The 53rd Annual ACM Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada were a huge success! Our weekend was packed with events and preparations for the two events we had to celebrate the awards. After we landed in Las Vegas, we hit the ground running and spent our afternoon with several site visits to see the venues we would be using for our weekend events. We spent all day Saturday preparing for our busy day on Sunday. We brought a team of 5 to Las Vegas, and we designed and executed three separate events on Sunday. We started the day with a Big Machine Label Group cabana party by the pool. Members of their staff and artists on their label were able to enjoy lite bites and cocktails by the pool before the awards show. We then had the Cessna preshow party backstage at the MGM Grand. Our friends at Cessna were able to mix and mingle with some of country music’s hottest stars while enjoying delicious food and drinks. After the ACM Awards concluded, we headed over to our next venue for the Big Machine Label Group After Party. Artists like Thomas Rhett, Florida Georgia Line, Brett Young, and Midland stopped by to celebrate their big night! The 53rd Annual ACM Awards were a huge success, and we can’t wait to be back in Las Vegas next April!
I took one of the biggest leaps of faith of my life when I convinced a former record label executive to hire me to plan the grand opening event for the brand-new DreamWorks Nashville label when it first launched in 1998.
At the time, what I thought would be an exciting opportunity to rub elbows with the who’s who of Nashville became that and so much more. Yes, I’ve worked with artists like Reba McEntire, Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Florida Georgia Line, and Thomas Rhett. But more importantly, I’ve built a company that I’m passionate about and proud of—and I’ve managed to stay in business for 20 years.
It has been amazing to “grow up” in the industry with clients who have now become friends and, in some cases, almost like family. I’ve been working with Scott Borchetta since he was working in radio promotions at DreamWorks Records. I was with him when he launched Big Machine Records, and I still produce multiple events per year for him. I’ve also planned events for Sony and Warner Brothers for many years, in addition to designing luxury weddings and corporate events.
I know that many companies struggle to make it through their first year of business, so as I celebrate the 20th anniversary of Randi Events and all the work we’ve done over the years, I am not naïve to the fact that I have defied many odds. In the entertainment industry, especially—which is where I got my start and from where many of my clients still come—artists and executives can choose to work with anyone, and they’ve continued to choose me. So here we are, two decades after planning that first event.
But that’s not to say that I’ve made it this far on pure luck.
For every bit of confidence that I had when I first proudly proclaimed that I planned events for a living, and for every ounce of entrepreneurial savvy that I inherited from my mom and that made me actually believe I could launch and grow my own business, there was plenty that I didn’t know when I started Randi Events.
As any entrepreneur will tell you, starting a company is like trial by fire, and in the ups and downs of getting off the ground, making sales, hiring help, and making more sales, things can get pretty darn hot. But the best entrepreneurs will also tell you that success comes from being able to think fast and adapt to unexpected changes along the way.
My ability to learn as I go and use that knowledge to better run my company is why I believe Randi Events is still around and doing better than ever. And in honor of my 20th year, I’m happy to share a few of the most important lessons I’ve learned.
Hire the best of the best
No matter how smart, talented or well-connected you are, you can’t run a successful business by yourself. You’re going to need help, and when it’s time to delegate, you need to know that you can trust your team. Hiring the best of the best ensures that you can pass off tasks, both big and small, and rest assured that they will be well executed.
Be willing to pivot
If your company isn’t growing or changing, it’s becoming obsolete, and that’s something I never wanted to happen to Randi Events. As a result, we’ve always looked for new opportunities and been ready to jump as soon as they appear. As an example, instead of focusing only on event planning and design, we’ve also expanded into venue management, which boosts the bottom line and ensures the company’s overall longevity.
You get what you negotiate
If you remember only one thing after reading this post, be sure that you understand the power of successful negotiation. Not only can negotiating help you save or earn money, but negotiation done well also boosts your confidence, which then spills over into every other aspect of your business. So how DO you become a master negotiator? Do your research, speak with confidence, and be willing to walk away if the deals not right. It’s really that simple, but if you need more details, download my top negotiation tips by subscribing to my email list.
Who says you have to have a significant other to celebrate Valentine’s Day? “Galentine’s Day” has become the new go to celebration for female friends! Whether you want to do a movie night or a fun brunch somewhere, Valentine’s Day is the perfect holiday to celebrate with your best friends! Since Valentine’s Day falls in the middle of the week, a Saturday brunch is the perfect way to celebrate! We have compiled a list of the perfect brunch food and cocktails to serve and the perfect goody bags to give all your best friends!
The Super Bowl is the biggest football game of the year, and thousands of people tune in to watch not only the game, but the talented musicians they book every year for the halftime show! Many people choose to have Super Bowl parties to celebrate the festivities, and we have put together the perfect food and drink menu featuring dishes popular in both Philadelphia and New England to honor this year’s teams. If you want to enhance your experience, creating your own betting pool is an interactive and fun way to watch the football game. Our office created one this year, and we can’t wait to see the outcome of each quarter!
We are so excited to start “Randi’s Recommendations: 25 Engagement Tips for the 25 Days of Christmas!” We will be posting tips on Facebook and Instagram everyday until Christmas. We will also update the tips here everyday in case you miss one.
Celebrate and pop champagne with your new fiancé!
Find a fun and unique way to announce your engagement to all of your friends and family! Those closest to you will want to celebrate this exciting time with you and your new fiance!
Get your ring sized! You will be wearing it and showing it off for a very long time, and you want it to fit perfectly!
Now that the ring is securely on your finger, get it insured! God forbid something happen to your ring, but in the unlikely chance it does, insuring your ring will alleviate some of the pain in replacing it.
Meet with a few wedding planners and see if the chemistry is right. This is a great way to find your planning “soulmate.” A dynamite planner will be a tremendous resource and will help ease the stress as you move through the planning process. He/she will become your friend, your confidant, your voice of reason, and your comic relief when you need a good laugh.
Be sure to hire a professional. A professional photographer will effortlessly guide you, your wedding party, and your families through all the photos and encourage you to have fun and be yourselves!
Schedule your engagement pictures to be taken as soon as possible! That way, they can be used on your save the date cards and your wedding website.
Determine the parts of your day and/or elements that are most important to you and make a list of the top five things you can’t live without. Are you obsessed with flowers and want your bouquet and table centerpieces to be the main focus of your big day? If so, add it to the list! This list can be as traditional or as nontraditional as you are!
Create a budget for all of your wedding festivities. The top five most important things will help you prioritize where to spend (and save!) your money.
Begin registering for gifts! Your friends and family will not only use your gift registry for the wedding, but also for all of your engagement parties and showers.
Get creative and design your wedding website! A wedding website is an important tool to keep your guests up to date on the details of the big day. The website is also a great place to share your engagement story and photos!
Is decide what season you want to get married in! Love the beauty of spring, or the colors of fall? Select what season the best suits the theme of your wedding. This will help narrow down your specific date and allow you some flexibility with venue availability.
Research area venues for both the ceremony and reception. Venues are typically the first thing booked, especially in big cities like Nashville, so make this a top priority!
Create your guest list! Be sure to enlist the help of both of your families so no one important is left out!
Once you’ve finalized a date and venue, collect addresses and send out your save the dates
Staying organized is a crucial part of the wedding planning process! Create a binder or day planner to keep everything accessible throughout the planning process. We love this planner by Erin Condren!
it’s time to get creative again! Select a color scheme for both your ceremony and reception!
Now that we have picked a venue, a date, and a color scheme, select your wedding party and ask them early! Have fun with this step – “Will you be my bridesmaid?” gifts are so much fun to give and receive!
Make a list of the types of food, specialty rentals (furniture, lights, etc.), and music that you and your fiancé enjoy. Your wedding planner will be a huge resource here and will have great recommendations!
Get your trusted friends and family together and go shopping for the perfect dress! Make appointments with a few boutiques and be sure to try on a variety of wedding dress styles and silhouettes. You may be surprised and fall in love with something completely unexpected!
Discuss travel and accommodations with your wedding planner. He/She will be able to help you select a hotel that is convenient for your guests and secure a great rate. Don’t forget – a welcome bag is a great way to make your guests feel special and comfortable in a new city!
Do you have your heart set on unique transportation for you and/or your guests? Typically, there is a very limited amount of these available within any given city – discuss with your wedding planner and reserve them early!
Select the type of food service you want at the reception! Formal seated dinners, buffets, and reception style food stations are the most common options. Once this is complete, you and your wedding planner can start working on the floor plan for the reception.
Whether a religious figure or a friend that has been recently ordained for the big day, secure the person that will officially “tie the knot!
Now that you have completed 24 of the most important wedding planning tips, it’s time to relax and enjoy the process!
Every fall, my team at Randi Events has the distinct honor of planning one of our favorite nonprofit events – the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk. Held every year at Nissan Stadium, the walk holds a special place in our heart as we all know someone who has battled cancer, including myself. Several years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to take a step back from my company. No one knows the thoughts that go through someone’s mind when a doctor tells you that you have cancer, and no one can prepare you for the battle ahead. Being able to design this event and bring the Nashville community together is just a small contribution to finding a cure for this disease that affects so many. Last year we designed the VIP tent, and this year, we were fortunate enough to design the entire event from start to finish. Our team decorated every aspect of the event in LLS’s signature colors: red and yellow. We carried over this theme to the various food stations, coffee stations, a kid zone, and a selfie station that were all set around perimeter of the event. The VIP tent featured soft seating, a signature meal by one of Nashville’s top caterers, and a full bar. Charles Esten, the Master of Ceremonies, kicked off the night with a welcome and emotional testament to his experience with LLS. After the traditional ceremonies honoring both survivors and families, the walkers were sent on their way, proudly caring the lanterns through downtown Nashville. In support of this year’s walk, Nashville turned some of its landmarks red, including the pedestrian walking bridge and several downtown buildings. It was a beautiful site to see and we are all already looking forward to next year!
Over the course of my career, particularly during the 20-plus years I’ve been an event planner, I’ve learned that self-care is one of the most important keys to success. When you’re running your own business, setting aside time to go on vacation, exercise, or even just get a good night’s sleep may seem counterproductive as you work to meet deadlines and goals. But I’ve learned that hard way that If you don’t take care of yourself first, your work and your business can severely suffer.
Running on Empty
At the beginning of my career, I was working a five-day event for the Country Radio Seminar (CRS) when I crashed and burned in a major way. I had only done a few events prior to this one, and I was grateful for the business, so I wanted to show that I could handle everything like a pro. I needed to be involved in every aspect of the planning, design, and execution of the events, and I needed to be available at all times, day or night. At least that’s what I thought. The result is that I literally didn’t sleep at all during the entire week of the seminar.
My only thought was putting on the best event possible and impressing my clients so that they’d want to hire me again and again. I never considered my health or wellbeing. That is, until I passed out in an elevator at the event. Luckily, I was wearing my walkie-talkie, so when the elevator opened, a hotel guest was able to radio for someone to come help me.
Passing out was embarrassing, sure. But more than anything, it was a wakeup call. I quickly realized that exhaustion would derail my efforts to build my business in a hurry. So if I wanted to be successful, I was going to have to learn how to take care of myself. (I also discovered that I’d have to learn how to delegate so that I’d actually have the time for self-care.)
Self-Care Lessons Learned
After more than 20 years in the event planning business, I’ve learned how to pace myself through busy wedding and awards seasons to ensure that I don’t hit a wall or pass out again like I did at that CRS event so long ago.
For the most part, that means taking at least two weeks off in late summer to vacation with my family and recharge before we get into our craziest season of the year. This year, I rented a house in Rosemary Beach, Florida, and my husband, Allen, and I packed up the car and drove down from Nashville for a relaxing break with family and friends. We spent our days swimming, laying on the beach, playing catch, riding bikes, and enjoying some of the best food in the area. And as great as that summer fun was, the best part of the trip was knowing that I’d be refreshed, energized, and ready to hit the ground running once I got back to work.
Now, I understand that there may be times when you feel can’t get away from work for two weeks, or that you can’t afford to rent a house on the beach or go on vacation at all. I understand because I’ve been there.
Before I had my office on Nashville’s famed Music Row, I worked out of my house with a small staff, and before that, I worked primarily with my husband. Two weeks of vacation was a luxury I felt I couldn’t afford. In fact, I never even took breaks, let along a full vacation. I also didn’t rest when I got sick, and I didn’t eat the proper foods that would fuel my energy and keep me healthy. The bottom line is I did not take care of myself, and those decisions led to many health issues over the years.
What I’m saying is this: Whether you think you have the time or money to take care of yourself is irrelevant. You don’t have a choice. Taking care of yourself should be your number one priority because if you refuse to put your needs first, your company—and all of your staff and clients—will suffer along with you.
Easy and Inexpensive Self Care Tips
The good news is that self-care doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. Here are my favorite easy and inexpensive tips to help you become your healthiest, most productive self:
1.Listen to your body.
If you’re tired, rest. Period. There’s no point in overworking yourself to the point of absolute exhaustion, especially when research has shown that we’re actually less productive and effective when we’re not well rested. Take off a couple hours in the morning so you can sleep in, or take a nap at your desk if you need to. When you are well rested, you will be ready take on anything that could possibly come your way—and win.
2.Take a vacation—or a staycation
Vacations don’t always have to be an elaborate, costly endeavor. The point is that you simply need to step away from work for an extended period of time. So, yes, even staying at home and refusing to answer email or take work-related calls counts as a vacation. This is essential for both your mental and your physical health and well-being.
3.Spend time with family and friends
Even when business seems to be spinning out of control, our family and friends have a way of reminding us of what’s most important. And the sense of security we feel when we’re around those we love the most has a way of instantly lowering stress levels, helping us to relax and just enjoy life. Going out for a night on the town is a great way to spend time with those closest to you, but it’s not necessary. Order a pizza and play board games or watch a football game on a Saturday afternoon. Just make you’re actually engaging in conversation and enjoying the company of others.
4.Eat regularly and eat well
I can’t tell you how many entrepreneurs who’ve told me that sometimes they “forget to eat.” In fact, I’ve probably said that myself a few times. But not eating is probably the worst thing you can do for your energy levels and your cognitive function. Your body needs food to function at its best—whether you’re negotiating a new vendor contract or making client calls—so it’s important to feed it regularly. That said, it’s also important to eat the right things. Three meals of potato chips and cookies make give you a short-term energy rush, but it’s also going to lead to a crash that will leave you wanting to crawl under your desk, and wreck your metabolism and your overall health in the process. If you find that you’re always on to go and regularly missing meals, try to snack regularly throughout the day (opt for a combo of fiber, protein, and healthy fats, like an apple with nut butter or grilled chicken with avocad0) to keep your blood pressure stable and every levels high.
5.Wear comfortable shoes at all times
Your footwear choice may not seem important, but I have learned that hard way that wearing fashionable shoes over comfortable shoes can be detrimental. You don’t want to have problems with your feet later on in life.
For any event planner—even the most experienced ones—the thought of organizing three events in three different cities, all held on the same day, probably sounds incredibly daunting and chaotic. But for myself and my team at Randi Events, it’s just another day in the nonstop music industry and another opportunity for us to rise to meet a new challenge.
To promote his new album, Life Changes, Thomas Rhett and his record label, Big Machine Label Group, decided to host listening parties in Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago on the day of his album release. When they contacted Randi Events to execute the plan, we were all excited about the opportunity to take our expertise to three different cities and plan events that Thomas Rhett and the label would be proud of. Additionally, I took pride in knowing that I could safely delegate many of the tasks to my team.
But I wasn’t always so comfortable sharing the load.
Delegation: The Not-So-Secret Sauce Behind Any Successful Business
If you’re planning to start your own business, in any industry, you must understand that you’ll never be able to do everything yourself. And if you’ve already been in business for any length of time, you already know this.
Delegating is key in all business deals. By delegating, you empower your immediate team member to delegate to their team members. You then have an entire network of people, with an aligned vision, working together to achieve the same goal.
But if you don’t learn to delegate, you become overworked and you burn out. Meanwhile, your work will suffer because of your inability to focus on the details in your business. You’ll be focused on staying afloat instead of excelling and going above and beyond your client’s expectations. The growth of your business will suffer and, eventually, cease.
My breast cancer diagnosis was a turning point in my career. Once I told my family members and adjusted to my new health reality, my immediate concern was my business. Up to that point, I involved in every single aspect of Randi Events, from booking clients, to rolling tables and placing centerpieces at the actual events.
Having cancer forced me to take a step back and learn to really trust in my staff, and I can honestly say that if I hadn’t gotten cancer, I would still have a hard time delegating. But when I was going through one of the most difficult times of my life, wondering if I would ever be healthy again or be around to meet my grandchildren, my staff stepped up. They told me to focus on myself and to let them worry about the business. And I listened.
While I was going through treatment, my staff did all of the planning and designing for each event. The only area I retained control was the accounting. I obviously didn’t have much of a choice in this—I had seven three-week rounds of chemo, so there was no way I could physically be present for much of the work—but I was pleasantly surprised to see that nothing fell apart in my absence. In fact, the business was doing better than ever.
The Art of Delegating
With the help of my husband, I built Randi Events from the ground up, so it was always hard for me to entrust certain aspects of the business to other people. And that’s a perfectly normal feeling that most entrepreneurs experience. If you’re an entrepreneur, “Nobody can do it like I can,” and “I don’t have time to teach someone, so I might as well do it myself” are two statements that you will likely hear yourself sat over and over again. But the best business leaders know that delegation in a skill they must master. Their success depends on it.
And the best part about delegating is that, once you learn how, you can equip your other team members to become better delegators and then watch your business achieve things that you never thought possible.
Early in my career, I would have loved to have someone tell me the benefits of delegating. I enjoyed being involved in all of the events, but I also knew that my involvement was slowing us down. Now, by empowering my staff, we are able to achieve what most people deem impossible—like planning three events in three cities on the same day.
So how did we do it?
I sent three of my designers to each of the cities to plan and execute each concert. The trust I have built with my clients over the years helped them to feel comfortable that if anyone could pull off such an ambitious series of events, it would be my company. I also communicated with the owner of the record label as well as my staff to make sure the activation was executed and completed successfully. My staff then reached out to the venues for floor plans and designed the entire event based on what the venues sent them. The three concerts were executed seamlessly, and I couldn’t be prouder of my team.
Again, our success with the Thomas Rhett events wouldn’t have been possible without delegation. So for those of you struggling with delegating, I have five rules that I live by that will help you feel comfortable delegating as well.
1.Hire the right staff.
You’re obviously not going to trust your staff to execute in your absence if you feel like you haven’t hired the best people for the job. At Randi Events, we try to hire the right staff for each position in our company, and we have a very lengthy interview process to help ensure this happens each time we have an opening.
We receive hundreds of resumes every year, so after we weed through those, we schedule first interviews to get a basic understanding of their background and experience to see if they can handle the day-to-day responsibilities of the job. After a candidate has completed the first round of interviews, we then send a questionnaire or sample task based on the job they are applying for. And because we are a close team, it is important that we have buy-in from all senior staff before we proceed through subsequent rounds of the interview process.
Finally, we require that all candidates take a test that determines whether they are an Earth, Wind, Water or Fire personality. I am a double fire, so this test is important in determining how well the individual will get along with me and the rest of the staff. The ultimate hiring decision is made by me, so I meet with every potential candidate. And even if an individual isn’t the most qualified for the position, I always hire them if I can sense something special about them that will turn them into a star eventually.
2. Trust your gut.
Trusting your gut is important in every aspect of your business, but it is critical when you’re trying to build the right team. If my intuition is telling me that a potential candidate is right for the job, I have to trust myself. Likewise, if a candidate is perfect on paper, but I don’t feel right about them, I say no every time. And I can proudly say that I’ve built a very successful business trusting my gut in this way.
3.Delegate small tasks first
Before delegating anything major to a team member, you want to make sure you’ve given them small tasks to start. Empowerment leads to trust, so you must be able to hand over certain responsibilities to your staff if you’re ever going to learn to trust them completely. But it wouldn’t be smart to trust them with a large or important task if they’ve yet to prove their competency. Give staff members the chance to fail on something of minimal importance so that you can identify any mistakes or errors in judgement, ensuring they won’t happen again with bigger responsibilities at stake.
4.Identify when you need help.
If you feel like you’re need help or that you’re “drowning,” this is the first sign that you need to delegate to your team. Drowning in your company and responsibilities can cause you to burn out. Fast. (You should also always be on the lookout for other team members who may be struggling under the weight of their responsibilities.) It’s naturally hard for entrepreneurs to ask for help, so the first time you feel that you should is a clear indication that you need to empower your staff to make bigger decisions and delegate more work to them. You’ve hired them for a reason—use them.
5.Identify your staff’s passion
When you take time to identify the areas of your business that each of your staff members love the most and are best at doing, you can feel more confident that they will more effectively execute those tasks. Everyone has strengths, and leveraging the strengths of your team members will keep from growing frustrated or burning out, and it will also make your company better than ever.