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BUSINESS CLINIC38 the 'silver lining' of the recession is emerging at last. The recent AEO Awards were attended by 1,200 people, an increase of 40 per cent. It was rewarding to see stronger, fi tter and more buoyant companies networking. From a training perspective, it is encouraging to note more clients (both organisers and exhibitors) are releasing their budgets and developing their staff to take full advantage of the improved conditions.All around us we can see signs of companies (both B2B and trade and even retail) vying for our spend. Tempting offers, enhanced services and added value are all there to be found. The change seems to be that offers are now thrown at us whereas a few months ago they were only available if we asked. Are we as organisers, contractors and venues (or indeed suppliers to them) refurbishing our arsenal to re-induct our clients into doing business with us again?A REJIGAt a recent European events conference, we heard about how several international organisers are ADDING MORE VALUECClients are opening the purse strings to take advantage of improving market conditions. Simon Naudi asks whether your company is creative enough to win their business.profi ting through creativity. A simple re-jig of the fl oor plan is now yielding revenue increases of up to 30 per cent. They approached their top exhibitors and arranged a discount on condition the organiser could select a location for them. Competitors who wished to appear next to them were charged a premium far exceeding the 'discount' value and that left the hitherto premium stands available for sale. Other organisers offer incentives for early booking that are then strictly withdrawn after the deadline, while many provide creative sponsorship and added-value packages that encompass everything from furniture and electrics packs through to assisted marketing and PR services. Organisers are increasingly placing premiums and value on stand location within a hall, adjusting sponsorship packages and placing worth on the number of open sides or location to a feature area. Not all of these will be applicable to your event but they are just examples of how today's event manager is evolving ideas that will ensnare more exhibitors. It's all about fl exibility, value and exceeding expectations. They are value propositions in their own right or incentives and inducements for early bookers.CREATIVE THINKINGCreativity is the key here. Would your client appreciate a private meeting room, an after-hours reception, some time with a visiting dignitary or top fl ight business leader? Would a mini-hosted buyer programme be feasible or courtesy travel arrangement to and from the local airport or their hotel? As your plans and ideas become more creative, they may also become more and more expensive. In this event, how about reapplying that creative focus towards fi nding a keen sponsor for that service or facility? Maybe a contra would be possible or some way of providing the sponsor with a unique sampling opportunity.We really cannot afford to stand still when there is innovation all around us and everyone is striving to offer an even better deal to our clients. Learn from other industries by taking a good look outside your own area and see how airlines, hotels and any service industry is delivering. Take their ideas, improve them and you'll shine.- Simon Naudi is MD of the Answers Group.It's all about fl exibility, value and exceeding expectations1. Identify the hazardsFirst work out how people in your offi ce or work environment can be harmed. Walk around and identify obvious points, ask employees for input, access guidelines from a trade association, check manufacturers' instructions, refer to previous accident records and consider any long-term exposure side-effects.2. Decide who might be harmed and how Some workers may have particular requirements - new or young workers, expectant mothers or those with disabilities for example.3. Evaluate the risks and decide on precautionsThe law requires employers to do everything 'reasonably practical' to protect people from harm. Can you get rid of the risk? Or minimise its effects? Will protective clothing or washing facilities help?4. Record and implement your fi ndingsWrite down the risks and your fi ndings and share them with staff. Keep the list simple and clear.5. Review your risk assessment regularly and update if necessaryNew equipment, staff or offi ce changes can quickly make your fi ndings out-of-date, so regular reviews, updates and consultation on the level of risk is critical to ensuring a safe workplace.Excerpt from the Health and Safety Executive's guide to risk assessment 20115 STEPS....TO MINIMISING RISK IN THE WORKPLACESTAFF BUILDER The Government has launched a new mentoring scheme for small to medium businesses to improve access to and stimulate demand for mentoring in the private sector. A new Internet portal has been set-up to provide companies to help bring together those wanting to mentor, or seeking to be mentored. The Government has partnered with the UK's fi ve largest high street banks - Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander - to provide information on issues such as fi nance, marketing and HR. The scheme is part of the Better Business Finance campaign established by the Business Finance Taskforce. There are 200 current and retired staff behind the initiative."From my own experiences running a small business, I know how valuable insight can be from people who have done it all before," Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said. "Small fi rms are the lifeblood of our economy and we are determined to give them every opportunity to succeed and secure the long-term growth we need."More information is available at:

BUSINESS 39Melville Exhibition and Event Services has been appointed offi cial supplier to WorldSkills 2011. The peripatetic global youth skills event comes to Excel London in October and is expected to attract 150,000 visitors and 1,000 competitors. The contract covers 100,000sqm and 46 competition and 46 trial areas, six interconnected zones, 100 showcase spots, an exhibition, conference and seminar programme. According to WorldSkills' organiser, Melville was chosen for its track history in delivering comparable events of a similar scale such as the Commonwealth Games, G8 Summit and Tour de France. Melville's parent company, GES, was contracted to the 2009 WorldSkills in Calgary, Canada. The last event attracted 151,589 visitors.The Royal Horticultural Halls will host the launch of the new Workplace Ergonomics and Productivity (WEP) expo on 26 and 27 October. It is being organised by the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (IEHF) and WEP.Exhibition and event management company Managed Perceptions has signed a deal with TNT Publishing to organise fi ve of its London-based events over the next year. The fi rst exhibition will be TNT's Sun and Snow in October followed by the TNT Travel Show in March. Managed Perceptions will also project manage a conference, travel awards ceremony, dinner function and an international travel exchange event. SO Group has secured a contract to provide a full suite of services across Upper Street Events' exhibitions. The three-year deal was won through a competitive tender and will draw on SO Group's complete range of exhibition services, the company claimed. Reed Exhibitions has signed a two-year deal with the British Helicopter Association (BHA) giving BHA exclusive support of helicopter expo and conference Helitech, which takes place from 27 to 29 September at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford. As part of the agreement, the BHA will chair a guest forum. Ocean Media Group has expanded its sponsorship agreement with Orion Media Group, through its Birmingham radio station BRMB, across The NEC-based Boat and Caravan Show and Outdoor Leisure Show. Initially brought on as major event sponsor this year, the radio group has signed a two-year deal to become the offi cial broadcast sponsor of the two shows from 2012 alongside association The Camping and Caravanning Club.The regional Business Focus exhibition is planning an expanded show format following its decision to relocate to Peterborough Exec this year. The business-to-business exhibition is held annually every October and focuses on promoting companies across Cambridgeshire. WINNING BUSINESSEMAIL MARKETING: MIKE SPICER'S TIPS FOR SUCCESS SUBJECT LINESThe fi rst thing the reader sees can make the difference between a recipient opening or discarding an email. To get the most out of your subject lines, keep them brief. Include key information and give it urgency. INTERESTING CONTENT We've all had emails that look interesting, but when you open them they disappoint with too much sales talk or not enough relevant information. Making your emails interesting will not only encourage visitors to respond to event invitations, it will also mean they are more likely to engage with and trust in your brand. MAKE IT PERSONAL Delegates want to feel you have personally invited them. They don't want to feel like another name on the mailing list. Tailor the content of your emails to their preferences and behaviour to make them feel valued. RELEVANCE IS KEY Make sure you are sending your emails to the right audience. After all, there is no point in sending an invitation to a football event if the recipient has no interest in sports. By adapting your emails to suit the audience, they will not only read them, but will be more likely to want to attend your event. TEST, TEST, TESTTesting is extremely important to any email marketing campaign. You could be sending out insightful and attention-grabbing emails, but if they are not being received due to a system error or your database is not up to date, then they won't work. It is a useful measurement tool to discover what's working, whether it be event registrations or post-conference feedback. - Mike Spicer is the CEO of marketing agency Pulse Group. THE GOOD AND THE BAD My decision to leave Reed at the age of 29 and start my own business with Mark Steel has been the best. We are still in business 22 years later having built three companies together - somehow complementary but never sure why! One's own business affords you the freedom to challenge the norm, create new ideas and standards, and, above all, have a great deal of fun where you set the rules. MY BEST DECISIONMY WORST DECISION51%The percentage of UK workers surveyed by business consulting fi rm Protiviti who claim to use social networking sites while at work. My worst has been a string of joint ventures. They invariably end in tears with one side feeling they bring more to the party than the other. My exceptions are JVs with Montgomery and Easyfairs. On a personal note, I once had the chance to buy an affordable Andy Warhol of Natalie Wood. I wanted to mark the sale of Interactive, our company in the 1990s, with a beautiful object. I passed it by with considerable regret.HUGH KEEBLE, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF IMAGO TECHMEDIA