Ideas For Your Office Holiday Party 2014

 

Office holiday party is definitely the hot topic of the month.  Everyone is talking about it, anticipating it and wondering what will the management team/owner surprise us with this year. 

Wondering why it is important to take the time to organize a holiday party? Through the busy season, it is important to slow down and find a  way to say ‘thank you’ to your employees and show them how much you appreciate their hard work.  The company holiday party is a great opportunity to include activities for team building, especially if part of your staff works virtually or is on the road throughout the day. 

Exchelon Experiences said it the best:  “No matter how you celebrate, everyone enjoys a fun and exciting company holiday party.  This annual party boosts company morale, brings employees together on a more personal level, and is a perfect time to get away from the stress of everyday work life and just have some fun!”  

7 things you need to plan now:

  1. Budget:  sit down with your accountant, financial director etc. to figure out a budget for your party.   Evite.com has a really neat party calculator that you can use to help you estimate how much money you should put aside.  http://www.evite.com/app/party/calculator
  2. Date and time: think outside of the box.  Most holiday parties are scheduled for after working hours. If you are hosting it in the evening, consider allowing your staff to bring a guest.  Evening and weekend events tend to have lower attendance rate due to family obligations.  A survey conducted in September showed that 72% of employees prefer the holiday party to be held during office hours. 
  3. Venue: first thing you need to decide on is if the party will be at the office or off-premise.   Make sure you read below for more on this topic.
  4. Theme: whether it be a color scheme or an ‘Ugly Sweater’ party it is important to decide on a theme.  Throughout your planning you will incorporate it as much as possible.
  5. Invite list: once you have a budget, it is important to review how many people you can comfortably invite.  You can invite just employees or employee with a guest, full families and even invite business vendors, clients and other key people that you had relationships with throughout the year.  This allows those outside of the company to put a face to a name of those they interact virtually otherwise.  Usually, a holiday party is the first opportunity for your clients and vendors to meet the person on the ‘other side of the phone’.  Personal interactions are priceless and this simple gesture can do wonders to your lifetime value of the client or vendor relations.
  6. Invitations: decide if you are going to mail or email your invitations.  Make sure you include RSVP date and if you will be hosting a gift exchange.
  7. Food and Beverages: decide if you will be offering a full meal (buffet or sit-down) or a cocktail reception (appetizers, desserts etc). Take into consideration to potential allergies your guests might have. It has become more common to see a ‘nut-free’ snack table or a ‘vegan’ station.   If you are offering alcohol, look into hiring a bartender – this will help in monitoring the alcohol consumption.
Things to keep in mind when you are considering your venue:
 

Office Party in your office:

  • Try to find a space away from computers and phones.  We don’t want your staff to check their emails in the middle of the party.  This is their time to relax and mingle!
  • Invest more in decorations as we want to transform your office space into a festive environment.
  • Hire event staff to help with set-up, clean-up and anything in between.  After you spent all of your time preparing for your party you want to make sure you are a guest and enjoy your team.

Off premises parties:

  • If you have a large group banquet and catering halls offer great pricing during the work day.  Evenings and weekends the price increases so keep this in mind when deciding on your location and timing.
  • If your company has a smaller staff consider looking into a local restaurant.  Luncheons or family style restaurants might be great options for a budget-friendly party.
  • If you have a small staff, why not open your home and invite them for a dinner or an appetizer party.  This allows for a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere that is sometimes hard to find in a restaurant setting.
  • Looking for something totally unique?  How about a road-trip?  Hire a bus and go sightseeing, treat your team to a show, or drive through a light display.  You can give out ‘survival packs’ filled with sandwiches, cookies and hot chocolate.
     

Entertainment Ideas:

  • Pictures: pass camera around and ask everyone to take pictures.  You can also set up a photo-booth for your staff to utilize throughout the party.  We set one up for less than $100 (cost included computer software, printer paper, and photo booth accessories). Next year, you can put together a video and show it during the party.  Throughout the year, you can use the images for your newsletters, social media campaign and team recognition.
  • Awards: no matter how big or small your team is, giving out recognition awards is always a nice way to say thank you to your staff.  Try making the awards unique such as: best dressed, funniest, best dancer etc.  Two weeks prior to the event you can give out questionnaire and ask your staff to vote. 
  • Wine tasting: how fun is this one?  You can hire a bartender and stage your own wine tasting.  This is a fun event that everyone will enjoy!
  • Hosting a game show is super fun.  Some great ones are: Jeopardy, Who’s Line is it Anyway, Bingo, etc.
  • Department competition: everyone loves a good contest.  You can host a talent show, sing-off, karaoke, dance-off etc.
  • Consider hosting a Secret Santa Gift Exchange, ornament exchange or Polly Anna.
  • Combine education, hands-on-training, or volunteering along with the party.  You can start off your day with team activities, trainings and end with a party to celebrate the accomplishments of the day.
  • If you are inviting families, make sure to take the time to create a special area just for children. Creating a ‘child fun zone’ will entertain the little ones while the adults can have some socializing time to themselves.  Have a table for arts-n-crafts, a photo booth, sport games, story time and bubbles are always a great hit. It would be a great idea to have an extra staff member assigned strictly to assist with the children area.

 
The holidays are a great opportunity for managers and owners to express their appreciation for all of the hard work their team does throughout the year.  Your holiday party should be a reflection of your dedication to your staff so take the time to make it festive and unforgettable.  Don’t forget to capture the magic of the party and celebrate the achievements of your team.

Our staff can help you with any event needs - from location scouting, vendor relations, sponsorships and giveways, and event staffing. If you are interested in finding out more information about our team of Personal Assistants we would be happy to schedule a complimentary meet-n-greet. Let us handle your event needs while you focus on your guests. As always, there are no minimums to utilize our services. Please note, on average it takes us 4-6 weeks to on-board a new client. Contact us early to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to go through our process. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Published September 30th, 2014

 

Business events - Tips-n-Tricks!

 

“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

 

This month, we are looking at a severely underused marketing strategy: hosting an event.  When was the last time your business put together a community event?  It could be a grand opening, anniversary party, staff appreciation or a fundraising event.  Think about the businesses that are your role models and spend the next five minutes writing out what you perceive their marketing plan to be.  For us, we are proud to say, our business role model is Ju-Ju Monkey, Allentown PA.  They have just celebrated their 1st anniversary in a store-front location and 4th anniversary in business.  They threw themselves a celebration, created a lot of social media noise, and had a wonderful turn out at their store.  It made me wonder why so many of us don’t do this as well.  Of course, the answer was easy: events take a lot of time, energy and planning!

 

Here are some steps to consider when deciding if an event is right for you:

  1. What is the theme of your event? (appreciation, promotions, celebration or sales – all have a different vibe and attract different crowds)
  2. Who is your audience?
  3. Do you have a store-front? If not, where will you host this event?
  4. What is your budget for this event?
  5. What do you want to achieve through this event/what is the purpose of the event?

 

Once you spend some time thinking about these questions, and decide that YES you are ready to move forward, the real work is just beginning.

 

  1. Select date and time

This will reflect which audience you would like to attract to your event.Seniors prefer early afternoons, moms prefer mornings or late afternoons, dual-working families look forward to fun events on the weekends, etc.

  1. Select your location

If you don’t have a store-front, select your venue.Look for plenty of parking, handicap accessibility, restrooms, lighting and other safety issues.When deciding on a venue keep in mind what comes included in the price: you get what you pay for.Make sure you find out if you are allowed to bring in your own food or if you need to utilize their caterer.

  1. Break down your budget

Think carefully about your audience and what their expectations will be.If you are hosting an event that targets seniors, make sure you provide snacks, hot drinks and educational materials/giveaways.If you anticipate families attending your event, it will be wise to set aside part of your budget for children fun zone and kid approved snacks.Your budget should include everything from: invitations, media kits, advertisement funds, giveaways, staff, refreshments, entertainment, flyers, etc.

  1. Create a guest list

How many people can your location accommodate?When creating your guest list think outside of your comfort zone.List all media outlets, publications, non-profit, community leaders, surrounding businesses and bloggers.

 

Now that you have a good idea of ‘where’ you are going, let’s start thinking about ‘how’ you are going to get there.

  1. Marketing and Promotion
  • Create marketing campaign for promoting your event.  Make sure to break-down your social media platforms and adjust your methods accordingly.  What you do on Facebook will not have the same result on LinkedIn and on Google+.  Your social media calendar should reflect your followers and how they prefer to engage with you on the sites. 
  • Research on-line radio hosts that can interview you – give them interesting content and they would most likely invite you as a guest. 
  • List your events on line – patch, community forums, chat groups, meetup, hangouts are all great places to promote this event. 
  • Work with local businesses and invite guests/speakers to create a cross-promotional campaign
  • Consistency is the key here – don’t just ‘list it once’ – you must keep coming back and giving the followers more information and incentives to attend your event.

 

  1. Timeline

Utilize the marketing calendar to create a very specific timeline.This is no different than planning a wedding.Make sure you clearly state the date you want your announcements to go out, save-a-date, invitations, news releases etc.Consider what items you need to order or how much material you need to print and get those in early enough to give yourself plenty of time for delays.

 

  1. Invite your guests

Word on invitations: email, eventbrite, punchbowl, evite, facebook are all great ways to invite your guests.However, sometimes it pays to be ‘old-fashioned’ and actually send in hand-written invitations and follow it up with a phone call.You will be surprised how much a simple gesture like this can improve your attendance.

 

Other things to consider:

  1. Research other events going on at the same time you are hosting your event.  Consider contacting those organizations and businesses to see if they would be interested in cross-promoting events.  If done early enough, businesses/organizations can come together to create a mutual flyer to give out to clients.  This will reduce the printing costs and usually magic occurs when people work together.
  2. Consider having a speaker or a guest appear at your event. 
  3. Have media kits available for those interested. 

They should include:

  • Press release about the event
  • Information on any guests and/or speakers
  • Information on any local collaboration with businesses/organizations
  • Information on your company
  • Introduction of key employees of your company
  • List of services or goods you provide
  • Company’s involvement in the community
  • FAQ – to help the journalist if he/she decides to write a spotlight on your event

 

  1. Document your event – take as many pictures, videos as you possibly can and make them easily accessible.  Make sure to have your guests sign a ‘media release form’ as they walk through your door.

 

Things to do after your event:

  1. Send personalized thank you to all vendors, sponsors, guests, media and anyone else that helped you with the event.  A hand written note goes a long way.
  2. If you had paid sponsors, send data and statistics to reflect the success of your event.
  3. Respond to all social media comments, tags, questions etc.
  4. Share all pictures and videos from the event.
  5. Send out a survey to the participants and ask for feedback.
  6. Capture testimonials to be used for future events.
  7. Sit down with your team to reflect on the event and write down a plan of action for your future events.  Realize not everything will go smoothly and we can only learn from our mistakes.

Our staff can help you with any event needs - from location scouting, vendor relations, sponsorships and giveways, and event staffing. If you are interested in finding out more information about our team of Personal Assistants we would be happy to schedule a complimentary meet-n-greet. Let us handle your event needs while you focus on your guests. As always, there are no minimums to utilize our services. Please note, on average it takes us 4-6 weeks to on-board a new client. Contact us early to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to go through our process. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Published May 27, 2014

 

Tips for a child friendly event!

 

Summer months are almost here - are you ready? The next 4 months are busy with outdoor events, communion and graduation parties, company picnics and family reunions. It takes a lot of time and energy to put together a successful party: between food, drinks, location and entertainment we sometimes might not know where to start.
 

  • Take some time to brain storm the purpose of the event, who will be in attendance, the age of your guests (pay close attention to the seniors and children) and how long will the event last. A communion party might work well in an enclosed pavilion so that all guests are comfortable in their church attire vs a graduation party could be a picnic in the park with a volleyball tournament.

 

  • When preparing your food, take into consideration to potential allergies your guests might have. It has become more common to see a ‘nut-free’ snack table or a ‘vegan’ station. It is also helpful to write out the names/ingredients of the food and include it in the decoration of the table. Most of the time, if someone has a severe allergy they will either contact the host ahead of time or they will bring something to the party that they can eat.

 

  • When children are present, make sure to take the time to create a special area just for them. Have a table for arts-n-crafts, a photo booth, sport games, story time and bubbles are always a great hit. For larger crowds or work events, it would be a great idea to have an extra staff member assigned strictly to assist with the children area.


Beach/summer/picnic themed ideas:

Arts-n-crafts - Paper Plate Aquarium:
Give the kids a paper plate and have them create an aquarium scene on the top side of the plate. They can decorate with markers, stickers, yarn, tissue paper, googly eyes, etc. Then over that plate tape a second plate that you have cut out a hole at the top (can cover with Plastic wrap). This makes it look like your looking into an aquarium.

Arts-n-crafts – Leis:
Cut out squares of different colored tissue paper and punch a hole through the middle (you can use a pencil or hole punch). Then let the children string the paper onto the yarn creating a great leis. Some children will use all one color, some will vary their colors, some will make unique patterns - one thing that is for sure is that they all will be unique.
What You Need: yarn (long enough to reach around children's necks), tissue paper

Arts-n-crafts – Sunglasses:
Buy a pack of cheap children’s sunglasses (could be paper or plastic ones) and glue on sparkle gems, stickers, ribbon, decorate with markers, etc. (can probably get a lot of this stuff at the Dollar Tree)

Numbers Activity:
You can buy a pack of seashells at the dollar store and write numbers 1-10 on the inside of the shells. Also, at the dollar store you can buy a pack of pearls/marbles/etc. Have children put the correct number of pearls into each numbered shell.

Letters of the Alphabet Activity:
Use a beach ball (dollar stores usually have packs of beach balls) and use a Sharpie marker to write the letters of the alphabet on the ball (can also write numbers). There are all sorts of games that can be played with these balls, like throwing the ball back and forth and the first letter or number that is in front of the child, when caught, they would name it out loud. (see pictures below)


Build-a-Snack Snack Time - Make a Jello ocean and then eat it:
Give each child a small bowl/cup of blue Jell-O and a plate with tiny/cut up pieces of fruit/food to represent what you would find in the ocean: grape fish, apple rocks and sand, carrot coral, celery seaweed, banana whales and so on.
Materials: Blue Jello, grape, apple, carrot, celery, banana (all cut up/in small pieces)

Acting out/Movement activity – Ocean Animals:
Have the children act out/pretend they are certain ocean animals. Call out what the animals are/what they do and see how the children interpret them. For example:

 

  • Shark – swim around with a fin on your head
  • Clam – open and close your shell
  • Crab – dig in the sand or do the crab walk
  • Octopus – shoot water from your body
  • Lobster – hide at the bottom of the ocean
  • Sing like a humpback whale
  • Jump in the water like a dolphin
  • Fish – make fishy faces and swim around


Science Activity - Sink or Float?
Fill a large plastic container with water. Supply a variety of household objects and invite children to discover which items sink and which will float. After they test each object they can sort them into two containers. Label the containers with simple pictures such as a boat for the FLOAT container and an anchor for the SINK container (probably best to do this outside).

By letting your guests know ahead of the time that a ‘’children’s area’ will be provided it will increase the participation and attendance. Especially if event is put together by a business in hopes to raise awareness/educate or to celebrate a milestone, doing this extra step can mean a higher attendance.

Our staff focuses on putting together a customized event plan based on the age and amount of children attending the event. We can bring games, snacks, arts-n-crafts, books and provide an educational yet fun experience for the little ones. We do have a 1 staff to 5 children ratio – with a minimum of 2 staff members present. This allows us to provide a safe environment and attention needed. If you are interested in finding out more information about our team of Personal Assistants we would be happy to schedule a complimentary meet-n-greet. Let us handle your event needs while you focus on your guests. As always, there are no minimums to utilize our services. Please note, on average it takes us 4-6 weeks to on-board a new client. Contact us early to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to go through our process. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

 

 

Published April 3, 2014

 

Are you investing your time and money by participating in an upcoming business expo, career fair, street festival or fair?

 

Read below for some helpful tips!

 

Vendor fairs, street fairs, summer festivals, non-profit events, township sponsored events and business expos are all a great opportunity to reach a large audience and raise brand awareness.

For small business owners this might mean opportunities of going to events and fairs to educate the community about their service or product. However, in order to participate in such events, businesses struggle with the balance of attending the event or working in their business. Sometimes, it is hard to justify taking the time off from ‘making’ a product or providing a service in order to attend an event. Other times, our clients tell us they would prefer to keep their higher pay employees in their office and utilize per-diem/temporary staff to attend these functions.

Things to keep in mind when you are ready to hire temporary staff that will represent your brand at an event:

1. Training: When hiring temporary staff make sure that they are given some hands-on training so that they are comfortable representing your company.

2. Resources: They should be provided with your top 10 questions that most customers would ask. Also, make sure they have all of the resources necessary to showcase your brand.

3. Confidentiality: Remember to have them sign any confidentiality agreements your company has (and/or make sure the company you are working with has something similar in their system).

4. Branding: Also, the person you choose to work with should represent themselves as an ‘employee’ of your company. It would be beneficial to give them a company logo shirt or ask them to wear something that matches your company’s culture (a staff member representing a law firm would be dressed differently than a staff member representing a florist).

 

  • Next step: plan out the day and know who will be in attendance!


When putting together your ‘action plan’ for the day, take the time to research how many people are expected at the event, what is their average age, profession, income level etc.

Most of this information will be available to you via the organizer of the event. It is important to remember that every event is different and should be customized based on the factors mentioned above. Make sure your literature, giveaways, and attire match the events.

A jeweler might focus on more inspirational and religious items for a church fair, while for “art in the park” events they might bring out their most unique, colorful items. It is crucial to read all vendor/participant agreements – as some events have strict guidelines for collecting leads, giving items away etc.

 

  • Next, don't forget to have a strategy for what needs to happen after the event!


When a business is preparing their ‘vendor’ participation, it is important to focus on what will happen after an event is over. How will you capture your leads, will you follow-up with the leads via phone call, email, mail? Do you have someone in your office that will be able to put all of the lead information into a database? A lot of focus is usually spent on preparing for the ‘event’ that we tend to forget that the hard work starts after the event.

The investment doesn’t end at the end of the day and a marketing campaign should be structured around these new potential clients.

We have recently attended a college job fair. Here are some tips that could have made a big difference for some of the businesses represented:

1. Make sure if an employee from your team attends the expo that they have an interest in the outcome of the expo/the employee candidates. You do not want your employee to attend the expo if they only see the event as a “free day away from work.”

2. If a candidate at the event does not seem interested in working for your company/discussing it further with you, then do not push it or trap them into talking to you. Let them continue walking – you will eventually find the right candidate that is interested in talking to you further!

3. Don’t bombard possible employee candidates with questions! When talking to them, make it a comfortable experience so that they actually want to work for you!

4. Make yourself accessible and inviting. Do not hide behind any signs at your booth.

5. Try to stay at the event until the end. Don’t leave early because you may miss some good candidates who are not able to come to the event until a certain time.

6. Don’t pay for a booth and then not show up to the event – this does not provide a “good look” for your company.

7. Don’t leave your booth unattended. Someone may be interested in your company when walking by, but they will have no one to talk to about this.

8. Always dress professionally – it will make a good first impression!

9. When working at an expo as a team, have a strategy to determine which candidate is a good fit for your company. For example, you can use the number system for each person that you talk to. After they fill out the necessary paperwork for you, write a 1,2, or 3 on the back of their paper: 1 could mean “YES,” 2 could be “give them a chance,” and 3 could be “NO.”

10. Make sure your pens work PRIOR to the expo. Little personal story: ASC attended a career fair at a community college and we did not check any of the pens beforehand. The students interested in working for our company had to try multiple pens before being able to completely fill out our small questionnaire!

11. Look approachable, welcoming, and friendly! Don’t sit at your booth – instead, stand. Also, do not have your arms crossed or be on your cell phone/laptop. Don’t you want people to feel comfortable approaching you?

Our staff always enjoys providing event assistance. Our goal is to help you grow your business by eliminating over-head costs, time restraints and stress. If you are interested in finding out more information about our team of Personal Assistants we would be happy to schedule a complimentary meet-n-greet. Let us handle your staffing needs while you focus on growing your business. As always, there are no minimums to utilize our services. Please note, on average it takes us 4-6 weeks to on-board a new client. Contact us early to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to go through our process. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

 

 

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