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Failing to prepare is preparing to fail

The chances are good that you regularly crunch the numbers and eliminate profit.


August 12, 2021
By Michelle Nicol, CERP

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For the past 16 months, all eternal optimists like myself have been saying that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel… but now we actually can! With vaccines ramping up in Canada, we are seeing an increase in sectors and regions opening up. The event industry is coming alive once again.

Are you prepared to shift back into the busy season we once knew? What can you do for your business today that will ensure a successful and smooth transition tomorrow? It all comes down to preparing in advance. 

If you are like most event businesses in Canada, you were forced to lay off most, if not all, of your event staff when the pandemic hit in March 2020. You may have a core group of staff keeping the lights on, but you will need additional support once the industry starts back up again. Have you reached out to your past employees to see if they would be interested in coming back, or if they have moved on? Having these conversations now is necessary so that you are not left scrambling last minute to fill these roles. Do you have staff on standby? If you are hiring new staff, get your job postings out now so you can interview and short-list applicants that will be available when you need them.

While there is less going on in the warehouse, if you have not done so already, now is the perfect time to tackle the dreaded task of inventory. There never seems to be a good time to conduct a thorough and accurate inventory. With items coming in and out, numbers would easily get mixed up and something always seemed to be off. While your shelves are currently more full than normal this time of year, it’s a great time to count your inventory and input into your system. This is also a great opportunity to check items that have not gone out for a while and ensure they are ready to be picked and shipped to a customer without any issues. Check linen bags and wrapped dishes for any unwelcome guests. Test cooking equipment. Open tables, chairs, tent tops and walls. When the calls start flooding in, you will be ready to grab the items off the shelf with the confidence that they are ready to rent.

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Have you thought of what your clients will need going forward? It’s a great time to tweak your offering bundles to cater to a wedding trend that isn’t going anywhere: the micro wedding. We are still going to see many large 250 to 500-up wedding celebrations, but the intimate micro weddings are here to stay for the foreseeable future. Perhaps you now offer a micro wedding bundle which is based on a customer picking up and returning, and items are packed in multiples of five or 10. 

This is the perfect time to reach out to clients and see what their re-opening plans are. Wedding planners, caterers, venues, festival planners and corporate clients are all working on their return-to-events plan, and you want to be part of it. Let them know how you are ready to jump back in to help with their event and see what else you can offer to help get them back on their feet. Let them know that you are there for them and when they are ready, you will be as well.

Lastly, has this pandemic brought to light any grey areas in your terms and policies? Ensure they are ready to go for a new season and all your bases are covered. Hopefully, nothing like this ever happens again, but let’s take the lessons we learned surrounding contract wording and deposit policies and not make the same mistakes. Try to offer your clients a clear and concise payment schedule, cancellation and transfer policy and set your expectations going forward.

The future is bright for the event industry. We are going to come back stronger than ever and the best events are yet to come!  


Michelle is an award-winning account manager and festival specialist with Higgins Event Rentals in Toronto. 


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