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Almost every business you deal with has set hours that they are open and closed. It is clearly marked on the website and their voicemail systems. You know when they open and when they close.

But, in the event world, it seems like that doesn't apply. Almost every company I look at is always open. They have their cell phone numbers as their work line and they answer it ALL the time. Even on Sundays!

I'm all for personalized service and being there for your clients or prospects, but I'm also all about having a life. Listen, you aren't going to lose a job because you didn't pick the phone up at 9pm. But if you make clear on your overnight voicemail that you open at 9am the following the day, the prospect knows when they can expect a call back.

Try setting up business hours to not only help your clients know when you are open and closed, but also for your own sanity so you know when to GO HOME!

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One of the key statistics I look for in companies is the lead to appointment ratio. This number can tell you a lot about your business and where it is going, as well as what is working and what isn’t. I use it a lot to know if my marketing, in general, is working. 

We all know to get more business, we need to generate more leads. But to generate more leads, we need to market, advertise, jump up and down in the street – pretty much do whatever it takes. But we need to quantify what we are doing and make sure it is working. And the first indicator you can use is the amount of leads that you are generating.

Let’s take a direct mail campaign for example. If you start the campaign in January, you will want to watch the amount of leads come in for the next few months. They should go up. If they don’t, you know something isn’t working in the campaign itself. And if you aren’t even keeping track of the leads to begin with, you would be completely lost!

Now let’s say that the leads go up, but the appointments stay the same. This can tell you that the marketing is working, but there is a problem with the sale or the pricing or something else. You can keep the campaign and change something in the pipeline. Again, all by just looking at the lead to appointment ratio. And imagine knowing how many leads came in during the same month last year at the current year time…now you have historical data. Even better!

So, start keeping track of the leads as they come in. Start keeping track of the appointments as you book them. Let’s try and find your ratio!


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Lawyers – How do I pick one!

The last post we talked about contracts and making sure to see a lawyer about getting the right one made for you. And that got me thinking about some questions you might have. How do I pick a lawyer!

Well, for starters, understand that lawyers are not bad! We need them. They are here to help you run a successful business and keep you out of trouble. But every now and then, the situation arises where you need them to help you through a tough predicament.

So that is where I will start off first. The worst time to find a lawyer is when you need on. You need to get a lawyer when you don’t need one, so they can start to get you headed in the right direction.

And finding a lawyer isn’t all the difficult. The best way would be to get recommendations, this should be the only step you have take, but if you do need more, your local business chamber should be able to help.

Next, you want to do a quick phone interview with 5-7 of them. Ask them questions, listen to what they say, get a vibe from them and see if you connect in anyway. Most importantly ask them if they are familiar with your line of business and understand the law that applies. (You will find that you get two types of lawyers, ones that work for firms and ones that are independent. They both do a great job, so no worries with that!)

Once you find 3 that you feel good with over the phone, go talk to them. See if they are just as comfortable in person, as they are over the phone. How do they make you feel, ask them about their practice, how long they have been doing law, what they charge. Ask them every single question you can think of! Find the one you connect with.

Now, most people think you need one lawyer. And I disagree. Sometimes it isn’t bad to have two lawyers. Imagine it this way. You don’t go to one doctor, right? You have your general doctor and then a specialist. I do the same for the law. Sometimes I just need a second opinion.

What you are trying to find is someone that will understand your business and protect it, prepare you for things you don’t see coming and be able to represent for you when things do happen that might not be good. 

Remember that you don’t have to keep your lawyer. Sometimes it is all peachy in the beginning, and then things start to change. So you may have to shop around during your businesses life.  At the end of the day, it’s nothing personal. You need to have the best person on your team all the time, ready to protect you and what you have worked so hard for!

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I ask the question to a lot of the clients I consult with on what their contracts look like and I am always very surprised at the answers I get back.

Number one, I was shocked at how many events get done without a contract. I was even more shocked to see a sample of the contracts that people are actually using!

The first thing that every single one of you need to do (if you haven’t already) is to meet with a lawyer and make sure that your contract is: 1) legal and 2) covers you in every aspect.

Contracts can be very specific. Even down to the county that you live in, so you need to speak with someone who knows your states laws and even your counties laws. You can’t just take someone else’s contact and use it for your own company. That makes no sense and is disaster waiting to happen.

The second thing you need to do is make sure it is prepared for every single event you do. You need this for a few reasons.

1)      It is part of being a professional business operation  

2)      It clearly defines the terms of what you will provide, what is to be provided by the client and the details that must be followed

3)      It is usually needed for insurance coverage’s

Contracts also need to be reviewed from time to time. If you haven’t read yours over lately, make it a point to do so on a yearly basis.

I am not a lawyer and don’t offer legal advice, so I don’t want to tell you what needs to be in them or how they should be made. All I want you to know is that contracts are important and they are a huge help when things might be headed in the wrong direction.

So, your homework? Go see a lawyer and get your contracts working for you!  

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Smartest person in your company…yea right!

I find myself living by this statement more and more as my company grows each year. I am starting to become a person who can help, chime in and/or direct on certain things, but I am certainly not the smartest person in the company. Now this doesn’t mean that I am clueless, far from it. I bring some very valuable traits to the company. Leadership, direction and poise are my best attributes, but managing the office, directing the operations, running the productions, prepping the team are not my best skills. And that is where I need people that are better than me, well not better, but have other strengths.

In order for your company to grow, you need to have some people on your team that are truly better then you at certain things. You need more talented people in certain areas. You need people that can get the job done the way it was supposed to be done. And then you need to let them do it. Get the heck out of the way!

Smart business owners get this. They understand that a company filled with smart people managing it will make for a better company. A company that can see new avenues for revenue, create systems to accomplish those avenues and then ultimately put the right people in place to get it done are all going to be more successful then the business owner who just tries to do it all himself or herself.

But it’s hard. It’s not in your DNA. If you hire people smarter than you, they may try and change things from the way you founded your company. They may steal your ideas and go start their own company. Or probably the worst outcome, they may see your weaknesses. What YOU aren’t good at!

But folks, that is what we want. You can’t be good at everything. You can’t always be the smartest one in the room. You have to learn from people and what better way to learn then by someone you are paying to make you money! I mean, makes sense doesn’t it. Go out and find the best, brightest, smartest person available to you at the time the position is available and fitting the requirements that you are offering. And then hire them!

Whatever you do, do not WAIT for the perfect person to come along, they never will. You are going to hire some people that you thought were smart, but really are just like everyone else. You will let them go and start the process all over again. Some people you will hire and right away will have you questioning yourself “Why didn’t I do this sooner!”But ultimately, the idea is to get people on the bus that can all sit in the rights seats and know what to do, without being told what seat to sit in and what to do while sitting.


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