How To Find The Perfect Venue For Your Event

When planning an event, you will need to find the most suitable venue to host in. The venue should be good enough to serve the needs of the event. For instance, if the event that you are planning is expected to take more than a day, then you must think about accommodation alongside the venue. You can choose a venue that has some sort of accommodation arrangements or one that is near good facilities where your event attendees can enjoy better services. Whether what you are looking for is a small meeting venue or a large conference venue, there are things you must consider to find the best.

Think about venue location – The location of any event does matter because attendees will want an event they can easily get to and also enjoy the good parking too. Choose the event location with accessibility in mind therefore and if need be, then also make transportation plans so you have specific pick-up and drop-off points for your guests. The more convenient the location of the event, the more the delegates you are likely to get.

Match up venue size with the number of invited guests – It helps to confirm the number of delegates that will be attending your event so you can find the perfect venue size for them. This also helps you in selecting equipment such as public address systems that will work for the number of attendants appropriately. But to be on the safe side, always expect more guests than you invited; there will be instances where some delegates grad their friends along to the event and the last thing you want in a venue that is overcrowded and uncomfortable.

Think about technology – People value Wi-Fi today, so let this be among the elements that you embrace when looking for the perfect venue for your event. With such important technological elements taken care of, you will make it easier for your delegates to use smartphones, tablets and laptops they carry in the event. Apart from offering you good technology, the venue should also offer you the technical support that you could need when the event is on.

Check your dates and times when planning – Before even designing invitations, you want to make sure that your venue will be available for your use during the time you wish to use it. When planning the dates and times for the event, it is best that you choose days that are free in that there are no other public events that could interfere with the attendance. Check to see that nothing specific will cause any hindrance for your event and then set the dates and times to match with the availability of the venue that you find most suitable for the event.

Have an interior design plan – Apart from getting yourself a venue that is easily accessible, you should make it as inviting as possible. Get the appropriate furniture for your delegates and ensure that the lighting is ample and suitable enough for the event. Lighting plays a major role and it can create certain moods; get an expert to help you if you are not very sure about event lighting.

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Vision, Performance, and Delegation

Here are some bits and pieces of things I’ve picked up over the years to help people really get a good handle on how to start and organize their new businesses, and to help them succeed once they do get started:

Vision Statements

A vision statement for your business is not widely-known or even widely-used, and it’s not at all the same as a mission statement. A mission statement describes who you are, how your mission will be accomplished, how you will build relationships among employees, and how you will reach your corporate goals.

Vision statements say where you are going with the company.

They also must inspire hope for the future at the company. A realistic view is also imperative for the best vision statement. There is not much point to having visions and ideas for the future which are completely unattainable.

Vision statements answer questions:

What will we stand for in the future? And it gives by a specific date.
Where will we be in our relation to our competition?
What will we believe in and stand for? This is your company’s future philosophy.
What will our employees be saying and feeling about your organization?

By creating a vision statement, you paint a big picture for all of your employees.

“We can get there from here.”

Leading Employees to Improve Performance

Raise the bar. Raise the expectations. Hold accountable.

Give positive employees reason and/or reward to move everyone in that direction.

Give undesirable employees a prompt to move everyone away from that direction.

Ask yourself as a leader if you can also meet your new standards.

Determine beforehand if anyone is already meeting the new standards.

Describe the benefits of the new standards to everyone.

Benefits of Delegation

Benefits for Managers

Allows manager to achieve more and greater productivity.
Allows time for managerial activities, such as activities that others can’t do.

Benefits for Team Members

Increases managerial promotion potential and other such personal development.
Develops team member’ skills and assumes greater responsibilities.
Increases team members’ involvement and resultingly their enthusiasm and initiative.
Increases promotion potential. In this case, delegation serves both to train and to test an employee.

Benefits for Organizations

Maximizes efficient output, the department as a whole is likely to produce a higher level of work.
Produces faster, more efficient decisions.

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Tips On How To Add A Touch Of Elegance To An Outdoor Event

Birthday parties, company picnics, anniversary celebrations, and wedding receptions – these are just some of the types of events that can take place at an outdoor space. When these events are held outdoors, the guests tend to be more relaxed and hence, will have more fun and enjoy the gathering even more.

Although outdoor events are designed to make guests and all attendees feel more relaxed and comfortable, it doesn’t mean that you can’t add a splash of elegance to the occasion. Below are some tips that will enable you to add elegance to an outdoor event:

Have the right turf protection products installed on the lawn. Portable pathways are great turf protection products you can use to cover grassy areas. They are particularly useful if your guests are going to be in evening wear since high-heels and soft ground never mix well at all. These portable floor covering products are expensive but you don’t have to buy them; you can rent them from companies known for their event hire products.

Consider carpets as well. Carpets always add a touch of luxury to events. You can also rent some rolled turf, carpets, and vinyl products that can cover the portable flooring material and match the look and feel of your event.

Make use of flowers and plants. If the lawn is lacking in bushes and other plants that can add color to the venue, consider bringing in extra plants to create a more lush setting. Keep in mind that the right floral settings can help set the mood you are looking for. To add a more romantic feel to the venue, consider placing some floating flowers. Adding some orchids can also create an elegant, modern look.

Be creative with your lighting features. Lastly, if the event will take place at night, bear in mind that lighting is particularly important. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on buying expensive lighting features that you may only use for this event. With this aspect, it is important that you be creative. One tip you can follow is to use lighting to emphasize floral displays or draw attention to areas intended for people to gather. Candles are also great and affordable lighting options. Simply place one or more on each table. You can place a number of tall candles of various sizes grouped together in the center or just simple tea lights. If you already have some Christmas lights, you can use them, too. These lights can enhance the romantic atmosphere of the event.

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Hand stacking blocks

Practice What You Preach – Business Culture

Practice before you preach, practice what you preach and practice even after you stop preaching! These adages and their extensions couldn’t be more significant than in these times of personal branding. I can but try and capture the essence of this nebulous or amorphous essence of the word “brand” by saying that, a brand comes into existence when it is associated with a particular image of a person/ product/service, over a period of time and which shows the same qualities consistently which are unique and singular to that person, product or service irrespective of the time, place or situation.

The key operating word here is “consistency”. And consistency brings in credibility which in turn is inextricably associated with integrity, confidence and trust, in a person, product or a service.

That’s the power of a brand!!

I want to emphasise this by quoting Peter Montoya the author of the book, “The Brand Called You” who defines personal branding as the process that takes your skills, personality and unique characteristics and packages them into a powerful identity that lifts you above the crowd of anonymous competitors.

It’s no wonder then that every person worth his or her while is queuing up to create their very own brand. Given the impact that a brand has on the minds of the consumer it is imperative that entrepreneurs seek to first create their personal brand before they do so for their product and/or service that they make and sell, or propose to sell.

I am afraid Shakespeare’s line from Romeo and Juliet, What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, would be completely anachronistic in these times, as today, what smells like a rose cannot be called anything else except a rose!

So why such a hullabaloo about having or building a personal brand?

For entrepreneurs their own personal brand speaks volumes about the product/service that they choose to create and sell to the consumers. And every time consumers either buy it or recommend it to others, they unwittingly endorse that very brand like brand ambassadors. Which means that the personal brand equates to the company, and the value that it provides.

But building a personal brand is not a shot in the dark. Rather it is a lifelong, well thought out, planned, endeavour for the entrepreneur, from the time its idea is mooted, carefully cultivated and nurtured till it is established. It follows a step by step design which finally projects the persona of the entrepreneur to the world which includes, the customers, the investors and the employees.

A strong personal brand begins with a personal mission statement which resonates with that of the company’s. To that effect one needs to do some soul searching to make a mission statement that talks convincingly about the “authentic you”, the real you, as in “yourself”. You need to discover the language and the words that best represent your spirit and your core values. The personal mission statement also defines your goals and the pathways to realize those goals.

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Tips to Trust Building on Cross Cultural Teams

Does each one of your employees trust your decision and value your company with their head and heart? What about employees working from offshore locations? Building enough trust among employees is critical to the success of any aspiring business. However, things can get a bit complicated when you are looking to make your presence felt across the globe. What works in the US won’t do in India and vice versa. However, given the opportunities of a global market, it is necessary that businesses and brands find a way out.

Building relationships gets harder with cross cultural teams as it is easy to misinterpret intentions and get wrong assumption in the lack of virtual cues. The first difference is the style of communication. At some parts of the world, people like to socialize more than others before getting right to business. Time, trends, political views, standard of living and market behavior further complicate things. So, how can leaders of multinational / multicultural teams seek to use diversity to their advantage without failing to the challenges?

Create a success structure for team building

According to the popular organizational behavior scholar, Dr. Richard Hackman, the ideal way to ensure cross cultural team building success is by creating initial conditioning. This would mean that the entire team has a compelling and clear direction to strive towards. Organizations should be sharing across all resources and information across geographies to fill every employee about the board’s agendas. People with the ideal technical skills should be used more in global dexterity and building cultural intelligence. It is also essential to build a staff that is flexible, curious, thoughtful and emotionally stable. Online training and courses will form a part of the journey today.

Understanding cross cultural makeup

To become an effective leader of a cross cultural team, you need to understand every “fault line” created by differences in language, thinking and culture. An uninitiated team that consists of Germans, Koreans and Americans would definitely be a tripwire! While Germans would be comfortable in giving and receiving direct negative feedback, it could be a disaster with Koreans. As a leader, you should be ready for these tensions and solve them swiftly.

Apart from cultural differences, it is also advantageous if the leader also understands differences in personalities, age and gender. You cannot expect an Indian employee to immediately adapt to a longer working day in Germany.

Setting clear norms and sticking to them

Cross cultural teams can be both assets and liabilities as they bring in a wide variety of working styles. Add personal preferences to the mix and things can get really confusing. It is therefore necessary that the team leader chalks out clear norms that are required to be followed by everyone – regardless of the personal bent. That said, it will be best to consider what will work best for the entire team rather than imposing your own personal choices and work styles. For members that find it difficult to adhere to the norms due to their cultural bent, some extra sessions, additional communication and suggestive training will be the answer. A regular inflow of teleconferences, video conferences, email updates and boardroom discussions will compensate the distance barriers between teams.

Try building a personal connection

It doesn’t need research to find out that the best tool to fight cross cultural differences and conflicts is by creating a personal bond between team members. However, different cultures have different take on relationship building. Brazilian employees can become friends overnight but it will take a lot of time to gain the trust of a British team. It is therefore necessary to foster a rapport at each stage and every day of working. It is the job of the leaders to find the opportunities of communication. Perhaps an employee is also passionate about photography and would love to have his work featured in the website. Social events of this sort can help a lot in engaging better communication and introducing team members across cultures to one another. The benefits circle back directly to the productivity.

Address conflicts then and there

Conflicts, especially in the context of cross cultural teams, don’t need to be shut down and kept in the cellar. While differences in opinion are inevitable when you are working with such a huge group, you should also ensure that arguments don’t grow to an extent that they will be impossible to manage. It is the leaders who should serve as a cultural bridge and be ready to initiate a frank group discussion and hear out everyone. At the end of the day, there should be no drama! At the same time, treat everyone as equal as everyone prizes a democratic leadership.

Sometimes, you will need to take a long lunch to understand someone and sometimes it is the choice of the desert that opens up a person. The only thing that is common in a cross cultural team is the brand name. Employees, across culture, need to feel honored to be affiliated to your brand. There is a practical benefit of letting your guard down sometimes to build cross cultural relationships, especially when looking to make the most of an emerging market. The relationship acts like insurance against the work quality of the overseas team. No one wants to lose credibility and a good friendship!

Online and in-house training and discussions can pilot an initiative that helps everyone get on the same page. If you visited a Burger King outlet in another country, you would expect the same taste, employee assistance and work process as it is at home. Well, this won’t be possible until and unless the management of Burger King follows the same guidelines worldwide. It however needs motivation to make things work and bring people under the same umbrella. A successful brand is one which has been able to reach a position where it easily leverages the benefits of cultural diversity, rather than struggling to mitigate the challenges.

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Like It or Not, the Team Process Is Here to Stay!

All organizations count on groups and teams to work cooperatively. That’s critical because the workload continues to increase, and the knowledge base is growing too rapidly for anyone to take it on alone. When the world speeds up, it gets tougher to manage and tougher to work.

Furthermore, when the group process is working properly, you CAN accomplish more. Of course, individual effort is critical to success. There’s also a lot to be said for group process. Numerous studies have proven that when everyone puts their shoulders to the wheel and backs a decision, its wisdom or its inaccuracy will be borne out faster.

Team process is here to stay. You might as well get used to it because working in groups and teams will be “the” process for the foreseeable future. Team building competencies critical for team members during today’s uncertain times are different from same-old “trust circles” and other programs in the “good old days” that worked well in more stable times.

In these fast-paced times, senior management is called upon to make tough decisions that can sometimes hurt. They may be under pressure from shareholders and stakeholders to produce results. This may lead to the perception that they don’t care, or are completely insensitive to the needs of their employees. The fact is, they probably have a range of distasteful decisions they have to make.

As an employee, you are likely among the first to feel the full brunt of the downside of a decision. Let’s say there’s no money for new offices or furniture or your two best friends had to be let go. You might easily draw the conclusion that management talks a “humanistic” line, but doesn’t walk that line. In some cases, that just might be the situation if the organization doesn’t have much experience in the art and science of breaking bad news.

Generally, management tries to do the best it can under such pressurized circumstances. Sometimes, management has information that they cannot share just yet, so their decisions may appear to be harsh and illogical. No one in management wants to make a bad decision. No one takes any pleasure in being disliked by employees. Recognize that the primary consideration in most management decisions is the impact on the bottom line. If you disagree with a decision, you only have two options to restore the “way things were:”

  • Get It Back: In an appropriate and professional manner, provide management with the ammunition or data it needs to reverse that decision or to reconsider it.
  • Give It Up: Get busy trying to find the positives for yourself that always accompany change. Then, get on-board with the new change and make it your job to help the organization succeed.

During change, EVERYONE needs to be accountable for doing their part to make the changes work. The consequences of failed change initiatives will be much more unpleasant than anything you’re feeling now. Often, teams ARE the difference between an organization that is “ahead of the curve” or constantly playing “catch up” in a world that no longer tolerates companies that change too slow. Just pick up any newspaper… it’s full of examples of organizations that did not change quickly enough.

Remember: Good Leaders Cannot Exist Without Good Followers.

Pat Thornton, President, Change Resources Group Inc. has been successfully providing services to organizations in the area of team building for over 20 years to address the impacts of a wide diversity of change challenges, such as new leadership, consolidations and mergers, site relocations, restructuring, market and customer changes, and high growth.

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5 Infectious Diseases of Small Business and Their Cures

Your business can come down with maladies, wheezing and coughing and not functioning as well as it can. The infection can spread until multiple parts of your business are affected.

You can cure them if you make the right diagnosis and take action.

Bug #1. Nostrategitis. Lack of strategy is a common ailment among small businesses. It’s common because nobody teaches strategy for small business. There’s so much focus on action that no one tells you to take the time to think about the big picture.

This is where a focus on the impact you want to have, the positive contribution you want to make in your business, community, and beyond comes in. When you have clarity on the impact you want to have, it gives you the focus you need to create a coherent, high functioning business. You end up with a strategy and business that are aligned with your values and how you want to show up in the world.

The Cure: Step back from doing and look at the big picture. Start by giving thought to the impact you want to have. Ask yourself good questions: does this thing I want to do help me to have that impact? Is what I’m planning going to align with other things I’m doing in my business and will it help me reach my goals?

Bug #2. Slow-to-reactivitis. Oh the slow spread of inaction, waiting to see what happens. Maybe things will improve. Maybe I’ll get more clarity about what to do next.

This is where the optimism that most entrepreneurs have in spades fails us. You might be thinking: Well, it should work! That expert over there said so.

Truth: every business is different. Be prepared to tweak your own business as needed.

The Cure: When something’s not working, take action sooner rather than later. You can prevent the spread of the infection by facing the reality of what’s not reaching your expectations. Call that experiment done and failed (it’s not you that’s failed, it’s the experiment!). Do some research, talk to someone who knows, and decide on new action.

Bug #3. Anti-trackingitis. This secondary infection really helps other bugs grow. Bug #2 really takes hold when you have no solid data to base your next moves on. Inaction spreads because of the vacuum created by no real information.

The Cure: To help you in determining the extent of the illness so you can take the cure for Bug #2 above, track your important outcomes. Take your medicine, even if numbers aren’t your thing. These data will be what bring you out of the funk, if you’re willing to look at them with a critical eye.

Bug #4. Icandothisalone disease. Oh the myth of the intrepid and lone adventurer! Being an entrepreneur has its own romance to it: the crusading figure out to conquer whatever field you’re in. Making headway by sheer grit and determination.

MYTH!! There isn’t an entrepreneur alive or dead who has made a success of their business without the help of others. And I mean serious help.

The Cure: Excise the myth. Just cut it out. One of the great joys of having your own business is the creative company you get to keep. That includes your clients, your team, and any other business owners who accompany you in this treatment. Work on building and nurturing those relationships.

Bug #5. Worktilyoudropitis. Whether your business is doing well or doing poorly, you can fall victim to this condition: working too hard.

When you’re focused on your impact and things are going well, you can become so engaged that you lose sight of the big picture and neglect other aspects of your life.

And when you’re struggling, you can be tempted to throw more work at the problem.

The Cure: Clarify what’s most important to you and organize your life and work around that. Determine if the extra time you’re spending actually results in better outcomes.

Take breaks in your day, your week, and your month. Rejuvenate by having fun, eating well, and exercising. Bring more fun into your business with creative approaches and a focus on what you really love to do. As much as possible, let others do the rest.

Not to carry the metaphor too disgustingly far, your business can be under the weather from the creeping crud. These common infectious diseases of small business can take hold, if you don’t put the cures to work.

Even better, take measures to stay healthy, and you’ll keep these infectious diseases at bay.

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Here’s Your Small Business Blog Checklist

Your regularly updated small business blog (a form of copywriting for promoting your business) is a wonderful tool for keeping your target market informed. Quality content, in an engaging voice, helps you build a rapport with your readers – customers and potential customers.

Carefully plan your blog – its reason for being – and the goals you want it to achieve. Focus on its purpose and measure whether it’s delivering results.

Here’s your checklist for creating and maintaining a first-rate business blog:

Do you know your audience?

Have a clear picture of who you are directing your content to. Your small business blog is not a general interest blog targeted at everyone. It’s a specialty blog targeted to your niche market. You know who they are, so create content accordingly.

Have you planned your post?

Don’t wing it when composing your blog post. Sure, sometimes the words will just flow without much thought. However, most of the time you will need to plan (and maybe even outline) your piece before getting into the nitty-gritty of the writing. This will make for a clear, organized blog post that doesn’t stray off topic.

Are you providing useful content?

Don’t waste your readers’ time by giving them bland, mediocre content. People will regularly click their way to your blog if they know it offers current, useful information, that’s relevant to them. Research your topic carefully and offer new insight into your topic, and tie it in with what you as a small business operator offer.

Have you created a quality title?

Give thought to your opening salvo. Your title should spark interest in the reader. It should cause them to want to investigate your piece further. Create a headline that invites the reader to spend time with your blog post.

The title should make them believe that they will gain valuable information from reading your writing. Remember, people come to a blog to find new information, tips, advice, and solutions – especially when they visit a business blog.

Have you added photos?

Enliven your blog post with at least one photo. Make sure photos are appropriate to the subject of your post. Moreover, make sure photos are of high-quality, clear and vivid to add some punch to your piece.

Have you considered length?

Say precisely what you need to say and don’t stay at it ad infinitum. Don’t have a long-winded post that should really be broken up into two or three blog posts. Strive for a post in the 400 – 500 word range, give or take some.

Yes, you can have longer pieces if you so choose. Nonetheless, make the content engaging to encourage readers to continue to the end of the piece. Your aim is to give them precise and concise information presented in an easy-to-read way.

Readers will scan headlines, subheads and bullet points to retrieve the info they want – fast. You don’t want them clicking away from your site after scrolling and seeing there was still too much content to read?

Consider this above small checklist for making your small business blog a winner.

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Why Should I Buy Something From You?

The business world, both offline and online is competitive. In order to sell more of your products and services you have to understand what makes your customers buy. People buy with their emotions and then justify their decision with logic.

If you can understand why your audience opens their wallet to buy, you can trigger them to take the action you want. Here are the 8 reason how people buy with their emotions.

1. To Give A Desired Impression

People want other people to view them in a particular way. That need frequently moves them to purchase products to help them maintain that image, not only for others to see them that way but also to see themselves that way.

2. To Prevent A Bad Feeling

If you want to avoid a bad feeling, it’s a strong motivator to buy something. If you can demonstrate how your product or service helps your customers avoid a bad feeling, they’ll be more likely to buy from you.

3. To Obtain Or Generate Freedom

Everyone is time poor. Why hire a housekeeper or a personal assistant? Is a housekeeper selling a tidy home, or more time? Is a personal assistant selling document processing or more time? When you clearly communicate what it is you’re really selling, you will attract customers to buy from you more often.

4. To Be Part Of A Community Or Group

Everybody likes being part of the “in” crowd and part of a community. If your product or service will make your customers part of a select group they will want to buy from you.

5. To Get Instant Satisfaction

People like getting what they want, when they want it. If you can provide your customers an immediate way to give them what they want, they will want to buy from you. Just make sure that you deliver on your offer.

6. To Get a Sense of Power

When people purchase a product or service that they see as potentially life changing, they feel powerful and in charge of their lives. If you can provide something very special that resolves a very specific problem and makes your customer feel powerful, you’ll attract more customers.

7. To Obtain Self-Worth

If your customers have low confidence and lack self-worth and your products can provide them that feeling of confidence that they want, they will buy from you.

8. To Solve A Problem

One of the most obvious reasons that your customers will buy from you is that you’re solving a problem for them. Demonstrate them how your product or service solves their problems, and they’ll buy from you when the price is right.

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Top Secret Ideas to Create Profitable Lead Nurturing Campaigns

Companies whether large corporations or small startups needs to understand the wide value of lead nurturing, not only from a mere lead maintainment or direct sales point of view but as a way to define a whole creative branding identity works. Lead nurturing must be part of your holistic brand development strategy that must involve as well your branding agency.

It is important that you consider your lead nurturing ability. What is lead nurturing? Lead nurturing is a process that develops relationships with your consumers by focusing on marketing and communications. Lead nurturing listens to the needs of your potential consumers and what they desire overall. You can think of lead nurturing as the nurturing of your potential stream of clients. Not all lead nurturing campaigns are created equal. If you wish to succeed, you need some real tricks up your sleeve. Here are some top secret ideas to create profitable lead nurturing campaigns that sell and make a lasting impression.

· Communicate with the right people. Keep a holistic point of view. This is a branding strategy not just mass mails or periodical newsletters!

First and foremost, branding is not just beautiful designs, it is the heart and soul of the company or product, this must be define among your overall company strategy, say, mission, vision, codes, values, etc. How are you in this first initial steps? How is this overall scheme? Understand please, for this you must need the assistance of a creative top branding agency. The whole management team must be involved.

You must be ready and willing to communicate with the right people – your potential clients. Sure, you can market your services to every single niche out there. However, you will only resonate to those who are looking for or interested in your services. These people are the leads you need to begin to nurture. Use your media marketing to attract them and to keep them enticed. You can write blog posts, articles and share on social media platforms to reach the correct audience. Use SEO to optimize your content for your audience. However, combine SEO with content that is worth reading. Both must be used for the proper effects. Continue to communicate with your leads every day in one form or another.

· Nurture

Once you have built a communication with your potential leads, you should begin to nurture them. Once you have certain website visitors that are considerable leads, you should track their activity on your website. What are your visitors viewing more? What email marketing campaigns are they opening? Use this information to nurture your leads and create more focused content to begin the deal process. Hook these leads into what you are selling and give them what they are looking for.

· Seal It

Once you have nurtured your leads and know what kind of content they are interested in, it is time to seal the deal. You can begin by offering “free samples” of your work through eBooks, newsletters, bonus courses and more. Give them something to talk about. Once they are absolutely delighted with your service, they will begin to talk to other people, driving them to your business. This is the type of marketing you want. Use your sales funnel to reach out to potential clients that have proven to be true potential. These potential clients have high ability to become sales. Then, nurture them too. Give them great service and deliver with your product.

Your leads nurturing campaign is something that has to be great. Spending time on your campaign is the only way to improve it. One you have a plan in place, stick to your guns. Allow yourself to make changes as needed to always improve. Your leads become your clients who become your overall success.

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