Making fun fun again
I love the idea of taking difficult things and making them simple.
Anyone who's planned a group outing or event will tell you that planning something is one of the least simple things you can do. While millenials increasingly report that they want fun in the office, planning fun isn't fun. Something that's supposed to be joyful and uplifting instead can lead team organizers to get mired in friction and frustration.
What if there were a tool that could simplify something that has become overly complicated and bring the fun back in planning fun events?
It all began...
I used to teach Iron Chef Team Outing classes in Richmond, Virginia to group organizers of teams from corporations such as Capital One, Altria, and Dominion.
Mystery ingredients, no smartphones, no recipes - go! After being rated on taste, creativity and presentation, the organizers would tell me it was the "best event all year."
They couldn't believe the school wasn't new -- it's been offering iron chef events for 11 years! At which point I would hear a sigh, followed by: "I wish I knew about it earlier. I wish there were a way to find out about cool ideas like this."
In fact, just about every organizer told me how they were frustrated by the following things:
- Finding ideas. They said "It takes too much time to find ideas," especially within a budget. "We always end up going bowling."
- Arriving at a consensus. They said they didn't want to feel like they were "forcing fun." But at the same time, they hated "the never-ending email chains" or "coming to violent agreement in a room".
- Deciding on a time. Imagine herding mice.
- Collecting RSVPs. Getting a final head count for the day means going back to the group.
Each event they planned would take them several hours of frustrating effort, only to have to repeat it again each month.
On top of it all, these organizers were volunteers, or - as is so often the case - were voluntold.
And they dreaded the responsibility and headache that came with organizing for a group of people.
Supporting small businesses
It turns out that group organizers - who wanted to find great ideas - didn't have the only problem.
Small businesses I talked to with awesome private event ideas were struggling to get the word out to people at the moment when they were planning a private event.
Traditional means of advertising were too expensive, and the small, unique hidden gems remained just that, hidden.
Right away I saw that businesses were jumping on the opportunity to be part of a platform that connects them to people planning private events.
It has been a source of great pride and a continual challenge for us to be able to continue to make sure that our platform always stays small-business friendly, making it possible for hidden gems to be noticed by everyday planners.
An award-winning platform
OccasionGenius has created a simple, smooth platform designed to bring a ton of local ideas and make them accessible, searchable, and filterable so event ideas can be sourced in moments.
We have created detailed questionnaires for businesses to fill out so planners can quickly compare apples to apples and deduce whether an idea is appropriate for a team.
Our multi-messaging feature allows an organizer to email multiple businesses, all at once.
And, our polling feature solves the never-ending email chain by allowing everyone on the team to vote for their favorite idea.
A vision for the future
So what's next for OccasionGenius?
- Grow into a national directory. Make it possible for small businesses everywhere in the country to connect to everyday planners through an easy-to-navigate platform.
- Become the go-to resource for companies to plan their outings. We'll create company accounts and give companies premium pro-version features to make planning any event a breeze.
- Solve the Date Night program. Integrate with a Match.com or Eharmony dating site to provide new matches with wishlists so that they can enjoy un-awkward, original, out-of-the-box dates.
Being the first step on a long, painful process of event planning means holding a special position. People planing events may need electronic invitations, catering, seating software, and/or gift registries; people who are invited may need gifts. There are many ways in which we can bring the services of doodle, survey monkey, amazon and evite all under the same roof for one-stop, hand-holding event planning - made easy.
Here's to making fun fun agian.