The Spotlight: Event Source/Panache Events

John Bibbo

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President: John Bibbo

Business: Event Source/Panache Events.

Location: Cleveland, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Fort Lauderdale.


Employees: 135.

Nature of business:  Event rental.

One decision that helped you get where you are: Never say no! My philosophy is that if the customer has a need and they are calling you, and you say no, they will keep calling companies to see who can fill the need, which could jeopardize the order or even the entire account.

If you had it to do over: Don’t wait so long to expand. I see now that there has to be a middle ground between a build-it-and-they-will-come approach versus the let’s build the infrastructure, add the inventory, and get the people in place finely tuned, and then go for the expansion. Ultimately you have to have your house in order to be able to deliver on what you sell. But don’t wait for the systems to be perfect before you expand, especially if you are green about fielding an operation. You will have time to build the infrastructure as the business grows.

What you get to do on the days you enjoy most: Be the conductor of a finely tuned instrument.

One aspect of running a business you have yet to master: Effective ways to bonus for performance. So many attempts but really don’t have a way that has been good for the employee and or the company.

Most successful form of marketing: Face-to-face, in-person relationship building.

Problem you would most like to solve now? How to attract rock stars to our team in an industry that few know about. We are the unsung hero’s of events. We are usually the first person on site of the event, delivering tables and chairs, china, flatware and linen. And we’re the last one there to pick it all up after the event. Many people go to an event and talk about the DJ, the band, or the food but rarely—unless you’re like me—comment on the nice fork or the awesome-looking chairs and linens. People talk and get excited about being a party planner or a event coordinator or even a caterer, but nobody even knows anything about who supplied the tables and chairs.

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