Inspire and celebrate your business in 2018 with a professional events management company.
Mike Jones, from Modello Events Management talks to Face for Business about how using an events company can improve your business prospects and profile in more ways than one! So if you would like to plan an event but are not sure where to begin, or you would like to know the different types of options available to you, then become inspired by Modello's events and innovative approach to boardroom meetings.
What types of events do you hold for small businesses?
For small businesses we specialise in a range of activities. From exhibitions and product launches, conferences and executive dinners, as well as hospitality and team building.
Can you cater for any type, size or sector?
Our biggest clients are global companies like BT and UK wide companies like Shire Leasing but we’re now bringing that expertise to SMEs and at a more affordable cost so they are getting the benefit of big corporate expertise but with SME budgets.
So if someone wanted to create a team building event, customer-focused event or a celebration of a business anniversary for their small business, what should be the first things to consider?
The first thing we would recommend is that they consider what type of event they want. Most SMEs do not have the expertise in house, and it can be very time consuming for them. Often they’re not sure how to start the ball rolling. We would always recommend that they sit down with someone who has the expertise to advise them, someone who can understand the absolute purpose of the event, whether it’s a celebration, a product launch, or whether they’re trying to improve their relationship with key clients. We ask if they want to involve existing customers or maybe gain new customers. Armed with that, a professional events company like Modello will be able to create and design an appropriate event. Of course budget is always important, so trying to understand how much they value that event and what return they’re seeking would be very much part of any initial discussions.
What sort of timescales should small businesses consider when they’re looking to arrange an event?
To plan an event effectively we would always recommend eight weeks minimum. We plan hospitality, venues, press releases, we look after everything on the day and we never do an event where one of our team isn’t present. We will always have someone to execute the event and post-sale we will provide them a report of how we thought the event went, development for next time and we’ll ask them for feedback about our performance in helping them.
Does that take into consideration all the other planning that goes with it?
Well we’re all very busy so if you want to get your customers to the event it has to be attractive because there will be lots of people to invite and you have to ensure that they’re available in plenty of time, so eight weeks is a great timeframe to work with. Just a note though, we don’t arrange any events from the middle of July to the end of August, because people want to spend time with their families.
Why should small businesses outsource their event management to Modello and not do it themselves?
Expertise and time are important when organising an event and also with the recent recession most SMEs are running with skeleton staff and if you second someone from their own role to organise an event, you’re taking them away from the job that they are paid to do so and that will suffer, also, they may not have the experience or contacts to organise a creative, effective and efficient event, that delivers objectives within the allocated budget.
How easy is it for a small business to run an event with Modello?
Very easy. In an ideal world we would want to sit down with the person who knows want they want to do for about 45 minutes. We have a series of stages we would talk and guide that person through to understand what their vision is, what is practical within the budget and then we will go away and prepare some inspiring options for them to consider. Another event we offer is team incentives and that’s quite important within some businesses. We try and create something that is perhaps out of the normal reach of sales people from their everyday income. For example, we have just brought some people back from Nice and Monaco, for probably the price they would normally have spent on a weekend away. We have some great contacts and can create aspirational incentives. Using this method of events will give you a strong return from your sales force for example. Again, we can cater for most sales budgets.
What benefits will small businesses gain from the type of events that Modello would run for them?
Normally for a business event, maybe an executive dinner, we would try and recommend that they invite two to three existing customers that they have a really strong relationship with and incorporate that with new or potential customers that they are trying to develop a relationship with. This way guests at the event will hopefully network and your existing customers should ‘wax lyrical’ about services they you provide, so in effect the existing customers become internal sales people for the potential new ones! The benefit is they will cement the relationships with key clients and they will hopefully be able to very gain strong relationships with existing ones.
Do these events help raise their profile?
It does. We deliver quite unique events so very often in addition to the event itself we will get the local press involved. For example, we organise ‘creative board’ events. One is called ‘Bored of the Boardroom’. We take people out of their boardrooms and on one occasion, we organised for a company meeting on the beach in North Norfolk, which was quite interesting. On another occasion we took a group of executive to the Red Bull Formula One Team and held a meeting in their race space. That was quite inspiring and fun!
What’s a typical event that you run for small businesses? Is there one type of event that small businesses tend to go for, or is it quite a wide range?
We try and be quite creative. We try and do something a bit different. If you think about it, local managing directors probably get invited to golf days a few of times each year, and will become selective about the ones they’ll go to. An example of a unique event that we’ve just organised is using a converted horse box to serve Prosecco and Pimms in the summer or Mulled wine and mince pies in the run up to Christmas. The whole idea is that you empty your own office car park and we’ll bring a pop up party to your car park! We bring the bar in and whatever entertainment you choose, maybe a magician and play a few tunes. This can be to say thanks to your own team, your customers for their loyalty and mixing the two is a very strong relationship building activity.
How did you decide to set up Modello events management?
I was working for BT and they asked me to deliver corporate presentations, which was outside of my day job. Following on from this, they asked me if I could present at another event but also organise it too! At the time I went to a lot of events and knew which events were good to attend myself, so I was able to prepare an offering that suited the audience. This rapidly expanded to what we have now.
How long did it take to establish Modello?
We started with a couple of good returning customers and organised some really great events for them, which were unique. Word of mouth marketing really helped and the business grew from there really. If you can be creative with a 25 mile radius, most people will recommend you to their colleagues, associates, family and friends.
Did this form the basis of your marketing strategy then? Using connections and your networks?
As mentioned earlier, it was through my existing customers. Another example is an event in we arranged in Norwich, which is surrounded by an old stone city wall. There are probably only 150 leading professional companies within Norwich, and most of them are invited to the same events. One of these companies was a firm of solicitors who wanted an event to celebrate its 10th birthday. We were tasked with organising an event using a venue that no one has ever used in Norwich before! So, we spoke to a local museum and they kindly let us tidy up their crypt, which is within a series of old dungeons and caves, and organised a Halloween party. Guests didn’t have to dress up themselves as we hired actors and themed the actual venue, brought in catering and the bar. A fun night whilst respecting the tradition of the venue.
Do you actually tailor each event for each type of business or does it help if the client knows what they want, too?
Normally the client knows what they want to achieve, but not necessarily what they want. They may know they’ve got 50 people they want to prepare a little celebration for, but not really know what choices are available. We add something different to the traditional ‘hotel’ meeting room.
You talked about ‘Bored by the Boardroom’ earlier and I wanted to talk about the picture on your website of a red boardroom table on the actual beach! What benefits would this type of event give to a small business owner?
Traditionally SME board meetings have the same agenda every month. It can be quite boring but has to be done. We can provide you with a platform to really get to know your colleagues and junior associates. We enable you to get to know your co-workers and colleagues – you’ll get to know their interests and personalities and ‘Bored of the Boardroom’ takes them out of their comfort zone. It might look comfortable on the beach but it’s a strange environment to have your meeting. During this event we will facilitate a company meeting with a much higher agenda which can include mergers, moving office, employment growth etc, then the high fliers in the company get invited to lunch, giving existing board members the opportunity and potential to get to know them. We can then build on this by creating some kind of team building activity to test leadership or problem solving. This is good for the directors as they can sit back while the potentials take charge of the afternoon and small business owners can get to know people a lot better and discover who has the potential to be on the board when the next opportunity arrives.
So ‘Bored by the Boardroom’ is doing exactly that, it’s making employees uncomfortable and mangers/directors will see how they manage in a different environment than they would normally be used to?
Yes and it’s also helping the existing directors understand more about that person without a formal interview process - they’ll start to form an opinion about who has the capability to be considered for the top roles in future.
From an events perspective, how important is team building in a small business?
I think it empowerment. My whole ethos of work is empowerment of the people who work for me. I think one of the mistakes that most leaders make is they think they know best and unfortunately what they should be doing is making decisions based on expertise of others, in my opinion.
How do you help facilitate the creative process during a team building event? Do you have an agenda or do you move it on or?
We have a range of 60 team building exercises that we can use, varying between problem solving, leadership and creativity. We can advise which exercise would be suitable for each event objective, the skills and business areas to be tested and the people dynamics involved.
What makes Modello stand out from the crowd?
Our motto is that we want every customer (the person who’s paying) to feel like a guest at their own event. We will take all the strain. If it’s a celebration we’re making sure the wine and the food is on time, the invitation process is slick, the acknowledgements are received, etc. We don’t want anyone to worry about these things. We also organise quite a lot of private parties and take charge of everything during the event too. End to end. Whether it’s a VIP transfer from the airport to making sure your Prosecco is cold.
Finally, what 3 things make a great entrepreneur?
Creativity, bravery and knowing the value of your team.
All in all running an event needn't cost you an arm and a leg, and providing that you have a clear brief, a good timescale to work within and have a vision of what you would like, hosting an event could bring your business many benefits. Why not give Mike Jones a call on 01508 558858 or complete Modello's contact form.
Mike Jones, MD, Modello Events
Inspire and celebrate!