Monday, October 29, 2012

Planning An Outdoor Event

Whether you're planning for a small golf tournament or a major music festival, you can't afford to forget about toilet rental. Providing your guests or attendees with a place to do their business might not have been at the top of your priority list when you began planning the event, but it should rocket straight to the top of that list now. You can forget a lot of things when it comes to planning something where a lot of people will be involved with room for forgiveness. You might get some gripes here and there if there isn't enough food or if the parking situation is less than optimal. But if you don't provide enough facilities, you can guarantee yourself a disaster. Renting portable facilities doesn't need to be a hassle. Here's how to do it.
Estimate Your Needs
Your first step will be determining how many portable facilities you'll need for the event. If anything, you'll want to overestimate when it comes to this calculation. You're far better off going too far with toilet rental than erring on the minimal side of things. Figure out how many people will be attending your event. Some in the industry recommend using 1 facility per 100 people as a good rule of thumb. This is a decent starting place, but take other factors into consideration. If alcohol is being served, for instance, you should increase your estimates.
Search Local Listings
If your local phone book doesn't have a section named "toilet rental", you may have to check under event planning or similar fields. If you don't get any satisfaction from the book, check online with search engine queries that should give you the information you need. If there are businesses in your area that can help you, they should come up when you search for that type of service. If you know anyone in the event planning business, ask them who they use when it comes to larger outdoor events. You may also want to check with anyone you know in the construction business.
Start Early
The earlier you can get your toilet rental needs taken care of, the better. You don't want your own procrastination to be the reason you couldn't provide your attendees with the facilities they need to be comfortable. The further out from the date you start contacting companies, the better chance you'll have at finding someone who can accommodate you. If any one company can't meet your needs, consider renting from more than one.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Uses For Pipe and Drap

Pipe and Drape systems are relatively unknown but they can come in very useful in many different situations. They can prove very cost effective which is why it is highly recommended that you have one of these systems for your venue so that you can take advantage of them. They are not very hard to set up so if you are in a rush it is possible to get it set up on time unlike other substitutes.
One of the most common uses for the pipe and drape system is for weddings. The reason for this is that they can transform the look of a whole venue by being placed around the room hiding any unwanted markings on the walls. They are used commonly because they can help someone create a theme for their wedding which many people find very important because they want their special day to be unforgettable and with this system it can be. Instead of weddings people often use them for big parties like christenings and anniversaries because the likelihood is that there will be a large quantity of guests and they will want to impress them as much as possible.
Theatres commonly use the pipe and drape systems because as mentioned before they have many uses and it will save the theatre money as the systems can fill many needs. At theatres they commonly need changing rooms and the system can be used as a changing room because of the high quality thick fabric and the height of it. In addition to this they can be placed anywhere so if a theatre is doing a pop-up event then they can still have effective changing rooms in the middle of nowhere. As well as changing rooms they can be used as stage backdrops and this is very popular because they can help people enhance their performance.
The backdrops can be customized so the user can use them to create a scene to help the audience understand what is going on which they may not with a black background. They can also be used on stage if someone is making a speech and the backdrops then can be blank so that the audience then focuses their attention on the person who is talking which is obviously very important when doing a speech.
They are just two of the uses for this amazing system and another use is reducing the size of a room. This may seem pointless to many people when in fact it can help you in many ways. Many people host seminars in huge rooms and these are too big for the number of people that are attending and this can cause problems for them. The reason for this is that a huge room can make you seem unprofessional so if you are trying to sell something to the audience then it is less likely to work. Whereas if you use a pipe and drape system the room will be reasonably sized and the people watching will pay attention and will be more brought in to what you are telling them. The system can also be used to help you decorate a room which in turn can help you seem more appealing to a customer which you wouldn't of done without it.
These are just some of the reasons why you should use the pip and drape system and there are more reasons. If you are not using them then you are missing out on many opportunities that you do not need to miss. The systems available are designed to be hard wearing so that they do not look horrible after you have used them a few times because it is all about you getting value for money.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Best Voice Over Internet Protocol Provider For Your Business

These days, it's not enough to just have a standard telephone services. It's especially the case if you own a business. In order to reach a wider clientele, you must also expand your communication services. That's why lots of entrepreneurs have also taken to putting up websites as well. However, despite the presence of the internet, having a land phone and of course, a mobile is still pretty essential. But there's also the problem of having to deal with irksome telephone bills. If you're running a business, this is one expense you can't afford to do away with. So is there a way for you to lessen the costs?
Actually, there is a way for you to combine telephone and internet services to significantly lower the bills. Have you heard of voice over Internet protocol? It is also called Voip for brevity. It has been around for quite some time, but not everyone has realized its marketing potential. This service combines the traditional features of telephone services with the more modern ones of internet technology. Before, packages were quite expensive, but today, competition has made things way more affordable. But before you go out and subscribe to a certain provider, here are a few things to consider.
One, try to measure how cost-effective the plans of the provider really are. Since there are a good number of providers these days, take enough time to check them out thoroughly. Check the plans offered for long distance and international dialing. This is particularly important if your business is involved in a lot of offshore transactions. Does the plan offer free international calls to specific countries? How does the free services compare with other plans at a more or less similar rate? These questions will allow you to make a better comparison chart of the various plans of different providers.
Two, find out what other value-added features the provider offers without cost. Some standard features would include call waiting, caller ID, call transferring, call blocking, and speed dialing. Others also offer 3-way calling and conference calls. Some providers offer more key features than others while charging more or less the same costs. Hence, take advantage of the cheaper plans that can give a better range of services. Third and last, try to see what kind of technical support the provider has as well as free trial periods. That way, you will be able to see how fast they respond whenever emergency situations arise.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hosting An Awards Ceremony

Awards ceremonies are becoming more and more popular as institutions now want to reward people for hard work in various areas. These ceremonies can be for anything and it can be difficult to make sure that everything is perfect so the person receiving the award genuinely feels special. There are many ways that you can decorate an awards ceremony but obviously you want to make sure everything is right.
To host a ceremony correctly you need to get yourself prepared so that you know that you have everything in place for any eventuality. You should look at getting a team of people that can help you get certain jobs done quicker and if you do this then you need to give them a list of things to do so everything is done. Then you need to look at whether or not you want to hire a professional team to do certain jobs for you, for example you may want to hire a photographer or you may want to hire a caterer so they can take all of the food worries of your mind. This can be expensive and you may choose to do this yourself as it is possible but it is just a long job.
Along with the preparation you need to make sure that you have all of the awards that you want for the ceremony. You can get awards from your local trophy shop and they may even do a discount for bulk buying. You then need to decide what the awards are going to be awarded and as well as this you will need to come up with names of the awards. You should try being creative with this so that people are interested in the awards as some people will not be bothered by winning an award called "The Good Effort Award".
Sponsorship can be a big influence on award ceremonies and this can save you money when you are organising one. Businesses will be really keen to get their name somewhere into the awards ceremony and this will help you generate more money which in turn could help you pay for the ceremony itself. One company may even want to sponsor an award so they have their name permanently on the award. Big award ceremonies already do this and they generate a lot of money from this.
It is a big job decorating a venue but there are businesses that are willing to take this load out of your hands. They will decorate your venue for you but generally they will need your ideas. Generally you need to make sure that you have a general theme throughout your venue so that it looks posh and elegant. The colours that you do use should not be bright and attractive colours as this can distract attention from the person who has won the award.
You should go for a more black background surround the room and this should be paired with some angel lights so you can create a glow in the venue. In addition to this ribbons should be hung from the walls to the ceilings and these should be gold or silver coloured so you can have the perfect ceremony. Each table should be decorated which can look amazing. The centre pieces should be a small bunch of flowers on each table and then you would need to have a bigger bunch at the front of the room so that it is the centre of attention like it is meant to be.
If you do the processes above it is highly likely that you awards ceremony will be a resounding success and you may even be required to do a follow up the next year. There are other things that you can do but you will just have plan ahead so you can have a great night.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Don't Get Burned by High Credit Card Processing Fees

If your business accepts credit cards, have you ever thought about how much you pay to process the payment? These days the answer to that question is usually "yes" because Canadian merchants pay among the highest fees in the world to process credit cards. Processing fees can be as high as five per cent of the value of a transaction in discount fees, plus flat transaction fees, monthly minimum fees, and chargeback fees, in addition to expensive monthly payments on leased equipment.
In today's market, businesses no longer simply deal with their banks to process credit cards, rather credit processing services are sold by third party processors and a number of subcontractors known as Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs). ISOs sell multiple products including point of sale terminals, software and services to clients. They then route transactions to processors such as Moneris, Chase Paymentech, Global Payments, First Data Merchant Processing and Elavon. There are many reputable companies in the field, however, earlier this year CBC news reported that a number of small businesses expressed concern about hidden charges and misleading sales practices in their dealings with some ISOs.
According to Peter Smith, an expert in the credit card industry with the OTUS Group, there is a great deal of complexity in the credit card industry and several parties make money on each transaction that you process. "Small and midsized merchants are usually presented with a single rate called the discount rate. That rate includes the processor's fee plus a fee the credit card companies charge for each transaction, called the interchange fee. The interchange fee includes a percentage of the transaction which is set by the credit card associations. There are over 125 interchange fee categories depending on how the card is processed, what kind of card is being used, the nature of the merchant's business, and other factors. Many merchant service providers condense these 125-plus categories into three tiers called Qualified, Mid-Qualified and Non-qualified. They average out the many interchange rates in each tier, and then add a margin which can result in an elevated charge to the merchant. You have to dig into the summarized fees to know what you are really paying for."
The good news is that there is potential to save on the fees you pay to accept credit cards. Jim Gorman, controller at Laurysen Kitchens was very happy when OTUS Group identified savings of approximately $27,000 per year in his credit card merchant fees earlier this year.
Every business owner should be reviewing their costs on a regular basis. However, Peter Smith notes that the potential to save on merchant processing fees is often overlooked. "Business owners are pressed for time, and the complexity with processing fees makes it very challenging to determine whether or not you are not paying more than you should to process credit card transactions."
The reality is that consumers like to pay with plastic, and processing fees often can't be avoided. The complexity of fee structures and contract terms means that most organizations are at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiating with merchant providers. For example, the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) found that their merchant fees increased substantially as much of their sales business shifted to online transactions paid by credit cards. According to Debra Lynkowski, CEO of CPHA, a key to successfully containing such costs is to get a trusted independent advisor in your corner who has payment-card industry knowledge and expertise to cut through the complexity and identify savings.
If you would like to verify that you are not paying more than you should to accept payments via credit card, contact us at
OTUS Group is a firm of business advisors who get things done and make your business stronger with expertise in governance and planning; financial, information technology and human resource management and business growth.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Click Your Way to Memorable Catering

Did you know food is probably the most important consideration when planning an event or special occasion? If the food is delicious, guests will walk away with a good impression, and you'll have the assurance the catering was memorable.
In order to ensure all of the above, you'll need to hire the best food service your budget will allow. This isn't a time to skimp. But finding the best food service can often be time-consuming if you go about it the old-fashioned way. Nowadays, all of the searching you'll ever need to do is easily available at the click of a mouse.
The Internet has made just about every area in life so much easier, and locating a professional catering service is no exception. It's easy to locate a directory or bidding website in order to find all of the food services within your area.
Not only will you find them, but they'll be able to find you as well. Most websites have forms that you can fill out with your event and contact information. You can choose to contact them or have them contact you. Life is so simple!
Searching online helps you save money because you won't have to drive from place to place to find the right food service. Then, you can put that savings into your food budget!
The best way to use the online directory or bidding website is to complete the registration form for the food services in your area. You'll want to put down all the details of your special occasion with the date, time, and location and any other pertinent information.
On the bidding websites, as soon as your registration form is complete, bidding then takes place between the registered services within your area. When a bid comes in, you're notified via email.
It's your choice just how long the bidding continues. And once you've found a suitable catering service, you can stop the bidding. What makes this procedure so great is that you, as the customer, are given many options; plus, you finish as the winner with the best deal.
Another added bonus to you is that most food services offer event management as well. They'll easily plan the various other necessary arrangements such as lighting, dinnerware, and clean up to make sure you have a complete and memorable service package.
Not only are you the winner, the catering service is too. Internet exposure has been proven to be a profitable way for businesses to grow their customer base. Rather than just sit by the phone waiting for customers to come to them, they can make their presence known more widely.
For both you and the food service, just do an online search for a directory or bidding website for catering events. In no time at all, both of you will be well on your way to hosting a memorable event with just the click of your mouse.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Creating the Ultimate Beauty Salon

Fancy opening a beauty salon to call your own? It's great to have that sense of ownership and be able to design everything as you've imagined, adding that all important personal touch that can be what impresses your clients the most.
It's never a good idea to do things in a hurry when it comes to planning and opening your own business. You should always be prepared for some surprises along the way so set aside more time than you think you'll need. An early opening is always possible and could give you extra PR credit.
The Right Space
Finding the right space is so important both in terms of public accessibility and visibility, and the layout and interior potential. Avoid confined spaces that could easily get stuffy and unpleasant to work in, particularly considering the use of hair sprays, tanning sprays and the like.
Features to look for are high ceilings, a glass shop front, sturdy floors and modern fitted bathrooms so you don't have to invest as much money in renovating these.
It's also important to consider the amount of rooms you require, and whether they are spacious enough to fit beauty couches and the like. Also, are the toilets fully accessible?
The Right Feel
Choose paint or wallpaper that accentuates the features of your chosen property. For example, are you lucky enough to have found a space with cornices? Make sure you paint these in a contrasting colour for added effect.
The colour of the walls should be chosen to reflect the style of the room. Generally, dark tones should be avoided unless the property boasts a large amount of natural light to balance this out.
The Right Equipment
From lighting and mirrors to hair straighteners and colouring bowls, you need to acquire the right equipment and ensure enough space for its secure and efficient storage out of the way so as to avoid a cluttered-looking salon.
Don't opt for the cheapest options in order to save money. Quality needs to be focused on in all areas, as this is a feature customers will definitely notice, and that will influence their decision to return or not.
The Right Furniture
Furniture is one of the first things the eye can see upon entering a beauty salon. With the reception desk most often placed right in front of the door, it's vital to get that just right. It should look professional and welcoming, and fit in well with the general interior.
Likewise, the waiting area should be professional and kept clean at all times. Sofas should be comfy and strewn with cushions for extra cosiness. A nice touch is to have a coffee table with nicely piled, recent magazines (instead of really outdated ones that you often find) for customers to peruse while waiting.
It's also vital to strike gold with further salon furniture such as styling units, washpoints and beauty couches. These should be both aesthetic and fully functional, inkeeping with the general feel and interior of the salon. For example, don't choose a beauty couch in a colour that clashes with the wallpaper. And remember details such as mirrors, ensuring there are plenty of these for your customers to be able to admire their new hair or makeup.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Chef Profession

The term 'chef' was borrowed from the French term 'chef de cuisine' which translates to the head of the kitchen. A chef is most commonly known as a person who cooks professionally for other people both privately and publicly. Chefs are highly skilled in their profession and are talented at all aspects of food preparation within the kitchen.
The traditional chef wears a tall white hat, necktie, double breasted jacket and an apron. In most cases, professional cooks where an all white uniform with a slight element of colour such as a red neckerchief. By opting for a white uniform, it portrays the chefs as clean, pure and professional which in turn reflects the kitchen as fresh and clean for food to be prepared in. Whilst chefs are often stuck in the kitchen, in some cases they make an appearance on the restaurant floor to serve a special dish or to receive a complement from a customer.
When working in a kitchen, it is essential to be properly aware potential hazards, health and safety. There are many different factors to consider and rules to be put in place when working in a fast paced kitchen environment. Another part of a chef's uniform is a pair of plain and practical shoes with steel or plastic toe caps; these are to protect their feet from any accidental incidents including sharp knives.
For many years, the typical chef uniform has been used within the kitchens at hotels, restaurants and even cafes. Whilst some uniforms differ from one to the next, chef clothing usually follows the same kind of style to ensure maximum safety and protection whilst in the kitchen. Chefs usually wear a tall hat as an outlet for heat which allows hot air to circulate inside the hat; it also helps to prevent sweat from dripping down the face for hygienic reasons in hot and stressful situations. The white doubled breasted jacket is also worn for safety as well as appearance. Chef jackets are usually white to repel the heat whilst cooking; they are also designed to help prevent injuries to the skin such as burns. A double breasted jacket is often worn in the kitchen as it allows chefs to cover up food stains by buttoning up the jacket from the other side. Chef aprons are also regularly used over the top of the jackets, again to prevent spillage and scalds to the skin.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Stay Away From Common Management Consulting Application Mistakes

Recruiters have to review hundreds of job applications in one setting. They trim down the number of applicants by first eliminating those who have committed obvious mistakes in their documents, tests and interviews. Then they select those who did well in the recruiting process. In most cases, these are the people who understand the tough competition and who have exhausted all means to attain their dream job.
One of the reasons why applicants fall short along the way is skipping research about the target firm. The facts you get from reading on the Internet, reliable people and other sources can lead you to the right path. By being updated, you become aware of job opportunities, of the firm's working environment and of events attended by key people in the industry. Intensive understanding can guide you in writing effective resumes, in acing interviews and in making smart statements during networking events. As an old adage says, knowledge is power. You must believe that!
Another aspect where you can go amiss is your inability or disinterest to network. In management consulting, this is quite an important strategy since many are called to interview because of the recommendations you get. It may seem unfair for those who lack connections, but for recruiters, it's quite an effective way of hiring people. Assessing applicants from scratch is costly, not to mention time-consuming. Networking, however, should be done not after sending out resumes. Establishing a circle of professionals requires time, effort and most of all, genuineness. It should start as soon as the calling for management consulting is already there.
Submitting a poorly written job application doesn't produce any positive result, either. The cover letter and resume are documents that serve as your launching pad to your career. They must be tailored to stand out head and shoulders above the rest. To do this, include relevant information on your education and experience. Also, list quantitative achievements to have more impact on the recruiters. Stating "Utilized various campus recruitment strategies to double the population of the consulting club" has a more striking effect than "Recruited new members for the consulting club." Remember that too much unnecessary information is dragging. The documents should be concise, comprehensive and comprehensible.
Another tool used in recruitment is pre-employment tests. Tests must not be taken for granted because the results reliably tell recruiters something about you and your capability to do the job. A high score on numerical reasoning means you can interpret information on graphs, charts and tables well. A terrible score on verbal reasoning implies you need improvement in preparing and understanding long textual reports. An excellent mark on abstract reasoning suggests you have superior innate intelligence. If you are scheduled for testing, call the firm's Human Resources Department promptly, ask about the tests and be mentally equipped to answer them.
Another mistake you might commit is coming to an interview unprepared. In management consulting, two types of interview are employed - fit and case. The former may be easier, may not need practice. The latter, however, demands more effort for preparation. To crack the presented case, it's a prerequisite to be familiar with a multitude of business cases and consulting frameworks. You will feel tensed and panicky once you are in front of the interviewer and you haven't practiced resolving cases beforehand. If you prepare for it painstakingly, you can demonstrate confidence, mastery and composure under stress. And because you feel calm, logical thinking will be effortless.
During fit or case interviews, some applicants are not observant of their nonverbal behavior. As a result, recruiters frown at their fidgeting, lack of eye contact or arrogant tone of voice. Bear in mind that messages are conveyed even beyond words. If you slouch, you get across sluggishness. If you smile, you transmit optimism and sociability. If you come to the interview in casual clothes, the getup might be interpreted as a sign of disrespect to the firm's working environment. Hence, attentiveness on how you express your ideas, dress yourself and move your body can be helpful.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hiring a Catering Company - Questions That Need Answers

If you're hiring a catering company for an upcoming event, you may think you need only make sure they have good food before signing up for service. There's more to it than that, however. The more thought and research you put into hiring a company to serve your food, the better results you'll get from your choice. You can never go wrong by listening to the recommendations of others. Start there and get a short list of companies in your area. Narrow this list by judging appropriateness. You don't want a place that specializes in pizza and hot dogs serving your fancy wedding guests, of course. Once you have a couple of companies left, choose by asking these questions.
Where are you located?
This may seem like a basic question, but it is one of the most important. If a catering company is cooking the food 40 miles away from the dinner you're planning, it could very well have an impact on the quality. Even if the company is well prepared for distance travelling, they may charge extra to handle that kind of mileage. Find out beforehand and you could have an easy way to eliminate a company from your short list of candidates.
Can you do my event?
This is another obvious disqualifier that should be asked early on. Here's why. Some venues have exclusive contracts with certain catering companies and you might not be able to bring in a company that is outside of that list. Talk with both your venue and the companies on your list about whether it will even be possible to hire them for the occasion. You'll also want to make sure the date in question is one they have open.
Can we have a taste test?
Some catering companies charge customers even for a taste test. Though this is indicative of a certain confidence, it certainly doesn't help you make your decision. If a company allows you to come in and sample their wares, give them preferential treatment over one who will not. After all, you should be able to determine ahead of time if the food they're serving is actually any good. You can skip this, of course, if they are also a restaurant that you've eaten at before or if you have first hand knowledge about how good their food is.
Can you serve alcohol?
Many event planners find they have to hire a separate bartender with a liquor license if they want to serve alcohol at their party. You might check to see if the catering companies you are looking at have a liquor license, as it could save you from that extra headache.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Aluminum Balusters' Advantages and Disadvantages

Aluminum balusters are metal products that are usually made in bulk to be placed in strategic places to protect people and objects from going through railings. There are many different kinds of designs and patterns for these things. In fact, they can even be made to order to suit the preferences of the person who orders it. These products have a lot of benefits if the home owner or the building owner chooses to use them for the railings. These products also come in different materials such as wood and other forms of metal as well as plastic.
Among the advantages that come with using aluminum balusters is the variety of designs and patterns that it comes in. Due to the fact that this kind of metal is malleable and easy to manipulate, there are several designs that they can be made into. Custom made designs can be done if the person who ordered the design wishes to have a lot of them made. This means that the manufacturer will not be at a loss when it comes to income because of creating the design and the holders or molds of the design. Some manufacturers like to have more than a hundred made in order to have some form of income.
If the manufacturer thinks the design is profitable, it is possible that they will patent it or make sure to market it and make more sales. Another advantage of using this material is the abundance of it in the world. Although the processing of the material takes some time and effort, the process has been perfected and there are a number of manufacturing plants that can handle the demand with ease. Aluminum balusters do not have shortages unlike wood. The material is also resistant to a number of elements which it may be exposed to. It does not rust at all, unlike other iron, which is commonly made into similar products. It also does not react to snow and sun exposure which is a good thing. It does not rot or splinter like wood and unlike steel, the paint will not discolor after several years. This metal is unlike steel and iron which may shrink or expand according to the weather.
One disadvantage of using this material is the fact that there are some grades or degrees of this material that are softer than steel or iron. This makes them prone to dents if they are hit strongly enough. There are some grades that are stronger than others and one can choose to have these instead of the softer ones. Another disadvantage of using aluminum balusters is its resistance to paint. Usually they are anodized for a much longer tint. If one wants to paint them, a process is necessary to make them more susceptible to it.
These are just some of the disadvantages and advantages of using aluminum balusters for decks. The advantages of the material far outweigh the disadvantages that come with it which is why many business and home owners prefer it.