What Do You Do?

By Natalie Wi

Normally a taboo question in our day-to-day encounters, asking someone “What do you do?” at an industry event is completely acceptable. But this article isn't about asking someone else; it's about being prepared to have the question aimed at you. This is your chance to convince someone else why they should hire you or refer a client to you and, in several instances, you'll only have about 30 seconds to effectively deliver your proposition.

This 30-second pitch is formally known as your Value Proposition, or:

A set of promises, based on the capabilities and credibility of the offering party, that helps prospective customers understand how an offering uniquely addresses specific problems, opportunities and challenges.*

Begin work on your value proposition by conducting a series of interviews. Interview your customers, your suppliers and your competition. Ask your customers why they buy from you, your suppliers why they refer to you, and your competition why their customers buy from them.** Interview yourself and research your target market.

Create a chart of the information you gather, and clear patterns will begin to emerge (see chart below).

Create a series of variations of your value proposition, including a longer, more involved description and a shorter, concise pitch. Your value proposition will be at the heart of all of your marketing endeavors, so spend some time evaluating it. When it comes time to use it effectively, you won't be stumbling for words.

*Jose Palomino's definition of a value proposition in his book “Value Prop.”

**As a side note, you may or may not hear back from your competition, but you can approach it as an opportunity to build an alliance or unified front.

Name: Natalie Napoleon Wi

Company: Allure West Studios

Address: 100 Mechanics St.

Doylestown, PA 18901 USA

Phone: 267/247-5858

E-mail: natalie@allurewest.com

Website: www.allurewest.com

Next page: The Philadelphia Flower Show Makes Business Bloom by Donna O'Brien

The Philadelphia Flower Show Makes Business Bloom

By Donna O'Brien

Did you know that the Philadelphia International Flower Show played a starring role at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from March 6-13, 2011?

Okay, well, you might not have known about the show, but did you know that it is really a fundraiser for the City of Philadelphia?

  1. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) is the nation's first horticultural organization and largest indoor horticultural exhibition in the world. This year, they went back to their roots with new introductions and trends in plants and designs, and engaged the floral and landscape design industries as partners.

  2. 2 The Philadelphia International Flower Show is the nation's premier flower show and generates a significant positive impact on the regional economy. A new study by KPMG found that the eight-day Flower Show generates:

    • a $61 million economic impact on the Greater Philadelphia region

    • 628.8 full-time jobs

    • $8 million in tax revenue

    • 22,641 hotel room nights

    • volunteers from 41 states

    • exhibitors from 26 states

  3. The Flower Show supports the charitable work of PHS! The show is a fundraiser for PHS's major programs including Philadelphia Green, Plant One Million and City Harvest. There are many ways to support PHS each year:

    • Go to the preview party

    • Buy a show ticket

    • Participate in the Charity Buzz online auction

  4. The Flower Show is one of the handful of destination events that define a city!

    • Louisville has the Kentucky Derby

    • Indianapolis has Indy 500

    • New York City has Fashion Week

    • Philadelphia has the Philadelphia International Flower Show

    • Named one of the top 10 destinations by the American Bus Association

    • Named in the “Guinness Book of World Records” and “1,000 Places to Go Before You Die”

    • Received seven International Festival Awards (IFEA) in 2010

  5. PHS programs help change people's lives. City Harvest program feeds those in need:

    • 50,000 pounds of vegetables harvested to date

    • Feeding over 1,000 people per week

    • PHS promotes education and organic growing techniques

    • Will grow this year to include nearly 50 new gardening sites

  6. PHS will launch the Plant One Million trees campaign this year!

    • The nation's first multistate, mass-scale tree planting encompassing 13 counties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware

    • This critical effort will restore a badly depleted tree canopy

    • PHS tree tenders train citizens in tree planting and care.

Name: Donna O'Brien

Company: Beautiful Blooms

Address: 101 N. Hancock St., #103

Philadelphia, PA 19123

Phone: 215/925-9300

E-mail: donna@beautifulblooms.com

Website: www.beautifulblooms.com

Next page: Preparedness and Improvisation by Gene X. Hwang

Preparedness and Improvisation

By Gene W. Hwang

Two critical skills that often seem diametrically opposed but in reality can go quite hand-in-hand are preparedness and improvisation. In the special events industry, all of us — whether planners, vendors or even attendees — can attest to the reality that no matter how things are planned, they don't always work out exactly the way they are supposed to.

With the new year upon us, many of us may have made resolutions. While lots of those may not last, a simple one to resolve could be not to let things get to you too much. In special event photography, we are often faced with unpredictable situations and have to adapt. One of the keys is how do you respond to these challenges. You can adapt and make the most of it or let it frustrate you.

One of the things I've found to be most helpful is a positive attitude about these situations. Initially when something strays from the plan, I try to see if it's something that has to be corrected. As we all know, once you diverge just a little bit, the ultimate direction can be widely skewed. However, in some types of situations, this adjustment could be the spark that's needed to get more out of the situation. For example, rain is often seen as something we have to have contingency plans for, but it can also allow for creative images. Umbrellas can be used as accessories and the resulting memories will be more vivid with everyone remembering the downpour and unique photos that were taken.

Of course, it can be hard to look upon things going awry as something positive, especially in special events. The key here is to be prepared for the contingency. I think we've all been in situations where something has gone wrong but nobody had what was necessary to correct it. Maybe it was something as simple as a Band-Aid for a small cut or a shot of whiskey for a nervous bride. My camera bag has all kinds of random items such as a bottle opener, blotter paper, USB thumb drive and a mini LED flashlight. As professionals, it is upon us to be ready for the unexpected and when we do save the day with something, it really can leave a positive lasting impression on our clients.

Name: Gene X. Hwang

Company: Orange Photography

Address: 2565 Third St., Suite 215

San Francisco, CA 94107

Phone: 415/255-7478

E-mail: contact@orangephotography.com

Website: www.orangephotography.com

Next page: Be a Consistent Genius

Be a Consistent Genius

By Marie Williamson

David Galenson, an economist from Chicago, spent a decade developing the concept that genius comes in two forms: conceptual and experimental. The conceptualist has big and bold ideas, whereas the experimentalist pro-gresses to the next step with a plan. By observation, the special events industry embodies the duality of both.

Based on Galenson's theory, it could be argued that this is an industry of genii. For instance, the patience needed to calm a bride prior to getting her down the aisle or the talent of an entertainment company to hold the attention of 40 13-year-olds for five hours — all would agree that there is definitely a level a genius within.

The question was posed: Does the industry employ the same discipline to the “business” portion of the business? Where is the consistency between the step-by-careful-step planning every aspect of the event but then sailing off into the wind of indifference when it comes to details of the business?

The ISES Board of Governors spent this past summer tackling one issue that every business owner/operator faces: managing the precious dollars we earn. Their research led them directly to the merchant banking industry, and they began to unravel the truths about a purposely convoluted industry.

The result of their efforts is a game-changer. In January 2011, ISES officially added Incom Direct to its list of member benefits. Countless hours were spent by the association's leadership to understand the industry and, in turn, educate the members. To stay consistent with ISES's mission, Incom Direct has assigned a team of experts throughout the U.S. to the association and to speak at local chapter meetings. A formal presentation has been created to explain, in detail, how the merchant services industry really works. ISES Leadership and Incom Direct, together, are committed to making sure ISES members understand their finances and allow them to benefit from the most aggressive, proprietary pricing model in the industry.

For questions and to schedule a senior consultant to speak at your chapter's meeting, please contact me.

Name: Marie Williamson

Company: Incom Direct LLC

Address: 388 Reed Road, Building 1, First Floor, Broomall, PA 19008

Phone: 877/810-8635

E-mail: mwilliamson@incom-direct.com

Website: www.incom-direct.com

Next page: Your ISES Editorial Team and Staff

Your ISES Editorial Team and Staff

Natalie Napoleon Wi
Volunteer Editor
Allure West Studios
natalie@allurewest.com

Amie Shak
Editor/Coordinator
ashak@smithbucklin.com

Kevin Hacke
Executive Director
khacke@smithbucklin.com

Kristin Prine
Operations Manager
kprine@smithbucklin.com

Lauren Rini
Education Coordinator
lrini@smithbucklin.com

Meghan Berger
Chapter Services Sr.
Associate
mberger@smithbucklin.com

Tom McCurrie
Membership Services Associate
tmccurrie@smithbucklin.com

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