Having clocked 20 years in the events industry this year (2023), we (FONTT) choose to share our knowledge with other business owners in the industry as well as new entrants to the industry, with clients and potential clients, and with the general public via tips from time to time. This is targeted at raising the bar in the events industry.
Tip 1: Behind the scene, one of what makes our Soapy Football, Inflatable Handball and Inflatable Volleyball major successes are the anti-shock carpets used to base the floor before spreading any of the three games mentioned above. These anti-shock carpets (grey in colour in the picture) are a must for safety, and should not be overlooked. Clients should demand them from any business owner offering the games. When children or adults fall, there’s no injury because of the presence of the carpets. Don’t go cheap by cutting corners! Insist on the use of the carpets. Note: Not just any carpets. It must be the anti-shock carpets. Better safe than sorry!
Tip 2: One must never get tired of reminding team members to use their safety kits. It’s one thing to have them, it’s another thing to wear them. Some team members willingly forget to wear their safety kits such as safety boots, safety gloves and safety helmets when setting up games equipment that have to do with metals. It’s a win win for all parties when it comes to wearing safety kits. Though all members have safety kits, some are sometimes caught on duty without them.
Tip 3: Cleanliness is very beautiful and attractive as you can see from our Farm House inflatable. Due to the huge size of some games in the event industry, they can be very cumbersome and costly to clean after use (especially if a business owner lacks adequate storage space to wash them properly). This however is not an excuse as a business owner to deliver dirty games to your client’s premises. All major cleaning should be done before taking the games to the client’s premises (no matter what it would cost you). The only cleaning that may be done in the client’s premises are just minor touch ups caused by dirt picked up during transportation to the venue or caused by overnight dew or rain from a previous day set-up, or dirt during the duration of the event.
Clients should henceforth not choose business owners that have gotten used to delivering dirty games. This will send a wake-up call to them that it is no longer business as usual.
Tip 4: Prompt maintenance and repair of any part of a game that is damaged will prevent major problems and major expenses at a future date. Do not procrastinate anything. Form the maintenance culture early in your business. Some business owners have abandoned games over minor problems that could have been nibbed in the bud earlier to avoid escalation to a major problem later. Spend now and smile later!
Some team members also specialize in concealing problems so that they will not be blamed. This is very bad. Team members should look at the bigger picture and always speak up early to avoid bigger embarrassments for the entire team/business.
Tip 5: Punctuality endears us to our clients. Clients can easily become worked up on the day of their event due to one reason or another. It is therefore not a time for a vendor to arrive late. Clients always appreciate vendors that show up earlier than expected because it gives one less thing to worry about. We know there’s no need to paint a scenario of the stress that a vendor coming in late can give a client. You can imagine that yourself. Note that a stressed-up client hardly notices any good that you do thereafter. Be punctual and put a smile on your client’s face.
Vendors should also finish setting up all their games before the guests start arriving. It is not ideal to be setting up once the event has kicked off.
Tip 6: Competing with yourself is good business. As a business owner, there is a tendency to focus more on outside competition to one’s detriment. We advise that one competes with oneself. How can you be better today than you were yesterday? Furthermore, how can you be better tomorrow than you are today? Keep learning! Keep growing! This applies to all team members. Don’t rest on your oars.
Tip 7: Looking good (dressing well) is good business. We are sure that you must have heard the saying – dress the way you want to be addressed. This is so true! When team members are well dressed and arrive at their client’s premises, they need no further introduction. They are immediately welcomed and ushered in respectfully with dignity simply because they look good and presentable. Vendors should spare no expense in providing good outfits for their team members so that clients and guests can be proud to be associated with them.
Vendors should ensure that no team member is wearing slippers. This is a very sloppy and unprofessional look. No matter how comfortable it is to wear slippers, it should not be accepted in the workspace.
Tip 8: Forgetting yourself is good business. We all need to forget ourselves and our challenges once we are out in the event space. This is necessary to wear a joyful face for the event. Clients and guests like joyful looking team members. You must have heard the saying – you can’t give what you don’t have. If you are not joyful, you really would find it difficult to spread joy to others around you. Be joyful!
Tip 9: Empathy is good business. As much as we plan ahead, sometimes, some things don’t always go according to plan. All parties should remember to put on their empathy caps and not walk all over people that are responsible for the hiccups. Trust us, it is easier said than done. Nevertheless, we keep trying.
Tip 10: Speaking the truth is good business. It is really disheartening when vendors in any field of business play a client by not speaking the truth. For instance, you know you have no intention of showing up early, and you instead keep telling the client (when he or she calls) that you are on the way, you are on the way – meanwhile, you have not even left your abode. Once a client realizes the type of person you are, you will be the loser. Just speak the truth and let the client decide what next.
Tip 11: Don’t be afraid to alter or modify your floor plan. Or may be one should rather say, don’t be too rigid by maintaining the same floor plan year in year out for hallmark events. Be creative in reshuffling the arrangement to create a fresh new look every year to avoid predictability/boredom on the part of some guests who are frequent attendees of your events.
Tip 12: As a follow up to Tip 3, Cleanliness is not only applicable to the games. It is also applicable to the entire team members. As a business owner, never get tired of encouraging your team members to be well groomed and clean. Shower and deodorise before every event. It may seem very common-sense for anyone to know this but trust us, common sense is not always common. Sometimes, you need to school adults as if you are schooling pre-schoolers.
Due to the intensity of the sun during outdoor events in Nigeria recreation, anyone would likely sweat, and this may sometimes lead to offensive odour if one did not shower and deodorise properly before the event. Since the games vendors are having close contact with the guests using the games, it is inevitable that they will perceive any odour emitting from any team member. One individual can tarnish a brand image/reputation if care is not taken. Do not relent in enforcing cleanliness.
All team members should wash their outfits properly after every event in preparation for the next event.
Tip 13: As a first-time client, do you know you stand a lot to gain by brainstorming with your chosen vendors before finalizing your floor plan for your event. This is because there are usually some logistic information peculiar to some games that you may not be privy to if you singlehandedly draw the plan without consultation. It’s best to discuss the plan earlier so that you don’t suddenly encounter challenges on the day of the event.
Tip 14: For clients using very big fields for your events, avoid spreading individual games too far apart from each other because you risk drowning the individual games and causing the games to look scanty on the field. You should rather place the games a bit closer to one another with the biggest game centralised in the middle to give a fuller outlook. Otherwise, when your guests enter the venue, it’s going to appear empty (even though it’s not). First impression matters a lot. We speak from experience.
As a vendor, bear in mind that some clients at the end of the day will choose to do it their own way. Don’t get discouraged. At least you know you offered the advice, and they may later ponder over it and realize that you told them.
Tip 15: In reference to speaking the truth mentioned in Tip 10, this can also be viewed from the perspective of team members not speaking the truth to business owners and vice versa. Lies don’t benefit anyone (whether white lie or black lie). Just call a spade a spade! Or as we say in-house, just hit the nail on the head! Don’t sugar-coat anything. The truth sets everyone free. When there are issues on ground, speak out clearly (no matter who gets offended in the process).
Tip 16: As a follow-up to Tip 3 and Tip 12, we are big on cleanliness and would also like clients to have cleaners going round throughout the duration of the event to pick up refuse thrown around by guests. This enables the venue to look beautiful throughout the event and the pictures taken by all parties will look more beautiful when there’s no dirt in view. Trust us, there are pictures you see and hesitate to share with others because the setting is not as neat as you would have wanted.
Tip 17: Parents should not overdress when going for their children’s school funday or similar fun events. This is so that they can play with their children and create memorable experiences for the children. When parents overdress, they tend to be too self-conscious to play. They instead worry more about their make-up, designer clothes, designer shoes and bags getting smeared or dirty. Trust us, all these needless worries add no value to the children’s lives. Take time to play with your children and create memorable experiences for them.
Tip 18: Again, with overdressing, parents should not overdress children when going for fundays. This is to enable the children play freely without worrying about spoiling their designer clothes. In this regard, the client can announce upfront to the parents and children to dress casual so that they can maximise their fun. This will also minimize parents fretting over expensive outfits and thereby hindering the children from playing.
Tip 19: Clients should cut back on long speeches from all quarters when it comes to fundays. Let the children play to their fill. It’s a funday not another workday. Lol!
Tip 20: When clients are full of thanks and gratitude for making their events a success, remember to direct all the thanks and glory to God, because at the end of the day, He made it all possible. Don’t let the praise get to your head. Immediately start preparing how to take the next event to a higher level. Remember Tip 6: You are competing with yourself. Immediately do a SWOT analysis of your performance at the last event and then begin strategizing for the next event.
Till next time.