NETWORK LIKE CRAZY, pay attention to fashion, and don't be afraid to admit you're still searching. These were some of the nuggets of wisdom shared by 15 event industry leaders at this year's Leadership Lunch, held for 134 guests on the Carrousel yacht during The Special Event 2005 in Miami. Here, a taste of the topics:
TOPIC: HOW TO ACHIEVE NATIONAL PROMINENCE
Andrea Michaels, Extraordinary Events, Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Know the places you'll be working like you know your own town.
Spend a ton of money on marketing and promotion so you establish a viable presence.
Don't do what you don't know how to do — ever.
Network like crazy so you meet people everywhere.
David Spear, CSEP, Classic Effects, Madisonville, La.
Seek national and international events; don't wait for them to come to you. Volunteer to gain a foothold, then be ready when the big break comes along. And tell everyone you travel!
Get training, experience and certification so you can act like you belong there. Take on an “all-star” mentality — you are there because you are good, but so is the rest of the team, so treat them with respect.
Branding is important: design your promotional materials to say that you are professional, established and a major player. It may cost a bit extra, but the return on investment will come.
TOPIC: DEVELOPING THE LEADERSHIP MIND-SET
Thomas Gifford, ThomasG, Sonoma, Calif.
It's OK to be “lost,” that is, not knowing what we want from life. You don't know the answer until you know the answer; what you can know is that if you seek, you will find.
When evaluating something, don't ask whether it is right or wrong, but whether it is working or not working.
Don't waste time on guilt and remorse when you realize you have not been doing the things you need to do to get the results you want. Be kind to yourself and move on.
Bonny Katzman, BK Design, Boston
Ever year, write in a notebook — not on a little Post-it note — a committed list of specific goals. Not, “Get new business this year,” but “I will target five movie companies in L.A.”
Realize when it's time to end a client relationship. Your business grows and changes, and so do your clients.
Enter award competitions; they are a great return on your time and money via free publicity … and can't international award winners charge more for their services?
TOPIC: HOW TO STAY AHEAD OF THE PACK
Cheryl Fish, MGM Mirage Events, Las Vegas
Staying fresh is key in our world. I use fashion, trends, color, furnishings and high-society runway looks to infuse my events with what is new and trendy.
Tim Lundy, CSEP, Distinctive Design Events, Highlands, N.C.
I put myself out front with a professional association — I chose ISES, but it could be any national or international association, such as ICA, NACE, IFEA, HSMA, MPI.
I also became a speaker. The Special Event was a big supporter of me and my company in the early years.
Become a participant in committees for conference events, association work — get involved in the process.
Cher Przelomski, CSEP, The Planning Factory International, Wilmington, Del.
When it comes to marketing and promotion, “free” is good. One Valentine's Day, we sent a beautiful cake to the on-air personality at a major radio station, who was so impressed that he mentioned the company during his broadcast. Creative thinking helped drive our marketing to thousands of people at virtually no cost.
Richard Aaron, CSEP, CMP, BizBash Media, New York
Have vision at all times. Where are you leading the company in the next few years? You must have a plan. Without one, progress will be slower and success less certain.
Study models of successful companies in magazines such as Fast Company to help expand your ideas.
Build partnerships to more quickly expand in your growing market.
Be a master of marketing; take risks and use bold ideas along the way.
For a complete recap of The Special Event 2005, see pages 24-46 in this issue.