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Sleek Events office warming party

Sleek Events celebrate moving in to stylish new office

Our team at Sleek Events celebrated the move into our new home in Richmond, throwing an office warming party to welcome suppliers, freelancers and affiliates into the stylish new space.

The move into our new Richmond office comes as our MD & Founder, Jennifer Davidson, expands the agency to 13 full-time employees. But with plans for two more to join our #DreamTeam within the next 6 weeks, these premises are a temporary stop-gap while another office is being custom-built for us in Wimbledon.

The Cocktail Service at Sleek Events

Our party guests included our friends from ExCeL, Visit Monaco, Tobacco Dock, Iconic Luxury Hotels and many more. With a delicious cocktail in hand, expertly mixed by The Cocktail Service, guests toured the new space, were introduced to the new members of the team and did not resist the temptation of the freshly-cooked pizzas from Fine Street Co.

Fine Street Co at Sleek Events

“It was great to take some time to celebrate the growth of the company and welcome so many of our suppliers to the new office,” said Lizzie Burdge, Client Relationship Director for Sleek Events.

The chic office has a modern, industrial fitout with warm, soft furniture finishes to add a personable touch. This stylish office is managed by the same firm building the new Wimbledon premises, Harepath Estates LLP, due to be finished later this year – so watch this space.

Follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter to get the latest news from Sleek Events.

networking event for startup to meet investors

How to use an event to meet investors

When you’re starting a business, a key fence you need to hurdle is the financial one. You’ve got to find sufficient capital to cover not only your initial costs but also the expenses you’ll incur in the first year or two while the business gets on its feet.

But where do you go to get the money? You could approach your bank, but that’s very much a box-ticking exercise and, often, we simply don’t fit into boxes. (Plus, sometimes we prefer not to 😉).

So, why not think in a more ‘Dragons’ Den’ way and look in the direction of other entrepreneurs and business owners? They’ve almost certainly been in your position themselves and will know how important the non-box things are: drive, creativity, passion, belief, perseverance and, at the heart of it all, a darned good idea. They’ll be able to understand your situation in a way that an employed bank worker can’t and, if you find the right person/people, they’ll probably be able to give you some great advice and could even end up becoming a mentor or coach to you and your fledgling business.

So, get out there!

Events are great vehicles for meeting potential investors. Most industry organisations and associations have annual shows and conferences, which attract both high-profile speakers and people looking for new mutually-beneficial opportunities. Successful people love finding news ways to make money, so there will always be a number of ‘angel investors’ scouting at big events.

Then there are the smaller, more local networking events, which are great opportunities to get your name and business out there among other entrepreneurs and motivated businesspeople in your area. A simple Google search will bring up what’s on and information about where you might be able to meet investors, such as options in London listed on Eventbrite. Not every event you go to will be fantastic, but the more often you get out there, the more quickly you’ll find the best ones. Linkedin is a great source for identifying what’s worth going to and your local business associations should also be happy to make recommendations.

Who should I approach?

This is the first big question for many people: how do you know who to speak to?  Well, often you don’t. While you might recognise the more successful names and faces, when you walk into an event you really have no idea who might be in a position to invest, so simply introduce yourself to as many people as possible.

Tip: Do some online research before an event and try to identify any attendees that you think might be able to help you, in any capacity. Contact them beforehand and arrange to meet at the event – it’s much less scary when you’ve made plans and can be prepared.

What should I say?

Here’s the second big question: what do you say when you’re looking for investment? How do you start and how up-front should you be about what you want? You might be worried about saying either too much or too little – creating the wrong impression or, even worse, no impression at all!

Take a deep breath, relax and think about how you like to be approached by other people. A big smile, eye contact and a warm handshake are your starting points, followed by who you are and what your business is.

Tip: Ask other people questions about what they do. Not only will that make them warm to you, but it’ll help you judge whether they’re the right people to keep chatting with.

It’s certainly worthwhile listening to other people talk about how to present yourself and make the right first impression, particularly if you don’t feel naturally self-confident. This short TEDx talk by Caroline Goyder about breathing your way to confidence is a good starter.

And a great deal of self-confidence comes from knowing your subject inside out so, before you go to an event, make sure you’re clear on:

  • Your business: exactly what it is / the concept
  • Why & how the business is going to be profitable
  • How much capital you need & why
  • When and how investors will see returns.

DIY!

Remember, you can always organise your own event. You might think your business is too small and new to be event-worthy and that there’s no way you could afford it, but it really needn’t be difficult or expensive. And if you have your own premises, you could always offer the space for other people to host their events. In life, you tend to get back what you put out there, so make a name for yourself as someone who’s not only looking for help and investment, but is also prepared to give to others.

If you’re a startup business and would like advice and support on creating events that will really help accelerate your success, why not apply for one of our Sleek consultancy packages? Get in touch with us today to find out more.

5 top tips for your startup event

5 top tips for your first event as a startup

It wasn’t that long ago that Sleek Events was a startup company working out of our founder’s spare bedroom. Five years on, having seen significant growth, we decided the time was right to give back to the brave entrepreneurs taking the leap with their own startup businesses. Along with our pledge to work with one UK-based startup each year to advise on events to support their business growth, this blog is the first in a series of advice for startups looking to harness the power of events.

And the best place to start is at the beginning – our top 5 tips for running your first ever event as a startup

1. Define the aim of the event 

First thing is first, what is the purpose of the event? Are you wanting to launch a new product? Generate new sales? Or is it to say thank you to your suppliers or business network?

No matter the reason, you need to set a goal or purpose for the event. Clearly communicate this to anyone helping you run the event or who may be attending the event on behalf of your business. This then allows everyone to be prepared to help you reach your goal.

By defining the aim of the event, this will also determine your target audience and guest list.

2. Break everything into manageable tasks and create a plan

Running your first event can seem like an overwhelming task when you’re first starting out, but you can easily overcome this by making a detailed plan.

Figure out each element that is required to make your event run smoothly and start breaking it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Such as:

Venue Sourcing:

  • Set your venue brief – how many people does the venue need to fit, what style of venue are you looking for, etc.
  • Research venues that match your brief
  • Request quotes
  • Visit the site in person
  • Book the venue.

In your event plan, it always helps to set deadlines for tasks assigned to both you and your team. This keeps everyone on track and ensures no tasks are left to the last minute.

3. Set a budget and stick to it

It’s important to be realistic with your budget from the start and to make sure you stick to it. Create a budget document and assign a spending figure that you can afford to each element of the event i.e. venue, catering, etc.

Remember to start gathering quotes early to see how they compare to your budget. If you need to make adjustments, make them before the invitation or promotion stage. This will allow you to see if you have extra money, perhaps to spend on something you couldn’t initially afford or if you need to make some savings.

4. Promote the event 

Promotion of your event will differ depending on the type of event you are running – is it open to the public or closed to your private guests? If it is closed to privately-invited guests, it can be as easy as an emailed Save the Date, followed by an Invitation and reminder to RSVP. For events that are open to the public, where you want a larger number of guests attending, you may need to put a marketing campaign into action. Consider using social media, online advertising, event listing websites and flyers or posters as promotional tools.

5. Have a follow-up plan

Look back at the aim of your event, was it to generate new sales and leads or to create new networking industry contacts? Consider how you are going to collect these contact details during the event to ensure you have a way to follow up after the event. In your event plan, ensure you come up with a communication strategy for after the event to reach out to those who attended.

An event will always cost you something – whether that is money for a venue and refreshments or your time in planning and coordination. It must deliver you a return on your investment.

 

And don’t forget, if all of this seems overwhelming right now, ask for advice from an expert. The best entrepreneurs know when to ask for help – we can’t all be experts at everything! For more tips from our eventprofs, follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter

retreat sign in countryside

Wellness incentives: a must for corporates in today’s stressful work environments

As the new year gets underway, the annual flood of resolutions are doubtless being listed, vision-boarded and embarked upon. Top of the chart for most people will be things related to self-improvement: taking more exercise, eating more healthily and losing weight. But just behind those very common pledges will be ‘reduce stress’, according to the results of a YouGov poll published in December, with women being more likely than men to have it on their list (46% of female respondents versus 31% of males).

And that’s really not surprising. A survey of over 2,000 people commissioned by the mental health charity, Mind, found that work is the most stressful factor in people’s lives, with a third of respondents saying their work life was either ‘very’ or ‘quite’ stressful, making it a bigger worry than financial problems and health.

Those working in large organisations (250+ employees) are almost twice as likely as those in small businesses (under 50 employees) to suffer from work-related stress, depression or anxiety, according to the Health & Safety Executive’s most recent statistics. And, while the percentage of staff self-reporting stress-related conditions may be relatively low – 1% in small businesses, rising to 2% in large organisations – there will be many others who are suffering but don’t report it. So, it’s vital that you, as an employer, recognise this growing issue and make sure your staff know they are valued and appreciated and that there are opportunities for them to periodically decompress.

yoga by a lake

Wellness incentives: a growing trend

We’ve seen a big rise in the number of companies offering wellness incentives – in fact, it’s one of the fastest-growing areas of our business. While some companies already provide free or discounted gym memberships, have healthy snack and refreshment stations in offices and provide ‘chill out’ and creative thinking areas, more and more are also introducing trips and retreats to reward their staff.

These incentives are a mix of relaxation, activity, luxury and strategic sessions, giving employees the chance to socialise with both their peers and management. It gives them space to think creatively and perhaps gain a greater appreciation of those they work with, which tends to translate into better relationships back home in the office.

While wellness incentives can be overseas trips of a lifetime (and we love planning and managing those for our clients!) they don’t have to be that extravagant. Travelling abroad doesn’t have to cost a fortune and there are fantastic locations all across the UK that can host tailor-made experiences, like our team away day at the end of last year.

Sleek retreat

Retreating Sleek-style

In a 2019 survey by Career Cast, being an Events Coordinator was voted the sixth most stressful job, behind firefighter, military personnel, police officer, airline pilot and broadcaster. We know that giving your very best every day can take a lot out of you, mentally and physically, so we decided to recharge Sleek’s batteries by whisking the #dreamteam off to a manor house in Somerset for a long weekend of rural downtime mixed with creative planning and goal setting. Taking the time to relax and enjoy each other’s company away from the office – with plenty of fresh air and good food – gave us the chance to look at our business from a different angle and reward everyone with a few extra luxury treats. The result: we made some really exciting plans for 2020 and came home 100% refreshed. You can read more about what we got up to here.

So, as you make your business resolutions and finalise corporate goals for the year, make sure there’s some consideration of what incentives you can put in place to keep your staff motivated and healthy, with a focused and balanced approach to their work.

It’s not indulgence; it’s investment in your most valuable assets.

team wellness incentives retreat

Top tips for choosing an incentive trip

  1. Set a budget
  2. Decide what you want to achieve
  3. Think about the kind of environment that would help you achieve your desired outcome…

…then give us a call and pick our highly imaginative brains 😉  We’ll put together a few different tailor-made experiences, then all you have to do is choose your favourite!

sleek events luxury incentives

You can read more about our approach to bespoke incentive packages online, follow what we’re up to via Instagram and Twitter and, if you’d like to discuss anything, give us a call on 0208 939 1397 or email hello@sleekevents.co.uk and we’ll get right back to you.

2020

20 things to prepare you for a healthy and productive 2020

New Year’s resolutions abound once the Christmas feasting is over but in the lead up to a new decade, the goals and dreams of the general public really move up a notch. We’re here to remind you that in a busy profession like events, setting yourself up for failure with extreme targets or lifestyle changes can be more destructive than not bothering to set yourself objectives at all.

This article by Time magazine shows the change in approaches to what is considered healthy choices from back in 2010 when people were making plans for leaving the noughties. When you look at these few examples, you realise that having an open mind and the flexibility to embrace fresh thinking is just as important as sticking to resolutions.

We polled our office this week and prepared our top 20 list of recommendations for preparing yourself for a happy, healthy and productive 2020…

1. Set goals and ambitions for the year – keep them realistic as many people drop their New Year’s resolutions by about midday on 2nd January!

2. Declutter – whether at home, work or both, start the year off without the mess.

3. Practise what we preach – we talk about personal and professional development as a way to stay ahead of the game and an easy way to do that is to watch inspirational speakers via TED Talks. Try setting yourself a minimum of one a week.

4. Manage stressStress Matters is an organisation specifically for the events industry who have a fantastic programme for employers to sign up to for their employees. Why not make the pledge? And we’ve also had the team in from POINT3 Wellbeing who have helped us embed wellbeing into our workplace culture – stress less and smile more!

5. Dry January – it’s a busy time of year so why not attack it with a clear head and a smug, hangover-free smile. We could list the benefits of a month off the booze but you all know the score.

6. Start something new – get out of the rutt and try a new hobby or activity. You can meet new people, do it with your family or set out on a different route for your dog walks. Whether it’s baking or downloading a mindfulness app, changing it up can bring fantastic rewards.

7. Give back – you know the random acts of kindness you hear about on social media? Something as simple as putting your name down for a charity event, donating blood, or buying one extra food item for your local food bank can get the ball rolling.

8. Enjoy what the Arts have to offer – there are lots of new shows opening next year and some great ones continuing or if the theatre isn’t your bag, what about the band you always promised you’d see live?

9. Want to get fit but not sure where to start? Join ClassPass – it gives you the variety and flexibility to work out at many different venues.

10. Carry a reusable water bottle – you can stay hydrated and reduce your plastic waste footprint. We have our new Sleek branded bottles or you could try a Chillys bottle – these guys were no.1 on The Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 where we were thrilled to be placed at no. 19 in Britain’s list of fastest-growing companies.

11. Start your day earlierread the Miracle Morning to find out why getting up just 15 minutes earlier can make a huge difference to your day and life.

Still with us? Keep reading on – we promise it’s worth it!

12. Shop local – we like to support small businesses (just like us!) and shopping local is one way to help your community thrive and make personal and professional connections at the same time.

13. Car-free weekends – or could that be carefree weekends? Try to avoid using the car at the weekend as much as possible – walk, cycle or take the bus instead. It’s a good habit to form, reducing CO2 emissions and keeps you fit!

14. Write a to-do list – if you find it hard to drop off to sleep at night, write your list before going to bed to avoid waking up at 3am with random thoughts running your head. Or prepare a next day priority list for work before you leave the office each evening so you don’t drag work home with you.

15. Meatless Mondays – get on board with the campaign that encourages people to improve their health and that of the planet. You don’t have to become vegetarian but plenty of us are flexitarian without even knowing it.

16. Get creative in the kitchen – if you find yourself on a food delivery app because you’re too tired to cook or don’t fancy the same old spag bol, add some pzazz to your mealtimes with a new cookbook. To help with Meatless Mondays, we tried the River Cottage veg recipe book and loved it so much that we’re going to set up a recipe book swap station in our office kitchen.

17. Enjoy work travel – we’re on the go with events further afield every year. To balance the environmental impact of essential travel with our own wellbeing, we recommend taking time out from every work trip to explore. If the world is your oyster, you need to dip your toe in the water from time to time!

18. Reduce your screen time – we know you have work to do and you can’t just close your laptop in the middle of a task BUT you can schedule in periods of downtime. Take a coffee outside, arrange a catch-up with colleagues or go for a walk at lunch. The important thing is to feel comfortable with your mobile out of your hand and your computer turned off – especially when you’re at home.

19. Reconnect with people – make time for family or old friends. Pick up the phone rather than sending a text. We all know that Christmas heightens feelings of loneliness – you can make the difference to someone’s day with a quick call or dropping round with some cake!

20. Appreciate what you’ve got

Finally, we all agreed that we don’t really stop and take stock of what is already working well in our lives. We’re all going to list 20 things we love about our lives to remind ourselves of the people and things we care about, our achievements and how those will affect our happiness, health and productivity throughout 2020 and beyond.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our friends from the team at Sleek Events!

For more advice for #eventprofs, follow us: Instagram LinkedIn Twitter

Sleek Events in Fast Track 100

Britain’s 19th fastest-growing private company is Sleek Events

Sleek Events was the highest-placed business representing the events sector in this year’s Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100. Not only that, our agency stormed into the list at number 19.

Jennifer Davidson started the company in 2015, using her spare bedroom as an office. Since then the company has expanded to a team of event specialists servicing both corporate clients and luxury private parties. The company has a strong team culture with a focus on wellbeing in what is well-known to be a stressful profession.

Jennifer was thrilled to receive the news that Sleek Events would be recognised in this distinguished British league table, “I’d been interviewed earlier in the year after being approached by the team at Fast Track. They only told us about Sleek making the list on Thursday and, of course, we rushed out first thing on Sunday morning to grab a few copies. I never dreamed we would make the top 20!”

The Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 league table ranks Britain’s 100 private companies with the fastest-growing sales over their latest three years. The 23rd iteration of the list was compiled by Fast Track and published in The Sunday Times on 1st December, with an awards event to follow in May, and alumni dinners during the year.

“This recognition is down to the fantastic team we have at Sleek Events. Their dedication to creating bespoke, unforgettable experiences for our clients is second to none. I’m exceedingly proud of everyone and very thankful to our clients, suppliers and trusted freelancers who have supported us over the last few years,” added Jennifer.

In October, Sleek Events won Best Overall Business at the Best Business Women Awards. In this year’s Fast Track 100 league table, there are 28 female founders, co-founders or chief executives running 26 businesses, a record high, and up from only 7 in 1997. The 15% of female founders compares favourably to just 4% in the wider scale-up community, according to data firm Beauhurst. Jennifer finds herself in the company of other female founders such as beauty products retailer Charlotte Tilbury (No 46) and Mowgli Street Food’s Nisha Katona MBE (No 45) but, impressively, Sleek Events is the youngest company in the 10 fastest-growing companies founded or co-founded by women by several years.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Group, which has supported Fast Track for all 23 years, said, “While these are uncertain times, there is one thing I am certain of: entrepreneurs are the ones driving innovation, chasing improvements and challenging the norm. There are so many inspiring examples of this on the Fast Track 100 league table and it’s heartening to see the power of entrepreneurship to create jobs and positive change across Britain.”

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Escape to the Country: Sleek luxury incentives edition!

Are you looking for a luxury countryside escape from the city for your clients or employees? Look no further! We have found the perfect incentives location, just a stone’s throw away from London.

Sleek Events hit the road on Friday 1st November (along with some cheesy car songs and lots of sweets) for the 2.5 hour drive to the picturesque village of Frome, Somerset. The purpose of the weekend was both work and play. Packed with strategic sessions, question time, updates from each department but also with plenty of time to relax and enjoy each other’s company. We decided to treat the weekend as if we were on an incentive, gaining insight into the kind of activities we can offer to clients wanting a countryside getaway! Here’s what we got up to…

Day 1 

At around 4pm, we pulled up (after a few minor wrong turns!) to the aptly named Manor, buried deep in country lanes with huge iron gates to welcome us in. As we crunched across the gravel we could only look up in awe at the mansion we would be calling home for the weekend.

luxury incentive location; the manor, frome

We stepped inside and headed into the heart of the house: the kitchen! Our lovely Finance Manager revealed her secret talent of food art – we were welcomed to a glorious spread of meats, cheeses and various other nibbles, alongside several chilled bottles of prosecco.

We spent the afternoon relaxing, exploring the 8-bedroom house (it was a day for getting lost!), unpacking and chatting by the fire about the structure of the weekend to come. We then enjoyed some dinner and spent the evening gin tasting and playing games.

Day 2

Saturday morning was spent in our comfy clothes (including the lovely arrival welcome gift of a cashmere jumper that was laid out on each of our beds) nibbling on croissants, drinking tea and getting stuck into the rugby!

We quickly recovered from the pain of England losing and headed off for showers and to get ready for the morning session. We transformed the Manor’s grand dining room into a fully-equipped meeting room. We began with a company update from our MD & Founder, Jennifer, on new business developments and strategy as well as a reminder of 12-month goals. After a quick break for lunch and a walk around the grounds (another opportunity to get lost!), we began our afternoon session with some department updates including the news of our recent rebrand.

Next was some schedule downtime. It may have been a rest for our brains but not our bodies as the Sleek bootcamp in the Mansion’s gym kicked off! Luckily, this was followed by some time in the hottub before enjoying a three-course meal courtesy of our very own private chefs from The French Kitchen. The meal was to die for and added a taste of luxury to the experience.

The French Kitchen meal

Day 3

As Sunday is traditionally a day of rest, Day 3 took us on an excursion – no lie in for us! We headed to the local market which visits Frome once a month, spending an hour or so browsing the stalls and sampling some of the delicious food on offer.

Sleek team walk in the country

We then drove to the next village of Mells and set off on a gorgeous autumnal walk through the fields, before rewarding all our efforts with an indulgent roast dinner by the fireplace in The Talbot Inn, a local pub. Feeling full and chilled, we headed back to the Manor and had a little more downtime, enjoying an informal fireside chat about our personal goals and reflections.

After a day of indulgence, all we needed were a few nibbles to accompany a film and everyone was ready for an early night – the fresh country air had beaten us all!

Day 4

Waking up on Monday morning was more luxurious than your average start to the week! After a gym session to liven us up, we packed, made some breakfast and then cracked on with our final workshop. We left for London around 12.30pm, making it back in plenty of time time for the school run.

It’s amazing what you can pack into a luxury incentive weekend. Our agenda and mix of activities might have given you an idea for your own getaway or we can create a completely bespoke itinerary to suit you and your clients. Fancy incorporating more outdoor activities? Remember, we say “how?” not “no” at Sleek Events – so we really can arrange the perfect trip for you.

For more information about our incentive packages, drop us an email at hello@sleekevents.co.uk and make sure you follow us on social media to see all the other exciting destinations we visit – it’s a hard job but someone has to do it!

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breathing in the fresh air - wellness

Sleek Events supports #EventWell19

If you’ve been following our Instagram posts this week (and if not, why not?!), you’ll have seen that we’ve been looking at wellbeing in honour of #EventWell19 – a week dedicated to raising awareness of wellbeing and ways to improve it. This year, Mind is the chosen charity for the #EventWell19 campaign, so we’ve been taking inspiration from their brilliant ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ initiative. 

EventWell, founded by Helen Moon, is the event industry’s ‘first and only’ charitable organisation dedicated to giving people advice, knowledge and support on topics surrounding wellbeing and health in general. We as #eventprofs are constantly told how stressful our industry is, so it’s great to know that there’s a resource available to us!

In order to celebrate #EventWell19 and raise awareness, we challenged our followers to do one small thing a day in line with Mind’s 5 initiatives, whether that be giving someone a hug, taking the stairs rather than the lift or spending the day volunteering or fundraising for charity.

It’s easy to get lost in the ambiguous term that is ‘wellbeing’, so we find that when you break it down into smaller activities then it’s easy to introduce improvements to your life and to those of others.

Sleek’s Top Tips 

Our top three tips to improve your wellbeing (there really is no excuse!)

1. Communication is key

Talking is SO important. Reachout.com describes how talking to someone can release tension, put things in perspective and make you feel safe. Even just offloading to a friend or family member can help you feel as though a weight has been lifted, making you realise you’re not alone. Ask for help!

2. Treat yourself 

There’s so much pressure in our society and all professional industries, it’s no wonder we’re all so hard on ourselves. It’s important to reward ourselves for all our hard work – praise is not often a huge part of our professional adult lives, so by giving yourself some hard-earned praise in the form of treating yourself to a delicious meal or buying the dress you’ve had your eye on for a while, it can really help to just give you a bit of reassurance that you’re doing great and should believe in yourself more!

3. Exercise 

One bit of exercise everyday can make a world of difference. We all know what it’s like – trying to psych yourself up to go to the gym when all you want to do is snuggle up on the sofa. Well, even doing 10 minutes of yoga after work can help raise your mood, release endorphins and give you a sense of achievement – it’s all about little victories!

EventWell has recently launched Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) courses to educate people on mental health, signs and triggers of mental health issues, and the tools to be able to step in and support someone in need. Their first course was earlier this week, however they have more dates available in November and December, if this is something you feel could be valuable to you and your company.

We hope this gives you a little food for thought – take the time to stop and consider your wellbeing and mental health. It’s so easy to just brush it under the carpet and bottle everything up, so we’re strong supporters of the EventWell initiative. Remember – #ItsOKtonotbeOK!

If you’d like more of our wellbeing tips, follow us: Instagram LinkedIn Twitter

Sleek dream team

Fundraising events: how to raise a lot and still have masses of fun

It seems like just yesterday that summer finally came, as it got warmer and lighter, the planning for our summer party began. Now the nights are slowly drawing in and there is a slight chill in the air… Autumn has crept up on us. So, with a warming cup of tea in hand, we’re looking back to last Thursday when we had our spectacular Sleek summer party to mark the end of the summer! Not only were we fundraising but we were also celebrating our two recent award shortlistings for the Best Businesswoman Awards and it was our 4th birthday!

Our last blog was about how we practised our pitching skills to prepare for the party – how we pulled everything together as a team, pitched our ideas to our boss, and took this event as seriously as any client project. The event, held at Fulham Football Club, was a huge success and was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone!

musical duo

As the event was a fundraiser, the main goal of the evening was to raise as much money as possible for our chosen charity, Buses 4 Homeless – that meant we had a pretty tight budget! In order to make this a hit, we needed to be smart about what we spent and what savings we could make. In a sports day themed party, we wanted to create something memorable but keep the focus on raising money rather than spending it! And it paid off – we raised a HUGE £1,595 for Buses 4 Homeless!

Sleek gets sporty hashtag with Jennifer Davidson

Top tips for fundraising events

Here’s our top tips on how to plan a successful fundraiser so you can plan your own.

 

1. Set a realistic target

 

There is no point setting a fundraising target that is simply unachievable – it can be so disheartening if you don’t quite reach a target. So to set a target that is realistic yet ambitious, do a bit of maths! We took the number of confirmed guests and worked out how much we would raise if everyone donated £10. Now, some people would donate less or more than this, so we just used this as an average to give us a ballpark figure… and then added a little more for luck! Our target was £1,000 – which we exceeded by 50%!

2. Plan how you are going to raise the money

 

 

It sounds silly but it’s easy to just call an event a fundraiser without really thinking it through.  We thought about charging entry or charging to enter each of the games we had dotted around the venue. In the end, we thought the easiest way was to simply hold a raffle and an auction for the biggest prizes. Thanks to our amazing suppliers, we had some really great prizes donated – if you are holding a raffle you need to have prizes that people actually want to spend their money on! It’s also a good idea to keep your guests updated – when people can see how much has been raised so far, this will act as an incentive to reaching the target. Never underestimate how competitive humans can be!

 

3. Utilise your contacts

 

When you work with suppliers so much, you develop great working relationships with them. In honour of a worthy cause, our supplier and partners are more than happy to help out with a favour here and there. We contacted a few who had already RSVPed and they willingly helped out with securing auction lots and donating raffle prizes.

Dan Curran giving a speech

As Founder of Buses 4 Homeless, Dan Atkins, said on the night, “In our industry, we are so used to being flown all over the world and staying in 5-star hotels, it is especially important to be aware that not everyone is so lucky. We never know what situation we could find ourselves in. Even donating £10 is enough to help make a difference to someone who really needs it.”

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how an event professional can work with their team for pitching practise

Event pitching in the eyes of a young #eventprof

As #eventprofs we’re all familiar with the dreaded pitch day. The endless days working on the deck, sleepless nights, trying to get it absolutely perfect and pre-empt any and all questions your potential new client could ever dream of. Pitches are incredibly important – you need to be better than everyone else and, if you win, you could be bringing years of profitable business with a client relationship that could bring endless future opportunities. On top of all that, an exciting new project can invigorate your whole team. But not everyone is experience when it comes to pitching and, in the last month, we ran a mock pitching exercise for our team at Sleek Events. Here’s what our most junior team member got out of it as a young #eventprof and the advice she’d give to others.

My first event pitching experience

As a junior employee, who is fairly new to the events world, pitches can be scary and carry a lot of pressure. Being able to practise pitching with a trial run is really important and helps the team feel more prepared for when the big ones come in! So, recently at Sleek Events, to practise our pitching skills, we decided it would be a useful exercise to treat our own Summer Party for suppliers and industry friends as an event we needed to pitch to win – the ‘client’ being our MD & Founder. For budding #eventprofs out there, here’s how we did it…

  • Firstly, we all came together as a team and identified who would own each area, depending on each individual’s strengths and expertise. Next, we decided on a timeline of deadlines to set ourselves, so we had plenty of space to review each stage and refine our presentation in good time before pitch day.
  • After researching each component – such as venue, catering, marketing and comms, entertainment and fundraising – everyone came together for daily team meetings to review progress. We made sure we were all aligned in terms of group actions and helped each other to refine next steps. We kept a close eye on the budget and utilised all of our contacts to keep costs down – it was a charity event after all!
  • Once we had received sign off on big decisions such as venue and entertainment options from relevant directors, we worked on pulling together all the elements into one presentation deck. We spent a lot of time making it look interesting and aesthetically pleasing. Then we all gave it a sense check and our best proofreader ensured the flow, spelling, grammar and consistency of message were all on point. The little things are just as important as the big things – attention to detail never goes unnoticed!
  • With the deck finalised and costs confirmed, we spent some time rehearsing and decided who would deliver each section of the pitch. It’s important to strike the right balance between knowing your subject but not sounding too rehearsed – you don’t want to lose your personality as that can be one of the things that wins you a pitch.
  • Finally, it was pitch day! We’d all had a good night’s sleep and a healthy team breakfast to set ourselves up for the day, going over any last minute notes. The pitch was a great success and, luckily, we won it! Now the real planning (and all the fun!) could begin.

Our MD was extremely impressed with all our hard work and how serious we had taken the exercise. It had brought us all together as a team and helped us identify our strengths.Our party is next week – keep an eye out on our social media to see the fun you can have when you’re fundraising!

shaking hands to seal the deal after winning a pitch

Here’s our top tips for a successful pitch:

  • Build your story – create a pitch that flows. Showing a beginning, middle and end, like a story, will not only help the client see that this event would be a success but will also give them an insight into how you work. If the pitch is clear, well thought through and shows a clear progression plan, they will want to work with you. It’s all about making your client’s life easier!
  • Think long-term – consider what your long-term opportunities might be if you win this pitch. Opening this door may lead to plenty more projects, so be prepared and think beyond just this event.
  • Get creative – presenting unique ideas that will grab their attention is a sure-fire way to impress a potential client. Let them know you have really thought about a variety of options and solutions to bring about the most memorable event. Using client case studies to demonstrate your expertise helps solidify your position as event professionals and will add gravitas to your pitch. They want to know you can actually follow through with what you’re proposing.
  • Teamwork makes the dream work – not only is pitching to your boss a really worthwhile exercise for pitching experience, but it’s also a fun team-building experience. We now feel prepared for our next client pitch and feel like we can handle anything that is thrown at us. As they say, practice makes perfect!

If you’d like to be an #eventprof, keep an eye on our social media for job opportunities: Instagram LinkedIn Twitter