Saturday, March 12, 2011

Things to Consider When Building an Association Management Company (AMC)

By Molly Lopez, CAE – President/Owner

The ASAE Building an Association Management Company program was held last month at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT.

I remember the first time I attended this program in 1999, when I bought my association management company. Attending this year as a seasoned program volunteer, I still continue to learn from experienced and new professionals in our industry. That is the great thing about the AMC community; we share great ideas and lessons learned.

The audience was made up of 29 individuals who are thinking about starting an association management company and not sure where to begin, and those who have recently launched an AMC but are struggling to grow or revive their business. It was refreshing to meet the attendees. Their energy was contagious!

An information-packed agenda included practical information on industry standards and best practices, management skills, legal and insurance safeguards, facilities and staff selection and much more. An overview of the program is outlined below:

Getting Started:
Developing a business plan
Which organizational structure is right for your firm, business models
Models for structuring management fees, service charges, client expenses

Effective Operations:
Key operational services
Record keeping
Financial management, accounting, internal controls and reporting
Tax law
Policy and operations manuals
Client/AMC relationships, scope of service, different models, engagement strategies

Key Legal Issues:
Insurance coverage
Confidentiality, disclosure and other professional ethics
Client contracts

Establishing Your Brand:
Developing and executing a marketing plan
Brand management and appealing to target audiences
Diversifying market share and establishing your AMC’s niche
Utilizing social media to promote your AMC

Capturing Business:
Developing request for proposal leads
The RFP process
Preparing proposals and making presentations

Growth Strategies & Resources:
Transitions and growth
Funding of staff professional development and certifications

For further information about the program, or if you want me to connect you with key speakers assigned to each content area, please don’t hesitate to email me at

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New Talent – A Company’s Ongoing Talent Search Plan

By Molly Lopez, CAE, President/Owner

I had the opportunity to participate in a panel presentation at the AMC Institute 2011 Annual Meeting, alongside representatives from mid-size and large association management companies (AMCs). The topic of our presentation was, “Bringing New Talent into the AMC Fold.” The audience was made up of 200+ fellow AMC owners and suppliers who provide leadership, guidance, expertise and services to trade and professional associations around the world.

Because this information is transferrable to any business looking to grow and keep their talent pipeline full, several individuals asked me to post my handout from that session for access through Association Management, Ltd.’s blog and Facebook page.

Click here to read more.

Please follow our company twitter at and become a Facebook fan at

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

That’s My Story, And I’m Sticking To It!

By Molly Lopez, CAE, President/Owner

I attended a MAGICAL session at the AMC Institute on “Building a Business Through Storytelling,” by Disney Institute Facilitator Sharon Pleggenkuhle.

I would highly recommend looking into this speaker for a convention or event. You can visit for more information.

Below are a few take-aways from that session that will help EVERYONE in business today to tell their story:

1. Storytell your culture (history, traditions, organizational identity).

2. Storytell your business practices (year in review, continuous improvement, quality service).

3. Stories should have a clear beginning, middle and end.

4. Stories should move listeners through: set up, action, outcome and lesson/point of story.

5. Dynamic tension (energy) makes storytelling engaging. Develop this through conflict, suspense, expectancy, competition, and marketplace.

6. Use of characters projects values, builds trust, incites passion and belief, shows knowledge, creates fairness.

7. Tone impacts and influences. Tones are sincere, candid/transparent, pleasant, not condescending.

8. Mood sets the desired outcome of the story. Inspirational (hope), motivational (act), and transformational (change).

9. Techniques:
- Make sure pace of speech is comfortable and facial expressions are inviting.
- Make eye contact with listeners.
- Listeners have no frame of reference, make them comfortable with important details of the story.

10. Dos & Don’ts:
- Ordinary down-to-earth language speaks to people.
- Choose length wisely.
- Be careful not to claim someone else’s story as your own.
- Do use inclusive language.
- D0 practice.
- Don’t begin a story with “I want to tell you a story.”
- Don’t say “this is a really funny story.”
- Don’t muddle a story with statistics.
- D0 focus on actions.