Whee! Let's kick back and have some fun

Updated 2/26/2017 8:58 PM

Your production team handled a mean, but critical, transition without flaw. Way to go!

The sales team not only hit but exceeded goals. Let's celebrate.


It's been 15 years -- or maybe 10 or 20, whatever the number happens to be -- since you opened the door for the first time. Wow! Party with staff, customers, vendors and family.

Want to make a big splash with a new product or service? Plan an event.

Every business is different, but, generally, we don't take the time to enjoy our successes with the people who have helped us along the way. This year, let's have some fun.

There's planning to be done first, and your special event will depend very much on the types of people you'll invite -- which meshes with what you want the event to achieve. Here are some thoughts from experienced event managers.

"Live events are different than they were five years ago. People want experiences," says Kathy Miller, president, Total Event Resources Inc., Schaumburg. "Technology -- mobile apps and video mapping, for example -- is a must. So is social media (to build enthusiasm for the event)."

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Experiential is a favorite Miller word. Her ideas range from food pairings-wine tastings that could replace the more traditional banquet to activities that require participants to "find the clues that will get them out of a locked room."

Miller's events have ranged in size from nine to 18,000 people. She's someone to know.

So is Rae Nicks, president of Volume Eventz, Carpentersville. Among her suggestions are theater buyouts, farm-to-table outdoor experiences, and teambuilding and athletic events as "options for small businesses beyond just booking a room in a local restaurant."

Of course, depending on what you want your event to accomplish, there's nothing wrong with the private room at a popular restaurant -- or buying out 79-seat Steel Beam Theatre in St. Charles rather than The PrivateBank Theatre in Chicago. Just keep in mind that an event's impact may very well be in its out-of-the-ordinary experience for guests.

Like other good event planners, Nicks wraps such topics as client goals and budget; transportation; audiovisual support and similar services into her suggestions.


Sometimes a catered meal -- maybe at your place -- is appropriate for both the people you're inviting and budget. Tasty Catering, Elk Grove Village, provides options that range from summertime picnics to full-scale banquets at various locations.

In fact, says Sales Director Kornel Grygo, "We partner with more than 20 venues" that typically prefer to use Tasty Catering rather than in-house staff.

There's an online event planning and booking option, too: Kapow offers prepackaged and pre-priced options in connection with various Chicago-area venues. Options go from a pizza toss at Streeterville's Labriola Café and Restaurant to an Entertainment Cruises' dinner cruise from Navy Pier.

Start at www.kapow.com.

The possibilities are endless. All you need is a reason to kick back and have fun.

• Follow Jim Kendall on LinkedIn and Twitter. Write him at Jim@kendallcom.com. Listen to Jim's Business Owners' Pod Talk at www.kendallcom.com/podcast. © 2017 Kendall Communications Inc.

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