Monday, August 27, 2012

Go Paperless

Photo taken from Flickr
Originally by Munir Hamdan
In this day and age, it pays to go paperless.  You can get things done faster, it's easier to stay organized, and it's better for the environment.  Of course there are certain things that you may still need to print depending on your particular business needs.  However, if your business has not seriously reduced its use of paper over the last few years, you should seriously consider running your business with a more efficient program.  

With Inspherio, you can increase your efficiency and sustainability by organizing nearly all of your business information in one place.  You can keep all of your customer data online, create invoices and electronic contracts that can all be completed online.  In the past few years, nearly everything has moved to Cloud-Based services, and there is plenty of room for your business in the cloud as well.  With Inspherio, all your business information is kept on our secure servers and can be accessed from anywhere there is an internet connection.  This provides your business the ultimate solution for mobility.  There is nothing to download or update, just login from any computer, tablet, or mobile device.

With Inspherio, you can maximize the efficiency of your business so that you can spend as little time as possible on meticulous paperwork or general office duties.  Instead of focusing so much of your attention on running your business, Inspheriocan help free up your time, so that you can instead focus on growing your business.
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Friday, August 24, 2012

It's More Important to Be Kind than Clever

Photo taken from Flickr
Originally by JD Hancock

This Article was originally posted in the Harvard Business Review Blog Network by Bill Taylor

One of the more heart-warming stories to zoom around the Internet lately involves a young man, his dying grandmother, and a bowl of clam chowder from Panera Bread. It's a little story that offers big lessons about service, brands, and the human side of business — a story that underscores why efficiency should never come at the expense of humanity.

The story, as told in AdWeek, goes like this: Brandon Cook, from Wilton, New Hampshire, was visiting his grandmother in the hospital. Terribly ill with cancer, she complained to her grandson that she desperately wanted a bowl of soup, and that the hospital's soup was inedible (she used saltier language). If only she could get a bowl of her favorite clam chowder from Panera Bread! Trouble was, Panera only sells clam chowder on Friday. So Brandon called the nearby Panera and talked to store manager Suzanne Fortier. Not only did Sue make clam chowder specially for Brandon's grandmother, she included a box of cookies as a gift from the staff.

It was a small act of kindness that would not normally make headlines. Except that Brandon told the story on his Facebook page, and Brandon's mother, Gail Cook, retold the story on Panera's fan page. The rest, as they say, is social-media history. Gail's post generated 500,000 (and counting) "likes" and more than 22,000 comments on Panera's Facebook page. Panera, meanwhile, got something that no amount of traditional advertising can buy — a genuine sense of affiliation and appreciation from customers around the world.

Marketing types have latched on to this story as an example of the power of social media and "virtual word-of-mouth" to boost a company's reputation. But I see the reaction to Sue Fortier's gesture as an example of something else — the hunger among customers, employees, and all of us to engage with companies on more than just dollars-and-cents terms. In a world that is being reshaped by the relentless advance of technology, what stands out are acts of compassion and connection that remind us what it means to be human.

As I read the story of Brandon and his grandmother, I thought back to a lecture delivered two years ago by Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of, to the graduating seniors of my alma mater, Princeton University. Bezos is nothing if not a master of technology — he has built his company, and his fortune, on the rise of the Internet and his own intellect. But he spoke that day not about computing power or brainpower, but about his grandmother — and what he learned when he made her cry.

Even as a 10-year-old boy, it turns out, Bezos had a steel-trap mind and a passion for crunching numbers. During a summer road trip with his grandparents, young Jeff got fed up with his grandmother's smoking in the car — and decided to do something about it. From the backseat, he calculated how many cigarettes per day his grandmother smoked, how many puffs she took per cigarette, the health risk of each puff, and announced to her with great fanfare, "You've taken nine years off your life!"

Bezos's calculations may have been accurate — but the reaction was not what he expected. His grandmother burst into tears. His grandfather pulled the car off to the side of the road and asked young Jeff to step out. And then his grandfather taught a lesson that this now-billionaire decided to share the with the Class of 2010: "My grandfather looked at me, and after a bit of silence, he gently and calmly said, 'Jeff, one day you'll understand that it's harder to be kind than clever.'"

That's a lesson I wish more businesspeople understood — a lesson that is reinforced by the reaction to this simple act of kindness at Panera Bread. Indeed, I experienced something similar not so long ago, and found it striking enough to devote an HBR blog post to the experience. In my post, I told the story of my father, his search for a new car, a health emergency that took place in the middle of that search — and a couple of extraordinary (and truly human) gestures by an auto dealer that put him at ease and won his loyalty.

"What is it about business that makes it so hard to be kind?" I asked at the time. "And what kind of businesspeople have we become when small acts of kindness feel so rare?"

That's what's really striking about the Panera Bread story — not that Suzanne Fortier went out of her way to do something nice for a sick grandmother, but that her simple gesture attracted such global attention and acclaim.

So by all means, encourage your people to embrace technology, get great at business analytics, and otherwise ramp up the efficiency of everything they do. But just make sure all their efficiency doesn't come at the expense of their humanity. Small gestures can send big signals about who we are, what we care about, and why people should want to affiliate with us. It's harder (and more important) to be kind than clever.

Bill Taylor is co-founder of Fast Company magazine and author of Practically Radical: Not-So-Crazy Ways to Transform Your Company, Shake Up Your Industry, and Challenge Yourself, published January 4, 2011.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fall Wedding Trends

Photo taken from Flickr
Originally by whoalse
As the month of August comes to an end and the Summer heat begins to subside, it's nice to think of the next season to come.  

This Fall season brings its own new styles and trends that can be useful when planning your next wedding or other event.

An overall trend that has become quite popular over the last few years is an Organic / Natural style.  In the spirit of this style, many Fall events like to incorporate organic objects from their season.  

Bare twigs can be used for many different types of decorations, whether they are used around a candle, or incorporated into a centerpiece.  Bare twigs reflect the season by showcasing the beauty of nature even after the leaves have fallen.

Since the leaves have begun to change and fall to the ground, it is also nice to bring them into your event.  Your groomsmen can use brightly colored leaves as boutineers or the ladies could create a corsage with them as well.  

Another trend that also commonly goes along with an organic style is a Vintage theme.  Incorporating antiques or aged items into your event will match the organic theme perfectly.  for example, programs can be made with a vintage style and typeface.  This helps set the overall tone for the event from the beginning.  

In order to manage your business as efficiently as possible, you can use Inspherio.  This allows you to spend more time planning your event and less time on meticulous paperwork.  So give Inspherio a try.  There is no credit card required to get started.  
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Use A Great Program to Manage Your Event Business

If you are in the Wedding Business or if you would consider yourself to be an Event Professional, you are probably too busy preparing for your events to worry about all the meticulous details to run your business properly. 

If this is true, you are not alone.  Thousands of event professionals around the country are not taking advantage of the full potential of their business.  This common trade-off occurs when an event professional decides to go after more work and make more money, or devote less time to new jobs, and more time organizing their business. 

Thanks to Inspherio, no one should have to choose between staying organized & staying busy with new jobs.  Inspherio allows a business owner to manage their leads from start to finish as well as manage their finances, receive online payments, send Electronic Contracts, and much more! 

With a web-based event management software program for any type of Event Professional, you can stay busy doing what you love, because Inspherio helps you take care of all the meticulous details behind the scenes.  just think of how beneficial it would be to only enter your contact's information once, and from then on, it will auto-populate on all the required forms like contracts, invoices, an agenda for the event, and more.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Is Siri Really a Personal Assistant?

We've all seen the commercials and become familiar with the robotic, yet friendly voice of "Siri" on the latest version of the iPhone 4S.  Like many Apple products, this has been something of a breakthrough in this field of technology: A mobile phone that can actually talk back.  The commercials show some great advantages of what Siri can help with.  She can provide a weather forecast, check your calendar, find a location, and more.  These are all indeed accurate depictions of what Siri can do, but in reality It is not so effortless as their commercials suggest. 
What the commercials do not show is Siri Saying "I don't know what you mean by _______" or "How about a Web Search for _______?"  This is what happens most often when I have found myself using Siri.  In these situations, I find myself wondering why I wasted the time over enunciating my words to this little toy and didn't just Google it.  After a little research, I can see that I'm not alone.  In a recent article for Fast Company, Anjali Mullany expresses her frustration with the well-intentioned iPhone feature and provides several tweets from others expressing a similar frustration. 
As Mullany points out, these miscommunications with Siri are only funny when you aren't in a hurry.  However, when you take a look at some of her examples, it can be as entertaining as   This is not to mention all the times that I accidentally turn Siri on without meaning to.
I must say in respect to Apple, that Siri has been a fun addition to the iPhone, and for the first of it's kind, it is pretty remarkable.  But I am compelled to mention that as a personal assistant, this device does indeed fall short.  Siri has very defined parameters in order to function properly, and when you really get down to it the list of the things Siri can do is rather short.  It integrates beautifully for the standard apps that the iPhone comes loaded with already: like your calendar, contact list, weather app, etc; but most of us have a much larger amount of Apps that we run on a daily basis that are not integrated with Siri. 

If you would like to take advantage of another type of personal assistant, you should try Inspherio
Inspherio is the All-In-One Tool for Event Professionals to manage their business from start to finish.
Check it out now.  There is no credit card required to try it out!
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Indian Independence Day

The Inspherio Team would like to wish a Happy Indian Independence Day to our Tech Team.  Many of our programmers and analysts for Inspherio are from India, and we would like to wish them a Happy Indian Independence Day as well as thank them for their hard work in creating such a great program. 

Did you Know?   Today marks the 65th year that the country of India has been a sovereign nation.  On August 15, 1947 India was able to achieve independence from British rule through peaceful nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience led by the Indian National Congress.
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Learn Some InspherioTerminology

As you become more familiar with Inspherio, you may notice some words or phrases that you aren't familiar with, or perhaps you aren't sure of the context in which they are used in Inspherio.  Today, we can clear up some of this with a blog all about some of the Terminology within Inspherio.

Incoming Leads:
With Inspherio, you have the ability to import your leads directly from your website, your Inspherio site, or even a .csv file.  The "Contact Me" form on your Inspherio site automatically sends any lead information to the Incoming Leads section of Inspherio.  If you already have a website you use for your business, you can embed the "Contact Me" form onto your website easily so that your website leads will be automatically brought into your Inspherio account.

Active Leads:
An Incoming Lead is automatically changed to an Active Lead when you begin interacting with them using Inspherio.  You can use Inspherio to send them pricing information, create a custom quote, and even create a contract.  

InActive Lead:
If one of your leads falls through or if you are unable to work with them, you can change a lead to "inactive."  This way, you can retain their information that has been provided for your records, but this will not be kept with your active leads or events.

Booked Events:

Once an Active Lead accepts a contract, it becomes a Booked Event.  There is nothing to manually update, it is an automatic transition just like the transition from an incoming lead to an active lead.

Past Events:

After an event is concluded, it will make it's final transition to become a Past Event.  This is another automatic transition.  There is nothing to update manually for this, but you can view all of your past events through your Inspherio Account by selecting Events >> Past Events.  You can also create reports 

Cancelled Events:

A Cancelled Event is just as it sounds.  An event becomes a Cancelled Event when a Booked Event falls through.  The difference between a Cancelled Event and and InActive Lead is the fact that a contract was sent, whereas an InActive Lead cancels before a contract is sent.

To manage your business more efficiently, and learn some more Inspherio Terminology, you can sign-up for a Inspherio account.  Inspherio is the premier Business Management Solution for Event Professionals. 
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Friday, August 10, 2012

Your Desk is a Double-Edged Sword

As a business owner, you must spend a great deal of time at your desk in order to build your business.  In this modern era, everything is moving online.  Your business prospects and colleagues are all on Facebook, your banking can be done remotely, and if you are ahead of the curve, you also use a web-based program to manage your business entirely.  

Although there are obvious reasons that it is very necessary to spend a considerable amount of time at your desk in order to run your business more efficiently, a recent article on by Jessica Stillman cites several recent scientific findings that spending extended periods of time at a desk contributes to poor health and also poor memory.  
The idea that sitting at a desk all day is bad for your health is old news, but the fact that it can actually decrease your working memory is a little frightening.  
The British Psychological Society's Research Digest explains that in a series of findings, working memory was much more accurate for all age groups while walking at their chosen speed.  

What does this mean for your business?  Obviously, you want to be in the best physical and mental condition in order to run your business appropriately.  Depending on your personality and preferences, you may be able to incorporate more activity to your typical business day through several different ways.  Not everyone can just go out and buy a
Bicycle Desk and others may not be cut out for a Donald Rumsfeld style Standing Desk.  

It is important to take short breaks to walk around in order to boost your mental health and recharge your batteries so to speak.  Studies suggest that it can especially help to
take a stroll outdoors for as little as 5 minutes to boost your mood for the day.  These simple activities throughout your day can help boost your overall performance in a similar way that taking a shower helps give you good ideas.  Sometimes when you step back and separate yourself from what you are focusing on, you can see the big picture more clearly.

Of course, when you do come back to your desk it also helps to use efficient programs to run your business.  If you are not already using the all-in-one solution to manage your business, you can try
Inspherio for Free.
Inspherio is an All-in-One business management tool for event industry professionals.
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Understated: the Latest Wedding Trend

By Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez, AFP/Getty Images
One of our biggest movie stars of the decade: Natalie Portman was recently wed to the French dancer, Benjamin Millepied.  Despite the fact that this couple certainly had the means to host an extravagant wedding with all the decadence and opulence that you would expect from a movie star's wedding, they decided to tie the knot with a relatively small crowd at a private residence in Big Sur, California. 

As Donna Freydkin wrote in a recent USA Today article about the couple's nuptials: "Portman joins an increasing number of stars who opt for nuptials not in lavish hotels or swanky resorts but in homes far away from prying eyes, invasive lenses and interlopers."

Freydkin goes on to mention several other celebrities who opted for a more intimate wedding ceremony such as Maggie Gyllenhaal & Peter Sarsgaard, Matthey McConaughey & Camilla Alves, and Drew Barrymore & Will Kopelman.  But this trend does not necessarily only apply to celebrity weddings.  Many couples throughout the country are opting for a smaller gathering without all the extravagant details we have grown to expect from modern weddings. 

A smaller setting creates a more personal and relaxed event.  Since this is becoming more and more popular, wedding vendors should not be worried if a bride tells them that they want a small wedding.  It should even be encouraged. If a client does not follow their desires, especially for their wedding, it could easily end with an unsatisfied bride with a much bigger wedding than she bargained for.  Small weddings do not necessarily mean that they will cost less.  Most couples will still want to capture their big day with photos, videos, great food, and of course a beautifully styled location. 

This Understated style fits in with other recent styles that differ from the traditional large wedding.  While this new style may be popular now, there will of course be many couples that will still want to Go Big on their big day.  As we all know, each client is different and it absolutely essential that you realize what their expectations are for their event. 

To manage your event business more efficiently, you can use Inspherio
Inspherio is an All-in-One business management tool for event industry professionals. 

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Monday, August 6, 2012

4 Inspherio Features You Should Be Using For Your Business

1)  Know Your Event Form
There is no better way to collect information from your client.  This Inspherio Exclusive Feature allows your client to provide all their information for you.  The best part of this is that none of this information has to be entered multiple times.  Inspherio automatically takes this information and uses it for any contracts and invoices for this event.

2)  Communication Tool

Inspherio Allows you to easily communicate with your client when you send them Custom Quotes, Invoices, or Contracts.  When your client views these forms on a secured online page, they have the option to send you a comment regarding their event.  These messages will be emailed to you and also show up in the Communication tab for the appropriate event in Inspherio.  

3)  Payment Gateway

After you create a Contract or an Invoice in Inspherio, you can send it to your client electronically, and they even have the option to pay it online.  Inspherio is integrated with PayPal, Google Checkout, and Authorize.NET.  Any of these tools can be linked to your Inspherio account so that you can securely accept payments online.  

4)  Importing Leads
With Inspherio, you don't have to worry about entering tedious information for your leads.  You can even have their information automatically brought over from the "Contact Me" page on your website.  It doesn't get any simpler than that.  as soon as someone submits their information, it is automatically brought over into Inspherio, and you can use it for contracts invoices, and more without having to enter the same information in several places.  You can even upload leads using an Excel or .csv file.
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Friday, August 3, 2012

Tips for Young Entrepreneurs

Starting your own business is not for the faint of heart.  You must be willing and able to put in long hours, and fully devote yourself to your new venture.  Because of the nature of this, there are more and more young people creating their own businesses.  Today's stagnant economy may also contribute to this increase in young entrepreneurs.  Many college graduates may find it easier to create a job than to find one.  

Here are a few tips for First-Time Business Owners:

Stay Focused
When you are getting started, it is very tempting to go for any opportunity that comes your way, even if it is outside your field.  When you begin working outside your area of expertise, you can get side tracked very easily.  It is much better to be great at one thing, than to be mediocre in several areas.  Remember the 10,000 hour rule that Malcolm Gladwell wrote about in "Outliers."  When referring to the success of many individuals like Bill Gates for example, Gladwell claims that the key to success is a matter of extensive practice in that field for a total of about 10,000 hours.

Frugal Beginnings
When you are first getting your business started, there is no need to worry about a fancy office, or top-of-the-line equipment.  Of course there are necessary investments to be made depending on your exact business, but it is incredibly important to keep your costs low in the beginning.  Operating efficiently on a shoestring budget gives you a strong understanding of how your business operates so that when your business becomes successful, you will understand where to make any necessary investments.

Surround Yourself with the Right People
It is becoming increasingly important to surround yourself with smart, creative people to keep your business innovative within your industry.  As Ashley Lutz writes in a recent article for "Being different is more prized than fitting in and black-and-white thinkers are being left behind."  

Depending on your business, this can advice can be applied in several different ways.  If you can afford to hire new people, this is precisely for you.  However, if you are still getting started and cannot add new people yet, it would be beneficial to make contacts with other businesses in your industry that you respect and admire.  Meet with them to discuss new ideas and get inspiration for new methods and innovations.  

To manage your business more efficiently, you can use Inspherio.
Inspherio is an All-in-One business management tool for event industry professionals.  

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Olympic Trends in Fashion and Decor

We are all excited about our athletes in the London Olympics this year.  All day long, you get the latest updates of different competitions, new records, and of course, the inevitable controversies.

In the meantime let’s take a quick look at some trends that have begun this Olympic Season.
Some fashion designers decided to contribute to the Olympic Spirit through their art. Many statues throughout London appeared to wear designer hats yesterday.
Here is a couple:

Source: UK.Lifestyle
Source: Exploring London

Wedding Cake Decorators also want to be on top of the trend. After seeing all the Olympic medal ceremonies, it is easy to think about Silver and Gold.  Here are a few beautiful Gold and Silver inspired creations:

Source: WeddingWire Olympic Week
We wish the best of luck to our US athletes in London!

Check out what Inspherio has to offer in order for YOU to stay ahead of the game and beat your competition!

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