Extra Effort Pays Off to Help You Improve Your Hospitality Career

As a hospitality professional, I am always in search of information that can help me improve and grow in our industry. It has been a few years since I read an article in Selling Power Magazine about a one degree increase and how that related to our careers. This concept has stayed with me throughout my years of working at hotel companies and when I launched my own business.

Here is the brief article:

“Did you ever notice what happens to water at 211 degrees Fahrenheit?

Well, not much, really. Although it gets hot and it may develop some little pinpoint bubbles, for the most part it just lays there in the pot. But add just one more degree, an increase in heat of less than one-half of one percent, and that same water begins to boil. The steam generated by the boiling water can lift the lid of a teakettle or drive a huge turbine engine. One degree of heat makes the difference.

In life, the margin often is just as slender between success and failure, winning and losing, mediocrity and excellence. In the 1988 Olympics, American swimmer Matt Biondi lost the 100-meter butterfly event by one-hundredth of a second. The loser in a 50-mile bicycle race was exactly one inch behind the winner. In those same Olympics, Mary Lou Retton won a gold medal by five one hundredths of a point. And she got a perfect 10 in the vault – a 10 that she had to get in order to win.

What does this teach us about our own lives? Simply that it’s the last little bit of effort that will often make the difference between success and failure. The losers in this world never seem to realize how close they are to winning just before they give up – and the winners never forget that an extra effort at the end is often the slender margin of victory.

When you’re tempted to give up, to settle for less than your best effort, turn on that extra burst of energy, that extra degree of fire that gives you the satisfaction of knowing – win or lose – that you have done your very best.”

Joseph P. Klock

For those of us building your own business in the hospitality industry, this story is a reminder that we need to continue to push ourselves. We need to give the extra degree of effort for our customers and industry partners. If we do this consistently, the growth of our business will take care of itself.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like “The Road to No Regrets.”

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5 Questions to Ask Before Becoming an Entreprenuer in the Hospitality Industry

1238452_46868173There continues to be a lot of change going on in the hospitality industry which means it may be the right time for you to re-evaluate your current state and ask yourself the questions that will help determine your future.

Although being tired of your commute and wanting it to go away may be one reason to consider a change, I am not sure that it is the true motivation to drive a change. The following are 5 questions to help those with entrepreneurial dreams to evaluate their options, take the leap, and achieve continued success in the hospitality industry. These questions come from my years of experience as an independent contractor and from the 100+ individuals that have joined me or I have coached to make the transition.

1. What are your dreams and goals for the future?

What is your ‘big why’? What are you trying to accomplish? As Stephen Covey teaches us, “begin with the end in mind.” Without directions or a map, you will never find your desired destination. The same is true with your career.

2.What is your most pressing challenge that you need to address right now?

Focus today on the one thing that will move you closer to achieving your dream.

3. What opportunity best utilizes your experience and expertise?

It is important to clearly understand how your experience and expertise will translate to your next opportunity. Look for the best match that will ensure a successful future.

4. Is the timing right to make this change now?

Do you have everything in place (support group, finances, office, etc.) to make the move now?

5. Who can I talk with to help me evaluate my options?

There are many successful people in our industry that have gone down this road before you. They can be your mentor / coach and assist you in thinking through the opportunity. They can also be a valuable resource to you as you make the transition.

When you’re in business for yourself, you write your own history, you write your own success story, you write your own legacy and most important, you write your own paycheck,” Jeffrey Gitomer, best-selling author.

I hope these simple questions will help you evaluate whether this new year is the right time to make a change.

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Hospitality Industry Professionals: Read-to-Success Reading List

books-1421560-640x640For us to achieve and maintain success in the hospitality industry, we need to be avid readers (not just during our vacations). The hospitality industry is a 24/7 business with an overload of activity and ‘noise’ that keeps us busy. It can be overwhelming and even prevent us from keeping on course toward achieving our priorities. To prevent getting burned out which drains our energy and blocks our creativity, we need to make time to read about our industry and how to grow our professional careers.

The following are some suggestions of books to read to help you grow professionally:

  • The One Thing – Gary Keller
  • You 2 – Price Pritchett
  • The E Myth – Michael Gerber
  • The Third Wave – Steve Case

Please take the time to invest in yourself…you will be pleased with the success that follows. Happy reading!

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Hospitality Industry Professionals: What’s Holding You Back?

career-479578_1280FEAR is the #1 excuse that holds hospitality industry professionals back from making a change that will impact them personally, professionally and financially. Fear is why most believe it is ‘safer’ to be an employee than being an entrepreneur / independent business owner.

The fear being experienced is the belief you do not have what it takes to be successful as an independent meeting planner / entrepreneur. Let’s break down the fear and address the perceived negatives that are preventing you from putting a spark in your career…and changing your life!

F = Finances

It does take an investment of time and money to launch your own business. However, the initial financial investment in a hospitality business can be much lower than other business opportunities. Your investment is the initial start-up costs, the loss of wages during the ramp-up phase and the investment for promoting your new business (sales and marketing). The ROI on these investments has the potential to far exceed your earnings as an employee.

E = Experience

You have a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise that will benefit the customers that you work with. It is important to pursue an opportunity that enables you to put your years of experience and expertise to work for your business.

A = Attitude (passion)

When you choose the right business opportunity, your passion for what you are doing will drive your attitude. When you truly enjoy what you are doing, your customers and partners will benefit and your business will grow. It is critical that you pursue a business opportunity that ignites your passion.

R = Right Idea

We all had the idea for Facebook, Uber or Airbnb…someone just beat us to it. The right idea is taking your experience, expertise and passion and putting it to use for you.

It takes courage to make the leap from employee to independent professional. I encourage you to seek out an option that offers the tools and resources that will guide and support you on a successful journey.

Is it time for you to consider being an entrepreneur in the hospitality industry?

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Are You Ready For a Change in the Hospitality Industry?

arrowsThe question many hospitality industry professionals ask themselves (especially after their most recent bonus is in the bank) is:

Am I ready for a change?

Have you grown tired of commuting to a job where you sit in a cubicle and answer to someone else? Are you tired of working hard for the promotion, only to see it being offered to someone else? Each time you achieve success; do your goals get increased? Being a self-employed / independent business owner is both a rewarding and challenging career choice that many consider, but only a few decide to pursue. It may not be for everyone, but it should at least be seriously considered by those who truly love the hospitality industry.

There are many roads to accomplish your dream. To ensure you are making the right choice, I encourage you to…

  • Know your ‘Big Why’- Why are you thinking about a change? What are you trying to accomplish?
  • Utilize your experience / expertise- choose a career path that utilizes your years of experience and expertise.
  • Share with your mentors / coaches- use your mentors and coaches to guide you with the choices you need to make throughout your hospitality industry career.
  • Explore all options within current organization.

For me, I chose to affiliate with ConferenceDirect, as they helped me realize that working for myself isn’t just another job, it’s a way of life. At ConferenceDirect we are in business for ourselves, but we are never by ourselves. They offer state-of-the-art technology, ongoing training and a team leader that will guide you from the start and keep you on the path to success.

If you have a strong entrepreneurial spirit driving your curiosity, I hope you will ask yourself the question, are you ready for a change… and do something about it if the answer is yes!

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Hospitality Industry Professionals: Can you Create a Fear of Missing Out?

business-meeting-1239185-639x852Thanks to a recent trip with a group of young professionals in the hospitality industry, I have learned a new acronym, FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). The fear of missing out is discussed mostly among the younger generations. However, if we are truly honest with ourselves, we all suffer from this fear. We are all afraid of missing out on the party, dinner, game, concert and the fun that everyone will enjoy. In today’s world of social media…we are often reminded instantly that we are missing out.

What does this have to do with your career in the meeting and event planning industry? Imagine if you were part of an organization that had people lining up to be a part of it. Imagine if you were in a career that everyone wanted to consider. Imagine if people were telling others and creating a buzz that ‘you have to be a part of this profession or organization’. It can be accomplished because the fear of missing out already exists; we just need to find the right organization and be a part of an environment that will engage this feeling in us. My top five thoughts for creating FOMO in your hospitality career are:

  1. Establish your ‘why’- why are you in this industry (it needs to be more powerful than a job- what is your career enabling you to do)
  2. Affiliate with a recognized name in your industry
  3. Be able to offer full service solutions to your customers
  4. Affiliate with an organization that offers the training, resources and ongoing support to help you achieve your goals
  5. Be a part of an opportunity that creates financial freedom and wealth (wealth is defined as the freedom and ability to choose what to do with your time and your money)

Are you currently in an opportunity that creates FOMO? If not, I challenge you to find what you are afraid of missing out on.

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Being ‘Present’ As A Meeting Professional In The Hospitality Industry

redchairRecently, I was reminded why I pursued being an independent meeting planner in the hospitality industry. Full disclosure, this post is coming from a message I heard from my pastor that he themed ‘the one who wasn’t there’.

Certainly, his message was more philosophical and had a greater meaning than what I am sharing. However, it made me think back and remember my ‘why’…why I chose this career path. He told stories about a parent that missed the school concert, ballgame or stayed late in the office and could not help with homework. These parents met the criteria of ‘the one who wasn’t there’.

There are other examples professionally; missing an office event, skipping a community service project or not being engaged with your fellow team members to help with the big presentation. These professionals chose to be ‘the one who wasn’t there’. It can also happen in our personal lives; choosing not to attend the family reunion, wedding, neighborhood cook-out or golf outing with your college friends. These family and friends also were ‘the one who wasn’t there’.

Being in business for myself in the hospitality industry was the best decision I ever made. It has allowed me to be present for all the key events with my family, be accessible and provide excellent service to my customers and has enabled me to have balance personally and professionally. It has allowed me to dream and achieve this quote: “When you’re in business for yourself, you write your own history, you write your own success story, you write your own legacy and most important, you write your own paycheck,” Jeffrey Gitomer, best-selling author.

We have many choices as we progress in our careers. Please choose the path that will enable you to be ‘the one who was there’.

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Entrepreneurs: 9 Areas to Focus on When Setting Up Your Business

successI enjoy researching small businesses, franchises and independent hospitality professionals to learn how they successfully set up and run their businesses. From my observations, the following are nine areas to focus on when setting up and growing your business: 

  1. Why

    a. Make sure you are specific with ‘why’ you want to be in business for yourself. It should be greater than just wanting to make more money.

  1. Go Public

    a. If you truly are going to do it, you have to go public and tell others your plans. This helps keep you accountable to achieving your goal.

  1. Experience / Expertise

    a. It is best to focus on a business that matches your experience and where you have expertise.

  1. Support Group

    a. Make sure you have a support group in place to get your through the period of transition,
    b. In addition, it is healthy to have these outside eyes looking at your business and offering advice.

  1. Financing

    a. Have you set aside the funds needed to support your business and yourself during the ramp-up period?
    b. Do you need a small business loan or line of credit to get you through the start-up phase or to take your business to the next level?
    c. Are you continuing to set aside funds and investing in your business?

  1. Business Development to grow your business (get out and spread the word about your business).

    a. Make sure you have a clear mission statement for your business.
    b. Make sure you have a clear positioning statement on the value proposition of your business and your potential customers.
    c. Create your personal brand standards (what you are going to do for your customers).
    d. Practice you elevator speech so you are ready to share it at all times.
    e. Referrals and Networking are two of the best ways to build your base of customers.

  1. Balance Growth and Servicing Accounts (you need both your existing and new customers)

    a. Growing accounts is important and you should dedicate time to this area every week.
    b. Servicing accounts- you need to balance the servicing of those customers that you currently work with to make sure they remain your loyal customer and refer others to you.
    c. Don’t have only one client or all your eggs in one basket…diversify your business.

  1. Business Operations (make sure you address all of the day-to-day issues of running your business)

    a. How are you going to compensate yourself?
    b. Are you setting aside money for:

    1. Accounting/Bookkeeping support
    2. Taxes
    3. Retirement
    4. Insurance
    5. Legal support
    6. Future capital expenses (computer, phone, etc.)

    c.Do you have your office set up to achieve maximum productivity?

    d. Have you set clear hours of operation (set and stick to your office hours)

  1. Partnering (with colleagues, others in the industry, family, friends)

    a. One of the best ways to grow your business is to partner with others that are connected with you, committed to your success and will assist you on your journey.
    b. Make sure you are partnering with people you trust.
    c. Make sure you have your working relationship in writing (even with family and friends).
    d. Remember that you can meet potential partners via networking (get out and meet people).

If your dream is to be in business for yourself, be intentional with your actions that will ensure you achieve your goal. Now it’s time to get after it and make your business a huge success!

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Doug Baarman Receives Annual Alliance Award

D2013DougBaarmanCroppedoug Baarman, ConferenceDirect’s Senior Vice President/Team Director, was honored with ConferenceDirect’s Alliance Award for 2015. He was recognized and presented the award at the ConferenceDirect Awards Dinner during its Annual Partner Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, on Sunday, March 6, 2016.

The Alliance Award is presented to the Associate who best embraces all aspects of hospitality business services in order to better meet his or her customers’ needs.

Doug joined ConferenceDirect in 2007, and has over 25 years of career experience on both sides of the industry, nearly 20 of which were with Marriott International.

“Doug is the perfect choice for this award, because he so exemplifies what ConferenceDirect has grown to be: a full service meetings solutions company. He represents the best of what we can offer on so many levels, and we’re so very happy to have him honored with this,” said Brian D. Stevens, ConferenceDirect’s Chief Executive Officer.

Based in Los Angeles, California, ConferenceDirect is a full-service global meetings solution company whose portfolio of services includes: Site Selection & Contract Negotiation, Conference Management, Housing & Registration Services, Mobile App Technology and Strategic Meetings Management Programs. Our 325+ Associates manage over 9,800 meetings, conferences and events annually for more than 2,500 customers. For more information, visit ConferenceDirect at www.conferencedirect.com ###

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Entrepreneurship: Risk or Freedom?

WeWantFreedomWhy do people choose to be independent business owners in the meetings and events industry? First, most successful business owners will tell you that they want to be their own bosses and enjoy tremendous freedom. They also will share from their experience that self-employment is less risky and more rewarding than working for others.

As shared in the book, ‘The Millionaire Next Door’:

A professor once asked a group of sixty MBA students who were executives of public corporations this question.

What is risk?

One student replied: being an entrepreneur.

His fellow students agreed. Then the professor answered his own question with a quote from an entrepreneur:

What is risk? Having only one source of income. Employees are at risk…they have a single source of income. What about the entrepreneur who sells janitorial services to your employers? He has hundreds and hundreds of customers…hundreds and hundreds of sources of income.

Actually, there is considerable financial risk in being a business owner. But business owners have a set of beliefs that helps them reduce their risk or at least their perceived risk:

  • I’m in control of my destiny
  • I can solve any problem
  • The only way to become a CEO is to own the company
  • There are no limits on the amount of income I can make
  • I get stronger and wiser every day by facing risk and adversity

Being a business owner does mean you will need to assume some risk. But as was shared above, the risks can be managed and the rewards are greater than anticipated. From my own first-hand experience, it is great to be a small business owner in the meetings and events industry. Do I have any regrets? Only one…I should have pursued this path earlier in my hospitality career.

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