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 (http://www.ajaxcarpetcleaners.ca/) 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.
So 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 wedding 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.
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:
- 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.
- Economies of scale: having you source all of the components from one vendor allows for economies of scale and better discounts.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.