When I was just starting out in my career, I attended a meeting with my then boss. We met our hosts in the main entrance of this gorgeous 18th century home that had been completely renovated and brought up to code so this non-profit organization could use it for their office space. The non-profit CEO proudly toured us around, telling us how they cut expenses by bringing a great deal of services in house. For example, he offered that they save a ton of money by not having a professional cleaning crew, but simply ask the non-profit staff to clean up after themselves. He waved his hand at their small fleet of trucks and said that he’s pretty handy with tools, and does all the fleet maintenance himself as a hobby. He even claimed that they terminated their landscape service, and each member of the office staff cuts the grass and tends to the flower beds. He was quite proud in stating that none of his office staff had any professional training in these areas, but it all works out, and there have never been any problems. He guided us to the elevators, stating the rest of his team was waiting for us on the third floor of this architectural beauty. Pushing the button for three, he casually announced, “We even do our own elevator maintenance.”
Now, I was in my early twenties and still quite active. I was roughly thirty-five years younger than my boss. Never in my existence up to, and past, that point have I seen a grown man with a quicker first step out of that elevator than my boss! If you have had the pleasure of watching Ichiro Suzuki drop a bunt and beat the throw to first, I assure you that my boss was quicker out of the box than Ichiro could every dream of being. If Superman was real, I can only imagine he too would have marveled at the feat of physicality exhibited in that moment.
My boss, by going up the stairs that day, made a calculated decision that the guy watering the flowers may do a fine job, but flowers won’t fall hundreds of feet with you inside them. I will grant you that elevator maintenance is far more important than event planning and production, but the theory remains the same. Why would you trust something so important and integral to your organization to someone with a vague idea of what is involved with planning an event?
Much like tending to a small flower bed, there are some events companies can do on their own. Having a small team meeting? Maybe doing a company bowling outing? Absolutely, we encourage organizations to handle those on their own. In fact, give us a call if you have questions and we will be happy to help, free of charge. We want organizations to create a culture of appreciation, and however we can help to make that happen, we are in! But if you are planning something more involved, on a bigger scale, I encourage you to speak to a professional. If you don’t, I’ll admit that you won’t fall three floors, but you will fall in certain areas.
Are you reading this on your iPhone? For a few hundred dollars less, you could have got a no name phone that would deliver the same content. You didn’t because an iPhone has that look, feel and air of top quality. You pay the premium because you know Apple stands behind their products, and it will provide you with years of enjoyment. A quality event planner can give the same look, feel and air of quality to your event. Whether it’s providing unique decor, professionally trained staff, exciting games and rides, or a well designed run of show, professionals work with professional partners and equipment. Professionals build their business on the quality they bring to the table. And if the quality is evident, the cost is palatable.
A colleague of mine had a mantra that was, “Do what you do well, and sub out the rest!” In other words, he specialized in medical software. He had a cafeteria in his office complex. He didn’t hire people to staff the food service, he contracted with a professional food service provider who had the experience and knowledge to give him the quality he was looking for. He devoted his human resources time to hiring and training people that directly impacted his ability to grow and increase profits. A professional event planner is in business for the sole purpose of producing events. They keep abreast of the latest trends, train employees for customer service and safety and, in our case, invest capital in new equipment to create a unique experience. Event planners have done many events and learned from the good and the bad results of each of those events. They know how to address day-of issues in a professional manner, but more importantly they know how to plan so those day-of issue risks are minimized. Do you remember videos of an inflatable bouncing across an open field with children inside? No one is immune to mother nature, but a professional event planner will do the planning, and take the necessary steps, so that inflatable is never put in the situation that leads to the incident. It only takes a moment, usually a bad moment, to realize why you should have hired a professional.
Peace of Mind
Daily, you hope customers engage your company to buy your product or service because you are a professional in your field. I would guess that a large portion of your marketing campaigns focus on the benefits of using your company over a rival, or the consumer doing it themselves. Consumers are more apt to invest in a product or service if it makes their lives easier. In the event world, our entire mission is to make your life easier. You want someone to do the worrying for you so you can relax, enjoy the party and know your employees are going to be taken care of. Are you going to spend more? Absolutely. Anything that adds value comes at a price. When measuring the added cost, don’t view your event as a necessary evil, and the professional event planner the purveyor of that necessity. Measure it as another function of building company culture to support organizational growth, and the professional event planner your partner. When viewed in those terms, with the right professional, the added cost is insignificant to your overall goals.