Yes, I Do! Megan Gillikin Acquires a Company

Megan Gillikin is the founder of The Planner’s Vault, an educational resource and community for wedding planners. She’s also the owner of A Southern Soiree, a weddings business and the host of the Weddings for Real podcast.

She’d like you to imagine walking into a job interview and walking out with an offer on the table to purchase the company. This is her own unplanned entrepreneurial story.

Today she’s an entrepreneurial business coach and educator, event planner, and podcast host, but it all started when Gillikin decided to buy her first company versus going back to her old job.

She discovered that achieving her entrepreneurial dream was a lot more challenging than she had anticipated. Looking back, there were things she would have done differently.

If she had to do it all over again…

Before you decide to invest in or buy a company, you need a lot of information, Gillikin points out. You must know that business’ reputation and the relationships it has with others within your market. Gillikin discovered that her business’ original owner had burned bridges within the community, making it difficult for her, as the new owner.

It’s crucial to ask the right questions about the financials to get a real valuation of the business that you’re purchasing. “My recommendation for anyone considering taking over ownership of an existing business is to make sure you have a true sense—at least financially—of where the business is at,” says Gillikin.

And you need a team behind you, or at least a sounding board. “No matter how many years you’ve been in business, you should always have someone that you look to as a mentor or a business coach,“ Gillikin recommends.

Before you buy, “Do your due diligence on whether this is a sound business move for you and if it supports your goals.”

Pointing out red flags for others

Gillikin had to overcome many hardships and admits she made mistakes before successfully coming out the other side. After suffering the consequences of managing these situations without experience, she didn’t want others to go through the same.

She launched an educational organization for up-and-coming event planners (business years zero to five). “This was really my way of connecting with other entrepreneurs and giving back to an industry that has given so much to me,“ states Gillikin. “And also, hopefully helping some business owners avoid some of those huge mistakes. I think a lot of us made those mistakes early on because there wasn’t the education that there is today.

“A lot of the mistakes I made (undercharging and overdelivering) could have been avoided. Also, the issue of having no boundaries, of being available at every moment of the day for my clients. I wanted to take those hard lessons learned and hopefully make it easier for the generation of planners coming in after me.”

What’s the word on multiple businesses?

Sometimes one business isn’t enough. Sometimes your different businesses can work hand in hand. Sometimes you must prioritize one over the other. How to make such a choice? Listen to your passion. Gillikin found herself truly loving the wedding industry and decided to fully immerse herself in it.

“As we grow as humans, as women, as entrepreneurs, we become a different version of ourselves. And you have to stop and question, is holding on to this dream that I’ve had for so long the right move? For me? Moving forward? My legacy, where I want to be known and how I want to spend my time, had shifted, as well as some of my values. And I felt like I was putting the brakes on my first business, so I could put the effort and time into the second business which I enjoyed so much more.”

In a post-pandemic world, the wedding industry is experiencing a full-on boom. Her decision was clearer than ever. “Now the industry is exploding. To me, that means there’s even more reason for me to show up for those people who are trying to build their businesses. I want to show up for those people and help them avoid burnout and being overwhelmed as entrepreneurs,” she says.

A word of advice: podcasting

A podcast can help you highlight the best part of your business. It can let your clients get a sneak peek at what happens behind the scenes. It can also help you build your brand and create connections.

To kick off her podcast, Weddings for Real, Gillikin focused less on the glamour and the beauty of the wedding industry. “I decided to connect with other entrepreneurs in the event space and talk about the messy behind-the-scenes of what it takes to run a business, specifically in the wedding industry. And there was no strategy for starting the podcast. We started it in 2018, and it was just for connections. But it led to opportunities that I had not expected. For speaking. For coaching.”

One last thing—prioritize yourself too

Gillikin knows about our inner critics, and how much energy we waste sometimes listening to them. Her word of advice is to stop looking at our flaws and focus on our success.

Prioritize bettering ourselves and be proud of our achievements. This is what will move your business forward. The key is to manage wisely our time, energy, and resources when we say “I do” to the unknown.

Just like in weddings, there’s much to learn about social etiquette as entrepreneurs. Don’t miss out on Tia Young’s “Normal to Formal” podcast to take your professional image to the next level!

About the author

Beatriz Sánchez Pacios

Beatriz Sánchez Pacios is a Carlton PR & Marketing full-time intern. She is a Journalism and Communications graduate, originally from Spain. She’s all about digital media, podcasts, and occasionally, photography. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Boston and playing board games.

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