DROP A LINE "High turnover and other changes are common in a corporate environment. That's why you have to keep in touch with your corporate clients. No matter how much the contact person at your client corporation loves you, he or she might be gone tomorrow, and then you have to deal with someone else at that company. We send our clients postcards at least once every other month to stay in touch."
TAKE PICTURES "Bring in professional photographers for your great events. Often, you can share the cost with your client. Some catering companies have been around for years, but they have no portfolio, no pictures to show for it. We sell intangible items; we sell an idea that we're going to create. Unless you can show how you can create visions for others, your clients will not have the confidence that you can create what they're trying to accomplish."
SPICY IS HOT "Infusion food is still the trend of the future. As international markets open up, more spices become available-it starts at the West and East coasts and moves inland from there. African cuisine, such as berbere-spiced chicken skewers with a piri-piri sauce, is popular, as are Middle Eastern and Indian dishes. And people aren't looking for the Americanized versions anymore; they want the real thing-a spicy, authentic experience."
NO KNOW-IT-ALLS "Never think you know it all. Read up on the trends, applying techniques from other industries to yours-technology, entertainment, fashion, decorating, cooking. If you're a business owner, keep up on employee issues and how to run your business more effectively. Take classes in business, accounting and marketing. People who got into this business because they're creative often don't know what it takes to run a business."