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It’s a sobering fact that many business owners don’t fully realize before opening their doors 20% of businesses will fail within the first year, and by the fifth year, approximately 50% will be in danger (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 7, 2020). After all, you’ve put your heart and soul into your business. It’s your baby. You’d do just about anything to make sure that your business has longevity instead of becoming part of that statistic. This doesn’t include a pandemic in the mix either.

Luckily, to ensure that your business is in it for the long haul, the best thing you can do is look to the world of music. The music industry is notorious for chewing up musicians and spitting them out, yet some bands have managed to stand the test of time. Handled properly, you can become the U2 of your industry, rather than the Chumbawamba. (Did you just say, “Chumba who? Exactly.)

Rockstars who stick around for generations behave differently than one-hit wonders. Take a note from these titans of music.

Four Strategies to Make Your Business Last

Have a Clear Purpose and Vision

KISS went into the music industry with the intention to be the greatest rock band of all time. Everything they did, from the long days of practicing to the long nights of trying to get their makeup off, was in service of that vision. It served as their guiding star, helping them make decisions, and making sure that every bandmate was on the same page. The same was for the Beatles. They wanted to be bigger than Elvis.

Why did you go into business and what do you hope to get out of it? Understanding your purpose and your vision, and then clearly communicating it to your employees will help you stay on the path to a long, healthy business. Be very clear and be very specific. Clarity is power.

Maintain a Narrow Focus

Bands don’t set out to make music in every genre there is. U2 never sat backstage after a concert and thought, “We should incorporate opera into our songs… and add in some Country. Hey – does anyone know how to play the banjo?” Or if they did, at least the conversation never moved forward. Do what you do best first. Once you are on top of one mountain others can easily see you from the other ones.

This isn’t to say that rockstars (and you) can’t shift your focus throughout the life of your business. This will actually help you stay fresh and relevant. Just don’t try to do everything at once… in one song… unless you’re Queen and then you go ahead and do whatever you want, because it will be amazing.

Always Be Practicing and Always Be Practicing

Rockstars with staying power know that the hours spent practicing in the studio (or the garage) are what enable them to get on stage and do what they love to do. The same goes for your business. The most important moment in your day isn’t the time spent sitting across from a potential customer delivering your sales pitch. The most important time is learning your craft, perfecting your product, and preparing for that pitch. The more effort you put into that time, the more often you’ll get to do what you love and went into business to do. Don Henley of the Eagles said they never started a tour until they rehearsed their playlist one hundred times in a row, perfectly. Do you and your band have that level of commitment? Were you honing your skills during the pandemic?

Your Band is Your Best Asset

Frontmen (and women) who don’t appreciate their bandmates are destined to be solo artists. Or unemployed. When you start out in business, you may do so as a solopreneur. You may wear every hat in your organization from the CEO to the janitor. However, as your organization grows, you’re going to need a strong team or band that you trust and appreciate, to help you succeed.

Understand that your team is your best asset. They will help you make the Billboard charts or sink into obscurity. Choose wisely and then shower them with gratitude. Never (ever) make them feel unappreciated or easily replaceable. When you do, they’ll either hightail it for the door or make a slow exit, eroding your business as they go. Three key points about your band from my book Opportunity Rocks are, do what’s best for the band, honor everyone’s unique abilities, including your bass players, and check your ego at the door. Everyday. 

Could your team be working together better? I can help. Whether virtual, in-person or a hybrid meeting our team-building trainings will have your employees making beautiful music together and being heard above the noise.

It turns out there’s a lot we can learn from the rockstars of the music industry… and not just which makeup remover works best. Certain musicians have stayed relevant for all these years because they know their vision and their purpose, maintain a narrow focus, stay on top of their game, and appreciate their bandmates. Now, it’s your turn to be a rockstar in your business! Let’s unleash your inner rock star on the world.

Imagine you are on top of the world. You’re playing all the big stages with sold-out stadiums, your fans can’t get enough of you and the crowd goes wild!

Then one day it all stops.

Your tour dates are canceling one by one and new ones aren’t booking. The next thing you know you’re back in garage band mode.

Alright, you’re probably not an actual rock star. But 2020 grounded just about every one of us. There you were, creating raving fans in your business, growing your organization, focused on the future when everything changed. Overnight, business dried up, clients canceled, and the market became a chorus of frightened crickets. Business plans you started the year off with, were worth no more than the paper they were printed on.

Thankfully, we are now entering a new year, a time to wake up our inner rock stars and take to the stages of business once again.

How do great leaders and top producers “find their way back?” The same way great band leaders get their bands out of the garage and back on tour.

Unleash Your Inner Rock Star

The past year has sent many businesses back to the drawing board. Without a steady stream of clients, many organizations have gone into crisis mode, cutting back on “non-essential costs” (which aren’t so non-essential after all), furloughing employees, or laying them off. They have gone from offense to defense.

While this may be necessary for a short period of time, the problem with operating from a defensive angle is that a business tends to get stuck there. While it sounds counterintuitive, it can be easy or “comfortable” to be in crisis mode. After all, you don’t have to take responsibility for your situation and you can dip a toe in, but never dive in fully.

What rockstars on stage and rockstars in the office know, is that in order to succeed, you need to be all in. Failure is not an option and you must commit to doing everything in your power to hit your goals and thrive. Now is not the time to hide in the garage sitting on speakers and drinking a beer. Now is the time to reinvent, repackage, and “get back on tour”… whatever that means to your business.

Drive Change

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said “Change is the only constant,” and he couldn’t have been more correct. If 2020 taught us anything, it was that we need to be able to adapt. From setting up home offices overnight to conducting all meetings and trainings through Zoom, we have been forced to accept the “new normal” and adapt accordingly.

But what if the key to success wasn’t just adapting to change, it was driving it?

Take Madonna as an example. The “Material Girl” is one of the most successful and highly-paid women in the music industry. She’s stayed relevant over multiple decades to a fan base spanning generations. She didn’t do that by following trends and adapting to change. She did it by creating change. Madonna considers herself and her art a work-in-progress and that’s exactly how you should look at your business.

How can you use your creativity to be at the forefront of your industry? Challenge yourself every day to do things differently. Don’t just ride change, drive it.

While the “noise” of competition has moved to a virtual platform, that doesn’t make it easier to stand out. It actually makes it harder. What are you doing to set yourself apart from the competition and become a household name?

Do you think Sting, Madonna, Elvis, or Rihanna earned their single-name status by doing the bare minimum? No! They sang louder, played harder, and more unique than anyone else. Now it’s your turn. Figure out what people say about you when you leave a room (or a webinar). Is this how you want to be remembered?  What they say is your brand. Find what makes you different and memorable, and then lean into it with everything you’ve got.

As you begin 2021, remember that now is your time to get out of the garage and back on tour. Don’t let a setback affect your comeback. Unleash your inner rockstar and take your industry by storm!

With the recent passing of rock legend, Eddie Van Halen, I’m reminded of one of my favorite songs “Best of Both Worlds.”

Wondering what a Van Halen song has to do with the future of events? Everything.

While the world may be headed towards another COVID-induced quarantine, it’s safe to say that someday, life and business will be back to normal. We’ve all become accustomed to working, learning, and networking from behind a computer screen. But eventually, the threat of COVID will pass, we’ll be safe to gather in crowds, and live conferences and in-person meetings will once again reign.

The question is will we ever return to meeting face to face entirely, or have virtual events brought about a change in the way the world works?

The Benefits of a Virtual Event

Anyone who has attended a conference or training from the comfort of their home, while wearing a pair of electric guitar pajama pants and Gene Simmons slippers, can attest to the benefits of a virtual event.

(Am I the only one wearing those?)

Virtual events rock because:

  • They are convenient to attend. And your ability to go is not hampered by location.
  • They require no travel (and no travel budget).
  • There’s no need to wear PPE or sit 6-feet away from your closest neighbor.
  • They are less expensive to host which translates to a lower cost for attendees.
  • Attendance is not limited to the venue’s capacity.
  • With today’s technology, it can be easy for even the least tech-savvy attendee to have a good experience.

When run properly, a virtual event can achieve the same desired outcomes as a live, in-person event.

 

The Benefits of an In-person Event

The more traditional route, in-person events have been going on since the days of the cavemen… although probably with less PowerPoint. You’re likely familiar with the benefits of an in-person conference, training, or tradeshow:

  • Being away from the office and family responsibilities allows attendees to immerse themselves in the experience and focus solely on learning.
  • Amazing networking occurs in the hallways between sessions. Relationships are forged, deals are made, and careers are catapulted.
  • The energy in the room is palpable and attendees can’t help but get swept up in the excitement.
  • The change of scenery can provide an opportunity for attendees to see more of the country and get a little break from the daily grind.
  • Swag bags offer the opportunity to showcase brands and products.

In-person events are a powerful way to rally the troops, introduce new products or ideas, and prepare your attendees for the future.

 

What is a Hybrid Event?

There will come a time when a vaccine is widely available and it’s once again safe to gather. When that day comes, there will be many people eager to jump on a plane, gather in a meeting room with thousands of their future friends, and have the full “in-person live event” experience.

Of course, there will also be those individuals who aren’t ready.

Whether due to residual fears about the virus, the inability to travel due to finances or logistics, or just the realization that

working in your PJs is awesome; there will be some people who are not ready to attend in-person events.

In order to host a killer event that caters to all potential attendees, you’re going to need to embrace the hybrid event structure.

A hybrid event is held in a venue and welcomes in-person attendees, AND live-streams the event so people can attend from wherever they feel comfortable. A hybrid event is truly the best of both worlds.

How do you make your Hybrid Event a Success?

Now that you’ve embraced the hybrid event model, how do you create a thrilling experience that will leave your attendees wanting more?

Always include your virtual audience

There’s nothing worse for a virtual attendee than paying your attendance fee and then being forgotten. Utilize games, live polls, and Q&A sessions throughout the event to engage your virtual attendees.

Consider your content

 

Content must be entertaining to keep everyone engaged, but it must also be presented in a way where the virtual attendees don’t feel like they are watching a bootleg concert. Make sure that any visual content you create translates across the different platforms on which attendees may view it.

 

Offer breakout sessions

Your attendees don’t just want to engage with the speakers, they also want to feel like they are in the room with their peers. Smaller breakout sessions allow in-person and virtual attendees to chat and learn from one another.

Hire an experienced MC

No matter what type of event you create, you don’t want to play on-stage host while making sure everything runs smoothly on the back end. You also don’t want to rely on the organization’s leadership to keep the troops engaged and the event flowing smoothly.

In order to create the best possible event for your attendees, you’ll want to hire an MC who excels in presenting in-person and virtually. Marvelless Mark Kamp has over 25 years of experience delivering electrifying entertainment to audiences around the world (and on the computer). He will ensure that your event creates a rockstar experience for every attendee, whether they are in business casual or Gene Simmons slippers.  He’ll help you provide the best of both worlds.

The show must go on.

After months of pandemic-induced quarantine and a slow-down to business as we know it, many organizations have switched their focus from surviving this crazy year to thriving during uncertain times.

Do you are one of those businesses who understand that you need to adapt to current circumstances and find a way to keep your organization moving, growing, and rocking?  Do you realize that to do this you need to keep things fresh and exciting? These two words have never once been used to describe online meetings, virtual training, or team-building exercises done while your team members are nowhere near one other.

Most virtual meetings are boring, attendees are disengaged and distracted, and the event is quickly forgotten.

Until now.

There’s a way to keep your meeting attendees focused and enthusiastic (even when they are working remotely)? It’s called virtual or online gaming. If you are planning a virtual event, and you actually want your employees to enjoy it and benefit from it, incorporating online gaming is the way to go.

What is Online or Virtual Gaming?

Online or virtual gaming can be incorporated into your virtual training, team-building, or product development events, or used as standalone activities to reward your team for a job well done. These games can be broadcast on any platform and be 100% content-driven and customized. Here are a few ideas:

  • Virtual Golf Tournaments
  • Virtual Casino Games
  • Rock Star Bingo (this isn’t your grandmother’s bingo!)
  • Trivia
  • Corporate Feud (with customized questions for your organization)
  • Virtual Escape Rooms
  • Blinko
  • Wheel Of Knowledge
  • See more options at irlevents.co

 

Since these games are often just software programs that get launched during the virtual meeting, it’s essential to get assistance from someone with experience and the tools to take the stress out. That means a full digital show production with a green screen, production operator, executive producer, chat monitor, an engaging host or emcee, and everyone you need so you can focus on the rest of the meeting and enjoy your own event.

How Can You Get the Best Experience from Online or Virtual Gaming?

If you hadn’t yet noticed, technology issues are a big challenge in our current reality. With new platforms popping up every day, Problems are bound to arise.  In small, friendly meetings, most attendees just shrug off technical problems with “these are the times we live in,” and talk quietly amongst themselves while everything is sorted out, however, in a larger or more professional setting, a tech issue could send your attendees in search of a mid-afternoon snack, and your event off the rails.

Tech challenges are one of the reasons why you need to have an experienced virtual emcee at the helm who won’t freak out when your platform does. If a tech disaster strikes, and you aren’t able to load a program, your emcee knows how to keep the attendees entertained and engaged while your tech team can search for answers.

Even without tech challenges, an emcee is there to makes sure the event runs smoothly, keep everyone on time, and maintain high energy and engagement throughout your corporate conference. They are the virtual glue that holds your meeting together.  Please don’t leave this role to the sales manager or CEO who has better uses for his or her time… not to mention no experience!

Marvelless Mark Kamp is a digital emcee/virtual host who can make your event a success. He’ll have your meeting attendees rockin’ in their home offices and participating as if they were all in the same room. Don’t you want to maximize the retention of the content and increase the level of experience of your virtual meeting or corporate conference?  Contact him today to find out how he can make your online event unforgettable with virtual games and gameshows.

 

While virtual presentations have become a way of life in our current world, some online experiences are falling flat for attendees.

Your goal for an online event is the same as for a live event… create an experience that your attendees won’t soon forget. Yes, you want to deliver content, and you also want to deliver it in a memorable way that will leave a lasting impact on the people you serve.  If you’re planning a virtual event for your organization, there are ways to ensure that your guests are not only engaged but wowed.

5 Ways to Make Your Virtual Event Fun and Engaging

While your goals are the same, the way in which you achieve those goals is vastly different. A virtual event doesn’t mean your presenters can “phone in” their performance. In fact, the energy level of an online event will have to be even higher than in-person in order to transfer to an audience at home. It’s not difficult to feel the hum of energy at a live event, just think about the last time you went to a rock concert or a hockey game. You’ve probably never felt that excitement watching a live music performance or a game while sitting alone in your living room.

What used to stand in your way at an in-person event (room temperature, seat comfort, access to the restrooms, and food choices), has been replaced by comfortable bunny slippers and the draw of a television strategically placed in your attendee’s home office.

The great news is there are several techniques you can incorporate into your virtual events to raise the energy level.

Green Screen

Let’s face it; most speakers don’t have the most interesting backgrounds. Your presenters may have even upgraded their home office or studio with draping or a classy backdrop. Sure, it’s better than looking at a blank wall or their kitchen, but will it bring the energy you need to get your attendees fired up?

A green screen allows the presenter to dazzle your audience with exciting visuals that change frequently to keep them on their toes.

Music

Music is powerful. From the spine-tingling notes of a classical piece to the heart-pounding excitement of rock-and-roll, the music we choose can affect our emotional and mental state. A good virtual presenter can craft the perfect playlist to guide your attendees through their journey.

Props

Everyone learns differently. While some need to hear a concept to take it to heart, others have to see it in action before they can absorb the information. Props can be used to demonstrate a point, add humor to the presentation, and give the audience a visual cue to really capture a concept.

Humor

There’s nothing quite like humor to drive a point home and to keep us engaged. Audiences love to laugh and humor breaks up the monotony of dry content. Incorporating humor into your event will go far in making it a memorable experience for everyone.

Interactive Activities

Even the most fascinating presentation can be a challenge to focus on when you’re sitting behind a computer screen. Sitting still, all alone in your home office or living room, can make anyone tired and disengaged.

How do you remedy this?

Make your audience work! Using interactive elements where your audience needs to stand up, move, and do something will keep them awake and interested.

The even better news is you don’t have to do all of this by yourself.

Hiring a Virtual Presenter

Just like live speakers and entertainers, all virtual presenters are not created equal. Many speakers made the shift to virtual events; few really understand what goes into a successful virtual presentation.

In order to make your event stand out, you need a virtual presenter with character, personality, and enough energy to make your attendees feel like they are back in a conference hall, rocking out together.

You need Marvelless Mark for your next event.

 

“Marvelless” Mark Kamp has more than 20 years of experience as a speaker, entertainer, and Las Vegas headliner. This has given him a unique perspective on the event industry and an array of tricks to pull out of his hat.

Mark knows what it takes to keep your audience fully engaged. He uses a $15,000 back-up band in the form of a multimedia presentation with videos, high-resolution photos, music, stimulating visuals, and cartoons. He harnesses the raw power of rock-and-roll to keep your attendees on the edge of their seats… until they jump out of them. He encourages the audience to drum to the beat, using items they can find on their desk and teaches them how to use hand cues and signals to communicate with him on video.

If the visuals from his green screen backgrounds and props don’t wake up the audience, his branded jackets certainly will.

You need your next event to be a success and that means you need Marvelless Mark Kamp as your go-to virtual presenter.