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WORKING FOR THE BALLOON AND PARTY INDUSTRY!

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  • 04 Dec 2020 1:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    What is the 'Elf on The Shelf'?

    Whilst we think it's a great fun to join in the trend, it's worth remaining wary of the copyright infringement risks that surround this iconic character. 'You can't copyright an idea!', you may think, but actually you can... It's what's know as 'intellectual property' and it protects an original idea from being copied without the appropriate credit and requiatal to its creators; in this case, the authors of the children's book . The character and phrase, 'Elf of the Shelf' and derivatives of it have been copyright protected meaning use of the phrases without express permission from the copyright owners could lead to legal action. 

    The rest of this NEWS post is available to BAPIA Members Only. Members, to read it please click here and log in to the BAPIA Members only section of bapiaonline.com

    Not a BAPIA Member yet? For full information on all of the members’ benefits and discounts that come with a BAPIA membership, click here: https://bapiaonline.com/membership

  • 25 Nov 2020 5:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We fully understand that the current situation with Coronavirus COVID-19 is a very serious concern to everybody, right across our industry and beyond. We want you to know that we are committed to BAPIA members and we are looking into what we can do to support you in any way that we can. Here is a list of the latest information and resources we know of that might be helpful to us all during this time.

    Please note that, whilst we are doing our very best to bring you accurate and up-to-date information, we do ask you to appreciate that this is an unprecedented time for us all. We are not experts on this subject, nor do we claim to be giving legal and/or medical advice, so please do take the time to verify and research anything that we may suggest. 

    STAYING SAFE

    NHS website with information on what Coronavirus is and how to protect yourself and check if you need medical help: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.

    -The most common symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) are a new, continuous cough, a high temperature and loss or change to your sense of taste or smell.

    Latest UK Government Guidance on Coronavirus

    The GOV.UK website features the official government response to Coronavirus as well as links to pages on related topics here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

    ****As of Wednesday 2nd December a local restriction tier system will be in place. You can check which tier you will fall into and what that means here. ****

    Use this guide to check if you should go back to work: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-employee-risk-assessment

    FINANCIAL SUPPORT GUIDANCE

    Financial support guidance for people who are self-employed and getting less work or no work because of coronavirus (COVID-19): https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-what-to-do-if-youre-self-employed-and-getting-less-work-or-no-work

    Support and advice for businesses: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support

    Money Saving Expert are continually updating this page wIth useful information on rights and relief for the self-employed: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/04/self-employed-help-coronavirus/

    ANY OTHER BUSINESS: 

    Training Classes on bapiaonline.com

    Due to the Covid-19 situation all training was suspended but as the lockdown eases some trainers are offering some training opportunities but only under strict social distancing and hygiene rules.  Please check with the individual training provider as to what their rules are regarding this: https://bapiaonline.com/training

    Government Guidance on Domestic Travel

    Regarding all travel, National restrictions apply in England. These have replaced local COVID alert levels (tiers). 

    You must stay at home and avoid travel in the UK or overseas, unless for work, education or other legally permitted reasons. For details of which reasons for travel are permitted, check here

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers

    Check the BAPIA Members Only Facebook Group

    As always, the BAPIA Members Only Facebook Group remains an incredibly active, helpful and insightful wealth of support, particularly in this unnerving time. We’d like to take the time to thank each and every BAPIA member who takes the time to interact in the Group - be it answering a question or sharing a concern.

    If you are a BAPIA member and haven’t yet joined the Facebook Group, please do request to join and you will be promptly accepted. We are here to help. We are posting information here as we get it whilst we all try to give one another as much support and information as possible during these unprecedented times.

    All members should also be receiving BAPIA email updates regarding Coronavirus as and when we receive any new information. If you haven’t received our emails please check your spam/junk folders and ensure that your BAPIA member login is up to date with your current email address.

    BEST PRACTISE GOING FORWARD: 

    Update New Contracts, Business Policies and Terms & Conditions 

    Going forward and in light of this situation, we strongly advise all BAPIA members to review and if necessary, update all contract templates, business policies and terms and conditions to include a clause regarding cancellations in the events of an occurrence such Coronavirus. It’s important to make clear at which point a booking is considered final, if you require a deposit and, if so, what the deposit is covering. It’s also important to list your stance on cancellations noting the circumstances in which they will or will not be accepted and if/when refunds and credit notes will be issued i.e. in which cases.

    Where possible, on your business website you may wish to link to a page of your standard business policies, terms and conditions so that, should any disputes arise, customers can be directed there as a polite reminder of their contractual obligations.

    If in a difficult dispute with a customer regarding a cancellation, other BAPIA members suggest to ask oneself, ‘What would put my mind at rest if I were them?’ and to see if you can find a solution that allows the customer to recoup their investment without jeopardising your business in the long run. 

    Health and Safety At Work

    It’s important to keep yourself and your staff safe during this time. We encourage all BAPIA members to familiarise themselves with NHS and government guidelines on protection during this time:

    Guidance for people working in, visiting or delivering to other people's homeshttps://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/homes

    Guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/shops-and-branches

    Guidance for people who work in hotels and guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions, and business events and consumer shows: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/the-visitor-economy

    Practical actions for businesses to take to work safely: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/5-steps-to-working-safely

    In the interest of preventing the spread of Coronavirus, we encourage you to do what you can to ensure that all staff, suppliers, clients and anyone related to your business is aware of this information as well - for instance, placing posters in store may spread awareness of personal hygiene best practises and symptoms. Other advice includes:

    • Keep everyone updated on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace

    • Ensure employees are strongly advised and equipped to follow the government guidance on safely running a business at this time

    • Make sure everyone’s contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date

    • Make sure all staff know how to spot symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) and are clear on any relevant processes, for example sickness reporting and sick pay, and procedures in case someone in the workplace is potentially infected and needs to take the appropriate action

    • Make sure there are places to wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, and encourage everyone to do so regularly

    • Provide hand sanitiser and tissues for staff and customers and actively encourage everyone to use them.

    • Update risk assessments to factor in Coronavirus. Consider how this may affect the element of risk during each work task and what can and will be done to lessen the risk

    We encourage employers to familiarise themselves with employees’ rights and to stay up to date with government advice to employees’ to ensure that you can get the necessary measures in place to support yourself and to react to any financial impact this may have on your business. 

    Please see part 2 of this post for information on insurance and dealing with cancellations.

    We’ll be continually updating this BAPIA News post with any and all potentially useful information that we come across so do keep checking back. As always, the active BAPIA community within our BAPIA Members Only Facebook Group provides a generous wealth of advice and support during this difficult time. 

    Please stay safe, healthy and positive.

    BAPIA

  • 13 Nov 2020 4:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    So, you have your email marketing lists all set up but you're not sure how to write a snazzy email to spark some sales? Read on...

    (Not got a clue how to run an email marketing campaign? Don't worry, we'll be sharing some tutorials on this soon so keep an eye here for those!)

    Make An Offer They Can't Refuse
    Everyone loves a freebie, especially in the current financial climate. If you’ve got any offers or promotions running this season, entice your customers across to your website with the promise of something special. Send an email with the subject line, ‘Open for your Christmas Gift!’ and when they open it you could highlight your latest offer. Better yet, if you have a website, lead customers to it by including a, ‘Click for Gift!’ button which links to the web page with your offer, e.g. a homepage banner offering free shipping or a gift with purchase when they spend over a certain amount. 

    Make A List (And Check It Twice)
    With Christmas shopping, boxing day discounts, January sales and everything in between, there’s a lot of competition for customers’ attention at this time of year. Make sure you don’t get forgotten by getting in on the action and sending a few emails to remind customers that you’re around. If you take orders online, mailing list platforms such as MailChimp allow you to make use of features like list segmentation so that you can separate out your regular customers from those who’ve signed up but never made an order - handy for treating VIPs and offering first time buyers introductory discounts. Tools like card abandonment alerts also allow you to remind window shoppers to come back when they’d been considering making an order on your site; great for this time of year when customers are easily distracted.

    Send Season’s Greetings
    Not got an offer to promote? Sometimes that’s a good thing! Customers love a personal touch, especially from a small business right now, so taking the time to simply wish them well this season will go a long way. Why not spread a little extra cheer this year and send your customers a simple, ‘Merry Christmas’ email to let them know that you care. Such emails are simple, fun and often free to make with a MailChimp template - just be sure to only send to those who have ‘opted in’ to marketing communications to stay GDPR compliant.

    And remember, if we all balloon responsibly, the party never has to end!

  • 06 Nov 2020 5:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Christmas 2020 is nigh so we’re sharing a some marketing tips to help you to make the most of this time of year.

    Post A Merry Message Online
    We’ve spoken before about the power of a personal touch when it comes to marketing your small business. Now, more than ever, the public are looking to support small businesses so it's a great time to emphasise that you are one. Putting a faces to your brand is a great way to really resonate with potential customers and help them to remember you as more than just another balloon and party vendor. Posting a simple boomerang of yourself setting up your own work space Christmas decorations along with the message ‘Merry Christmas from XYZ company!', can be all it takes to make someone smile and press ‘like’ and the more ‘likes’ a post gets, the more it’s seen in the future meaning more exposure for your business.


    The rest of this NEWS post is available to BAPIA Members Only. Members, to read it please click here and log in to the BAPIA Members only section of bapiaonline.com

    Not a BAPIA Member yet? For full information on all of the members’ benefits and discounts that come with a BAPIA membership, click here: https://bapiaonline.com/membership

  • 22 Oct 2020 1:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With lockdown restrictions varying nationwide it’s easy to assume that Halloween 2020 will be low key but it’s quite the opposite! This year the public are going all out on celebrating from the comfort of their own homes. From scary movie nights to trick-or-treat balloon and of course pumpkin carving, apple bobbing and the other family-friendly Halloween games - there’s plenty to be had. 

    HALLOWEEN MARKETING TICKLIST

    1. Remind your followers that Halloween isn’t cancelled! 

    Spread the word that there’s still plenty of fun to be had this October 31st and be sure to show potential customers how your products and services can help!

    2. Start the countdown to the big day

    This year everyone’s losing track of time so remind your customers that it’s only around the corner on Saturday 31st October - although they of course may want to take the fun into the whole weekend and beyond - why not?

    The rest of this NEWS post is available to BAPIA Members Only. Members, to read it please click here and log in to the BAPIA Members only section of bapiaonline.com

    Not a BAPIA Member yet? For full information on all of the members’ benefits and discounts that come with a BAPIA membership, click here:https://bapiaonline.com/membership


  • 31 Aug 2020 4:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    What is Instagram Reels? How does it work? And, most importantly, how can you, as a business, use it to boost your marketing? Read on to find out.

    What is Instagram Reels?
    This month Instagram launched its Reels feature which is, in essence, Instagram’s answer to fulfilling all of our TikTok needs right there in Instagram’s own platform. Before you roll your eyes and dismiss it as another platform for the gyrating Gen Z crowd though  - think again! There are actually a lot of cool ways you can use it to drive sales this season.

    How Does It Work?
    Record, or upload, and edit multi-clip, 15 second videos and then overlay them with text, audio, special effects and stickers to engage your audience in new ways.

    ‘Isn’t that just what Instagram Stories already does?’ you ask. Well, yes… and no. Whilst there are similarities between the two, in its bid to, ahem,
    replicate TikTok, Reels offers additional editing tools like speed controls and a range of additional audio clips, as well as music, such as comedic voice overs. Reels can also be shared to your main Instagram feed and/or are saved in their own dedicated feed on your Instagram page so, unlike Instagram Stories, they don’t disappear after 24 hours (unless you actively delete them).

    Whereas Instagram Stories is, as the name suggests, a place to exercise storytelling for your brand, Reels is all about quick bursts of entertainment centred around a cool use of visual/audio effects making it a fun spot to get creative. Thus, it’s actually a great tool for an industry as a visually pleasing as the balloon and party business - woohoo! 

    Why Should You Use Instagram Reels 
    Remember, as always with social media marketing ‘audience’ = potential customers. Every time a viewer sets eyes on your Reels video it’s an opportunity to immerse them in your brand and remind them of the great products and services that you offer.

    Like feed posts, Reels allow you to add up to 30 hashtags - more than the 10 Instagram Stories allows - so be sure to follow best practises and use all of these for maximum exposure to new viewers. Use a mix of hashtags that are relevant to what you’re posting ‘e.g. #halloween, #genderreveal and #zoomparty as well as hashtags for your local area such as #henley, #henleysmallbusiness. Jane, in the same town as you, may have clicked simply wanting to watch 'a funny balloon video' her friend shared but if you play your cards right, she’ll also come away remembering that there’s a balloon and party business near her that does really cool work. 

    As is usually the case with new features, Instagram are keen to get people using Reels which means they’re currently making it extra easy for new people to find users. Reels are currently being prominently featured at the top of the Instagram Explore page which shows users content from everyone - not just those who they already follow. It probably won’t stay that way for long though, as discoverability on a new feature is known to get a little trickier over time, so there’s no time like the present to get stuck in!! 

    How to Use Instagram Reels to Boost Your Business
    The key to making the most of Instagram Reels really comes from understanding the nature of how TikTok is consumed. Like on TikTok, whilst there’s a lot of original content ideas on Reels, there are also a lot of trending video topics and ‘challenges’ doing the rounds, where anyone is encouraged to record their own version, which can make coming up with content much easier.

    If you’re stuck for ideas, head to the Instagram Explore page, click on a ‘Reels’ video and start swiping upwards to see what other people are doing. Clicking on the word ‘more’ on the caption beneath each Reels video will reveal which hashtags the users has selected; often this highlights which popular challenge/trend they are doing in the video. By clicking on those hashtags you can see other users’ related content and get inspiration for your own take on it. Of course, if you get your own original idea for a video then by all means create that too, you may even start your own trend!

    Here are some content ideas for Reels to get you going:

    -’Magic’ Before/After Installations - Not only does this easily show off the work that you do but they’re so visually pleasing that they often encourage sharing which means more exposure for your business. 

    -Reels Challenges - Remember, social media marketing is a fine balance between entertaining and upselling. People won’t watch your Reels content if all you do is promote your products / services so make sure to add in the entertainment factor too. If you and/or your team are comfortable on camera, why not take part in a fun dance challenge and make the most of being discovered via the hashtag. Just keep your content on brand, by including some brilliant balloons in the background so the viewer is always reminded of what you can offer them. 

    -Funny Anecdotes in Video Clips - Accidentally received Mickey Mouse foils for your engagement celebration design? Had a balloon deflate in a funny position? Instead of tearing your hair out, share the moment with your followers in a humorous manner and maybe your misfortune will lead to more followers (i.e. potential customers).

    Are you active on Instagram Reels yet? When you give it a go, be sure to tag us with the usual hashtag, #bapiaparty, so that we can see, like, comment on and perhaps even share your work!
  • 21 Aug 2020 4:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In this BAPIA News post series we’re sharing tips on how to price for profit confidently. If you missed Part One on breaking even and Part Two on pricing for profit, click here to give it read first and then come back! 

    Ok, so now that you’ve settled on your prices it’s time to get behind them. It can be scary to stand behind your pricing strategy at times, particularly when business is slow or customers are comparing them to other businesses. You don’t need to feel pressured into slashing your special offers though. Undervaluing your work will not only eat into your profit margins but it also devalues the balloon and party industry as a whole. Once prices begin to fall competitively across the board it’s very difficult to get them up again.

    The rest of this NEWS post is available to BAPIA Members Only. Members, to read it please click here and log in to the BAPIA Members only section of bapiaonline.com

    Not a BAPIA Member yet? For full information on all of the members’ benefits and discounts that come with a BAPIA membership, click here:https://bapiaonline.com/membership
  • 14 Aug 2020 4:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In this BAPIA News post series we’re sharing tips on how to price for profit confidently. If you missed Part One on breaking even, click here to give it read first and then come back!

    The key to setting healthy profit margins confidently is to remember that what something cost you and what it is worth are two very different things. The very existence of the luxury goods market proves that people are willing to pay more than simply the sum of ‘raw materials + time taken’ if they perceive the final product/service to have added value. We say it often here at BAPIA; you’re not just selling balloons, you are selling joy and it’s the value of that joy which is what you’re pricing. 

    The rest of this NEWS post is available to BAPIA Members Only. Members, to read it please click here and log in to the BAPIA Members only section of bapiaonline.com

    Not a BAPIA Member yet? For full information on all of the members’ benefits and discounts that come with a BAPIA membership, click here: https://bapiaonline.com/membership
  • 07 Aug 2020 4:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In an age of competition from high street card chains offering impossibly low prices and YouTube tutorials convincing the well-meaning Joe Bloggs that he can become Jack of all trades, as an experienced balloon and party artist it can feel like a real challenge to hold your ground and price your work at what it’s worth. Add to that keyboard warriors who feel no shame at scoffing at your special offers and suddenly upselling your services can feel really rather deflating BUT despair no more! This  BAPIA News post explains how and why you should stand your ground when it comes to protecting your prices. 

    If you’ve ever replied to a potential customer’s price enquiry only to be told, ‘That’s extortionate!’ then you’re not alone. Worst still, is the joy you feel swell inside when a customer sends you an image of an ornate, 10 ft balloon arch and says, ‘I’m after something like this please!’ only for that same swelling to sink to the pit of your stomach when they follow up with, ‘What can you do for £25?’. Have you ever wondered if these people have the same approach when they go out for dinner? ‘Well, since it only took the chef at The Ivy thirty minutes to whip up the duck confit, shouldn’t they only charge for half an hour of labour plus the cost price of the ingredients?’. Of course not.

    When a restaurant prices the markup on their meals, they’re considering various factors; there’s the ingredients, yes, but there’s also the training that chef did which makes their hourly salary higher, the business overheads, the marketing that went into bringing those customers through the door... The same applies for your balloon and party business. Your customers are paying for everything that went into bringing them their beautiful balloon design. That’s the raw materials and your time, yes, but not just the time involved in that one job; the time you have invested over the years in all of your training and experience. The classes, the webinars, the process of trial and improvement from job to job. Plus, there’s the marketing materials and other business overheads down to the petrol and driving times it takes to get to them (if you do deliveries). 

    Remember to sit down and work all of this out when you are creating your pricing structure. Of course some of these are one-off costs and certain aspects will vary from job to job, so it’s important to average out these expenses and then use that as a baseline on top of job materials and time taken. Done that? Ok, so now you’ve broken even. It’s time to make a profit. 

    Ready to move on? Click here to read the next part of the 'The Price IS Right' series, Part Two: Pricing for Profit.

  • 31 Jul 2020 3:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With social distancing measures in place, many graduation ceremonies, university leavers’ balls and proms were postponed or even cancelled altogether. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean that our children shouldn’t get to celebrate their achievements though; this summer let’s encourage our customers to mark these milestones at home so that they can still celebrate the children’s successes, safely.


    Having adopted the tradition of prom from our friends across the pond, many British teens eagerly await the rare occasion that they get to dress up in an exquisite evening gown or suave suit and socialise with their best friends in true style. Whilst the dances might be cancelled, a huge part of the prom ritual is the getting ready and taking photos beforehand and lucky for us, we can still help that to happen!

    We’ve seen on social media that some parents have set up socially distanced soirees’ in their gardens and we think it’s a fantastic way to make sure that the kids still have a lovely evening. Of course, what sets such a garden party apart from the standard Sunday bbqs? The decor! Beautiful balloons transforming their parent’s patio into the perfect prom location and, of course, making a beautiful backdrop for those all-important selfies. A marketing campaign upselling this idea and sharing the outstanding designs that you could offer your customers might be a great way for you to draw in some late summer sales. 

    The same can be said for graduation parties and university leavers’ balls which also would have been scheduled for this summer. Why not partner with a local costume hire and photography/photo printing business to put together a complete ‘graduation package’ for which you all direct customers to one another - that’s triple the marketing! Or, you could purchase a few cap and gown sets of your own online, along some elegant stand-in scrolls (these are actually what they use for university campus graduation photos - as degrees don’t actually come rolled up!). With props to hire in hand, you’d be primed to deliver an end-to-end graduation party package for your customers, saving this very special part of summer for lots of families.

    As always, the active BAPIA community within our BAPIA Members Only Facebook Group provides a generous wealth of advice and support so do be sure to check in regularly and share your thoughts and ideas here!

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