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.