Procrastination can really hurt you…

So I have been MIA for the past couple of weeks and have been enjoying the summer.  The temperature’s have been soaring and that has made it extremely easy to head down to the beach to relax and work on my tan. Sometimes being your own boss can be a bad thing, if you don’t have the discipline to work through and push through some of the days or I guess in my case weeks.

August really should be a month when you should be hustling, as most people are taking it easy.  You should be preparing yourself and your resources to totally be ready for September.  As most people are coming back and starting to ramp up, you have already got that fundamental piece covered and are ahead of the pack.  To help me pull myself out of my procrastination blues, I follow some very simple and practical steps to get my mojo back.

  1. I find an accountability partner – Brett my carpet cleaner friend is someone who I would lean on.  Every Monday’s at 8:00 AM we would have an accountability call and declare to each other what are our goals for the week.
  2. I establish bite sized goals – instead of looking at the entire picture and getting overwhelmed with the excuse I will do it later, I break down my goals into bite sized tasks.  They are more manageable and as you complete each task you feel a sense of accomplishment.
  3. I take myself out of my comfort zones – if I find that I am getting lazy around my business office, I head down to the local coffee shop and conduct my tasks with a cup of java.

We all hit those roadblocks in our journey to become successful in whatever we pursue.  However, simple easy steps and the right mindset can certainly pull us out of our procrastination blues.

Hope to hear what your strategies are for breaking your bad habits.

Referrals, referrals, referrals…..

As I continued to build my business and grow my client base, I started to realize that instead of going out and pounding the pavement at trade shows and marketing campaigns, I had a goldmine in my existing customer base.  People who have experienced amazing customer service will gladly refer you to their friends and family. In fact they would love to recommend you, if their interaction with you was a positive one. As a business person, however, don’t expect that you are guaranteed that referral.  You have to work and work hard to ensure that your level of service, professionalism and delivery is above and beyond.

Most business owners believe that if they have fulfilled the clients needs, they are entitled to a referral.  That’s not true! Only if you have delivered exceptional service that you should be asking for a referral. Take for example one satisfied client that provides you with 3 referrals. Those 3 referrals could lead you to 9 referrals and those 9 referrals can lead you to 27 referrals.  Even if you closed 60 percent of those referrals that’s 23 new clients in your pocket to grown your business further.  So…how do you go about growing your business via client referrals.

Well, I have a very simple and effective system that has consistently helped my client base grow year over year.

  1. Ask for the referral – most business owners are reluctant to ask for a referral.  If you know you have done an exceptional job and you have a happy client then you are entitled to ask. However, timing is everything!. Don’t ask for a referral at the start of the engagement, you come across as someone who is already looking for the next sale.  I have employed a method, where I have a follow-up meeting with the client primarily to close the relationship and then ask for the referral and I also offer a discount to my client for their next event.
  2.  Follow-up with the referral – make it a point to reach out to the referral that has been provided to you.  Even if it is a quick hello to introduce yourself and let them know about your service and the fact that you had a relationship with their friend or family member that has referred you to them.  Also, ask them for permission to send over information over email so that you can build out your CRM database and start an email drip campaign to keep your services in their mind.
  3. Maintain professionalism – people don’t buy from you right away.  They would like to build a relationship with you first and see if you are willing to stick with them even when a sale is not going to happen in the next little while.  So, be professional and build that relationship with the client and over time you will seal the sale.
  4. Act as a resource – if you know a client is looking for a particular service that you do not offer, be that resource and offer to help the client by putting them in touch with your contact or resource.  You will come across as being an expert and as an advocate for your client.

Hope these tips have helped jog your ideas on how you can grow your own referral system.  Remember to always make sure that your pipeline never dries up and if you follow the tips above I am sure you will never experience that.

As always, I’m always looking for comments, so please drop me a line.

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Leaders are Readers

According to a number of surveys out there the average person reads between 1 to 2 books a year.  Compare this against many of the CEO’s of the world who on average read between 4 to 5 books a month. I often wondered, how these CEO’s found time in their busy schedules to cram in all these books and also what was the huge fascination in reading. It also made me wonder how important continual reading was to help one with being successful.

As I started to grow my business and often found there were not enough hours in the day to get all the activities done, I found excuses to not work on myself and my personal development. However, my growth as a business person slowly declined as I was not absorbing new information and new strategies on how to do things smarter as opposed to harder.  I realised that if I wanted my business to grow, I need to grow as a leader.  Given the number of technology options that are now available I found that one does not have to follow the traditional path of picking up an actual book to read.  Often times when you do pick up a book from the bookstore and it is 400 pages long, you automatically tell yourself I’m never going to get through that – I might as well skip it.

I adopted a strategy by one of my fellow entrepreneurs  who also graduated from the same business program as myself.  Brett who runs a successful carpet cleaning company ( told me that he has turned his service van into a mobile university.  He is not one for being a big reader so he has invested in audio books.  Whenever he is driving from client sites to his next job, he hits the play button and immerses himself in a coaching series by the legends like Jim Rohn, John Maxwell or Grant Cardone.  Quite often Brett breezes through 2 or 3 audio books during the month, (I tell him he needs to up that number as he is not CEO material yet) and when he finds an audio book that resonates with him, he goes one step further and invests in purchasing the actual book.  His reasoning is that he then studies the book, making notes on the important points from the book in his journal.  This allows him to focus on the key points and work it into his subconscious mind.

I decided to take Brett up on his strategy and invested in my first audio book – The Go-Giver Leader.  Surprisingly, it took me a week to listen to the audio book and there were so many nuggets in the audio book that I had to purchase the book.  I did find it more challenging to physically read the book, however, I committed to reading 20 pages a day and it literally took me 8 days to complete the book. Wow! I was amazed how if one breaks down a task into smaller manageable chucks, that we can really attack it and conquer our mindset of the goal being unattainable. Some key points that I took away from the book and made notes in my journal:

  • Keep a focus on your vision – when business is going well, it is easy to keep the vision of where you want to take your company.  It is during the tough times and when nobody else sees your vision that you really have to stay focused.
  • It is all about the people – Don’t react instead respond.  When you put the people around you above you, you grow as a leader.
  • Get your hands dirty – people respect you more when you do the work.  Whether it is the most simple task to the most complex.  Get mud on your boots!
  • Stand for something – I loved the following line that was quoted in the book – ” Character is what happens when life scratches itself onto your soul”
  • Finally, give your leadership away – it is never about you – it is about holding people up and the best way to increase your influence and leadership is to give it away.

I have now committed to continue myself on this wonderful journey of self development and reading.  Brett and I now have a standing competition to see who can read as many books as possible in a month.  He of course is beating me, but over time I know I will catch up.

I encourage all you entrepreneurs to start your journey of growing yourself.  Trust me as you grow so will your business. Contact me of course if you have any comments.

Sometimes No is the right choice

keep calmSo as wedding event planners you often have battle wounds from events that just didn’t go as planned or sometimes guests that didn’t behave as planned at the wedding.  When I first started out in the business I was hungry to prove myself.  I was also very passionate about what I did that I naively thought I could help every couple out there plan their wedding, whether it was on a shoe string budget or an extravagant shop stopping party.

In my early days when I sincerely wanted to make a difference and not disappoint I could never say no to my clients. This quite often put me in hot water and stretched me and my resources to the point where I delivered a poor product and service.  What I did not realize was that not only was this hurting the actual event, on a grander scale it was impacting my reputation in the market place. I remember a bride that I took on as a client that eventually turned out to be bridezilla as we flushed out and planned her wedding. She was extremely polite during our first meetings, but slowly started to take over every aspect of the planning including directing me on what to do and telling me how things were done in the event planning world. When I did refer her to vendors that I had partnered up in the past and had a strong working relationship she dismissed them as being unprofessional and too expensive. Again telling them how to conduct business.

I remember attending a consultation session with her for a limousine service provider and at the end of the meeting I was truly embarrassed to call her my client. She arrived late for the meeting and when she did make it did not have the courtesy to apologize for her tardiness. She also brought her mechanic friend with her to interview the owner of the limousine company as she did not trust limo companies and wanted to make sure their cars were in proper working condition. Throughout the meeting her mechanic friend questioned the maintenance schedule of the cars, how often did they change their tires and what are their drivers track record and can they interview the drivers too. Jim the limo owner was courteous to a point but drew the line when the mechanic said he wanted to test drive the limo. Needless to say that the meeting abruptly came to an end when JIm informed my client that unfortunately they are not a fit for her wedding.

Eureka! A light bulb went off in my head. You can actually pick and choose your clients and say No when you sense that your client is not a right fit for you. I remember reading somewhere before saying No ask yourself “Is this essential?” – where is it in line with your vision and values. If it is not aligned with the highest intention, then it is okay to say No.  I clearly should have realized that, when the mechanic friend walked in. It was my responsibility to end the conversations and set the record straight with my client. Lesson learned and moving forward I clearly screen my clients before taking them on and creating a lasting memory for them.

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Putting your eggs in one basket

In my humble opinion and with the number of events that I have had the privilege to plan, event planning really is about relationship building.  There are actually two sides to this relationship building – client facing and vendor or supplier facing. The degree of the relationships vary between the two sets of group and the best way I can describe it is as follows.

On the client facing side of event planning I liken it to dating.  The relationship starts with the courting, trying to find out as much as I can about the client and their quirks, wants, vision.  My goal is to learn as much as I can about them so that I can plan out an event that is spectacular and meets all their needs.  The hope of course once i have delivered and we have parted ways is that somewhere down the line we hopefully go on a second date when they call me back to plan another event for them. Some of these dates turn into steady long-term relationships, however, most fizzle away with the occasional note passed back and forth via marketing emails.

Alternatively, on the vendor or supplier facing side of event planning these relationships are more long-term and steady.  Once you have found the right set of vendors in your portfolio you forge a concrete relationship and some of these go from going steady to a full blown marriage proposal. You come to rely on those relationships to come through for you both in good and trying times.  Some of these suppliers become multifaceted as they provide services in a number of areas from limos, flowers, catering and other areas of event planning. Placing your trust in one supplier has both it’s advantages and dis-advantages. I will highlight them and make my recommendations at the end of the article. 

Having a one-stop shop for all your event planning needs allows:

  1. Ease of coordination:  It certainly makes it easy when you need to time the delivery of supplies for an event.  Logistically, once you have set a schedule up with your supplier all you have to do is sit back and watch the magic happen.
  2. Economies of scale: having you source all of the components from one vendor allows for economies of scale and better discounts.
  3. Long-term relationship: A vendor who knows you have a strong clientele will go above and beyond to ensure your requests are met.

On the flip side having all your eggs in one basket could:

  1. Reduced creativity: A variety of vendors who regularly compete for your clients business ensures that you are receiving ideas that are current and hip. You also look like a super-star in front of your clients.
  2. Higher probability of failure: when things are clicking with an event you of course have nothing to worry about. However, when that one vendor you depend upon for all your needs fails to deliver you are definitely up the creek.  When you have diversified your vendor base for an event, if one of them does not deliver to your expectations, you do not have a complete failure of an event.
  3. Reduced Competition: capitalism at its best is when vendors are competing for your business. They go above and beyond and provide you with the best service and price. You potentially lose out where vendors know you won’t go elsewhere.

Personally, I am not a fan of a single source vendor.  Although, it requires more coordination, effort and planning, I believe that’s why your client hired you.  To not only provide you with the best service but also to help them get the best price.

Contact me if you have any questions.

The 3 P’s in Event Planning

As I steadily built my business and clientele largely through word of mouth and family and friends, I slowly realized a few core principles  that every event planner should possess to survive in this business.  As you grow and continue to build your network of customers and suppliers you begin to observe a few characteristics of the successful business owners.

I remember in one of my first marketing class in university our professor reminded of the 4P’s in marketing.  Product, Price, Placement and Promotion.  Product being the goods or services you are offering in your market.  Price of course is the value that you sell your particular product or service.  Placement on how you distribute your product or service to market and finally the media and medium you use to actually promote your product and generate sales.

Well, I’d like to share 3 P’s that I believe are very important when selecting an event planner for your wedding or corporate event.  I categorise them as Proof, Personality and Performance.

Proof:  Yes, we all enrol in some form of formal education for event management and party planning and this definitely sets the foundation to set us on the path of specializing in the field, but the real proof in the pudding is the number of events and the size of the events you have managed and planned.  As an event planner you are a project manager and your goal is really to create a schedule and then execute that schedule with the appropriate resources and vendors.  When looking for that party/event planner make sure you interview them to understand their past events, the size of their events and what their success level has been. More importantly make sure to ask for references and follow-up on those references.  A glamorous website and glossy business cards are a dime a dozen.  Having done your homework can put your mind at ease when it comes time to a successful wedding or corporate event.

Personality: There are approximately 638 Primary Personality traits and within them 234 of them are considered Positive Traits.  When looking for that event planner that you are going to be working with on a regular basis for your special event make sure the 2 of you gel and get along. Someone who understands your vision and is able to execute on it.  An individual who can communicate, commit and act with confidence and has a positive attitude.

Performance:  They say a measure of a man (or a woman for that matter) is not how one acts when things are going smoothly, but how one acts when one is truly challenged. When selecting that event planner make sure that they have experienced challenges with the execution of their events.  A resourceful event planner always has a Plan B in the back of their pocket. When a challenge or a roadblock appears, they seamlessly remove the barrier with no one the wiser.  You want that calibre of even planner on your side!

Well those are my 3P principles when selecting a top notch even planner. Until my next post happy planning and executing!

Thanks for stopping by

Hello there and thanks for landing on my website called Princess J Creations. Just started this going,  so check back soon as I start to update my site with fun information.