Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Event Pros, What To Accomplish During The Off Season

We are sometimes asked, what do event professionals do during the off season?  The answer is that we continue to stay busy but in different ways.

This post is really meant for our colleagues in the event and wedding industries but it may also be of interest to the broader population including brides and grooms, event planners and others in the field, so here we go!..

In northeast Ohio, where we operate, the busy season for us starts in late April and continues strong right to the end of the year.  Our slower season is January, February and March, although we still typically have a number of events to fulfill.

First let's acknowledge that for serious event pros, our busy season takes a lot out of us. We're constantly on the go, traveling from one event to the other, conducting planning meetings with clients, setting up, performing and taking down equipment, etc.  It's a long busy marathon that doesn't seem to end but when it does, we're truly exhausted. And I can say this because I've been in the industry for over 25 years now, the older one gets the more it seems to take its toll.

A funny thing happens, however, when we finally do enter our slow time of the year. After a couple of weeks of recovery in the way of sleep, rest, and maybe a short vacation, we begin to get antsy for the business again, don't we?  We begin to get excited about the coming year and we try to prepare in the best way possible.

Here are some important tasks for event professionals to accomplish during the off season:

Respond to inquiries and book events - Many bookings for the year happen during the down time, so we're actually really quite busy responding to inquiries, answering questions, meeting with prospective clients and generating contracts. The goal here, of course, is to fill up our calendar for the upcoming year!

Review your pricing strategy - If you are going to change your prices, now is the time to do it.  Are you adding new packages and prices?  How will this affect your marketing strategy?

Review your marketing strategy - If you are going to change your marketing strategy, make these changes while you can before things get busy again.  Does your website need an update?  Are you going to do more or less paid online marketing?  What kind of traditional marketing will you do, if any?  Review your print material, are these documents still accurate?

Prepare for the upcoming tax season - Consult your tax preparer, issue tax related documents to employees and contracted workers.  Gather and organize receipts, copies of contracts, etc.  Make changes in your book keeping routines if you need to in order to have a smoother year ahead.

Repair or upgrade equipment - The field is tough on equipment.  During the year you have probably noticed a need to repair or purchase new equipment.  Perhaps you finished the last few weeks by using your back-up stuff because something was dropped or broken but you really don't want to start the new season with back-up equipment.  Be sure everything works perfectly going out of the gate!

Communicate with your insurance broker - Annually, make or update a written list of equipment inventory (as detailed as possible) and send it off to your insurance broker.  Savvy event pros will also include photos for good measure.  You want to be sure they know what kind of stuff you own and how much it all costs.

Communicate with your lawyer - Send your lawyer a brief email describing any new services or assets that you've added recently or intend to add to your business.  For example make sure he or she knows how many people you employ, describe your services, especially anything new you are adding.  It would also be a good idea to have your lawyer do a review of the language in your contract.

Communicate with staff members - It's important to communicate with employees and others who help you operate your business in order to share with them your strategy for the upcoming year.  What will be expected of them?  How will their respective roles change?  Are you adding products or services?  Will training be necessary to learn about new equipment, software, etc.  Be sure everyone is on the same page about what you want the business to accomplish when things speed up again.

Back up files - You should be doing frequent, periodic back-ups of electronic files during the year but at least annually, be sure to have a back-up system in place.

Prepare for bridal fairs - If you participate in bridal fairs and other such gatherings you know how much work is involved in setting up a booth or table, preparing marketing materials, etc.  Be ready with these items so that you can concentrate on being with guests and prospective clients and not running around at the last minute!

Get serious about your health - Many people begin their new year's resolutions during the off season and this is a good time to get serious about your health.  As an entrepreneur, your health is an asset of the business.  When asked about their biggest fears, self employed people will often say staying healthy is always a big concern.  They know that if they should get sick or injured, their business could suffer affecting their ability to make a living.  So now is a good time to establish diet, exercise and sleep habits to promote better health for the whole year 'round.

Well, I hope these suggestions are helpful.  Please let me know of other tasks to accomplish during the slow season that I may have forgotten to list.  I will add them in future updates to the article.  Best wishes for a successful year!

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1 comment:

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