Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Snow Days: Every Event Professional's Frenemy

So, you’re snowed in. You've got events to plan and this means you have contracts to get signed, clients to meet, vendors to contact, invoices to send--the list is, well, endless, and Mother Nature has put a real damper (and a frozen one, at that) on your workflow.

Snow Storms are an unwanted visitor that many have been forced to welcome and the stress of things being out of your control can be a bit overwhelming. But here’s the good news: with Inspherio, you’re still in control. This snow storm is just another obstacle on the event planning path, and it’s important to remind yourself that you WILL overcome it.

Inspherio is right there on your desktop and laptop, cell phone and tablet. It’s here and there, everywhere, just for you and your business. You have to cancel that client coffee meeting because you’re not quite sure which large lump under all that snow is your vehicle--Inspherio has your calendar, safe and sound, ready to reschedule that meeting AND send an update to your client alerting him or her of the change.

You still need to make the employee schedule for the wedding your company is in charge of next week--Inspherio has the list of your professionals and is waiting to put them where you need them.

The bride needs to sign that contract you drafted so you can get the ball rolling for her upcoming wedding, and she’ll be wanting a copy of every single invoice--Inspherio’s got you covered. Click send and you've done your part. Have your client sign contracts electronically, view and pay their invoices through their client portal, and keep their events progressing. If anything, the bride might be the only hassle you’re dealing with, because Inspherio is here to keep things nice and simple for you.

Maybe you’re all caught up on work, all events schedules are in place and clients are satisfied, and you’re still stuck inside but determined to conquer your business from your bed. Now’s the time to hop on Inspherio and set up an email marketing campaign and reach out to leads. You aren't the only one snowed in and it’s highly likely there are potential clients out there trapped like you, checking and rechecking their email hoping for something exciting to happen. Be that excitement and let them know you’re ready to plan that event they were dreading doing on their own!

Now take a deep breath and relax; we’re here to help you power through #snOMG! Check out how Inspherio can you manage your business.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Tips From Top Professionals To Start Your Own Wedding Planning Business

If you’re organized, driven, creative, and don’t mind the occasional Bridezilla, there is no better time than right now to start your own Wedding Planning business. According to the Association of Bridal Consulting, there are 2.4 million weddings each year in the United States forming a $165 billion industry, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects planning professions to increase at a faster than average rate.

You know what that means, don’t you? If you have an extreme amount of ambition and a passion for romance, beauty, soothing down some ruffled feathers (literally and business(ly)), and you’ve been thinking of starting your own wedding business, it’s finally time and we’re here to help! With the assistance of some wonderful tips from industry professionals, here is some vital information you will need to start your own Wedding Planning business.

Learn The Ropes

Whether you’re “go for the gold” or “slow and steady,” there is a lot to be said for gaining experience by working as an on-site event coordinator for another company before starting your own. Industry professional, Lisa Vorce of Oh, How Charming, spoke to Entrepreneur.com and highly recommends that people intern or shadow an established event planner. Vorce says, “It’s so they can really understand the nuts and bolts of the event-planning world. It's not always as glamorous as many people think it is, so it's extremely important that prospective event producers truly understand what they're getting into.”

Learning the business while employed by a professional is a great way to gain the necessary experience in a stable environment without the added risks that would exist in owning your own business. It may even be in your best interest to take some educational programs for accreditation to learn about the various aspects of running a Wedding Planning business. (Here are some good resources: Association of Bridal Consultants, the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants,June Wedding, Inc., and Weddings Beautiful Worldwide.)

Make Your Business Legitimate and Legal

You know that attorney friend who always says, "This is not legally binding information," when you're at lunch asking for advice? Well, now it's time to get it legally bound. Consult with an Attorney that can help you structure your business type (sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation, etc.) and also help you register your business correctly in the state of your choice. If you can, ask for their assistance in drafting your client Contracts and your business Terms & Conditions. It will be worth it in the long run.

Develop A Brand That Reflects You

Clients will be trusting your creativity, style, and ideas when creating their perfect day, so it is important that both you and your company's image--from its name to its logo and branding--demonstrates a style that reflects you as a business owner. Spend the time and upfront costs on branding, business cards, and a great looking website. Women’s Toolbox highly suggests, “you should always look your best and keep a composed and professional demeanor.” Vorce adds, “only associate yourself with projects that you believe in and that you'll be proud of.”

Set Your Goals, Build A Plan, Execute!

When you're your own boss, you'll need to set goals and make a plan--and see it all through. If you want your wedding planning business to grow into a successful career, it is essential that you follow the plans you set in place. "The earnings potential for wedding consultants is awesome," says Richard Martel of the Association for Wedding Professionals International. So, you might really want to start that plan now and stick to it!

Create a Marketing Plan. Advertise, list yourself on sites such as WeddingWire and social media groups, create a blog and become an industry or niche authority. Just put yourself out there.

Choose the Right Software and Technology. With plenty of options out there, it’s virtually impossible to be efficient in the wedding industry without the right technology. You just have to find the right business management tool that has every feature you’re looking for, like Inspherio, the all-in-one event business management solution.

Set a Networking Plan. Join groups, meetups, and schedule the time to meet with local vendors and create goals (ex: meet with 10 florists, 10 caterers, 10 photographers, etc, every month). Hit the pavement!

Create A Portfolio & Network

It is extremely common to give your planning services away for free, or at least heavily discounted, when you’re first starting out. This is the time to gain the experience and create the portfolio. People are trusting you so you have to work even harder; but it’s all for good reviews, word of mouth, networking, and the start of your budding career.

Here is where you create and hone your skills and niche. There are always people that are looking and willing to pay for unique and valuable services--if you can, thrive from this and you will see results. Sharon Hill, of Sharon Hill Events, suggests you “take the time to learn all that you can in your area and become an expert.”

Don't Sweat The Small Stuff

Among other things, you need to be a negotiator, a diplomat, an innovator, a concierge, a confidante, a therapist, a strategist, a problem solver, a cheerleader, a producer, a designer, a team leader, a listener, an advocate and a conductor. But, most important, you need be able to manage heightened emotions and stress, all while smiling the whole time. No matter how much planning you put into your business and weddings, plans will inevitably change, something will mess up, and you, your team, and your clients will freak out. Power through, it’s your job now. Set things right and work hard so that the day runs smoothly. Trust yourself and if you have a team, trust them, too.

“If you're going to go for it, do it for the right reasons. Be gracious and humble. Surround yourself with a quality team of vendors who share a similar philosophy and work ethic as you. Treat each event with the same amount of care and passion as if it were your own wedding or special occasion, and you'll have a great recipe for a successful event,” said Vorce.

Building your own wedding planning business can be tough, but it can also be extremely exciting. Take advantage of the resources around you, such as Inspherio, and give yourself an edge over the competition. Inspherio’s all-in-one event technology allows you to manage your leads from start to finish as well as manage your finances, receive online payments, send and sign electronic contracts, schedule employees, and so much more! See for yourself why Inspherio is the top choice for professionals in the wedding and event planning industry to manage and take charge of business.

Now, go off and make your dreams (and the bride and groom’s) come true!

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Blogs Every #EventProf Should Be Reading Now….Right Now!

I’m sure you know that the Event Industry is ever changing and keeping up on recent news and discussions is vital to your career. Even though social media is not technically a make or break matter, if you are using social to market yourself and company, the blogosphere is a must for finding useful content to share with friends, fans, and followers. If you’re not perusing for others, you should be checking in just to stay up to date on what is happening in your industry.

While I am one of the last few who still checks out books at the local library -- and proud of it -- the interwebs holds that advantageous edge of being extremely current. Real time Twitter discussions, Facebook shares, or Reddit rabbit holes can lead to blog posts within minutes! Okay, maybe hours. I know you’re busy.

True quality event industry bloggers are field leaders and usually highly experienced event veterans who write about all the things that are on other event professionals minds. From non sugar coated opinions to objective news, these are, in my opinion, are some of the top blogs (in no particular order, I swear) that every event professional should be reading...probably every day.

Ah, Liz King. This passionate tech-savvy event planner provides fun and influential commentary on event planning trends and tips, event technology and social media, and solutions for the everyday problems faced by event planners. From event inspo, videos riddled with advice, and quick read but full of great content articles, TechsyTalk is a daily must.
Velvet Chainsaw
Powerhouse Jeff Hurt doesn’t shy away from controversial topics and I can’t get enough. VCC showcases entertaining and thought provoking pieces that truly keep focus on great advice and ideas for event and meeting professionals. If you’re looking for innovative and a fresh take on taking your business up a notch, this one is for you.
Event Manager Blog 
As one of the first event professional blogs to come about, EMB made a name quickly and it stuck around. Discussing event technology trends, social media, event concepts and fun new ideas, Event Manager Blog always keeps you Event Planners in mind.From guest posts and a plethora of infographics, to a large innovative startup community, this team covers all of their bases. Even better, resources are easy to find on this comprehensive and well organized site so you have no trouble checking it out on the day to day.
I’m a BizBasher, hardcore. This hub is a wealth of knowledge, news, creative ideas and tips that even the most experienced of experienced event professionals visit for ideas and practices to implement into their own business. Added bonus: you can sign up for an account and create an “ideabook,” similar to Pinterest, and save articles and images to your profile. Frequenting BizBash is a no-brainer.
Event Tech Brief
Home of the weekly newsletter, the team over at ETB is extremely event and technology driven. Filled with insight into emerging trends and what the future eventtech holds, EventTechBrief was created to assist event professionals with choosing and purchasing technology through careful dissection and review by this savvy group. ETB’s goal is to assist your professionals and move the industry into the future, watch this one like a hawk.
Event Planning Blueprint
She says it herself, Melanie Woodward is all about connecting event professionals with new ideas and tools to help them success. Yes, please. Sharing a diverse collection of things she has learned in her years, this blog is chock full of tips, suggestions, motivation, and so much more that any up and coming, or even established, event professionals would need to grow their business. I enjoy her straight forward but inspiring attitude towards a business she clearly loves. It’s a great jump off point for anyone in the industry.
To me, Bizzabo is one of those perfect blogs that is easy to navigate and fun to read, while still being extremely informative. Keeping event professionals up-to-date on new event technology, planning tips, trends, books to read, seo guides, event promotion ideas, and so so so much more, Bizzabo is an easy and great daily read for everyone in the event industry.
Well known event professional and conference expert, Keith Johnson, tells it like it is. They claim, and I believe it, that they cut through the clutter and noise so that event industry individuals can learn about new planning trends, marketing, technology, and thinking without having the wool pulled over their eyes. With great tips for any type of event planner, PlannerWire only serves up the best making them a must read.

While not technically a blog, it most definitely deserves a spot on this list. All these great sites we have listed provide you event professionals with so much content, it’s likely you might miss some. With the help of Eventprofs, you have a fighting chance to catch it all. Gathering the most popular event content from Twitter, this site is invaluable and keeps you up-to-date with the latest content and trends. If you don’t have time - which is likely - to check in to every blog, visit Eventprofs to view it all in one glance!

There is so much great content out there for the event industry and so many great sites and blogs that I just couldn’t fit them all. Here are some other (again, in no particular order) great sites that you need to frequent to come full circle on all event trends, technology, tips, and more. Show some love to your fellow industry brethren, check a blog out.

Corbin Ball’s Tech Talk Blog

William Gallus’ Gallus Events

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