Be Able to Articulate Your Worth: How many times are you asked "what do you do for a living?" I can assure you this is a conversation that I have had on numerous occasions, especially on flights when travelling to events and training around the world! It would be so easy to simply say "I work with balloons." However, saying something like "I design and make decor for events and parties and create spectacular results!" - is a fabulous way to open up a conversation! 
  • Always Follow Up. In order to establish rapport and build lasting relationships with other people, you need to look for reasons to keep the connection going. Making the contact is only half the battle; you also have to take the necessary steps to continue the relationship. Make sure you exchange contact information and try to find at least two to three opportunities each year to reconnect with the members of your network. 
Look for opportunities

If you are waiting for "that call" it will probably never happen! If you want new opportunities you will probably need to go out and find them yourself! Once you start to establish good contacts, it will definitely become easier. But you should always be looking for new opportunities! 

There are so many opportunities that you may have never even considered... Sporting events for example! 
  • Find out from your local department of parks and recreation when and where local sporting events will be held. Visit with the person in charge of the event, and offer an arch or some columns, and maybe you could even offer them an introductory deal? This will give you the opportunity to get new pictures for your portfolio that you can use to promote this type of work on your website and on social media!
  • Visit youth organisation websites and search for games and tournaments that will be held in your area.
  • Advertise your business in school newsletters. Remind parents that you can create sport themed decor for parties or create sport theme deliveries to celebrate their kids' athletic accomplishments.
  • Build relationships with schools to provide decor for their games, dances and other events.
  • Create a flier that you can use to promote sport balloons and decor to Sports Bars, Pubs and clubs!
  • React to big sporting events! Every year there are high profile sporting events. Take the opportunity to create displays that will attract sports fans. A column or an arch can really stands out, and you never know what it might lead to!
  • Remember, sporting events have many visitors; you may just attract the attention of a CEO of a large corporate business?

Colin & Jeannie Stewart of Stewart's Baskets & Balloons are masters when it comes to creating decor for sporting events, I strongly recommend that you take a little peak at their Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/STEWARTs-Baskets-Balloons-189142114442664 and be inspired! 




Sporting events are just the tip of the iceberg; think about all the other opportunities that you may not already be exploring! As we know, it can take many years to grow an acorn into an oak tree, but with a little hard work and determination, we can certainly start that growing process! 

Happy Ballooning!
Follow me @suebowler


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