Friday, June 26, 2015

The Art of Troubleshooting

Whether you’re a photographer, caterer, wedding planner, or any other kind of event professional, chances are you’ve run into your share of issues. Even the best make mistakes; it’s bound to happen. And sometimes, problems occur through no fault of your own -- but you’re still responsible for fixing them.

From minor missteps to unmitigated disasters, trouble happens -- and when it does, you’ve got to be a pro at the art of troubleshooting.

As an event professional, you are probably already a troubleshooting maestro, but it never hurts to have some reminders on how best to solve issues when they arise.

Here are some useful tips on how to conduct yourself when things go awry:

Use the process of elimination. Seems like a no-brainer, but when you’re stressed out you may not be thinking clearly. Don’t try to identify issues willy-nilly. Don’t jump from one guess to another -- start from the top and work your way down to the bottom.

Start easy. When an issue arises, we sometimes have the tendency to panic and to assume that the problem is a very intricate and complicated one to resolve, one that threatens to throw the entire event into chaos thereby ruining you forever! Okay, exaggeration- but sometimes we do let our minds jump to extremes too quickly.

Always begin with the easiest-to-identify tasks, even if you think you’re too good to forget them. There’s nothing more aggravating than rushing around in a sweat looking for all kinds of issues when it’s something very, very simple.

More often than not, the problem is an easy one to resolve. For instance: your speakers won’t play, and you assume the wiring has gone haywire -- and then you find that the power cord isn’t plugged in. Simple. Don't jump to the worst case scenario too soon.

Take a deep breath, and think of the potential issues that you could easily solve. If it’s not one of those, work your way down, getting more and more specific until you identify the issue.

Go through your routine. Another good way to work out issues is to think back to your routine, from the very start. Try to remember if there were any tasks you missed or any steps you skipped.

Routines can be great, but sometimes you get so used to them that you don’t think about what you’re doing -- they become automatic, which means it's easier to fail to notice when you've missed something. So think back and try to remember if you didn’t do something you should have. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’ve exhausted all of your options and you’re still lost, it’s okay to ask for help! One of your co-workers or employees may be able to help you, even if it's not their specific area of expertise. It never hurts to have an extra perspective around.

If you fly solo, call a friend or family member who might be able to help. (It is advisable to have somebody around who knows how to fix things!) Even if the person you call can't help, explaining the situation aloud may reveal solutions you couldn't find by thinking silently to yourself.

Now that you’ve freshened up on your troubleshooting skills, take a look at Inspherio, the all-in-one event professional program. Try out our free 30-day trial and see why we will drastically reduce your need for troubleshooting!
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Friday, June 19, 2015

Empathy & Solidarity: The Keys To Quality Leadership

Leadership: It’s one of those words you hear so often it almost fails to retain any meaning. Most messages on leadership are unoriginal, platitudinous, and generic. 

And so, when you’re called into a conference room for an “inspirational” speech about leadership, you know exactly the buzzword-ridden script you’re going to hear, and you end up unmoved by the whole affair.

Perhaps it is time to take a fresh look at this old word, with its tired speeches and cliche homilies, and think about how we can rejuvenate it and bring it back to life, to relevance, to meaning. 

So how exactly does one become a good leader? 

It starts with empathy and solidarity -- two words not always associated with leadership. 

The best leaders look out for those around them, take care of those who have given them the honor of being followed in the first place. You’re in a position of trust, and that is a great responsibility to bear. It is difficult indeed to feel alone, rudderless, and lost at sea at your desk. We've all been there. If there’s no impression of camaraderie, an employee is not going to be inspired to do her best work. Making a connection with employees helps to keep them from feeling detached and alienated.

The most important thing a good leader can do is express to her employees their value -- and, even better, to truly believe in their value. After all, the employees were hired for a reason. If you view your employees as merely bodies that do work and not as unique, skilled people, they'll know it and will perform accordingly.

The best leaders look to grow the potential in their employees. They don't give blanket tasks to people: they find, recognize, and develop employees’ specific skill sets. In the long run, it’s better for management, employees, and for the overall business. If you can make your employees feel that they are more than cogs in the machine, that they are valued for their individuality and uniqueness, they’ll be more likely to come to work feeling like they have a purpose beyond the next paycheck. 

A good rule of thumb is to treat your employees as well as you would your customers. The result will be a thriving and happy business. Don’t promise stellar customer service if you’re not willing to extend the same courtesies to your own employees. It’s hypocritical and counterproductive. Foster an environment of positivity instead and you'll reap the benefits. Happy employees make happy customers, and happy customers means more sales, and more sales means more money -- a win-win-win!

To be sure, being a leader sometimes means letting people go. Sometimes you’ve got to make tough decisions that might not be popular and that might hurt feelings. But do what you can to empathize anyway, even when letting go of an employee. Be honest, but tactful. Give advice, but without condescension. As always, a little kindness goes a long way. There's no use in producing bitterness and resentment. 

Long story short: take the time to empathize with your employees. Treat them right and they'll reward you with increased productivity.  It's not always easy to be empathetic, but it's worth the effort. It’s hard work being a good leader, but you’re up to the task.

You can get a head start on being a good leader by getting organized with Inspherio. Manage employee payroll, appointments, tasks, and more all in one easy-to-access program. Try our free 30-day trial and see how easy it is to manage your workforce with Inspherio!
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Friday, June 12, 2015

Don't Hawk What You Can't Handle: A Lesson In Customer Service

Any business owner knows that advertising your business is essential for growth. Event planners especially understand the importance of communicating to potential clients all of the excellent products and services they offer.

A promise or a guarantee goes a long way in business, especially for potential clients or customers who may be fed up with those they have done previous business with.

But beware! While a great way to give potential clients the incentive to use your services, promises and guarantees can also backfire if made without complete confidence. Either way, promises and guarantees raise the stakes significantly -- you may benefit from this kind of marketing, or you may find yourself with a lot of upset customers.

Don’t promise extravagant customer service if you can’t afford to give extravagant customer service. This is not to say that you aren’t doing your best to serve your customers, or that you shouldn’t have confidence in your business. You absolutely should. But if you're making grandiose promises that you can’t deliver on, your customers are going to be especially miffed and could possibly feel as if they were tricked.

The best policy is to be honest -- honest about what your business can and can't offer. Remember what you can handle and what you can offer, and make sure that what you can handle and what you can offer are of the highest quality possible. If you offer a good service and you are there for your customers 24/7, then let them know this! However, don't tell them you'll drive up to their window at three in the morning with a late night snack. (Okay, an exaggeration, but you get my point.)

Overextending yourself can result in frustration for you, your employees, and your clients. Getting feet in the door is no good if you can't deliver on your promises. So do what you can and do it well. As time goes on, you will grow, and so too will your ability to offer more and more to your clients.

For all of your event management and marketing needs, visit Inspherio offers everything you need to plan, organize, and market your business -- check out our free 30-day trial and see for yourself. I make no false promises!
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Friday, June 5, 2015

Welcome to the Future: Consolidate With Inspherio

It’s 2015 -- the future has arrived, but we’re all a little bummed that there are no flying cars, hover boards, or little pills containing whole meals. (Okay, maybe the last one doesn’t sound so great, but still, we expected more. Come on future!)

Event professionals know that to compete in today’s day-in-age, being technologically connected is an absolute must. It’s 2015, but there are still many event professionals juggling their records, correspondence, marketing, and accounting in several different programs that are tied to several different devices. 

Where are the magic pills for the event industry?

The advantages of consolidating your information into one program are manifold. If you are wasting time jumping from program to program, with client and event information strewn across platforms, then you are going to fall behind the competition. 

Consolidating your information frees up a lot of time and energy better spent improving your business, expanding your customer base, and advertising your services.

We may not have meal pills yet, but we do have Inspherio, which consolidates all of your event planning needs into one easy-to-use, cloud-based program. Think of all that information you carry around for your business -- how are you carrying it? How many programs do you currently use to manage your business?

Inspherio takes the weight of multiple programs off of your shoulders and gives you the power to create, access, and edit all event related information from your fingertips. Manage your leads, events, accounts, contacts, marketing, correspondence, payroll, and more in one convenient location. 

Here are just a few of the many useful features Inspherio offers:

  • Leads - Create, import, and manage potential clients -- and keep their contact information all in one place.
  • Events - Keep track of all of your past, present, and future event information, including contracts, package pricing, itinerary, appointments, and more.
  • Accounts - Manage all of your invoices, payments, credits, refunds, and more -- all of your financial records accessible in one place.
  • Marketing - Reach large audiences with email marketing campaigns and create convenient email templates for whatever purpose you like.
  • Reports - View a variety of detailed reports concerning your account activity, your contact information, and your event history.

It’s 2015. Isn’t it about time you had a program that does it all? Try out our free 30-day trial and give the future of event-planning a try.
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