Corporate Entertainment

The image of corporate entertainment has been damaged in the last couple of years. Reports of Government subsidised banks having expensive events entertaining clients, sticks in the throat for many people who have lost their jobs, or who are struggling to pay their mortgage. Hospitality tents at Wimbledon; half empty, but paid for in full, also annoy many people.Yet in all cases, the banks booked and paid for the events before the financial crisis AND corporate entertainment is part of the process of developing relationships in business. Many businesses: particularly City companies are concerned about visibly entertaining clients given the current economic situation. They cannot be seen to be having ‘jollies’ even if they are entertaining existing and prospective clients. Of course, this has had an impact on the Events, Conference, Hospitality and Entertainment sector.Simon Speller from Hillier Hopkins LLP Accountants said that the Event sector is a very good indicator of economic stability. Clients of his in this sector began to be hit at the beginning of 2008: before other sectors were affected, but, he optimistically said that his clients are now seeing increased activity in the latest quarter: suggesting that there is economic growth – or optimism.Before the Credit Crunch, large or even limitless budgets were available for corporate entertainment, and lavish affairs were organised with no expense spared. Prices were high, and it was not unheard of for Event Companies to have huge mark ups on their suppliers prices, which they passed on to their clients. Now, however, the trend is for limited budgets and for fees to be negotiated and some entertaining to be cut.One of our clients mentioned that they were no longer organising their regular hospitality events for all of their clients; instead of taking 100 clients for a corporate day at Twickenham, including watching an International; they were now taking 10 high earning clients to see the match and a curry: cutting the cost from £700 per person to £70. They were also going through their database; inviting people to fewer events and saving the best invitations to their highest earners only.Another client, who works for a major supermarket that made record profits last year, said that all of the Christmas Office parties were cancelled last year as a cost cutting exercise. Normally her department of 20 would have had a budget of £40,000, yet the company were reluctant to even organise an in house drinks party. Of course cancelling office parties impacts on staff morale and is not always the most effective cost saving measure!So why do organisations entertain? Is it for fun, or to make them look good? Is it to show off or to reward their staff? There is a little of all these factors when organisations entertain, but it is generally for business purposes. Providing employees with a fantastic away day experience or Office Party is a good reward for loyalty and hard work – hence the demoralisation when these are cancelled. However, first and foremost it is to establish and maintain relationships with clients.If you arrange to meet a high earning client in McDonalds for a coffee, it says little about how you value the client and their business to you, but if you take care with the venue you choose to meet for coffee: that it is private and quiet to have the opportunity to discuss business in a professional way – it says so much about how you value the business relationship. Likewise, a restaurant where the service and ambience is not good (even if it is expensive) will do little for the business relationship that a lovely family owned restaurant where the chef and front of house really care about their customers.It is no longer necessary to lavishly entertain clients with high budget events. If you have a limited budget, it is fine to have an in house drinks party, but ensure you have arranged the finer details – such as a cloakroom for coats; clean glasses (yes: that isn’t always the case with hired glasses!) and a few canapés: and organising who is going to serve the drinks and canapés.We have offered clients who are organising in house events a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) entertainer. The fee comes from their CSR fund, and the entertainer is a ‘busker’ who plays background music, and guests put money into his hat, raising money for a charity. The benefits are that there is a fundraising element to the event and the entertainment is paid from the CSR fund rather than from the budget, and the quality of the event is enhanced by live music.If you are arranging entertainment at another venue, see what the venue events team offer with the package; for example, is entertainment included in the package; are they able to offer discounted accommodation? Is there an option for a cash bar? What is the difference in price between a buffet and served meal?When adding the ‘entertainment’ element to an evening, here are my top tips for the perfect icing on the cake.• We would always recommend going to a respected agency: someone you can talk to, rather than an internet based company. Friends of friends are not always reliable!• A musician playing background music during the drinks reception and/or meal lifts the quality level of an event. A CSR funded musician adds value to the event, although this isn’t always necessary. A harpist, string quartet, saxophonist, guitarist or pianist work very well in this situation.• After a dinner, it is always good to have entertainment, to finish off the evening and enabling guests to leave happy. We have found Singing Waiters; Surprise Singing Guests and our Flamenco Guitarists and dancers particularly popular.• After dinner speakers are a successful choice, although we recommend you are very specific in the contract as to what you would like them to speak about, and give them enough information about the expected guests, to ensure they tailor the speech for the audience.• Stand up comedians are fun; however, many have material that might not be suitable for mixed audiences or specific groups. Personally I would avoid this option unless you are very confident of the comedian and know your audience well. Some events have been ruined by the choice of comedian.• A singing act, such as our Romantic Tenor who sings Operatic Arias and Andrea Boccelli songs is very popular. As a rule, Tribute soloists and bands do not impress valued clients, so search for a good quality singer who will add value to your event. Make sure he or she has not set the sound levels too high, and if necessary, manage the sound checks to set the volume lower and request adjustments in the evening. A great evening has been spoilt by the entertainment being too loud – so manage the artiste!• Get as much advice and help from the venue as possible. They are experts at their venue and might have some great ideas.Corporate entertainment is an invaluable way of developing business relationships. At this time when people are cutting back, it is an ideal time to increase client hospitality to stand out from the crowd. Good entertainment is not about spending huge amounts of money, but taking care with the details, so that your clients have a positive experience and you, as a company, present yourself well. Good luck!

Thinking About Investing Online? Start With Low Risk Investments

There is no such thing as an investment that does not pose a risk. A low risk online investment can be found, but you will need to do the proper research to ensure that you are making the best possible decisions. They should be a part of your developing portfolio. If you are not sure which investments are right for you, hiring a broker might be a great way to secure your financial future.BondsBonds are a very popular low risk online investment that should be a part of every beginner investor’s portfolio. A bond is a type of share where you provide a company with your money. The company takes your money with the promise of paying back the amount plus a specific amount of interests. Bonds can be a wise low risk online investment due to the fact that you can make as much as fifty percent of your investment back in a short amount of time. Government bonds are some of the safety bonds to put your money in.CDsCertificates of deposit are also a low risk online investment that you can be taking advantage of. Entering the forex market is also another idea for those who are looking for low risk online investments to take advantage of. You can use forex robots or software to help you make smart decisions on the foreign exchange market.Think about mixing your investment optionsAnnuities are a great low risk online investment option to consider. Annuities can provide you with long term benefits, but you should also mix in other investment options like bonds. CDs and annuities are a great investment portfolio foundation. Mutual funds are low risk investment options that are based on the stock market, but are more reliable. Mutual funds should also be mixed with a number of other investments to ensure financial stability.If you can achieve a return on investment of twenty percent you can consider yourself to be doing very well. Saving money on your investment is almost as important as the return on investment that you receive. Searching the web can provide you with a ton of companies, brokers, and investment ideas that will help you build a rock solid investment portfolio. Low risk online investments can provide you with a high return on investment if you thoroughly investigate all of your investment options. Make sure to do enough research before deciding where to invest your money and secure your financial future.

Budget Travel Ideas – 3 Ideas For Cheap Traveling and Sticking to Your Budget

Are you stumped for budget travel ideas, banging your head against the wall because you are not finding any ideas for cheap travel? Well, a great vacation is within your reach, and within your budget, as long as you use a few resources that savvy travelers know about.1. For cheap airfare, plan to travel during non-peak times. This means that you want to fly out of an airport mid-week or on a Saturday. Also, schedule your flight during non-prime hours, i.e. outside of 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Yeah, I know it is not fun to catch a plane at 11:00 PM but you will save a ton of dough this way. Airlines generally bump up the prices on flights that leave between 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. As an added savings, you will want to sign up to get e-mails from your chosen airlines. Many times airlines will give their customers special promotion codes to get added savings on airfare.2. Do not plan your trip during the high tourist season. This works for virtually any destination worldwide. You will save money if you travel outside of high season; airfare is cheaper, hotels are cheaper (and are not completely booked), and you won’t have to deal with the tourist crowd.3. How about a cruise? Yes, they can be quite costly but consider cruising during the non-peak times of year. The cruise lines still need your business and they cut their prices dramatically. And consider that a cruise is all-inclusive. Many times a vacation really adds up due to the incidentals. By cruising, you won’t have to worry about the incidentals adding up because the food, lodging, transportation, and entertainment is included. Do you have a talent or skill? Cruise companies are always looking for people to entertain their guests. If your skill is something they want, think something like a dance instructor, you may be able to cruise for free in exchange for you giving a few lessons to the passengers.I hope this gives you some ideas of how you can start planning your budget travel plans. A nice vacation does not have to cost an arm and a leg. Use your creativity and be flexible about your plans and you can be well on your way to a cheap, but nice and memorable, vacation.

4 Reasons The Study Of Organizational Behavior Is Imperative

The managers or entrepreneurs are the leaders who can shape the success of their organization. For a successful run, a leader needs to ensure that the business carries out its internal and core operations Organizational Behavior plays a vital role in any enterprise’s success. It outlines the system in which the company will run, where it’ll fit in the industry and it also decides the future of the company. It defines the vision, mission, and goals of the company and outlines a way in which the members of the company will interact with each other. Thus, every manager or entrepreneur should learn the core principles of Organizational Behavior for the success of the business. Here are a few more reasons that exemplify the significance of the study of organizational behavior:

1. It helps in understanding the mission of the enterprise
Every organization has its quintessence or its purpose of carrying out the intended operations. Organizational behavior aids the entrepreneurs in defining the task of the organization- what a company will do and how it’ll do it. It defines an infrastructure that will be followed by the company throughout its run. It also emphasizes on establishing a mission statement that the company wants to achieve through its operations. The mission is not only monetary but it speaks of the company’s culture and aims at bringing a change in the lives of the customers, stakeholders and all the people involved with the company. The mission statement tells everyone about the goals of the organization and can be used to gauge the effectiveness of its operations.

2. It aids in establishing clear expectations
The organizational behavior not only helps in establishing a mission, but it also helps the managers or entrepreneurs in setting expectations for the employees, stakeholders as well as the customers. It helps in formulating the chain of command performed by each employee and also decides the kinds of vendors and customers the company should expect.

3. It helps in better decision making
The organizational behavior paves way for uniformity in the company and its core values. The establishment of the uniform mission, actions and messages facilitate the managers to make better decisions that are fruitful for the company. Organizational Behavior entails an identity to the organization so the managers can make their decision aligning with the nature of operations of the organization.

4. It ensures that managers hire the right person
The employees are the main pillars of organizational behavior. The people that bring new ideas and passion to the organization are considered as the perfect employees for the organization. If the organizational behavior is clearly defined, the newly employed candidates can easily understand their duties and it also makes easy for the managers to hire the right people and communicate with them effectively.