Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Look Who's in the House!

Yes!  Who is in the house?

What makes an event intriguing?  It's doing what is unexpected or something that can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Add a little bit of the celebrity factor along with some design, and you can create a can't-miss event that is making people extremely curious about what is about to happen.  A countdown attached to your event builds extra excitement.  It's okay to have fun teasing your community into anticipation, and everyone enjoys a little bit of levity in life!

Do you have a hometown celebrity that became successful on the world stage?  Is there an author, actor, artist, musician, doctor, astronaut or professional athlete whose roots can be traced to your town for whom you have a great deal of respect?  Most towns have at least one high school that can brag about having a famous alum!  Does that person indicate that they want to be reminded of where they came from and inspire other people to pursue their dreams?  Perhaps they are a key player in a specific cause.  If you are so fortunate, you could create a great event where your business will be in the spotlight for an extended period of time.  

Your business doesn't necessarily have to be in complete congruence with whatever your citizen-turned-celebrity does.  It seldom matters what your business does nor the business you might co-host  with for an event does.  Think creatively and develop an atmosphere that coincides with what your special guest is all about.  Certainly, if anyone is capable of creating a haunted house with very few items and there's no reason why with the help of an event rental company, you couldn't create a complimentary ambiance for your celebrity.  

Most people think of book signing events for this scenario and they can be a lot of fun if they are done correctly long before, during and after your event.  First, you have to let people in, around and beyond your community know who your special guest is along with when and what they will be doing.  You want to time the event for when their most likely admirers will be present.  If you have famous children's book author, perhaps the summer isn't the best time to host an event but it might be a good time if your someone wrote about life as a snow birder.  We've all heard that saying that "everyone has a story".  It is so true for towns, as well.  You don't need a parade to have a Grand Marshall.  Have them at your event!  If you know of someone who is a spokesperson for a particular cause, help them connect with "the people back home" and support their cause.  

Now, think of your industry as your community and apply these same principles.  There has to be someone who is a well-sought-after figure who could draw a crowd.  With a little research at most, you will find out who that person is. You are put in a different perspective when you organize an event within your profession.

When I primarily planned weddings, I formed a networking group for event and wedding professionals in 2008 (which I still organize). At about the two-year mark, after I formed the group, I invited a person who was well-known as a great coach specifically for wedding professionals, to speak.  She lived far away on the other side of the country, but I felt like I was familiar enough through some of her coaching programs, that I could ask if she would like to come out and speak to my networking group.  She did and even paid for her own airfare.  Within a few days of the announcement, we had members donate services ranging from a fabulous venue, the meal, mimosas, decor, limo, hotel, printing, photography, the stage, a pianist, and a DJ who did his homework and searched on Facebook for her favorite music.  It was a great success. However, the very first reaction from more established industry networking groups, was a social media post that stated, "How did THEY get HER?"  It was very simple.  You build a professional relationship and you ask them!  I continue to be long-distance friends with her years later.  In contrast to an unnamed person's social media post when the event was announced, the much-admired wedding marketing coach told me, "You are looked upon as a leader in the industry out here".  I had never even thought of it that way.  Oh, and you guessed right if you bet that the more established group asked us to share her visit with them at their own meeting.

My key point in this story is, you cannot be afraid to ask!  Dream of opportunities you could share with other people and follow your gut!  Don't be afraid to be the first person to do something in your little niche, your community and even in your profession.

On the lighter side, if you want to feel pressure planning an event, plan an event for event professionals with about a month's notice during the holidays!  Seriously, it was fun...because that is what we do!  Yes, I took my own advice and had another event planner come on board to help me!

As always,

Wishing you the greatest of days!

P.S.  Make your special guest speaker feel just that!  Special.  Go out of your way to make them feel welcomed as you will be in an ambassador role for your business or group.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

You Should Make Fun of Your Business!

Make Fun of Your Business!

As far back as you can probably remember, businesses have been holding contests. Businesses have been putting everything from balloons, styrofoam peanuts to jelly beans in containers ranging from jars, bags all the way up to automobiles to get people to make their best guess at the quantity inside.  We've all seen the excitement over people trying to guess the weight of pumpkins at annual events.  Game shows would have been gone a long time ago but instead, we've seen a resurgence of old game shows.  People like to block everything out and go into a zone where they can forget about life for a while and at the same time, keep their fingers crossed.

What is the appeal of participating in a contest at a business?  It might be the prospect of winning something with little or no investment.  To some, the curiosity alone will get them.  I wonder when people put their names in the box filled with guesses, if they don't have it cross their minds at least a few times until a winner is announced.  It's fun to think of being the winner and most of us have said, at least to ourselves, "I'm going to win!  I'm going to win!"  If they do get the phone call informing them that they won, they will probably run rather than walk to claim whatever their prize is and then tell people about it.  Hmmm...could entering names in a contest be the oldest form of permission marketing? I don't know.

It's best to have a contest built around what your business does to pique their interest in your business.  It's also best that they have to win by a skill rather than just a drawing otherwise you can into trouble in some jurisdictions for gambling.  It can be a very simple skill to win but not merely chance in these situations to be legal.  There's probably a lot of interpretations and confusion in any jurisdiction, but it's better to not find out the hard way as to what is legal or what isn't legal.

There are some businesses that think they could never hold an event or contest because they have a home business or their office is too small.  As an event planner, I will tell you that is entirely false!  In future blogposts, I will also be bringing up ways that events can reduce the number of excuses people give for not being able to host a party.  Did I get your attention if you are in direct sales?  I will also discuss co-hosting.  I've seen business owners from accountants to chiropractors actually host some cool events when you might have thought they didn't have a creative bone in their bodies.

Here's what I won around the time of the Super Bowl in 2015!

If you've heard of the Seahawks at all, you'll know what the significance of "12" is!  


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

How Would You Like to Pay for That New Equipment?

How Would You Like to Pay for That New Equipment?

...or that new service you invested in with a large amount of money and time?


Getting new equipment is a major decision.  You research, compare and plan not just for the purchase but also the potential benefits.  So how are you going to pay for that new machine that creates banners, engravings or widgets and thingamajigs?  Maybe you've purchased the latest technology that  revolutionizes the way a service is performed and thus makes your clients' tasks dramatically easier.  It might be something that enables you to cast your net out far and wide, but it cost you money and you need for people to know about your latest new toy or pride and joy.  You want to make it pay for itself.                              

As business owners, we've all felt that pit in our stomachs when someone who you've known or networked with for some time says, "I didn't know that you did that, too!"  In your mind you see all the opportunities that you might have missed or wonder if it could have led to a pivotal point in your business.  I'm reminded of what a Director of Development at a foundation once told all of us who were involved with fundraising under his direction.  He stated this very simple truth.  "You don't get what you don't ask for".  I think the same applies to businesses, too.  People won't purchase something that they don't know about if you haven't put the information out there.

So, about now, you're thinking "What in the world does this have to do with hosting an event?"  If I've said it once, I've probably said it a million times, for a successful event, you have to appeal to innate human trait of curiosity.  Hosting an open house to celebrate the new cool thing you're going to be able to do will make people think about how they can use your new product or service.  If you are introducing a monstrosity of a piece of equipment that creates something, have a contest to name the beast.  A live demonstration, samples made right on the spot, even giving out a prize drawing for your latest and greatest service will engage people unlike many forms of marketing.  Perhaps you would find yourself being able to give tours.  Think of this type of event almost being like a product launch.  

Think of giving a tour.  If you give your guests that feeling of them almost being in forbidden territory, they will love it!  Think of a child's curiosity when their family has been invited to a friend's home for a dinner party.  If the dinner is on the main level and there is an upstairs, it's only a matter of time until you hear a little voice ask, "What's upstairs?"  Perhaps, you only have to think of a five-year-old.  Everything you say is a response to a why this, how does that work, what does that mean or an I want to try it!  Thinking like a reporter is a perfect mindset when you plan this type of an event.  If you create that atmosphere around a change of products or services, you will not be forgotten.

As always...

Wishing you the greatest of days!

If you would like to learn more about our seminars that teach businesses to host successful events, please contact us!  We love to talk about events!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Grand Openings Should be Just That!

Grand Openings are a great way for a business to become known to a community or industry.  Usually they take place after things have been operating normally and have been stabilized for a while.  However, grand openings really need to happen sooner than later.  A grand opening should inform, entertain and create a memory like any business event, but on a grander scale.

A grand opening can offer a great first impression not only for new or potential clients but the community at large.  This alone is why a business would want to make the event feel grand, be memorable and a true experience to absorb.

A business will want to inform attendees at a grand opening of the following: 

1. What they do, 
2. How they do something better or differently, 
3. Why people need their services,
4. When the best time is for people to plan ahead to use their services.

Its important to remember that the purpose of a grand opening is not merely to educate the public about a business, but it is crucial to offer an experience that is memorable.  An event is the perfect opportunity to set up a business to not be victim of the "out of sight, out of mind" mentality.  The purpose is to make the event one that will be remembered by anyone and everyone in a community and hopefully come up in conversations after the grand opening. Swag bags aren't just for convenience.  We have all experienced someone coming home with a swag bag filled with goodies and soon, those items are distributed to other members of a household or friends with a business name on them.  

Future business events with a more specific clientele in mind would be designed differently to have a narrower appeal.  Compared to other types of events that a business could host, a grand opening needs to offer more variety in the activities with a broader appeal that can be tailored to educate and almost be a family-friendly event.  It's a lot easier for an adult to attend if their children are allowed.  This might not work well if a business poses a danger to children.  Special accommodations can be made so that kids could be entertained in a separate area and that might suffice. You can hire childcare companies who do nothing but provide childcare for events.  One option if it was too dangerous for children to be present, would be to promote that there will be things to take home to surprise your children.  It's the world we live in. 

A grand opening is really about an introduction to all the members of a community to help a business gather more ambassadors and foster more conversations around the community.  If a business incorporates a food drive with a grand opening, it is a great way to show that a business cares about the community.  It's the perfect time to make a great impression because a business' grand opening is remembered all unto itself.  Other events can sometimes be blurred with other companies events, but a grand opening is different because it is new to everyone.  A business can and should claim a grand opening as its very own in a unique way.  It is all about being different from the competition especially with hosting events.

You'll notice a common thread in my blog posts, seminars and presentations about events of any kind and that is that any event needs to appeal to the five senses plus one more I refer to as "Quiet".  That's an entire blog post on its own!

Stay tuned for more information on how you can boost your business with successful events!

If you would like to learn more about our live seminars, teleseminars, webinars or speaking engagements, come on over to our Greatest of Days website and we'll be in touch!

"Events are unlike other forms of marketing.
They cannot be deleted or thrown away because they create permanent memories".

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

An Employee Saved is an Employee Earned

What does "an employee saved is an employee earned" mean?  Actually several things.  

Even the best employers will experience some turnover, but we know that it is more expensive to recruit and train a new employee than creating a good working environment to retain good employees. Every business is different, but we know that keeping the morale boosted is crucial.  It can be difficult for a business owner to see this beyond theory because there are a multitude of things bombarding the owner that perhaps the employees never see.  If a business owner stays on top of the mood, climate or whatever you might call it, a crisis is more likely to be averted.

What boss hasn't trembled after hearing that the most productive, amenable, and insightful employee is going off to greener pastures.  Haven't we been or heard about that employee that ended up having to be replaced with five employees?  When a person grows with a position at a company or agency over an extended period of time, this can become a reality.  What might have helped to retain an employee?

What does all of this have to do with events to boost your business?  In one sentence, I would say it is appreciation and good management.  How do you go about showing your employees that you appreciate them when each employee is so different?  I'd liken it to a parent of a teenager or even an adult when they say, "We raised all our kids the same, but we just don't know what happened to ____!"  Therein lies the problem.  If you assume that everyone is going to respond to your appreciation efforts the same, you'll be in for the disappointing surprise.  

It doesn't have to be an elaborate event to show appreciation.  It can be very individualistic.  If you had to narrow it down to just one thing that any kind of employee gives to you, it would be time.  What do most employees wish they had more of?  It's time!  To different employees, time can mean money, or a day off, a special spa day, a weekend away, going to movies, admission to an anticipated sporting event or letting a parent know that you will always let them have an afternoon off for parent-teacher conferences.  It might be as simple as free parking or a bus pass for a month or others might love that you make a contribution to their favorite charity or a few hours off to volunteer at a charity.  You have to use your imagination and keep your ears to the ground.  If everyone knows their turn is coming to receive their appreciation award, there won't be any friction.  It should be something that each employee would be excited about not just for themselves but be shared and anticipated by everyone.  They will hopefully brag about what a great boss they have!  Does this sound like "an employee saved is an employee earned?"  I hope so.

If you have an event that is for everyone, you will reap the benefits of your employees getting a glimpse of each other as human beings which will hopefully show up in the form of gaining respect.  This type of an event should probably be off-site so that everyone is on a level playing field...sometimes, literally.  You can plan any variety of events for team building, birthdays, summer outings, fine dining or family-friendly events.  You could even offer to pay for childcare if that is what keeps a person from attending an event that takes place after business hours.  Your event is a gift to your employees as a special thank-you and that thankfulness should be emphasized throughout the entire event.  You will receive the rewards especially if you have put a lot of thought into it and not required your employees to do all of the work!

You know the saying, "You can catch more bees with sugar than vinegar!"  Consider events as an investment in keeping your employees humming, not just as busy bees but humming with contentment!

Watch out for blog posts here in the future about events that are to deal with low morale in the workplace and so much more.