In 2012, roughly 400,000 new companies arrived on the UK market. It is estimated that out of those companies, 1 in 3 will fail in their first 3 years of trading. But why is this? Is there a secret formula for success? Some small-business owners back out early at the illusion of picking the wrong product and others believe that going in with the wrong investment is to blame. According to Zak Roby from SE1 Events, sticking to your initial price offering and company values is crucial in successful business development so offering a discount is a no-go; especially in your first year of trading.
Zak also believes that following strict business strategies, creating a strong set of company values and sticking to them is the key to his success. Offering an unquestionable solution to problems that consumers and companies face is how we establish a ‘competitive edge.’ But how can one do this? It would appear that creating a company vision and a set of core-values whilst sticking to them religiously is the way to a bright future in business.
So who is Zak Roby?
With over ten years of experience in successfully delivering large and sought-after events whilst establishing a strong reputation in the industry, Zak was head hunted by technical giants Stage Electrics and given the opportunity to head up their new sister-company SE1 Events which would focus more on the creative delivery side of their clients’ requests as opposed to the technical side which Stage Electrics already deal with.
From working on the biggest events all over the world from Iceland to Abu Dhabi to Morocco, Zak adds that ‘if companies want an event then they have come to the wrong place as we deliver an ‘experience.’ Based on the pictures from their website and their fast-growing reputation, I think it is fair to say that they have accomplished this.
Since taking on this new opportunity 18 months ago, the company has gone from strength to strength whilst rapidly dominating the events industry in the process with their unique ideas and delivery. But the big question is how? How does one achieve such a rapid growth in such a short space of time? Let’s find out.
‘We are a creative events agency born out of an idea from Stage Electrics; the biggest production house in the UK who have backed it financially to drive the business forward. We deal with corporate event management that is all about delivering a powerful message; the right message to the right audience. We know how to get that message across and we have the largest technical supply in the UK.’
‘Clients don’t care how it is done; they just want it to look great and sound great. They want an experience, and one saying I always use is that ‘a good event manager will deliver a good event, and a great event manager will deliver an experience,’ and that’s what we do. We want people to leave knowing why they went to that event in the first place.’
It appears that delivering a powerful message and delivering a memorable experience is what has put SE1 at the top of their field. Other companies can learn from this. Offering a solution to a problem without question is clearly the driving force behind their success amongst other mechanisms which are mentioned below.
‘The key to our success is two things:
1. A powerful relationship and strong guidance from stage electrics which has given us our edge.
2. We come up with a great idea and then we prove we can do it.’
Delivery is crucial here. Creating a concept, delivering that concept and keeping to your promise or ‘values’ as Zak would put it is how we define a good product. So how can small companies without the same financial backing learn from this? What can they do to create a powerful message and deliver a great concept?
Zak has two pieces of advice. ‘Firstly, decide what your brand is and stand by it. Do not give discounts. Do not offer deals because you’ll be known as a wheeler dealer which is a hard rut to get out of. As long as your brand values are right then you are on the right track.’
What are our values? What does this mean?
‘Remember, you do not run an events agency, you run a business. The end product is an event agency. You have to stick to business formulas. The event agency is simply an output of your understanding of strategy, profit and loss, commercial knowledge, and company direction.’
For those of you that haven’t considered brand values and company identity, then now is the time to do so. Being able to stick to proven business methods and being fully aware of what you are offering is what sets the distinction between a successful company and a non-successful company. But what about offering a solution to problems that people and companies face?
Theodore Levitt from Harvard once stated that ‘people don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole,’ and Zak agrees. ‘People want the solution. They don’t care how to get there. They don’t care how many projectors they have or what sound system they use – they want their delegates to walk away feeling satisfied. It is all about the end result. You are nothing more than a facilitator of the end result.’
This is interesting because it proves the relevance of identifying a problem and delivering an unquestionable solution. This is what creates a good product. Instead of thinking of ‘what shall I design?’ Think ‘what is the problem, and will my product deliver a solution?’ That is how we define a competitive edge. And this could explain why the events industry has been so successful.
‘The events industry is booming. Anyone can set up an agency in their bedroom, but will they be here in 26 months? Mature clients want more than that. They want a delegate message. Large collapses of well-known brands have happened recently because companies weren’t innovative and this has weeded the market out.’
‘Apple were revolutionary a few years back but the iPhone 5 is not any more. Where’s the new revolution? People want something they can touch and it blows them away. When the iPod came out, people were stunned. They couldn’t believe it. That’s why their market value has dropped. Nobody would have thought that MySpace was going to die but it did, and Google+ is the next big thing.’
This is why it is so crucial that companies evolve and consistently revolutionise their market otherwise unexpected crashes can occur, and it is true. Nobody expected MySpace to go down and two years ago, people would have found it hard to believe that Facebook would experience such a rapid decline but this is the reality. Evolution is crucial, but some industries are bullet proof in the sense that humans will always have certain requirements.
‘The events industry has an incredible future because people will always need to communicate. Companies will always need to deliver a message to their consumers whether it is at an award ceremony or a product launch. The events industry will never fail. We are social beasts and this is why the entertainment industry will always remain consistent.’
This is true. People will always need to socialise and this is why networking events and social events will always remain consistent – because they fill a constant need that will never go away. We are social beings. Industries that have dipped can blame new technology and new solutions to the problems they use to solve.
So taking all of these great points in to consideration, what are Zak’s visions and dreams for the future of SE1 and how will he achieve them?
‘We want to continue to stand by our moral ethics and business integrity whilst building a bigger, stronger and aggressive business whilst always remembering why we have been a success in the first place, and when this happens, I’ll be a very happy man.’
But can you blame him? Hard work and the importance of business strategy is what gets us there. Creating some core values, sticking by them, and offering a solution to a problem is what companies need in order to succeed. Identifying key business practices and evolving over time is how we can make it. And this is what counts more than anything else.
Nowadays, industries across the globe are struggling to keep their heads above water in this tough economic climate, but it’s not all doom and gloom. The events industry is one of a minority of industries that have not only survived, but instead is booming. But why is this happening? The world is becoming a more sociable place. Many people love attending events; especially young professionals in cities as they often have the disposable income to do so.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that for an industry to stay fresh, people need to stay innovative and on trend. Welcome social media. There’s far more to social media than sharing cat videos to your network. Social media has developed leaps and bounds. It has far exceeded its’ initial aim of connecting friends and family as now businesses are taking it on board and if they are not then they should be!
The cost/benefit analysis is ridiculous. It needs to be utilised! The events industry is naturally one of the most sociable industries therefore, what better way to capitalise this than social media. As social media has been growing exponentially (much like the events industry), more and more companies have subscribed. It goes far beyond Facebook and Twitter these days…
Each outlet naturally offers its own advantages and disadvantages. Whether it’s the arty style of Pinterest/Instagram or the more serious LinkedIn; a mixture of various social media platforms tends to be the key. In my opinion, Facebook and Twitter should be at the absolute forefront of your social media strategy, but why?
A lot depends on the age range of your target audience. There seems to be an upward trend in younger people leaving (or not joining Facebook) with the replacement of elderly people instead. The key point is that social media is constantly changing and it will continue to do so.
How Social Media Can Be Used To Promote Your Events:
Step 1: Facebook – Create a Facebook event and invite relevant target audience members. If it’s a big event, keep the event as public so that other members can see this. Encourage attendees to share the event page and what you have is free, effortless advertising for your events company.
Step 2: Twitter – Tweet links to the event. Twitter comes into its own a lot more here, as your tweet can reach large numbers of people; especially with effective hash-tagging. You could also be specific and use the search options on Twitter. For example, if you’re running a high-key event in Kensington then search ‘Kensington Nightlife’ and see what comes up. You can always comment on tweets linking the two, or follow relevant people who come up. This is great as it is targeted marketing which is quality over quantity.
Step 3: Instagram – Take selective pictures of your event and upload them onto your Instagram feed. With carefully thought out filters to optimise your picture quality you can produce some really impressive photographs. Again, the hash-tagging comes into play here. Use them well to bring more and more new followers to your Instagram feed.
Step 4: Twitter – Delegate one team member to ‘live tweet’ during the event. Set up a hash-tag for the night so your followers can tune in to the event as it unfolds; especially if they were unable to attend.
Step 5: WordPress – Write a blog about how the event went. Key themes of the night and a couple of interesting photos should do the trick. As a general rule, 500-800 words are the optimum amount of words to be informative, but not too long-winded. Another point to get across would be that WordPress is the biggest blogging site. Tumblr is often associated with teenage girls so steer clear if these are not your target audience.
Step 6: Facebook – Upload an album of the photographs you took at the event. This is a great way to grow the Facebook fan page due to the fact that you can alter the settings so that people have to ‘like’ the page to tag themselves or friends in the official photos. This is something I have noticed that nightclubs do very well at!
Step 7: YouTube – Take some cool videos of your event. Edit the video so that it’s nice and short. Upload it to your channel and drive traffic to your site – again with Twitter and Facebook.
NOTE: You’ll notice I haven’t really mentioned Google+ or LinkedIn as I’ll be a focusing on them for my future articles.
Your life will be made easy when your customers start doing some of the work for you. This happens when they upload their own photos or blog about their experiences of the events. Please note: These suggestions are my own personal thoughts so use them only for reference and ideas. I hope you found the above useful reading. Every event will be different and trial and error will naturally occur. Keep what works, leave what doesn’t. One last thing, social media is designed to be light and informative – remember to keep it short and sweet.
Social media has become a massive part of our everyday lives. It is estimated that 67% of internet users are involved in some form of social media which is an astonishing figure when you realise that in 2012, 2.5 billion people had an internet connection. This means that just under a quarter of the planet are involved in social media which is incredible considering that there are 7 billion people on the planet! Whilst some people use social media for their personal lives, others use it for business. Clever people use it for both.
LinkedIn are different to other social media platforms in the sense that they have changed the way recruitment, networking and sales operate. They have removed the middle man completely and created a tool where people can get right to the top of the hierarchy by themselves. Long gone are the days of waiting around and harassing the receptionist to acquire your desired information which has been a ‘given’ for years.
Because LinkedIn have created the world’s largest online CV and employee database, it is now far easier for people to find potential recruiters and most importantly, do better research AND build rapport before they’ve even walked through the interview door. What a great idea! Building a carefully crafted profile can result in you being head-hunted by potential recruiters. Reed has got some serious catching up to do.
Being an avid LinkedIn user (and fan), enthusiasm certainly took to the surface when Darain (Communications Manager) began to post cryptic information online revealing details of a ‘Breakfast Morning’ featuring Brands2Life at the LinkedIn HQ in London. I am not one to miss out on a good opportunity, and I have always wanted to meet some of the LinkedIn team and get an insight into their culture, so this was a definite go-go.
Up at the crack of dawn and escalating to the top floor of a suave building in Tottenham Court Road resulted in nothing less than a very ‘warm’ welcome. The team were friendly and approachable; not to mention the fantastic organisation of the event. The part that impressed me most was how friendly the guests were. It was only a matter of time before I was networking with super-friendly faces from the likes of Career-Moves-Group, Marlin PR and of course, Darain from LinkedIn.
The food was lovely and the coffee was great. I’ve never tried early-morning canapés before but I shall certainly be having it again soon. Most importantly, it was the mystery and suspense of the global PR campaign that everybody was intrigued about. After all, that’s why we attended! So what was the big secret?
‘Bring In Your Parents Day.’
That’s right. You heard it. LinkedIn have recently teamed up with global PR giants Brands2Life to unleash a new campaign that will bridge the divide between young, working professionals and the older generation who can quite often be confused as to what happens in a modern day office. My biggest question was whether this had monetary incentive, and if so – how LinkedIn could benefit from this. After putting the question to Darain, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this appeared to be more of a celebration instead.
#BIYP day will give employees all over the world the opportunity to bring their parents to work for two hours of their working day on the 7th November. If all goes well, they plan on making this an annual occurrence. They have already trialled the day in Dublin and apparently it was a success.
So what are the benefits?
Any company from all over the world can get involved in this; a mass PR event which will inevitably result in super-heavy trending on Twitter whilst hopefully encouraging a few more registrations on LinkedIn’s behalf. If you are lucky, your company might even get a retweet. Most importantly, parents will finally understand what their children do at work so when that generic ‘how was work?’ question pops up; they will finally be able to relate to their children’s answer. It will also help to improve LinkedIn’s reputation and the companies that participate; a bit like a global charity day, but slightly different. You get the gist.
I would like to finish this article by adding that the actual presentation was very well planned, and the Q and A was answered smoothly. Everybody walked away happy and with a few extra business cards. Bonus!
We live in a society where sex sells. This is undeniable.
I’m not suggesting that sex is a bad thing because it’s not – especially if it’s with somebody we love and trust. However, it seems that nowadays people are searching for a contradictory idea; a concept that doesn’t exist.
I’m an open minded person and I believe that our sexuality is our own business and as long as we know what we’re doing and we are comfortable, then it is OK. Yet it in the world of dating, sex is quite heavily scrutinised by rules and stereotypes. Let’s lead with an example:
A man can sleep with as many women as he pleases and will be praised by his friends but if a woman did the same, the reaction is often criticism. Call me biased but it is perceptions like this that can contribute to a women’s insecurities and confusion in modern dating.
Before I elaborate further, I would like to give another example:
Guys often state that they don’t want an ‘easy’ girl as a potential partner or a girl who has slept around as they ‘like’ the challenge. So if a girl does have sex with a guy before a certain time then it can place them in a category of ‘if she gave it up so easily, then why would I bother to see her again?’
On the other hand, if a girl doesn’t have sex with a man she’s been dating for a while, she can sometimes be considered ‘hard work’ or ‘frigid.’ This article isn’t looking to change society and the values it preaches; however it may help to shed some anxiety about sex when it comes to dating.
There is no set limit of when is the ‘right time’ in dating, especially if it is early days and you are still getting to know them, but I cannot stress this enough:
Sex is dependent on the individual and the connection that’s made between the two people involved. There is no book that can tell you the right time. When it is right you will know, and if you don’t then back away a little bit. In a situation which is so personal, there is nothing shameful about taking your time. Listen to yourself instead of outside opinions.
You may have heard this before but if it is the right person, then they WILL wait for you and respect you even more for having the courage to stand up for yourself. Not everyone will agree with this and not everyone will hang around, but those who don’t are the wrong people to go for and there is still something to be said in handling yourself with class and dignity.
That being said, the pendulum swings both ways. Sometimes people will have sex before they are ready. Although if you really are looking for love and you are worried that you’ve jumped in too fast; let me tell you this:
It doesn’t matter.
If you have found someone that you genuinely like and they like you just as much in return, it will not matter if you had sex on the first date or the thirty-first date. Too much time is wasted in relationships worrying about what other people outside of the relationship think and no one can judge you; regardless of how ‘holier- than thou’ they claim to be.
You’ll often find that people judging and bitching about other people’s business don’t have much else going on in their lives. What matters is, no matter when you had or didn’t have sex that you don’t let your choices affect what you have in the present because I believe that we all make our life choices for a reason. Whether you regret them or not, you take responsibility for them and keep on living.
As a quick summary:
Sex is personal and you should never let anyone dictate to you when you should do it. It is something that couples work out between them. Never feel pressured in to it and never feel discouraged to do it because you’re scared of what people might think. It is something that should be enjoyed without you having to compromise your values. Know your beliefs, be confident, and most of all stay safe!
I woke up today with one question in mind – ‘when does passion begin to decrease in a relationship?’
Most of you will say ‘never,’ but let’s face it; the first month is quite often the holiday or the ‘honeymoon period.’ We live in a society where for something to be considered as good, it needs to be an intensive experience that blows our mind. This is simply our expectation. Our immediate love models (i.e. parents) demonstrate their relationships as a process where hard times often happen before happiness, and then suddenly, all is a walk on fluffy pink clouds.
But what really happens when the movie ends and Cinderella has spent the whole day cleaning the house or feeding the children and the prince has been racking his brain to re-establish the kingdoms’ economy? Is it just a shared unworthy routine? I know you are sick of hearing that the first two years are the best because of the surprises that come and the overly sweet gestures of affection, but I’m the one who thinks that what remains after controlling the urge of ripping your partner’s clothes off is far more beautiful – even if it is harder to get. Maybe you are so used to wild games on the occasional night, that the hours of confidence, laughs or simply knowing how the other is going to react is the treasure that makes the intimacy real.
Upon accepting this, it’s how you feel after 30 years of marriage that counts. Looking for a constant explosion of passion can become tiring and frustrating. What you feel after spending half of your life with a person is devotion and a deep knowledge of one another.
Don’t misinterpret me; I’m a huge fan of the first few months of a relationship and I think for a good relationship to work, it is necessary to keep the flame, the games and the spirit of the beginning going. Just be warned. In our fasting-moving world of high expectations, the quick pleasure is often the winner, and sometimes we don’t value the ‘real’ moments enough.
Nevertheless, once we have accepted that relationships can change with time, we can learn to appreciate that the decreasing of passion isn’t always the alarm of a dying relationship.
Sometimes it is good to calm down.
How long does the strong passion last? I guess it depends on our perspective. Young couples would say that the first months are the best and old couples would say the first years. Maybe we are never happy with the amount of passion we have and we always miss the best times.
So what do we do? Fish around for the next ‘high?’ Or learn to love and accept the ‘real’ moments we do have? Once again, this depends on each individual situation and perspective.
Want to catch your next high?
MyEventBucket are hosting a FREE launch party and singles networking event at the Patch Bar in Black Friars on the 28th August and you are invited… So bring your friends and your work colleagues! This will be a great chance to mingle, meet new people and find out about the hottest new events in town; not to mention a couple of cheeky drinks in the meantime!
This is a ticketed event, but tickets are free so get yourself a space booked into this fabulous night! You can get yourself a ticket here: http://myeventbucketlaunchparty2013.eventbrite.co.uk.