The Secret Sauce Behind a Leader of Innovative Events
Are you longing for ways to expand your business to include innovative events? Do you believe that assembling a great team of people is the key to success? Whether you are a veteran event planner or just breaking into the innovative event planning world, there is always room for improvement.
In today's episode, we'll cover:
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Why Innovation is Important When Planning an Event
Today I talked to Liron David, founder and executive producer of Eventique. As a specialist in cutting edge and innovative events, Liron loves to bring energy into a room. He and his team thrive on making each and every event unique. At the heart of his successful business is innovation. Liron explains that innovative events can sometimes create an unforgettable experience that attendees have difficulty describing. When you achieve that, you're doing it right!
Liron notes that people typically attend an event to escape from their daily routines and immerse themselves in the experience, and making an experience innovative is the hallmark of a successful event planner.
Ideas to get your creative juices flowing when planning innovative events:
The #1 Way to Help Your Innovative Event Planning Business Succeed
Innovation alone will not make your event planning business thrive. You need a steady stream of regular customers who need your services. But what if you are working hard to do everything right and still find yourself falling short of your revenue goals? What can you do to change this? The answer is simple: Develop multiple revenue streams for your event planning business.
Liron notes that one of the best ways for event planners to do this is to take on smaller requests from new prospects.
The #eventplanningbusiness is all about building relationships! If you handle today's small opportunity well, then you could easily find yourself handling the entire event next year! @liron_david #events #eventleader #onlysuccessfulevents
For Example: a client may need your help organizing the guest speakers for a conference but have all of the other planning aspects covered.
While smaller jobs or "event fragments" are not his specialty, Liron said he does not like to turn down requests from new clients. After all, the event planning business is all about building relationships. If you handle today's small opportunity well, then you could easily find yourself handling the entire event next year!
3 Tips for Building a Great Innovative Event Team
As you expand your business and take on new types of work, you may find that you need extra help meeting the demands of all of your clients. But between long hours, unpredictable schedules, and demanding clients, it can be difficult to attract and retain great employees.
Here are three tips to help you build a stellar event team:
1) Build your team slowly
One of the biggest mistakes event planners make is to hire too many staff too quickly. When your business is in its formative years, you likely will not need an extensive team to help you. In fact, hiring too many employees right away can land you a financial hole. Start slowly with one or two support staff and hire employees as demand for your services increases.
2) Strive to make your team happy
Dependable employees who are motivated to help your business prosper do not grow on trees. If you are lucky enough to find a reliable, hard-working employee who shares your vision, you should do your best to make their time at work enjoyable.
3) Treat contractors with respect
Contractors and vendors play a critical role in the success of your business. If you treat them with courtesy and respect, they will be driven to go the extra mile to make your event a success. At the end of the day, you need to know that your employees and contractors are there for you - so remember to select them carefully!
Are you looking to boost your event planning business?
Whether you are an industry veteran or new to the event planning landscape, there is always room to expand your scope. If you would like to boost your industry presence, then By submitting your business to the Only Successful Events Directory, you will build your network of contacts and increase your industry visibility.
Hello and welcome back to the Only Successful Events show. I’m your host April Iannazzone and today. I am so excited because we are joined by Liron David. Liron is the founder and executive producer of Eventique. Liron welcome to the show.
You have been in this industry for so long can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you found yourself in events?
Sure! I was always the guy that everyone came to, to plan their night out or birthday party. I'm an energetic person in the room. I love to meet people. I'm a people person. When I was studying at Boston University, I ended up just by chance DJIng a friend's party cause they said, you have good music in your car. I want you just to take care of the music for the party.
It was at a bar and there were about 500 people there. And I have never been a DJ before. I had my mixed CDs from the car just like everybody else did and I just went for it. The love I have for being able to give everyone the excitement in the room, ensuring that they had a good time playing what I felt I would have a good time listening to.
Innovative events is something that I thrive on and bringing the energy into a room.
I started as a DJ and I turned it into an actual career. I was traveling the world DJing at nightclubs. When I came back and graduated, I worked in PR for a couple of months cause that's what I studied. But I really enjoy finishing the day jobs, sitting at a desk and running out to go meet people and bring that energy back to a space, whatever environment that it was in.
Which then turned into social events and corporate events. Little by little, everybody would say, Hey, you know, can you get me a caterer? Can you bring me some lighting? You know, a good florists? I'm sure you work all these great parties. I would start organizing all of them and I said, I can't be on the stage and MCing in front of a thousand people DJIng and also be worried about setup happening in the next room over.
I stopped that and started a company about a year and a half out of college. Going into the economic downturn of 2007 and I just sort of found my way through it. Just doing what I love to do, making people happy at the end of the day. That's what I love.
I love that you said bringing the energy to the room with innovative events
It sounds like you also thrive on the energy and being able to thrive in different environments each time, different types of events each time and different types of clients rather than okay, we're going to do another wedding or we're going to do another set party.
Yeah. The excitement of innovative event planning is not doing the same thing every day. Right? Every event changes, It doesn't matter from event to event. It might be the same industry that you're working, but it's got to keep changing, gotta keep innovating. You can't paint copy and repeat the way lots of other businesses can get into that strategy of this is how we do it and this is what we do. It's the same thing over and over again.
That's how we make it successful. While the process has to be tried and true and be something that is a realistic way to achieve the success of the event or whatever the goal is. The fact that every day I get to come to work and do it a different type of event or a different industry. Whether it's social, it's corporate, it's nonprofit. So the bringing what you learned from one industry to another really keeps us on our toes and gives our clients and our friends that innovative event that everyone was always looking for.
That's one of the reasons why I definitely wanted to have you on the show because..
Eventique specializes in producing innovative events that are sophisticated & cutting edge by using the core belief of storytelling.
Which I feel so many event producers leave out. So it brings in that additional creative approach.
Now I know that you've been in this industry for quite a long time, not just as an event producer, but behind the scenes and DJing as well. What innovations and technology innovations have you seen throughout the years that made big drawing points in the industry?
If you look at the industry from 2006 through now, I look at it as three different phases that have sort of changed. When I first started with the economy going down you produced innovative events by being knowledgeable of costs and production, and a technical. It's a must to be a real producer who understood what went on behind the curtain. You couldn't just be a traditional planner or a traditional event manager. You had to really be smart and scrappy and understand how to spend them money to get a big bang. So that was when I started and that was my focus and that's what made me innovative because I came from the production and the entertainment background.
I knew that creating this environment for innovative events had to come from purpose
It has to come from the story at the time, from music. It had to come from taste, smells, whatever you are experiencing and that's what I was doing myself. So I understood it. It wasn't just about trying to find the best vendor to do something. I had to understand how that vendor was going to do it.
To achieve staying on budget, but also knowing who's there that can bring me something that's a wow to the event. I would say around 2013 and 2014 you started to see shared office spaces. With companies like that, that were starting to evolve into a different way of experiencing events, which was their social media. Social media became this big how do you measure the success of an event on social media and sharing new artists.
Art became, in my opinion, about 2011, 2012, you started to see that a real interest in art at events. Whether it was pop up installation, and it was because social media drove the art aspect of colors and lines, entranceways and stage steps that it wasn't just traditional anymore. Now I we were bringing these creatives that were normally underground.
For each innovative event we wanted to push the envelope a little bit more
to outdo the previous posts to the newest innovation. And I think that now we're in the stage where with all of the popups or the museum of ice cream, we are at that place where it was every other day the museum of pizza, museum of an egg.
It pushes the creativity and design of spaces. I think that the designs are beautiful, but I still think that they lack one very, very important thing. Which is what I think the futures is turning towards because social media, Instagram saying that it would take off likes right? So you can't judge based on what you see other people like anymore.
It will be in your feed. But all these museum of ice cream, and everything sort of lack is what is the real experience that you are having there If you can't share in a picture? If you think about leaving an event right now, I would judge our success. You leave an event and you try to describe the experience to a friend or a colleague and you start describing it and you bring out a picture from Instagram or Insta story.
You can keep trying to describe the experience you had and you just stop and say, you had to be there.. That my measure of success because I don't judge based on a picture. Yes. The pictures are great. Video recaps are great but what guests or attendees experience live should, should stay there. It should be a moment that they experienced that almost can never happen again. That's innovative event planning
Everyone experiences moments in a different way.
So what I experienced is different from what you experienced based on our taste and personality and everything else. So I might gravitate towards a more elaborate environment because that's my energy versus somebody who wants to be more in a pre-function area because they're not that type, but they prefer it to be a people networker.
I love how you mentioned before, tastes, smells just all of the senses. Many people leave out the scent of an event. A lot of people don't think about that feeling that you walk in or that smell. I'm a huge smell person, so all of my events have to have scent, even my office space has a certain scent that's infused throughout the rooms.
I think that helps. I mean it could turn people off completely from your event. But I think that also brings in the way that they're feeling that you can't express when you try to tell someone.
Why would people go to events?
Yes, they're going for an experience. They're going to meet people and learn information or share content, but they're going to get out of their daily routine. Whether it's a day time job and that they're going to an event in the evening or a conference during the day they are leaving their normal schedule of whatever they do to experience something.
So what is that experience, how does it make it feel? For a luxury brand that is trying to become a lifestyle brand, that starts with everything from the smell, from the taste, the first person that greets you. What are they wearing? What are they look like? What did they say to you?
They have to bring you into this world of their brand or their celebration. And the only way that they can really tell that story, every single aspect about it has to be touched. It can't just be, look at this nice stage set and look at how many lights they put on the rig. It has to be a lot more than that. Those touch key moments are what translate a message or a vision into something that people experience that they can't necessarily try to share on social media.
I'm sure you do use social media in general for your events. How do you see social media whether it's for advertising an event or for getting more people excited for the next event?
How does your company leverage social media while producing innovative events?
I have a confession to make. We are very challenged with social media. Because while some brands or event managers stay very consistent in a certain type of industry. It's very easy to share the same industry. The messaging over and over again. It might look different. It might have different content but It's the same aesthetic over and over.
If I showed you what the last 12 weeks look like you'd think that we were five different companies. Because every day it's such a different type of event, our feed would look so scattered you'd be like what actually do these people do? I see cool things. But what do I go to them for? We rely more on word of mouth to get those introductions and referrals.
People find us online and that's great. But social media is always a challenge on how to make everything look cohesive. We do our best but it's definitely not up to date. With clients and brands, when they're sharing using social media for events, it's always about any influencer. who is there? How do I get my message to their following so that they think, if all these people are interested in this, I should be too.
I think that's how everyone is using social media is the age of the influencer. Everybody getting paid to stay home and do nothing but tag people on social media because of followers. That's the new way of email marketing right?
Email marketing is great but how many of you know what you get a day? It's impossible to keep up in the promotional aspect. It has to feel real. So if people you admire or are doing or using something or attending something.
You also feel empowered to be a part of innovative events
Do you guys use influencers? I shouldn't say, do you guys use it, cause obviously your clients do, but do you facilitate that for your client to make sure that certain influencers are at the events?
We will look at influencers depending on what the brand is. We also like to bring a different level, whether there's a keynote speaker, a host or influencers that are not necessarily a traditional brand for that company. it brings a different viewpoint and a completely different following. So really thinking outside of the box, with innovative event planning I don't even think we know what the inside of the box looks like anymore.
The fact that when you bring something or someone unexpected into the mix that makes it exciting, it peaks curiosity and that makes it interesting. As opposed to what you would expect a certain celebrity would be promoting this product. So, you know, they're being paid, you know, they're there just because that's what they do. But how do you make it real instead of so staged.
That's a great tip. Now you mentioned most of your business right now is coming from word of mouth, and from client referrals and that's awesome. Is that how you really continue to build your business?
Do you have other strategies that you're using to grow Eventique?
So, I mean, as we continued over the last couple of years, adding more members to our team we've been very fortunate with a lot of inbound leads business and referrals. That's kept us extremely busy and adding more staff to our teams to support those incoming requirements and requests. I would say that we haven't gone as outbound as I wish we could because we are getting a lot of inbound which we are very grateful for.
And I should say this to our listeners that haven't really checked you out yet. You have worked with some huge brands. So usually when you have a few of the very big brands under your belt, it's easy to continue to build from referral. It's easy to close the deal when you say, Oh, I've done events for this person and this person. I love that. Are you doing anything on a regular basis to build your business?
I find that every day you're faced with challenges. What are those challenges? Is it trying to do more marketing for our company to try to bring in new clients?
Innovating in a different way and rolling out our set of capabilities and contacts through different avenues.
In November this year, we actually opened up our own, and our first event space in Chelsea. So we are always searching for a certain event spaces, looking for certain things for our clients. We said, well, how do we use the fact that we are looking for something that is very hard to find and let's build it and offer it to our clientele as a resource as an avenue of promoting, and booking new events as well as building up our relationships with new vendors who work in this space.
So that was one avenue that we're really excited about. It's called Lavan 541. We've done some amazing events there so far in the short time we've been open and got great stuff coming up. One of the other challenges that I've found was as a planner, and this is part of my future, you know, innovating in my own mind and continuing to push my team to innovate.
How do people shop for events? The way people shop for events is actually backwards. If you're not a planner, you're going to try to find a planner or you're going to try and get around the planner into the vendors directly so you don't have to pay that fee. And ultimately you might find yourself back in a planners hands.
How does a planner shop for innovative events?
A planner is traveling across the nation doing meetings, going to events, or it's just in a local market. What's the first thing they do when a client comes in and says, here's my party, here's my expectation, here's what I want. Give me a budget. Give me cool ideas and put together something that I can compare you to other agencies or planners that Im bidding out to.
How much time do you give to that proposal? Clients don't always share the budget from the beginning. So how can you streamline that process without working for days on it and not even get a phone call back. Or give them ideas that they're going to take to somebody else who's cheaper. We also find ourselves as innovative event planners, as many contacts and vendors as we have there's always more out there. How do we find them?
We're on Instagram trolling a new market that we have to work in and saying, who's in that market? Who did something cool? How do I find them? Sometimes you'll get lucky and you'll find an amazing vendor, but most of the time you still have to vet them. You have to do your due diligence. You can't just book something cause it looked cool at that event and you really don't have a relationship with that vendor yet.
How do you continue innovating in markets or doing what you're already doing in a more efficient way.
Besides just going through Google and Googling away or looking at endless vendor lists. You have BizBash and all these amazing companies that are producing content with vendors. You go to your venue to get married, you have a preferred list.
You have fifteen companies to call. How do you know who's reliable? Who's best and how do you get that pricing before you waste the person's time? This is a challenge for us in growing the business and not spending endless amounts of time trying to prepare proposals, but also be efficient with getting back to the client quickly, having great ideas that are coming from vetted editors.
So our next innovation is a challenge. We get referred for smaller items, smaller element. I saw you did an event at this venue and I saw the pictures and it looks amazing, but I only need, this and this and this. I don't really need someone to put it all together. I'm doing it already. Or it's a planner or another agency coming to us and saying, Hey, I like three things you did Can you do them for us?
Now I have producers who are working at jobs from A to Z. I don’t say no to these people because it's a relationship, I want to build that. I also have to be mindful of not letting this become a distractions to a bigger, more full production innovative events that we are doing. I'm not going to turn them down. So what do I do?
Do I just keep taking them? Do I have to hire them over people just to do these smaller requests or each individual requests? I said I've got to create something for it.
The next rollout of our innovation is a company called event box.
which will be a shoppable marketplace for the most innovative products from vetted reliable vendors and it's complementary for planners nationwide. We are launching this spring, I would consider it an Amazon for shopping for your events.
So everybody that's listening now I want you to just pick up on a few things. Not only is Eventique and Liron really thinking about, producing events but multiple revenue streams. So now they have the event venue and trying to look for new event venues. The Event Box, although I would double-check on that name, just so you know, there's one here, a totally different concept, but there is an event box in Palm beach, Florida.
Yeah, we got the trademark processing.
Awesome. That's great. So I love that you're a big thinker and I love that you have a multiple, and I'm sure there's a many, many other revenue streams, but those of you that are listening.
Make sure that you have multiple revenue streams for your business.
It is so important and so many people just think of A to B and not everything in between.
Another thing is you noticed that there was a need for it, but you also noticed that you didn't want to continue to take away from your current business and really your bigger vision from the business. Probably what's happening right now is because you're using those resources to do these one-off events and little pieces of events, which overall in the long run will help your business but also hurt it at the same time cause they're building the relationships But you're also taking away from that bigger vision.
So congratulations on just being an innovator in general. It's pretty amazing! Now for us and for many other people in this industry. And I shouldn't even say this industry.. in general.
It's hard to find good staff and it's hard to find good staff that knows what they're doing that can count on you and that could also believe in your bigger vision. Really come to you with ideas and different concepts that they think would be great. How did you find the right people and build such a great team around you?
Building a great team to produce innovative events is always a challenge.
It is not easy to find amazing people. I compliment and I make sure that everyone that works as part of my team is happy and they deserve to be happy. They deserve not to just be burned out. This is a crazy business. There are long hours. You have to be willing to put in everything that comes with that.
When I first started, I thought, Hey, you know, I booked my first hundred thousand dollar job back in like 2006. And I said, now I have to have a bigger conference room, I need to hire all these people, I need to have a bookkeeper, I need to have this and, and that. At the end of the day, everyone still wanted to work with me, so I learned a hard lesson. I don't need to hire all of these people, I need to hire the right people.
I find myself sometimes talking to other agencies or partner venues and they have so many people show up to a meeting, but three actually offer value out of the seven or eight. While the others may be learning, that's very important for them to learn to be a part of it and to see the real action happening. I think less is more. More qualified and really do it slowly. Don't just staff up just to Staff up Right. Look for innovative event planners that at three o'clock in the morning are just as excited as nine o'clock in the morning and just as excited as one o'clock in the afternoon. There's no such thing as no.
When producing innovative events we must be problem solvers.
We are solution oriented. How quickly can someone think on their feet and the team has to ask the mirror who's leading. Who's leading ship? I want to make people happy. My team wants to make people happy. I don't rely on showing up to the venue and hopefully, that person I'm going to have to work with that day had a cup of coffee that morning. I can't rely on that.
That's our success thats on the line. Every event is your reputation, it could be your last. I think that as you build a team slow and steady versus I need people and I need help and let's just hire whoever and whenever. It takes a long time for us to hire the teams and the staff and the team members that we have.
It's usually from staff that have worked with us in some capacity for many years. And then we say, Hey, you know how we think, you know how operations need to happen. You understand the protocol you understand the process you're ready.
Do you build up a network of contractors that you use for innovative events and after they worked with you for while offer them a position?
Yes! The relationship has to be there. The trust has to be there. I need to know when I go to sleep at night that if someone's managing a load in that they're going to be there on time. I'm a hands on producer. I am not just an owner of a company that assumes everything's just going to happen because I've paid someone to do it.
It's a very important lesson. You have to have that trust and you have to know that they care just as much as you do even though they might be working for you once a month. You need to know that they feel the same way you do about the client, the customer, the challenge,the job and that you're going to see it through no matter what.
I'm gonna add just a little bit of advice there to people that are listening.
When you hire contractors or when you hire people to come into your event, make sure you pay them well.
Treat them well and treat them like they are a part of the team. because it's a family and you want them to know that they're going to make great money with you and give it their all. I know that a lot of people are trying to pay the least amount of money that they can for bodies to come in and work, but that's what they're going to be, just bodies to come in and work.
I want to just add that when you're building your list of contractors and when you're hiring people, make sure you're paying them great money to deliver amazing, amazing work and bring that effort into you.
Yeah,I pay well. I want people to walk away feeling satisfied, not just by seeing an event come to light because if your working in this industry that's what you really in it for, right? You're not just for the money and the money's great if you work hard and you're successful, but you have to be doing it for more than the money.
If you're doing it just for the paycheck, it's not sustainable
You'll just get burnt out and you'll move on to something else. And those are the people that I try to find. I want them to make money. I want them to not have to worry about their bills being paid because then their effort and their focus can be on achieving success at the event and not worrying about who made more money than I did.
And you know why did I get paid less than this person, even though I've been working harder. So yeah, I'm looking for people to make money and for them to feel satisfied and want them to come back. I want them to want to pick up the phone call when I called them at one o'clock in the morning and say, Hey, can you be back here at 7:00 AM? I'm not going to hear, uh, Oh well, you know, I'm going to hear of course I got, I'll be there! It is a family. I mean we work crazy hours together and that's important to feel that way.
So changing the subject a little bit here. I have another podcast and I always ask this question and it's always a little bit different with the event industry. Obviously you're successful. Obviously you're a very driven entrepreneur.
Usually entrepreneurs have daily routines and things they stick with it to allow them to have time to be successful. In the event industry it's a little bit different because your schedule is always changing.
Do you have a daily routine that you stick with?
Not necessarily daily, but anything that you know you have to do?
The way I get through a day, and I know there are so many apps out there that can streamline your to-do lists but I write everything down. I have three kids, seven-year-old, a four-year-old and a three-year-old. I'm up with them in the morning that starts my day off with a smile.
I feel high energy, I feel positivity, I see smiles and, and that for me the best way to start my day.
I wish I could say that I have a routine. I might have a plan for a routine and then a client calls which is happening next week, And it says, I need you in Africa in two days. Okay, great. Well then all those personal training sessions that I had scheduled or the meeting I had, you know, scheduled for yoga, whatever it is that just goes out the door.
If I didn't have to worry about paying bills, I would do what I'm doing right now for free.
My routine is doing what I love and that gives me energy. I don't run home and I'm a late night person, I answer emails, get back with people and it doesn't matter what time I go to sleep, I need to get those things done and off my checklist. I wish I could say had I had a routine to keep me sane, but I really don't. I love what I do. This gives me energy and thrive from it so that's what works for me.
I love that. And thank you for sharing all of this useful information and I would love to have you on again in the future because I want to also talk about how you closed your first big brand and things like that. I'm excited to see the future of Eventique and to learn a little bit more about the Event Box once it's up and running. Is there anything that I didn't ask you that you want the audience to know?
My father who I lost about 12 years ago left me with one thing that I'll never forget it. And he was a big proponent of this. He always said, be good to people and that's how I live my life. That's why thats sort of my MO. It doesn't matter if you're a tough client, a challenging client, making you negative money or making you a positive dollars.
At the end of the day, just being good to the people around you is really what sets you apart from the rest of the world.
There's so much negativity out there you have to stay positive and just really just be good to people. At the end of the day. That's what I think will achieve a successful and happy life in whatever industry, especially the crazy one we work in.
On that note, that's a perfect way to end this. Thank you so much for joining us and guys, make sure you check out Liron. I will have all the links for Eventique and Liron right in the show notes.
Guest Expert Innovative Events - Learn more about Liron David and Eventique
Eventique's CEO Liron David’s 17+ years of experience in the events industry has taught him to be hands-on with his teams and clients, meticulous with details, and to maintain a calm demeanor under any circumstances. These tenets have helped ensure that every event is produced to the highest possible standards.
As an entrepreneur and innovator, Liron is instinctively always on the hunt for the most cutting edge technologies and designs to present to his clients. He’s an advocate for trying new methodologies and ideas in only the most sensible of environments, which he attributes to the trusted relationships he has developed with Fortune 500 companies, global non-profit organizations, and executives and personalities.