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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

luxury incentive trip to Prague's evening tour

Top Luxury Incentive Trips for 2020

Have you been looking for luxury incentive location ideas for 2020? Do you want to get your teams motivated after the Christmas break and create some excitement in the office? Well look no further. We have compiled our top 3 locations that will be sure to have a little something to get everyone focused for the new year – and all within a short flight form the UK!

Tenerife, Spain

Tenerife is the largest of the seven Canary Islands and only a 4-hour flight from London or a 2-hour flight from Madrid. This gorgeous island is known for its sandy beaches, clear waters, an active volcano and colourful coastal towns – the perfect location to be as active or relaxed as you want to be.

With luxury hotels on the beach and old villages with renowned architecture to explore throughout the island, there are endless sightseeing opportunities for all kinds of travellers.

luxury incentive kayaking with dolphins in Tenerife

Top Activities 
  • Private whale-watching tour – spend the day watching pods of whales and dolphins in the wild with a Marine Biologist guide whilst also listening to these beautiful creatures through a hydrophone
  • Volcanic sunset and stargazing picnic – spend an incredible evening watching the sunset on top of Mount Teide Volcano, followed by a private stargazing picnic with Spanish cheese, fruits, meats and wine
  • Snorkelling with dolphins and turtles – take a kayak tour along the Guaza Cliffs with spectacular views of the island and volcano. Along the tour get the opportunity to snorkel in the crystal clear waters.

Lake Como, Italy 

Surrounded by mountains and incredible local culture, Lake Como is known as one of Italy’s most picturesque natural destinations. The scenic towns surrounding the lake are known for their Instagram-quality views, exquisite villas, historic churches, museums and fun lake activities.

Whether you’re looking for a quieter adventure or to have an active holiday, Lake Como has so much to offer for everyone. Lake Como will definitely leave you with that “wow” factor if you’re looking to spoil your top performers.

luxury incentive trip sailing on Lake Como

Top Activities
  • Day tour of Bellagio and Varenna towns – explore the photogenic streets, historic cathedrals, unique shops, magnificent restaurants and different views of the lake
  • Take an Italian cooking class – learn from the masters of pasta with a local cooking class, teaching you to prepare traditional Italian dishes while sipping on wine
  • Boat tour of Lake Como – spend your day in true style with a private sightseeing tour of the lake, discovering unique parts only accessible by boat.

Prague, Czech Republic 

Known best for its bridges and castles, Prague is one of the most intact cities from WWII. With cobbled streets and medieval architecture, Prague will have you feeling as though you have stepped back in time. The historical Old Town Square is filled with colourful architecture, the famous Astronomical clock and places to sample the delicious local cuisine.

luxury incentive trip to Prague

Top Activities  
  • Private day tour of the city – explore everything Prague has to offer from Prague Castle to the Charles Bridge on a private city tour with a local guide
  • Villa Ritcher – dine in style with panoramic views over the city in this restored vineyard and villa
  • Prague Beer and Czech Tapas tour – known for having great nightlife but also famous for their beer, explore local beer halls, microbreweries and the best local restaurants in town.

So, those are our top 3 picks to kick-start your 2020 luxury incentive programme. Whether you want team incentive programmes or individual trips for your best performers, Tenerife, Lake Como and Prague can do it all without a long-distance flight!

We offer simple venue sourcing through to full trip management and even onsite support too. All you have to do is kick-back and enjoy yourself. For more on our bespoke luxury incentive packages, follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter or send us an email hello@sleekevents.co.uk

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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a view of the Northern Lights

Go North for a Luxury Incentive Trip

With Christmas preparations starting to come to the forefront of everyone’s minds, we’re also starting to turn our thoughts to hot new locations for our clients’ next luxury incentive trips. If all your planning of where and how you’ll be rocking around the Christmas tree has left you at a loss for inspiration, fear not! With most choosing to get some winter sun at this time of year (or maybe a countryside adventure if you read our last blog), we instead want to paint a beautiful starry picture of a destination for you to consider this month.

Tromsø, often dubbed as the ‘Gateway to the Arctic’ and the largest city in Northern Norway, has caught our attention for one awe-inspiring reason – The Northern Lights. Created from a collision between electrically-charged particles from the sun that enter the atmosphere of the earth, the dazzling Northern Lights, or Aurora borealis, are at the top of most people’s bucket lists and are truly a once in a lifetime experience.

luxury incentive trip to see the northern lights

When To Go 

It is said that your best chances to see the Northern Lights are from late September until late March, between 6pm and 4am, with around 10pm being the peak time. This means that you could take your group to do other activities during the day, or even squeeze in a half-day meeting before enjoying a delicious dinner of traditional Norwegian cuisine and heading out on a tour later in the evening.

How To Get There

The best way to get to picturesque Tromsø is by plane directly from London. However, if your guests are flying in from all over it may be easier (and cheaper) to fly to Oslo and then hop on a plane to Tromsø from there, as flights to Oslo are more regular. The plane ride to Tromsø from Oslo is just under 2 hours – so you’ll be there in no time. If you fly at night, you may even see the Northern Lights dancing around you in the sky!

See the Northern Lights as you fly to your luxury incentive trip

Where To Stay

As Tromsø is a city, there is no shortage of luxury accommodation options. Try these options below if you’re looking for true high-end Norwegian hospitality.

Clarion Hotel The Edge

Sommarøy Arctic Hotel

Scandic Ishavshotel

Tromso hotels

What To Do

As well as the Northern Lights, there is a plethora of activities you can treat your group to. These are our top 3 activities to whet your appetite for the Great Outdoors!

Husky Sledding – Drive your own team of dogs across the Arctic plains!

Husky sledding

Whale Watching – Jump on a boat with your team and find yourself some Orcas and dolphins

Visit the famous Tromsø Ice Domesvisit (or stay) at the incredible Ice Domes – a hotel made entirely of ice! Even if you don’t stay here, it is open to visitors to have a look around the bedrooms, marvel at the ice sculptures and enjoy a shot or two in the ice bar!

What To Pack

Camera – but don’t focus too much on trying to get the perfect shot. Live in the moment!

Winter warmers – bring your thermals, it’s going to be nippy.

Patience – as it is a natural phenomenon, sometimes it may take a little while for the Aurora borealis to show itself. Be patient – it will be worth the wait!

Positive attitude – be open minded to all the fun activities you can get up to in this snowy paradise and enjoy spending time with your colleagues experiencing a once in a lifetime occurrence. Talk about team building!

team huddle on the ice

So, if you’re looking for an extremely unique, special and high-end trip to ‘wow’ your top performers or favourite clients, then nothing beats the Northern Lights in Tromsø. Let the incredible natural displays speak for themselves and leave your guests feeling inspired, relaxed and ready for Christmas.

We are more than happy to arrange the whole trip for your group from start to finish, and we even offer onsite support too, so you won’t have to worry about a thing. (Plus it means we get to see the Northern Lights too!). For more information on our bespoke luxury incentives packages, get in touch on our social channels or send us an email at hello@sleekevents.co.uk

Happy star-gazing!

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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A day in the life of an #eventprof… onsite

According to the most recent survey by  CareerCast.com*, events management is the fifth most stressful profession, behind military jobs, police, firefighters and other life-death careers. Even though this is a poll of US employees, I’m sure as #eventprofs in the UK, we’ve all been able to relate to this stress at some point or other! The pressure of liaising with suppliers, clients and delivering to deadlines can definitely get on top of all of us but equally, that adrenaline rush is exactly why we love what we do! We were recently onsite for a corporate event in London, so we caught up with Project Manager, Erin, to hear all about a day in the life of an onsite event professional… 

It’s set-up day. What’s first on the to-do list?

I usually try and get up at around 5am, so I can shower and get ready for the long day ahead without feeling rushed. Once the team is all onsite, the first thing on the list is to set up our production office so we have an organised space to work from. The client is due onsite a couple of hours after us, so we ensure all the relevant suppliers have arrived and started to install, I meet with the venue representative to do a pre-client onsite run through and then hit the to-do list! Amongst the important tasks, someone always goes for a Pret run when we have a moment, to make sure we all have a good breakfast. It’s sometimes difficult to remember to eat when you’re onsite, so now’s the time for everyone to eat and get some water.

pouring water from a jug into a glass - a reminder to keep hydrated

By midday, the client has just arrived so we catch up, update them with the install process and get them some lunch! For the rest of the afternoon, I concentrate on the install. For this particular event, the AV was the largest part of the install, so most of our attention is on getting this ready for rehearsals to start in the afternoon. Later in the afternoon the CEO arrives onsite, so while the team has divided and conquered to ensure each area is on time – branding, registration, expo etc – my efforts are focused in the keynote room where the CEO has started rehearsing for tomorrow morning’s event opener.

Set-up day is coming to an end – what are your last minute checks to ensure live day goes smoothly?

Once the rehearsals are over, the client team heads offsite, so our evening is made up of snagging and fixing a few last-minute branding issues. We then grab a quick bite to eat whilst the last of the suppliers are finishing up before heading to a nearby hotel before midnight. We always try and stay as close as possible to the venue. Someone from the team checks us in during the afternoon – this way the team can head straight to bed once we’ve finished after a long day.

The view from the venue over London at the end of the day

What is your routine the night before live day?

Once back at the hotel, I usually do some stretching after being on my feet all day – I’ll have clocked up lots of steps! I then re-read all my documents and checklists to make sure I know what’s going on at every single second of the event. It’s so much easier to deal with any issues that inevitably will arise when you are fully prepared and know every detail inside and out. I’ll also take some time to write some notes of any little reminders or actions I need to do when I first get onsite in the morning. Following this, relaxation is key! You need to be able to switch off in our industry – before this event I had a relaxing bath and then got an early night.

So, how did it go? How do you unwind post event?

The event went well and the client is happy – this is the most important thing! Once it’s all wrapped up and all suppliers are offsite, myself and the team head to a nearby restaurant for a pizza and a drink. We’ll chat about how the day went, share any onsite pictures and then a summer favourite is to head home to catch up on Love Island!

What are your 3 top tips for long days onsite?

  • WATER – it’s so easy to get dehydrated onsite. It makes you feel so much more awake when drinking enough. We send reminders in the group chat or even over comms every now and again to make sure everyone is keeping hydrated.
  • Get enough sleep pre and post show – there is no way to avoid lack of sleep onsite but stocking up before definitely helps.
  • Enjoy it! The best way to get through a long day is to actually enjoy it. The lead up to an event can be so long and detailed that it’s worth taking it all in onsite and enjoying the day with the Sleek team and the client.

Events Coordinator is the 5th most stressful job in the CareerCast.com poll. How do you combat stress?

  • Lots of lists to make sure everything that can be done has been!
  • The team: having the right team and support around you is key.
  • A post-event stretch/yoga class and, of course, a glass of wine helps too!

a yoga studio - a reminder to de-stress

Working in events can mean times when the pressure is on but it’s also extremely rewarding and fun. If you’d like to work in events, keep an eye on our social media for job opportunities:

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*CareerCast.com 2019 survey can be viewed here: https://www.careercast.com/jobs-rated/2019-jobs-rated-stress

outdoor event

Challenges of outdoor experiential events

As #eventprofs, we know there are all sorts of challenges when it comes to creating successful events. But what happens when you move your event to the great outdoors? The challenges that come with an outdoor experiential event can be endless, but not necessarily detrimental. We asked the team at Sleek HQ about the challenges they have faced and compiled a handy little list below of potential challenges, how to overcome them and things to consider next time you have to use the great outdoors.

1. Permits

Some outdoor areas, such as parks, gardens and other public areas, require you to obtain a permit before ‘setting up shop’ as it were. It’s really important to read up about the venue before booking suppliers, as this could really impact what you are and aren’t allowed to provide. Setting up a gin and tonic pop-up van in a park for a festival-style event sounds dreamy, until you rock up on the day and are met with an angry ranger telling you there is no alcohol permitted and your event is suddenly in jeopardy. Preparation is key!

Festival tents in the dusk

2. Weather

This is especially important when considering AV requirements. It’s all well and good planning a lit-up wonderland for a fashion show, product launch or Christmas event, but when the heavens open and all your open electrical equipment is at risk – the event could be at risk! Make sure everything is covered and the AV supplier has correctly assessed all potential weather risks and has backup plans for every occasion.

This is also crucial to bear in mind for the attendees too – imagine you’re outside at an event and the weather is unexpectedly hot, cold or rainy, and you suddenly find yourself in need of cover for 200 people. Keeping people happy, whether that be giving them shade, warmth or a dry place to sit/stand is a sure-fire way of making them remember your event – if you have thought about things before they happen, this ensures the event runs seamlessly no matter what Mother Nature throws at you! People like to feel looked after – if they feel like you have provided everything they could possibly need and considered how they experience your event, you are more likely to get good press/reviews, even if it was a washout!

Winter Wonderland light display

3. Coordination

Keeping people happy – have you thought about every eventuality and how you can look after people in all scenarios? How are you going to cook and bring out food? Are you going to provide cutlery? Have you thought about what is going to be the most user-friendly attendee experience? You may want to ‘wow’ them with some fine dining, but if you aren’t providing seating, then maybe you need to think of a more creative alternative to ensure their experience is easy and they don’t have a million things to hold.

Interference – if you are holding an experiential event in a public space, then you also need to consider other distractions/interference that may hinder your event. Traffic, wildlife, external noise etc, all need to be considered and a back up plan put in place. It is also worth mentioning security – if the event is ticketed, you may need to hire staff to ensure you have no unwanted visitors!

Special Requirements – you need to make sure there is suitable access for disabled guests, as well as any other considerations you would usually take for an indoor event.

Fashion show runway

4. Equipment

Things we take for granted in an indoor venue/exhibition hall/conference centre are not available outdoors! Make a comprehensive list of everything you could possibly need, even things you wouldn’t think twice about normally. One thing we find we always need onsite is scissors. You never think you’re going to need scissors until you do, and can’t find any! We recommend packing a fully-stocked stationery box, as well as a first-aid kit – not for your client’s guests as that will be supplied separately, but for your own team!

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but will hopefully give you some food for thought if you are looking to plan or are in the process of planning an experiential event outdoors. Outdoor events can be tricky and stressful to plan, but they can also be more fun and exciting and really deliver the ‘wow’ factor that is so important for an amazing experiential event.

One crucial thing to remember is an experiential event is an experience – an immersive adventure that aims to bridge the gap between a brand and its consumers, enhancing selling potential by creating a memorable experience. This being said – make sure people remember your event for all the right reasons! We can’t stress enough how important it is to prepare for every eventuality. As the author Howard Huff once said, “It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” How topical with this week’s weather!

If you want to hear about how we can help you with any element of your event planning, be it experiential or corporate, outdoors or indoors, please get in touch today!