Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Think Like a Reporter When Planning Any Event

Think Like a Reporter When Planning Any Event

If you think back to your first journalism class, what was reinforced more than anything?  It was to make a complete story and that meant focusing on the 5 W's and 1 H.  The who, what, where, when, why and how.  The same philosophy applies to hosting a successful event to boost your business.  However, with events, you take this approach from two different directions or two different angles, if you will.

Those two different angles would be from:

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

We All Need to Talk!

The phrase, "We need to talk" can mean so many things.  If you have just met someone at a networking event and you both think you could expand on a great idea or introduce them to people that are in their target market, the phrase "We need to talk" is exciting, filled with hope and wonder.  On the other hand, this same phrase between two or more people at work or in a family scenario, it can bring a pit to your stomach.  If you're on the receiving end of that phrase, you're probably having to keep your imagination from going wild.  In a split second after a boss says that, you could begin thinking, layoff, fired, performance review, merger or downsizing. Bad news no matter what!

I want to concentrate on this phrase in relation to a boss/supervisor/manager/owner or anyone in authority to those who are their employees.  I hate the word subordinates so I won't call them that.  Not as often, but that phrase can come from an employee who is responsible for other employees and is giving the four-word suggestion to a supervisor.

I remember working at one place where the morale was so bad that everything came to a head.  Everything shut down for a day and the whole operation went on a retreat.  You could cut the air with a knife.  When I look back on it, I can see that the management waited too long to communicate with the employees about their concerns over huge workloads, inadequate workspace and insisting on us us taking comp time instead of overtime.  When we were working such long hours, how in the world did they think we were going to find the time to use up the comp time when we could seldom squeeze any time off?  The supervisors took even longer to pretend to care about doing anything regarding their employees' concerns.  It was a development office (fundraising department) and their goal was to keep operating costs to 1-2% of donations received.  That's honorable until you reach the reputation of being a sweatshop! 

It's time for a retreat, detente, summit  or meeting in a DMZ!

I would suggest that there be a mediator for really bad situations and that there would be more than one method for each side to communicate such as speaking but also writing things down.  I would also suggest hiring a person who specializes in planning retreats to recommend the structure for this type of event.  You have to utilize methods that will make everyone involved in a way that they understand the various angles or concerns of all levels of employees and management.  

To keep things from getting to the point of mutiny, it would be preferable if there was a regularly scheduled event to encourage an open and consistent dialogue and a constantly present suggestion box in such a way that no be feels threatened.  The corporate world has become a swamp as far as loyalty in either direction.  There's a huge gap in work ethics (perceived or real) that comes from everyone's individual experience and perspective.  Many people do not feel valued, management feels pressure from all directions, CEO's to stockholders and all the way up and down the line.  Somethings never change over decades or even centuries, and you can only aim towards improvement over time.

What can be helpful is to design an event that make everyone on par with each other to the point that people feel like they are on the same team.  It makes me think of "E Pluribus Unum", of many become one.  No one said it would be easy, but if the effort isn't made, the consequences can be very detrimental to a business.

As always...

Wishing you the greatest of days!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

When Your Business Relocates, Celebrate!

What should a business do when they are moving or have moved to a new nest, swimming hole, den, hole in the wall or a different zip code?

You would never send a "We've Moved!" notice that didn't include a new address.  We would be much more likely to send people an invitation to a housewarming party.  When you move yourself or your family within the same town, you probably don't worry about losing friends.  However, it's an entirely different story when someone has relocated a business.  As soon as all the "t"'s have been crossed, the "i's" have been dotted and the ink has dried, it's time let it be known that a big change is on its way and is just around the bend!

Many businesses don't realize how much they have become a part of a person's normal routine, are only visited because of their proximity to another area where they shop, are perceived as the only game in town or they have simply become a habit or even a luxury.  If a business gets out of that convenient location zone, they can quickly become an inconvenience.  If no one else provides their services, it's even more important that they leave bread crumbs not so they can find their way back but instead to help their customers find the new location.  They don't want people to feel stranded, lost or left out not knowing where they have disappeared to or worse yet, start a rumor that they have gone out of business.  You can compare it to when you can only find that delicious sugar-free jam, that tastes like your grandmother's recipe at a particular store and suddenly the store stops carrying that brand.  You will be looking for it everywhere or be going to the higher priced store that carries it just so you can continue getting that product.  We are creatures of habit and if a business disrupts that habit, they have some work cut out for them to retain clients.

If you have created a special bond with your clients, they will seek you out.  I'm sure we've all become attached to a particular business, product or service and have followed them perhaps even more than once.  It's nice to let customers know well in advance that you are moving.  The business is responsible to help their customers place themselves mentality in the new location.  No one else has that responsibility!  They need to build up the facts about how the new location is better, bigger, has more parking or enables them to offer more services.  

The most noticeable way for a business to get people to their new location is to have a party or some type of celebration.  They will not only be showing their clients their "new house", as a business they will be creating a good excuse for their new neighbors to say, "Hello!  I'm your neighbor three doors down and I am an interior designer" or whatever it is that they do.  Perhaps they can even set up an appointment to get better acquainted later.  Their shyer neighbors might be more comfortable coming to their event knowing that they won't be interrupting business as usual and will seize the moment that is designed to include them.

So the next time you hear that a business is moving, do them a big favor and make sure they are going to celebrate their move.  If all they plan on doing is putting up a sign that says that they have moved, the next sign they might be putting in a window is one not a pleasant to put up.  That would be a dreaded "Going out of Business" sign.  

As always...

Wishing you the greatest of days!

You might be asking, "What exactly does Greatest of Days mean?  What do you do?"  My apologies if you have to ask.  Greatest of Days is an event planning business in the Seattle area which helps individuals and businesses plan or learn how to host successful events with less stress...and officiates weddings.  (Just couldn't give that up from the good ole wedding planning days!)  I can hear you say, "Aha!  Now I get it!"  Now, I'm happy that you're happy!  

"Creating and Remembering Life's Greatest of Days"