Events; New Trends, New Technologies, the Future…

Since the creation of this blog we have posted different areas of the event planning industry that affect events; from trends to how to acquire the money for the creation of a new event planning company. But, what’s next? Are events going to survive the economic depression? Are there any new ideas? New trends?

Gladly, I can say that the event planning industry is a thriving one worldwide. It is considered a billion dollar industry, with a stable spot within the entertainment industry. However, like everything else new trends, topics and ideas are being established in order to appeal to a more technologically and modern audiences.

One of the most modern and popular trend are Green events. Previously, we explored how trade-shows and conventions are incorporating the green trend in order to be more environmentally conscious regarding their displays and presentations. Another green trend that has emerged is green catering. Caterers have boosted their revenues with eco-friendly practices. Not only are they helping the environment but also they are appealing to a green customer with the desire of having an environmentally friendly event.

According to the article, Green Grows the Greenbacks: Some caterers Boost Revenue with Eco-Friendly Practices, on the magazine Special Events, reported that

“Though the green practices themselves—such as cutting energy use and trash-hauling costs—tend to be revenue-neutral, Cuccaro says, the big payoff comes from green-minded clients. "We definitely pick up more business as a result" of green practices, he says.”

This is a very good service event planners can suggest their clients who are on board with green events. Not only are helping the environment but we are creating conscious events that are modern and appealing to new modern clients. New trends are always emerging is up to event planners to be constantly researching new ways and techniques to create one-of-a kind events that are appealing to the always changing entertainment industry.

As a recent college graduate I have learn the importance of research and thinking outside of the box. It is important to understand the industry, know what and how things are being done. This is the only way to make yourself stand out from the competition, in addition this way you or your company will always have a competitive edge. Learning about all the different components that make a successful event has definitely given me an advantage over those already established companies that have stayed behind.


Investors Wanted for New Business Opportunities.

As we all know the business industry is currently undergoing a global crisis. However, investors and other investing organizations are willing to fund potential ideas. Amazingly, there are numerous ways of acquiring funding for a new venture or for expanding already successful businesses. Sometimes funding will come from the most unexpected places; all you have to do is do the correct research.

For the last couple of posts we have established the importance of having and/or creating a business plan. We have also stated that one of the most important areas of the business plan is the financials. Now, after completing your business plan your next step is to begin looking for investors. 

After doing some research myself, I have stumble upon some organizations that have very successful financing opportunities. The National Committee Investment Fund (NCIF) is one of these organizations. The National Community Investment Fund is a non-profit, private equity trust that invests in banks, thrifts and credit unions that generate both financial and social returns. To be considered a CDBI, an institution must focus a substantial part of its business on low- to moderate-income people or communities.

“NCIF invests in CDBIs that display both strong financial and social performance. To determine if an institution meets these criteria, NCIF evaluates the institution using a Development Impact analysis as well as an internal CAMEL analysis. In addition, the institution must also provide a planned exit strategy.”

The CAMEL analysis is explained in detail on the diagram to the left. If you meet NCIF’s qualifications make sure you look for more information on the requirements and the steps to take in order to be funded by the NCIF. For more information on the national Committee Investment Fund you can click here.

Another help for small businesses, especially Micro-businesses is the AEO, Association for EnterpriseOpportunity. AEO is a national membership organization and voice of microenterprise development in the United States.  AEO's management team is focused on working with our members and partners to pilot new initiatives. One of the new initiatives is the Catalyst Initiative;

If one in three microbusinesses in the United States hired an additional employee, the US would be at full employment. If this possibility is to become a reality, the economy must continue to show signs of a rebound so that confidence recovers, demand grows, and companies can bounce back. At the same time, there is an urgent need to reduce costs to reach micro-businesses and to invest in the capacity of the non-profits that are uniquely positioned to meet needs of LMI business owners.”

This initiative can also be applied for non-profit organizations. Other initiatives include “green” companies and minority audiences. If you think you can apply for this or any other initiative or for more information on AEO funding feel free to browse the AEO website by clicking here.

As you can see different organizations have taken on the task of helping enhance the professional world. Helping new and/or established entrepreneurs achieve success. Make sure you continue to do research and look for investors. As you can see they are out there looking for devoted, hard-working people with successful ideas. Good Luck!  


Business Plan Part 2: No Walk in the Park.

Continuing with our previous post, creating a business plan is no easy task. For the past month I have been creating one for a potential business I have planned, a specialized corporate event planning company based in Puerto Rico. I can assure everyone that it has not been a walk in the park.

Taking into consideration the expert advice of Dave Lavinsky, I have certainly developed as detailed as possible all the key sections of the business plan. Every section has been personalized and strategically described, this will give any reader and/or investor in great detailed what the company is about, it’s goals, objectives, financials, team, etc.

Simone Brummelhuis, advices us to specifically point out what makes your business successful and how it can benefit an investor or a bank, She suggests that your top sections should be your financials. People who are interested n investing in your idea want to see numbers. Personally, two of the hardest sections while creating the business plan have been the law and financing sections.  However, options like outsourcing outside help from a lawyer or an account can be of benefit of those who have difficulties in those areas. Agreeing with Brummelhuis, in my personal opinion the financial section is the most important. Those who are going to invest in your business NEED to understand when they will get their investment back and when they will start making some money.

Having great resources like a good book on business plans, watching a tutorial video and reading about expert advice can be a great way to save money and create a successful business plan. Knowing the areas that you need more help can be a very good factor while creating your business plan.

I do have to point out that research is key while creating this sort of document, but don’t be discouraged having a business plan benefits your business enormously.  Remember these tips and the creation of a business plan are a step closer to your SUCCESS. 


Become an Entrepreneur; Start with a Business Plan.

Throughout the start of this Blog we have posted numerous trends, tips and strategies that benefit your business. However, this post will benefit those who want to start their own businesses or lack a business plan. We will discuss what is a business plan, the importance of creating one, the benefits of having one and we will present various expert views on the subject. 

Let’s start by explaining what is a business plan. A business plan is any plan that works for a business and/or company explaining what the company is, its goals, overall numbers and future. (Bplans)A business plan is meant to look ahead, allocate resources, focus on points, and prepare for different opportunities and problems. 

It is crucial for any business to create a business plan. Nowadays, people continue to disregard owing a business due to a false impression that you only need a business plan to start your own business.  A business can help running a business, whether you need a loan or investment or not, any business needs a plan that can optimize growth and development.

According to Dave Lavinsky, founder of Growthink and President of Growthink Publishing, a successful business plan must have the following ten key points:
1.     Executive Summary
2.     Company Analysis
3.     Industry Analysis
4.     Analysis of Costumes and Competition
5.     Marketing Plan
6.     Operations Plan
7.      Development Plans
8.     Management Team
9.     Financial Plan
10. Appendix

He expresses that many forget to explain several points resulting in a poor business plan. (Growthink)Lavinsky is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of business planning, capital raising, and new venture development. Over the past decade, Dave has guest lectured at top universities, developed over 100 business plans, and has written hundreds of articles on entrepreneurship, business planning and capital-raising. (To learn more about Dave Lavinsky click here)

Another expert advice comes from Simone Brummelhuis, former attorney and founder of The NextWomen, the first Women’s Internet Business Magazine and community.  She expresses the importance of highlighting your business’ success and detailing the steps you have taken to achieve success in your business plan. (To learn more about Simone Brummelhuis click here)

Pointing out in your business plan what makes your business successful and how it can benefit an investor or a bank can help your business bloom in a blink of an eye.  Having key elements like your financial plan, and your analysis of customers and competition can be decision makers when negotiating an investment or a loan. People who look for smart investments want the facts and numbers right away. Sections like the ones listed above makes it easy for those interested to make a decision and have an incentive at the time of the investing. 

Taking these suggestions into consideration and researching more do’s and don’ts when creating a business plan can help your business enormously. Remember that creating a business plan benefits everyone; investors, banks, clients, staff and most importantly YOU! When you start creating a business plan you are a step closer to Success! 


Game On! Integrating Social Media in your campaign using Contests.

We have discussed in previous posts the importance of incorporating all the different social media platforms available in order to attract more people to your events, conventions, trade-shows and even your company profile. (For more information on the importance of integrating social media to your campaign click here) However, there are even more ways that social media can help you bring more traffic to your website, blog or page. Featuring contests, competitions and/or coupons can help bring more traffic to your page, resulting maybe in more sales, more downloads or more clientele.

A recent example of this new technique is the American sporting goods store, Callaway. Famous for their golf equipment and goods, Callaway has become one of the biggest brands in the sports industry. With artist endorsements and sponsorships, Callaway has been able to appeal to a younger audience and attract people to their brand.

Like many of today’s companies, Callaway can be found in numerous social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. [Want to follow them on Facebook? Like them here] Recently, they have created a father’s day contest; Tee off with Diablo Octone and Justin Timberlake, where the lucky winner wins a set of Callaway clubs, meet Justin Timberlake and play golf with him. For more information on the contest you can visit Callaway’s official website or click here.

In order to enter the contest you must like their page first in Facebook. This guarantees a member in their Facebook page, giving the company access to your profile, likes and dislikes, and most importantly your information where more contests, equipment, and news can be distribute in mass quantities.

As you can see very well known brands are incorporating contests and/or competitions to their marketing campaigns. The mix of utilizing social media and attractive techniques like the contests can benefit you in many ways; bringing you more traffic to your site, more followers, and customer data. All of these points can be used as evidence of a successful marketing campaign.

Incorporating these types of techniques in the event planning industry can be easy and very entertaining to your clients or customers. For example, if you are participating in a trade-show doing a contest or a giveaway can bring more people to your booth. The contest can require people giving you their information, which you can later use as data for emails or newsletters.

Remember to be creative and unique this is the only way your company, business or corporation can be successful. Using everything the Internet has to offer can benefit you no matter in what industry you are, make sure you integrate social media to your marketing plan in order to achieve your marketing goals.


Help Us, Help You!

Marketing?...Go Digital!

We have established in previous posts the importance of incorporating new technologies and social media in events, conventions, meetings, etc. However, social media is just one channels of digital marketing. Marketing has evolved tremendously over the past few years. Now incorporating RSS feeds, podcasts, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click ads, and SMS and MMS messages will enhance the way you market your event, product or service. Although marketing and promoting events depend on the theme, concept and target market of the event itself, event planners can benefit from digital marketing since one of it's benefits include getting immediate feedback from the consumer.

Taking advantage of all the services the Internet offers can help you increase and improve how you market your convention, meeting, trade-show, conference and/or seminar. Google search engine provides several tools that can help you create a more efficient digital marketing plan. One of these tools is called a Google Analytics. This is a free and easy way to keep track of your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. 

"Powerful, flexible and easy-to-use features now let you see and analyze your traffic data in an entirely new way. With Google Analytics, you're more prepared to write better-targeted ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives and create higher converting websites.

This is a great tool to have. For more information on the product and how to use it see the video click here.

Another tool event planners can use to enhance their event's marketing plan incorporating digital marketing is Google Webmaster. This is also a free and easy tool that helps you get data about crawling, indexing and web traffic. In addition, it sends you notifications every time there is a problem with your site. With Google Webmaster you can find out how Google views your site and how it is ranking it. You can also analyze data and see how many people found your site in search results, and how many people actually clicked on it. In addition, it tracks from all over the Web and shows you who added a link to your site. It also creates sitemaps in order to see how many pages have been added to your index. For more information on this great tool see this video. 

As you can see search engines like Google are offering numerous services, for free, that help website owners learn more about what their visitor's trends and habits. This way website owners can personalized and enhanced their marketing techniques with actual and exact information. These are only a few tools you can utilize in order to obtain the best results when using and applying digital marketing. For more details on What is Digital Market? this is a good blog article, which explains and defines what it is exactly. 

5 Key Components Of A Small Business Acquisition Loan

Major Challenges To Securing A Business Acquisition Loan

Qualifying for a small business acquisition loan can be quite an ordeal to say the least.

If the business being sold is very profitable, the selling price will likely reflect a significant amount of goodwill which can be very difficult to finance.

If the business being sold is not making money, lenders can be difficult to find even if the underlying assets being acquired are worth substantially more than the purchase price.

Business acquisition loans, or change of control financing situations, can be extremely varied from case to case.

That being said, here are the major challenges you'll typically have to overcome to secure a small business acquisition loan.

>>> Financing Goodwill

The definition of goodwill is the sale price minus the resale or liquidation value of business assets after any debts owing on the assets are paid off. It represents the future profit the business is expected to generate beyond the current value of the assets.

Most lenders have no interest in financing goodwill.

This effectively increases the amount of the down payment required to complete the sale and/or the acquisition of some financing from the vendor in the form of a vendor loan.

Vendor support and Vendor loans are a very common elements in the sale of a small business.

If they are not initially present in the conditions of sale, you may want to ask the vendor if they would consider providing support and financing.

There are some excellent reasons why asking the question could be well worth your time.

In order to receive the maximum possible sale price, which likely involves some amount of goodwill, the vendor will agree to finance part of the sale by allowing the buyer to pay a portion of the sale price over a defined period of time within a structured payment schedule.

The vendor may also offer transition assistance for a period of time to make sure the transition period is seamless.

The combination of support and financing by the vendor creates a positive vested interest whereby it is in the vendor's best interest to help the buyer successfully transition all aspects of ownership and operations. 

Failure to do so could result in the vendor not getting all the proceeds of sale in the future in the event the business were to suffer or fail under new ownership.

This is usually a very appealing aspect to potential lenders as the risk of loss due to transition is greatly reduced.

This speaks directly to the next financing challenge.

>>> Business Transition Risk

Will the new owner be able to run the business as well as the previous owner?  Will the customers still do business with the new owner? Did the previous owner possess a specific skill set that will be difficult to replicate or replace? Will the key employees remain with the company after the sale?

A lender must be confident that the business can successfully continue at no worse than the current level of performance. There usually needs to be a buffer built into the financial projections for changeover lags that can occur.

At the same time, many buyers will purchase a business because they believe there is substantial growth available which they think they can take advantage of.

The key is convincing the lender of the growth potential and your ability to achieve superior results.

>>> Asset Sale Versus Share Sale

For tax purposes, many sellers want to sell the shares of their business.

However, by doing so, any outstanding and potential future liability related to the going concern business will fall at the feet of the buyer unless othewise indicated in the purchase and sale agreement.

Because potential business liability is a difficult thing to evaluate, there can be a higher perceived risk when considering a small business acquisition loan application related to a share purchase.

>>> Market Risk

Is the business in a growing, mature, or declining market segment?  How does the business fit into the competitive dynamics of the market and will a change in control strengthen or weaken its competitive position?

A lender needs to be confident that the business can be successful for at least the period the business acquisition loan will be outstanding.

This is important for two reasons.  First, a sustained cash flow will obviously allow a smoother process of repayment.  Second, a strong going concern business has a higher probability of resale.

If an unforeseen event causes the owner to no longer be able to carry on the business, the lender will have confidence that the business can still generate enough profit from resale to retire the outstanding debt.

Localized markets are much easier for a lender or investor to assess than a business selling to a broader geographic reach.  Area based lenders may also have some working knowledge of the particular business and how prominent it is in the local market.

>>> Personal Net Worth

Most business acquisition loans require the buyer to be able to invest at least a third of the total purchase price in cash with a remaining tangible net worth at least equal to the remaining value of the loan.

Statistics show that over leveraged companies are more prone to suffer financial duress and default on their business acquisition loan commitments.

The larger the amount of the business acquisition loan required, the more likely the probability of default.

Get with the Program...

Social media and technology have rapidly and surely emerged in our everyday lives. Not only people write everything they feel, do, or want, but also society has created a large reliance in technology and social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Apps, etc. Events, meetings, conventions, seminars and trade shows must get with the program and incorporate the new emerging technologies and new trends to attract the attention of the attendees and of potential clients.

Get the code!
Let’s start with a new trend, the QR Code. It is a specific matrix barcode readable by a QR barcode readers and camera phones. QR codes are being found in several advertisements in different medias like print ads, and digitally. This will be a great innovative way to market and promote your meeting or convention. How does it work? Add a personalize QR code on your conference collateral. This way any attendee with a smartphone with a QR reader app can scan the code and be directed to any link that you desire. The link can be to a meeting’s website, a company website or a Facebook page, etc. This can also make your business cards a competitive edge.  You can generate your own QR Code at where you can make your QR code and link it to a URL, SMS, and/or other options.

Tweet Tweet!
Twitter is one of the biggest social media website used worldwide. For those who are not with the program, Twitter is a social networking and micro blogging service utilizing instant messaging, SMS or a web interface. Event planners can integrate Twitter by using hashtags- a word that begins with a # symbol that will bing all the conference or event -related tweets together. (Example: #2011Convention) If everyone has the hashtag Twitter will automatically compile all of them together. The best part is that you don’t have to register a hashtag, just inform your client and/or attendees of the hashtag, and done.

Another good idea for conference and trade-show attendees is utilizing eMobile. This tip is compliment of the Daily Hot Ideas from the Meeting and Conventions Magazine. With eMobile (powered by CrowdCompass), attendees can download the latest conference schedule and attendee information and refer to it even when Internet connectivity is spotty. The app, usable on Android, BlackBerry and Apple devices, costs $995, plus $1 per attendee, for planners using eReg, the registration software provided by eTouches. For planners using different registration software, check out EventMobi and other tools by CrowdCompass. (800) 516-4265;

Social media has become a part of how we do business, marketing, advertise and live. The event planning industry is not the exception. Take these tips into consideration and I am sure your event will be even better. Be social!

If you still don’t believe or know how social media influences, here is video that can maybe change your mind.


Create Buzz for your Event...

Event Planning takes a great amount of details, dedication and work. At times, making a successful one-of-a-kind event can take an extravagant amount of time and what if no one actually gets to know about it? Having numerous clients, event planners often create events that require media attention or a general public attendance. There are several steps and measures event planners can use in order to get the media attention or buzz necessary for your event.

Research is everything! The first step is to determine what makes your event unique. Are there going to be celebrities? Is it for charity? Any local hero present? Knowing your target market and what they want to hear gives your event a competitive edge. It will also grab the attention of not only the audience but it will attract the media. In addition to this, you must know what dates are the best to hold your event. If it is a corporate event and the theme is the environment, why not do it in April 22nd, Earth Day? This will definitely capture the attention of many who are “green” and it will also go in accordance with the event theme.

Second, depending whether you have a publicist or a public relations person in staff, the event planner or event organizer must have knowledge of most of the local media sources. Be familiar with the names and titles of local newspapers, magazines, and website staff. This way you can make sure that your press release or event information sent via email, regular mail, and/or fax can be received and published by the correct person. Here is when the need to have at least basic knowledge of Public Relations kicks in.

In order for you to be completely prepared to reach out to the media you must have at least a press release, a press kits, and/or an online press room. According to the article, How to Attract Media to your Event, from the Meeting & Conventions Magazine an online pressroom should have the following:

                “• Must include all press releases or announcements.
                  • Provide a list of frequently asked questions about your organization and 
                  • Indicate a contact person (name, phone and e-mail) for all media inquiries.
                  • Provide additional multimedia assets that the media/bloggers can embed 
                    on their websites, such as info-graphics, videos and/or photos.
                  • Provide quotes from the organizer, exhibitors, sponsors and past/present 

Remember to always invite the media to your event and make sure you have an assigned area or seating section for them, this way they will feel comfortable and “important”. This can secure another coverage plus, it can begin a beneficiary and receptive relationship between you and the media. Make sure you always follow-up with a thank you letter to all of those who covered your event, this way people will remember you and continue to cover your event because they enjoyed working with you. If you have zero knowledge of how to create press releases and other documentation make sure you consult a PR representative or publicist. Keep creating successful & unique events and but now add some buzz!

Media Kit Example:

Q&A with the Experts

In our last post we established the importance of being legally protected and legally “advised” at every moment in any type of industry. However, like we have discussed before legal terms, clauses, and agreements vary according to the industry, service and/or product being provided to the public. Dive In! Events, Conventions, & More… had the opportunity to discuss in a Q&A with attorney at law Maranyeli Medina about the legal system regarding small businesses in the event planning industry.

Our Attorney:
Maranyeli Medina is a law school graduate from the Universidad Interamericana of Puerto Rico. Ever since she was a child she was intrigued by the excitement and drama of the courtroom. As a young adult still in her undergraduates’ program she realized her passion for law and justice, realization that made her decide and pursue law as a career. She expresses her love and passion for what she does with great excitement and how being an attorney allows her explore and experience many different areas and different cases. Her goals as an attorney include achieving maximum excellence in professional performance and that each person who seeks her help can leave feeling comfortable and believing in the justice system. 

Dive In: If a legal situation arises involving a corporation v. an individual, knowing that the case’s outcome depends on the legal matters involved, does the corporation have the advantage because they have a better legal team?

Medina: Not necessarily, although having a high purchasing power has a direct correlation with the ability of hiring a good lawyer this is not always the case. However, at times legal teams who represent big companies and/or corporations are so high in demand they dedicate less time to prepare themselves. In addition, in cases of breach of contracts, for example, the justice system provides the necessary means of legal protection for the weaker economical class.

Dive In: Have you ever heard of a legal case involving an event planning company? If so, is it common in court?

Medina: Yes I have. However, I rarely see these types of cases in the courtroom.

Dive In: Knowing that event planning companies rely mostly on their relationships with clients,. How important is having a personalized contract / agreement with every client? 

Medina: It is extremely important. A well-written contract is one less claim in case of a trial. Remember that contracts must consist of clear and accurate terms and it is best that at the time of reaching an agreement both parties come to the negotiating table in good faith and clearness.  

Dive In: Is it more “legally” convenient to have a generic contract? Yes or No? Why?

Medina: You can have a general agreement and / or contract but it is preferable to personalize contracts based on the specific circumstances of the case or situation.

Dive In: What clauses do you consider that should be “must haves” in contracts for event planners? 

Medina: Clauses that provide protection in case of a breach or non-compliance. Also, depending on the case I think it would be good to include an arbitration clause. (An arbitration clause is a commonly used clause in a contract that requires the parties to resolve their disputes through an arbitration process. Although such a clause may or may not specify that arbitration occur within a specific jurisdiction, it always binds the parties to a type of resolution outside of the courts, and is therefore considered a kind of forum selection clause.)

Dive In: Signed agreements, for example releases, help event planning companies have very small liabilities. What else can we do, in order to avoid being sued for liabilities? What other measures do we take? 

Medina: I believe that if you have a good, solid, clear agreement or contract without any room for misinterpretation or miscomprehension, you should be fine.  

Dive In: What are some legal measures, being a small business, we have to consider that we haven’t mention before? 

Medina:  In my opinion, I will continue to insist on the importance of a good contract. Dealing mostly with clients and customers, an event planning business must rely on a very solid contract.

Dive In: What do you recommend party planners to do in any legal case? 

Medina: My legal suggestion is to always try to reach a mutual agreement or compromise instead of litigation. This way both parties save a lot time and money. If this does not work, turn to litigation as soon as possible.

Dive In: How important it is to trust your lawyer? Safety in numbers... the more lawyers you have, the safer you are? True or False? Why?

Medina: Absolute confidence in your attorney is a must. You must be completely honest with your representation in order to conduct the case in the most effective manner. Regarding safety in numbers, when it comes to attorneys, the client always has the freedom to pursue various legal opinions regarding their situation. However, I don’t believe that because you have more lawyers you have a better hand, this is relative and depends on the situation.

Dive In: In your opinion, what is the biggest legal myth in the legal system? 

Medina: To me one of the biggest legal myths is when an adverse outcome is considered to be an equivalency to a failed justice system. Individuals must understand that many factors affect a court’s decision or a case outcome.

Dive In: Taking into consideration that a business may be based in Puerto Rico, does corporation laws differ a lot? Yes or No? Why? 

Medina: They are not dramatically different, but when we take into consideration corporate law we have to understand that the legal system has established some general principles to follow. However, we have to understand that the laws of the jurisdiction govern corporations where they are incorporated, which is not always where the “ principles” were established.

As you can see it doesn’t matter what type of business you own, being legally insured and oriented gives you a corporate advantage and security. Ms. Medina also pointed out during the interview that the law system, like everything in life, has room for improvement, for example, getting up to date with technology and taking advantage of the benefits that these advances provide society nowadays. Dive In! Events, Conventions & More.. would like to thank Ms. Medina for taking the time and answering our questions helping us understand the legal world.  Event planners make sure you are legally advised and oriented in order to be safe from any legal situations, make sure to always seek legal help and advising in order to avoid any legal problems. Remember, KEEP IT LEGAL!