As 2 of my daughters’ birthdays are only 6 weeks apart, we have a joint party in the middle of the 2 dates and make it a big family event – a proper garden party as we’ve got August and September babies 😊
At this years party, we were celebrating 2nd and 5th birthdays so there was going to be a big age range of children attending and I wanted to make sure that the little ones had some space of their own away from the big kids if they wanted. So I ordered a bouncy castle and some soft play equipment.
Together with our swings, slides and trampoline, there would definitely be something for everyone – as well as beer and prosecco for the adults!
But as the date was drawing closer, the weather forecast was looking very wet which wasn’t going to be a good fit for our garden party ☹ So 3 days before the big day, I contacted the local village hall to see if it was available to hire on the Sunday and luckily it was free so we booked it as a backup and I got the keys dropped round on the Saturday. We continued to get ready at home putting up gazebos keeping our fingers crossed the weather would be kind to us.
I had texted the bouncy castle and soft play people to keep them in the loop about a possible change of venue (luckily it’s only 300 metres up the road and you have to drive past the hall to get to our house) and they asked me to let them know by 8am on the party day.
I woke up on party day and it was already starting to rain so I made the decision to transfer to the village hall and this is where I learned some valuable business lessons.
ALWAYS HAVE A BACKUP PLAN
Whether you are launching a new product or running an event, you always need to have backup plans in case anything goes wrong. You don’t want to be wasting any valuable time trying to come up with ideas, so having plans in place will make any necessary changes go more smoothly.
I had the keys for the hall so it was a pain to take everything up but it was easily done.
KEEP STAFF & SUPPLIERS INFORMED OF YOUR PLANS
If you are relying on other people in your business, you need to keep them up to date with your plans so they can come in and help where they can.
By letting the bouncy castle people know, they weren’t surprised and were at the hall as planned.
KEEP THINGS SIMPLE & DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS
Part way through the party, we set the fire alarm off which wouldn’t normally be a big deal, but there was no way to turn this annoying thing off. There wasn’t a fire and despite our best efforts to try to get this thing to stop shrilling its siren, it wouldn’t be silenced. We looked around the immediate area and there was nothing about the fire alarm system. We started trying lots of different things but nothing was working. In the end, we went on a hunt as it sounded like it was part of a system and not just a smoke alarm so we figured there had to be a control panel somewhere.
It wasn’t in the kitchen next to the main electrics board, we checked in obvious places and then resorted to not so obvious places.
In the end, we found it in the store room at the back of the hall, tucked behind a load of stacked furniture that is quite frankly, a miracle we found it.
For people who aren’t regular users of the hall, we didn’t know where to look and there was nothing obvious telling us what to do.
This is where the hall could have made things a lot easier by having signs in place of what to do in case of alarm etc as well as other common issues.