5 Ways To Save On Your Holiday Party

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5 Ways To Save On Your Holiday Party

Most corporate holiday party planners face the same challenges as they go about organizing the annual holiday party. How do I create a cheerful and festive party environment without appearing unprofessional or wasteful? How do I emphasize business over frivolity while still making it an event people actually want to attend? How do I control the cost and quantity of alcohol served?

It’s that time of year again when planners are busy tackling these issues while putting together an event to remember.  Get busy and your check lists and consider these cost saving tips:

One: Choose a venue that allows you to bring in your own food and drinks.  And it doesn’t have to mean using the bosses’ home. There are many creative event venues that allow just that, such as Hub 925 on Sand Lake Road’s Restaurant Row.  After all, why pay $15 for a glass of wine when you can buy the whole? And it’s easy to find great wines with online resources like wikihow.com. On a party of 50 people this will save an average of around $1,000. If you’re worried about liability, hire a catering company such as Cater Nation to help you find the resources to staff the bar.  Many catering and bar companies don’t require that you buy the beverages from them.

Two: Get creative with decorations. Ideally you could choose a venue that is already decorated.  This saves you time, energy and of course, money. Venues such as Hub 925 in Dr. Phillips come fully decorated making the party planning a snap. Warm lighting can also create a comfortable atmosphere without piling on the cost.

Three: Find a Sponsor. Chances are there are a lot of companies that already do business with your company or wish they could.  Get creative in crafting a win-win relationship with a new or existing vendor. There are plenty of online resources to help you find a sponsor. Think about who would benefit from gaining exposure to your company or employees. The trick is to execute this is a sophisticated manner that does not come off as cheesy.  Many of your vendors simply want to stay in your good graces and may pay for the food in exchange for a well placed sign that says “XYZ wishes to thank our partner ABC for their generous sponsorship of this event”.

Four: Bring your own music.  iPods, phones and laptops make it easy to create a great playlist and an inexpensive wireless speaker will give it a strong professional sound during your event. During the holiday season a good DJ will run you between $500 and $1,000.  Chances are somewhere in your organization you’ve got a music buff that would love to make the playlist!

Five: Choose the Right Foods. A good caterer can save you 25 – 40% just by tweaking the menu with less expensive ingredients. Passing appetizers can also reduce costs as it allows you to control the quantity offered.

 When booking your party this year, remember a little research and planning can go a long way to a successful and economical party. Cheers!

 

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The Dream Wedding Stroll at Hub 925

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The Dream Wedding Stroll at Hub 925

At HUB925 and the Venezia Plaza in Dr. Phillips, J&D Events hosted a bridal stroll to help match the brides to the vendors they need to pull off their Dream Wedding. From Caterers to Dentists, Jewelry Artists to DJs, wedding vendors packed the plaza to show the brides just how their product or service could help create their fantasies.

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3 Steps to Accelerate Serendipity and Grow Your Business

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3 Steps to Accelerate Serendipity and Grow Your Business

Serendipity is defined by Merriam-Webster as “luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for.” When this happens we consider it a happy coincidence. You are looking for someone who specializes in social media to help your business and you strike up a conversation at your son’s soccer game only to learn the supportive parent next to you every Saturday does just this for a living.

We tend to write these things off as fortunate happenstance, but with three simple steps you can accelerate this process to make more and better connections and drive your business forward even faster. 

1.  Be purposeful about your networking and social time. Put yourself in places where you not only hope to bump into a beneficial contact but that you actually increase your chances of this happening organically.  A coworking space is a great example.  A coworking space, such as Hub 925 in Dr. Phillips is a community of professionals, comprised mostly of startup companies, entrepreneurs, and freelancers.  By working even just a few days a week alongside like minded professionals, you increase your chance of meeting people who hold valuable business connections. Social and networking events organized by coworking spaces, the local chamber of commerce and professional development groups provide a wealth of potential connections.  Instead of waiting for a happy coincidence to occur, go make it happen!

2. Learn to recognize opportunity.  Often times we go to a networking event, have a conversation and when the person doesn’t look like a potential customer, we move on. When you get into a conversation, train your brain to ask “how can I help this person” and “how can this person help me?”  It is important to note that you have to genuinely care about helping the other person or you won’t really get very far.  People are quick to recognize the obnoxious out for yourself networker who works the room like a fisherman trying to fill his net. Be genuine with your conversations, and give thought to how you can provide value to the other person.

What’s more, think not only in terms of “can this person be a new customer for me”, but also “can this person put in in front of potential customers?” Often times the best connections don’t even end up being clients but can introduce you to clients. (See case study below)

When it comes to making connections, don’t just wait for the light bulb to go off, look for the on switch!

3. Make a Plan. When you think of a potential connection and about how you might help each other, suggest a plan of action.  Set a follow up appointment. Tell the other person how you might be able to help them. Wasting a serendipitous opportunity is like letting the fruit die on the vine.  It’s not enough to have a conversation and hope something comes of it.  Make a plan and follow through.

 

Serendipity Case Study:

A local coworking space, Hub 925, decides to host professional development workshops to support their community of coworkers and attract potential customers.  (#1 Be purposeful). During a seminar on social media strategy, Hub 925 Co-owner Piper Hood strikes up a conversation with local event planner Dawn Steeger of J and D events. After a short conversation it seems Dawn is not a great fit for coworking but in the course of the conversation, the two women hatch the mutually beneficial idea of hosting a “Wedding Stroll” in Dr. Phillips with J and D Events serving as the event planner and promoter and Hub 925 serving as the home base for the event.  (#2 learn to recognize opportunity). This gives J and D events a foothold into the exclusive Dr. Phillips area and Hub 925 the opportunity to show off their venue for Bridal Showers, Rehearsal Dinners and Special Events.  After a few planning sessions (#3 Make a Plan), the Dr. Phillips Bridal Stroll at Plaza Venezia is off and running.

Sunday July 31st, Hub 925 will be at the center of the first ever Bridal Stroll in the exclusive and popular Plaza Venezia.  Brides- to- be will enjoy a bridal shower/bachelorette party set-up in Hub 925 (showcasing Hub 925’s event side); access to over 30 businesses who can help make their wedding dreams come true; and food, dessert, beverage and cocktail tastings.

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Your Pitch: An Often Neglected Piece of Your Marketing Strategy

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Your Pitch: An Often Neglected Piece of Your Marketing Strategy

Let’s face it, small business owners wear a lot of hats.  It can be hard to prioritize and sometimes we just plain don’t want to do the things we’re not good at. 

At Hub 925, a coworking space in Dr. Phillips, small business owners and entrepreneurs gathered to attend the “Perfecting Your Pitch” seminar presented by Nancy Young of Virtual Work FX. Young was able to use her coworking membership at Hub 925 to provide a valuable informational session to other Hub members as well as non-member attendees while promoting her company’s Virtual Work Solutions.

A pitch is a 10 to 60 second verbal commercial that describes who you are, what you do, who you help and how you help them.  Whew….articulating that in 60 seconds is no easy task! Young walked the attendees through how to incorporate their personality, passion and hopefully a little humor into a consistent and compelling brand message. Those in attendance were able to polish and practice their pitch as well as get feedback from other attendees.

Most attendees had not considered the idea that their pitch needs to emphasize the problem their business solves and how they do that better than the competition.  Also, creating a hook, such as a rhyme, humorous tidbit, or rhetorical question grabs the listener right away and makes you memorable.

Sheri Dixon, Founder of Keep Her Safe, and Hub 925 member, used the information learned to fine tune her tag line into a more compelling way to get across her message. Another Hub 925 member, Brian Collins, Founder of WD With Me, garnered some valuable feedback about incorporating the idea that his specialty lies in getting business people to look at and solve problems in ways they had not thought of before. By incorporating this idea at the front end of his pitch, he was able to make a more compelling first impression.  William Perry, founder of EVVUS noted that even though he is a professional marketer, he was still able to incorporate some of the tactics from the seminar to fine tune his approach. 

Overall, the consensus was that “The Pitch” is a very neglected area for most small business owners and entrepreneurs. Participants walked away with a well thought out, purposeful first draft of their elevator pitch along with a new respect for what those 60 seconds can mean for their business.

 

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Eventive Tampa Bay Expands to Orlando

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Eventive Tampa Bay Expands to Orlando

If you’re looking to increase business in a new geographic area, which can also increase your company’s SEO with a second address, consider joining a coworking space which is what Entrepreneur, Claire Underhill, of Eventive Tampa Bay decided to do.  Eventive LLC is an event planning company that specializes in unique and creatively-focused work and also has acquired marketing and artwork assignments due to the design talent of Claire Underhill, its founder. She stated that instead of incurring additional overhead expenses and opening an office outside her home in St. Petersburg, she preferred the diversification of location found by joining a coworking space in Orlando and since much of her work is done on portable laptops and by cell phone anyway.

Claire often visits Orlando and after selling an original art piece for the Mi Casa Tequila Restaurant at Rosen Shingle Creek, she decided to join Hub 925 when it opened because of its location in Dr. Phillips near I-drive, the Orange County Convention Center and the Theme Parks. Claire offered to showcase her artwork at Hub 925, so if you want a sense of her capabilities, check out the frosted glass trains on the phone booths or the graffiti Hub 925 logo above one of the subway benches.

Eventive will be posting its prices on Hub 925’s website as a beta test of Hub 925 introducing its members’ pricing menus as an added feature when joining the space. So, if you are a progressive solopreneur or entrepreneur, you may want to consider these and other benefits of joining a coworking space in a nearby city and working alongside like-minded professionals to expand your target market like Claire did.

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Where's Your Social Media Presence?

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Where's Your Social Media Presence?

If you're in business and don't have a "Social Media Presence", it's time to find it. These entrepreneurs are starting to learn more about social media and the importance of having a good social presence through a FREE, interactive Social Media panel discussion series being held at Hub 925. 

Thanks to Hub 925 members for attending: Adora English of Media 2x3, Kristin Danganan of 6th Power, Nancy Young of Virtual WorkFX, and Steve Diamond of Focal Point Coaching. 

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