Damage Control: Dealing with the Unexpected
No matter what profession you're in, it's always smart to plan for the best, but prepare for the worst. Sure, there are those individuals that think positive, constantly assuring themselves that all will go smoothly. Unfortunately, they're not cut out for the nightlife business. If you're an owner or operator then you're well aware that it's rare for things to fall perfectly in line. It's not that it should be expected, but plans should be kept in ones back-pocket when certain situations arise.
Some of the top nightlife establishments around the country seem to have flawless nights, but even reps at those venues can acknowledge that when disaster strikes - which it most commonly does on any given night - they were prepared, and most importantly, a majority of patrons were unaware of the situation.
It's all about damage control, and while owners may think that they know what areas to hone in on for troubleshooting, it's unforeseen circumstances that are tricky, says Rigo Herasme, a New York City nightlife entrepreneur and venue owner whose establishments include 9A Kitchen & Lounge.
With years of experience in nightlife and entertainment, and a heavy background in design and manufacturing, Herasme has seen his fair share of debacles, and he says that the list of things that could go wrong is endless.
"You have to expect the unexpected," Herasme said. "It could be a number of things from weather, heating, air conditioning, plumbing, sound, staff, or promoters. I suggest you work for an establishment first so you can experience the challenges first hand and learn how to troubleshoot and find solutions."
While many may worry about situations that could arise in the thick of the night, it's prior to the doors opening that they should be wary of. Herasme believes that due to the many details that have to be covered - from contractual agreements with talent and ensuring that the proper staff are in place - its prior to the doors opening that one should worry about.
"Making sure that you're fully-stocked is huge, otherwise your night could be disastrous," he said.
One quick tip he offers is having a long-list of connections you can count on, because one never knows when they'll come in hand. He says “a rolodex of resources if your best friend."
It's evident that having reliable individuals around you is key, and according to Eugene Abreu, CEO of Privileged Marketing Group, having a proper damage control plan in place requires operators to take it one step further and enlist the help of an assistant.
"When you have someone by your side to work on the little things you need done, it frees up your time to focus on the bigger issues that need to be addressed," says Abreu. "[They] can help avoid smaller issues from escalating and bigger issues handled immediately."
There's no denying the incredible amount of stress that comes with the job and situations that arise, but if there's one characteristic that should be emblazoned into all nightlife owners' personas, it should be to keep their cool. Abreu believes that is the only way all situations should be handled.
"You won't want your employees or patrons seeing you panic," he says. "That energy transcends and can make the situation worse. More over, when you lose your cool you are not in the best state of mind therefore making bad decisions and cloudy thoughts."