At the beginning of each new year, the President of the United States delivers his State of the Union Address to the nation. With this address, the President reviews the year that has passed, highlights the successes and dissects the failures, and outlines his legislative agenda for the year ahead. This is a responsibility that no sitting President takes lightly.
Presidents and CEOs of big businesses and corporations have a similar responsibility, to their shareholders, executives, and valued employees. Which is why most business owners hold an annual “State of the Company Address” of their own. Now, this is more than a common shareholder’s meeting, and will typically be delivered at some type of large corporate function. These events are at turns a performance review, a strategy session to plan for the future of the company, and an invaluable opportunity to network and rally the troops.
But what do you need to know to plan an effective corporation function where you can deliver an effective State of the Company Address?
Choose the Right Venue
Unlike a typical shareholder’s meeting, your State of the Company Address should be held somewhere other than a conference hall or meeting space. This is a major event in the life of the company, and it is important to find a venue that can offer a suitable atmosphere. Ideally the venue you choose should provide a couple of different environments. One for the address itself, and all subsequent speeches and presentations, and another for networking and entertaining. Remember, this event is not only about presenting a detailed evaluation of the company’s progress and strategies for the future, it is also a celebration and a reward for all of the hard work it has taken to keep the company successful. Look for a venue that can offer the amenities that suit a staid business presentation, as well as a company party.
The State of the Company Address should be delivered by the President or acting CEO of the firm. However, this is also an opportunity to single out any executives that have been making a valuable contribution to your firm’s success. These executives should be tasked with giving presentations on specific aspects of the company’s successes during the previous year, and outlining any new directions for the future. New marketing strategies, or new products and services, should be unveiled by an up and coming executive who is going places in the firm. This will help to reward their past endeavors, and to inspire the rest of your team.
Again, as this event is something more than a typical shareholder’s meeting or business conference you will want to have the affair catered. Whether you use an on-site or off-site caterer will depend largely on the fare you want to offer, and on the budget you have set for your event. Often, on-site caterers provide the better value while still offering a wide variety of menu options. After a day of speeches and presentations, your guests will want to unwind, and it is always good practice to host a cocktail party on-site where attendees can mingle, network, and discuss the day’s events. Work with your caterer to design a light menu of hors d’oeuvres that suit a cocktail atmosphere. You may also want to provide an open bar for your guests. If so, remember to hire a trained and professional bartender and servers to ensure that your guests are well taken care of, and that no one is over-served.
A corporate event like a State of the Company Address, offers business owners the opportunity to review the year’s successes and redirect the momentum of the company on to brand new opportunities. More than a simple shareholder’s meeting, it provides an invaluable opportunity to reward your staff for a year of hard work, inspire them to new horizons, and rally them together to make the new year even more successful. The few touchstones discussed here will help you lay the ground work for a successful and productive corporate event at which you can deliver your annual “State of the Company Address”.