About Nancy: Triumph over Tribulations

01 November 2012

Dear Brown Baggers

If you have been following me for the past few years, you will recall that I've had a few health struggles which all began two years ago with an accident.

Little did I know that it would take two years, five surgeries, and countless hospital visits and consultations to resolve.  Unfortunately, when you break something like I broke something in my body, it doesn't all come back like before.

The lessons from this experience has been life changing for me personally as well as professionally.  Here are a few take aways that I've learned and will continue to practice.


Surround Yourself With Good People
Building a team has been the key to keeping our small business going during these past few years. Without a strong team behind the scenes, it wouldn't have been possible to continue and there lies the lesson that it takes a village to create a wedding or event.  And it's true.

Often as a business owner, we rely on our own skills to do everything but I've learned it is so important to build a strong team.  A strong leader will allow others to succeed and grow.
If we as business owners do everything ourselves, how are we to keep a business alive when we ourselves have tribulations?

I've seen the last few years many new wedding businesses and I really applaud how many of them like A Savvy Event have multiple planners in their business so that they can meet different clients' needs as well as create an environment for which there are multiple people to complete detailed tasks.   Together there is this amazing energy when all members are in sync.  That is a wonderful model for which other businesses can learn from.
Team A Savvy Event having a little fun! 

I see that with Verite Photographers in San Francisco as well. Verite consists of two photographers each with their unique style but they combined their strengths to deliver a unique view point.  Each has their own work and photography speciality but I like how they work as a team, partners in crime.   By doing this, they stand ahead of their competitors by offering two great eyes, one great wedding photography group.  Now, that's team work.

Robyn and Maria of Verite capture our bride, Michelle Curtis' wedding

Another detail image by Verite of Michelle and Jody


When the Giants won the World Series for the 2nd time in 2 years, the manager, Bruce Bochy, accredited the win to teamwork, team sacrifice and each individual player playing as a team member, not a superstar. The team accredited the coaching staff for their help, assistant and expertise in guiding them.  Players didn't complain if they were demoted or if their roles were changed, each acceptable their role and triumphed.  When players like Brian Wilson, the top notch closer for the San Francisco Giants, went down during his first few games because of a season ending injury, pitcher Sergio Romo and the rest of the bullpen picked WIlson up by pitching their hearts out.  When you build a team that works well together with one singular goal in mind, should one member go down, the strength of the others can pick up the weight.  Now that's what I call TEAM.

The Preacher, Hunter Pence, giving a pep talk before a crucial elimination game.

Surrounding yourself with talented people who can set aside their ego for one cause is so key in businesses.  And I've learned how crucial that is when I was down for 5 surgeries.    Together, with good people and a good team, we continued to provide the best that we could do without excuses.

Many sole proprietors have a hard time with this so I say, start small.  Perhaps add 1 assistant or 1 designer to your payroll.  Pick someone who will be a good team player and you will see the results.  We've actually been able to grow our business now that we've added more talented people to our staff.  Never did I think that more people would mean an increase in sales and profit but it has.

Push Through with Patience
People don't seem to have much patience these days.  But I've learned that developing a truly strong team or improving one's craft takes Patience.   Staying the course takes Patience.   Most especially surviving the ups and the downs takes Patience.

When the economy turned sour, I saw many owners give up and close down their business.  A few didn't survive which is expected.  Some owners actually burned out. And it wasn't just the economy that impacted certain business owners.  Some lost their focus and drive.   But for others, I saw many who stuck by their businesses and I saw that some owners had to learn to adapt and even grow during these challenging environments.  I appreciated how many professionals reinvented themselves.  I saw how savvy businesses offered new services including that of my husband, Kevin Chin who added cinematography to his business.


Promo Cinematography Piece. from Kevin Chin Photography + Cinema on Vimeo.

I'm sure you have seen Minted.   During the past few years, they have emerged as a force in on line invitation products.  Recently they have expanded and offered party packages.  Once again, some will fail and give up while others will push through, endure and find new solutions even if it takes time and energy.  They pinpointed what they do best and expanded their services with creativity and gusto.

Minted --- A Holiday Party comes to life with their new party goods

Here's another party theme by Minted.  This time it's a Circus concept


Bottom line: You have choices.

After my accident in 2010, I learned that I had to push through and get the task ahead of me done step by step.  It meant that I had to teach people new skill sets, develop others, and delegate jobs.  It was incredibly hard for me as I am a very Type A person.  The most difficult part was not being able to do everything which I was so use to doing.    But with patience, I learned to endure and focus on what I did best and let go of things that others did better.  This resulted in me expanding my weddings to include event styling and design which I really enjoyed personally.

By pushing through, developing a team environment, I found myself in a position to reinvent my own business and focus on things that would help our clients.

Learn to Say No
This must be incredibly difficult for many.  Learning to say no is actually very empowering.
During the past two years I have learned to say "no" to things that don't work for our team, our goals, our motto and our clients' needs.  Honestly, I didn't have a choice.

I've learned to limit our commitments so that we could service and focus our energy with our existing clients.  Once again, for me I didn't have too many choices, time was limited for me and I have to make decisions which meant turning down some projects for the better good.

In this day and age, smart business owners need to understand when to say "no" to certain things.
Not all things coming at us will work.

Knowing what is right and  what is in the best interest of your business is just as important as knowing what isn't right.


Thank you all for hearing me out and I especially send my prayers to all my colleagues in the East Coast who  are going through their own trials and tribulations.    Super storm Sandy left in its wake destruction, turmoil, and lost lives.  Our thoughts go out to them and may they triumph over such adversities.




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1 comment:

mei = ) said...

Thank you so much for such an inspirational post, your stories truly warmed my heart!! xoxo

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