Archive for April, 2009

Protecting Your Special Event and Marketing Ideas

Friday, April 24th, 2009

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At A Wynning Event, when a new client requests a proposal, I am always so excited and I get right to work researching their company, checking out the fellow competitors, looking at possible new venues and thinking about themes and new ideas for entertainment.  I spend the time researching and writing the proposal, submit it and then follow up.  Sometimes I win and sometimes my competitors win.  That is the way the event world works.  But what do you say or do when neither you nor your competitor gets the job but the potential new client takes your proposal and implements it themselves?    What can you say?  Do you copyright your proposals?  Ask for a fee upfront for your ideas?

I have spoken to quite a few other event planners and no one seems to have the “right” answer.  What we have found at A Wynning Event is with the corporate budgets tightening, the budgets we are provided to create events are more challenging and I am hearing from many other event planners the same situation.  Thus, is it forcing companies to generate event proposals to get ideas?  Is there anything that can be done?  After all, writing the proposal and coming up with entertainment, venue and catering ideas and the look, feel and flow of the event is half the work.  In fact, the easier part of the proposal is implementing it.  So how do we protect our ideas and get paid for them? 

Good question (if I do say so myself) and having asked around for a while no one seems to have a good answer.  After all, you want to provide the potential client with an accurate picture of how their event will look, you want to show them that you are creative and can save them dollars, you want them to see that you are the only person who can visualize their ideas and implement them efficiently and produce a memorable and great event.  So essentially, you are providing them with the roadmap.  I guess there maybe a couple of answers here.

 

One answer maybe (and mind you it has to be tactfully done) is to tell the client upfront that you charge for your proposals, and if you win the contract, then that fee is included in your production and coordination fee.  Also, you may want them to sign off on a non-disclosure agreement explaining to them what has been done in the past and that you are just trying to avoid a reoccurrence.  I’ve done this before and it worked perfectly.  I won the job and did a couple of events for this client until they hired their own in-house event team.

 

Provide the potential client with just a capabilities proposal and once they sign off on a contract and provide you with a deposit, then give them the details.  The problem with this solution is that it only works when the client is just looking for a team and not set on a theme or venue.  They just know they want to do an event.

 

Finally, give them enough to pique their curiosity, provide generalizations and pictures but avoid the details until you receive a signed contract and deposit.  Apparently, as I have been asking around, this seems to be the method of madness du jour. 

 

Whatever appears to be the case, one thing is certain.  At A Wynning Event we take pride in our work, our creativity and our network of resources and will always do our best to provide the most for an event while staying within the provided budget parameters.

The Importance of Long-Term Business Relationships

Monday, April 13th, 2009

The statistics are out there.  We all know what is happening in the business world in terms of an economic slowdown, layoffs and businesses closing their doors forever.  In fact, unless you have been living on Mars or under a rock it is hard not to know what is happening or have these challenging times affect your business or lifestyle in anyway possible.

 

One constant in the business world that this economy hasn’t changed is the importance of long-term business relationships.  Like a good friend, they are there for you for support and growth.  Sometimes this so-called “friendship” is put on hold due to budget cuts, but when the economy swings back up, they are there for you.  The important fact to remember is that you must continue to maintain this relationship and not let it drop by the wayside.  After all, you just don’t forget about a friend if they get busy and can’t make plans with you for a while. 

 

Like a friendship, a business relationship is the same and your goal is to make it long-term.  Create loyalty by staying in touch with your client, sending them notes about something you saw or experienced that reminded you of their business, inviting your client to networking events that they would benefit from as well and keeping them in the loop in terms of news that may affect their organization too.  Even lunch or happy hour every now and then is good for both of you because you get to know each other better than previously, catch up on news and have a good time.  After all, it is easier and more fun to do business with someone you know plus you are more aware of their likes and dislikes making it a bit easier to anticipate and fulfill their business requirements.

 

One of the long-term clients at A Wynning Event is the Century City law firm of Cox, Castle & Nicholson, LLP.  We have had the pleasure of working with this law firm for over ten years.  In fact, this is a business relationship that has lasted longer than quite a few marriages!  The key to this long-term business relationship is:

 

  • Customer Service – Immediate responses to questions and requests
  • Respect for Budgets – Knowing what the budget is and maintaining it throughout the event production process
  • Admiration for Client – Getting along and having fun with my client socially as well as professionally

There have been times that due to budget constraints Cox Castle & Nicholson, LLP had postponed or canceled an event, and thus my involvement was tied to this cancellation as well.  But business is business, it was nothing personal.  I just looked forward to the future and stayed on their radar knowing that they would request my services and expertise again when the time was appropriate.  Remember, it is easier and more fun to keep a client then it is to find a new one, and the business relationships that you already have are the ones worth growing. 

Using Social Media to Generate More Special Events

Monday, April 6th, 2009

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As the web becomes more competitive, how does your website get seen?  How do you capture those customers out in cyberspace who are putting on social and corporate events?  Back in the day when few event planners were on the web, my website got quite a few hits and the ratio to a viewing to actually contracting the event was extremely successful.  In fact, some of my largest accounts have come from the web.  Those were the good old days my friend.

But now with the economy slowing and corporate events having been put on the back burner, let alone more and more people are planning their events on their own, how do you maintain your business let alone grow it?  One answer maybe through Social Media.  It’s one thing to be out there networking and going to various work and fun functions to meet people and gain business but why not use the web and its plethora of tools to help you get the word out there?  Go ahead, don’t be shy.  Create that Facebook page, start to Twitter and yes get Linkedin.

Like me, you may want to choose what social websites you want to save for your social life and which ones you want to use for business.  Remember though, the web is a very small world these days so you have to be careful as to what you have in terms of content on each of these pages.  Yes, a future client may go to your Facebook page so be careful what pictures you post! 

You will also find by using Social Media how much more you will learn about current trends, who is doing what and which new business applications you can apply to your own business.  I know for myself that through Linkedin I have learned about some new applications that not only have I immediately applied to my own business but will add to a new business division of A Wynning Event

It’s an exciting time to be part of this ever-changing and growing tech world and you don’t have to be an SEO expert to use it.  Just spend some quality time on these sites, join some groups and discussions and put yourself out there.  You will find that you will not only learn something new but will gain valuable insight into business in the 21st Century.  Eventually, you will gain more business contacts that might lead back to new business and generate growth for your company, and this growth means more dollars in your pocket!