Getting to Know You (page 2)

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Planning Your Networking Event

Starting your own networking event is a fun and active way to participate in the industry. The planning requires several steps—but they’re easy and achievable—including surveying interest, setting a date, securing a location, requesting manufacturer participation and more. First, take Orsuto's lead and ask your coworkers and local nail tech friends if they would be interested in attending your networking event and what days would work best for them. The next step is to choose a date for your event—preferably one that's a few months away to give yourself ample time to prepare. Before picking a date, double-check that there isn't conflict with any previously scheduled trade shows or educational seminars in your area. NAILPRO's Happenings section as well as the website calendar can easily supply you with that information.
Assuming that your date doesn’t conflict with any other event, the next thing you’ll need to do is choose a location for your networking day. At this point, you should decide approximately how many attendees you would like to invite. If you think that you would be comfortable with just your immediate group of coworkers and friends—say, 10 to 15 people—you might be able to hold the event in your own salon. (Even if you’re a booth renter, the salon owner might be agreeable to you holding the event there.) A big advantage of using a salon as the meeting place is that it obviously lends itself very well to product demonstrations and technique tutorials. In addition, there wouldn’t be any charge for the space.
If you need more space than your salon provides, you may want to look into the possibility of holding your event in a meeting/banquet room at a local hotel. This offers the advantage of ample space for tables and chairs and, usually, close proximity to a nearby restaurant—or even one located inside the hotel itself. Sometimes a hotel will set aside a block of rooms at a discounted rate for anyone who may want or need to arrive a day ahead of the event, or to stay another night. In all likelihood, though, a meeting room deposit may be required, so be prepared to hand over a credit card or cash deposit to the hotel.
Due to the various costs that come with planning an event like this, you should charge participants a fee to attend. Chances are you will incur some expenses, such as preparing name badges, reserving a space and possibly hotel rooms, buying bags for attendee gifts, printing and mailing promotional flyers, as well as providing food and drink for everyone. Another important consideration is that charging a fee significantly decreases the likelihood of no-shows.