9 things to do before hosting a business event
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Originally Posted On: https://www.thebusinesswomanmedia.com/things-to-do-before-hosting-business-event/
When it comes to marketing, there is nothing better than a business event. This can be your opportunity to meet potential customers and clients face to face, and you can remarket your business to people too.
A business event is also a way to engage with the local community, share information about your business, and to get your face noticed by many. For these and other reasons, you should consider event marketing, even though you might be tempted to focus more of your time on social media marketing and other digital methods.
If you have held a business event in the past, then you will be well used to the things you need to do in preparation. But if you haven’t, and if you are unsure about the way forward, then these are just some of the things you need to focus on before hosting your first event.
#1: Decide on the type of business event you will host
This is a no-brainer of course, as every event has to have a purpose. So, you might host a trade show and invite other businesses and interested parties along. Or you could hold a product reveal to focus the event on your business and the items you sell. Or you might want to choose any of these event types, depending on your resources and business goals.
When you have decided on your business event, you will be able to put in place the necessary arrangements, be that booking a venue, inviting the key demographic, and arranging staffing.
#2: Check your calendar
It’s no good scheduling an event near a time when you will be very busy, as you might burn yourself out in the process. And it’s no good scheduling an event on a public holiday, or at a time when other business events are taking place, as people will be unlikely to turn up.
So, check your calendar, and work out a time that should be good for yourself and the people you want to invite. This way, you will be able to start the marketing process to hype up the event you are holding.
#3: Work out your budget
When putting on an event, you are going to face an expense. While you might baulk at this, it is worth remembering that the event should increase awareness of your brand, so you might see a good return on your investments. You can also make money back through ticket sales if you are charging people to come.
So, think about the areas where money will need to be spent. There will be the large expenses, such as venue hire, catering, and perhaps even entertainment. Then there will be smaller expenses to consider, such as table hire and the appropriate decor, such as these table skirts for trade shows.
Crunch the numbers, and work out what you can realistically afford. This will let you know how many people you can afford to invite, and the type of venue that you can afford to hire.
#4: Find funding for your event
As a follow on from the above, this is something you should consider if trying to reduce the damage to your own cash reserves. Short-term loans, crowdfunding, and sponsorships are just a few of the ways to find funding for your event, so apply the various options in the linked article to your business event, and explore all available avenues.
#5: Find the perfect venue
It might be that the event could be held at your business premises, especially if the space was adequate for what you had envisioned. If not, you would need to look for a venue that suited your needs. The size will obviously be a factor when looking around, but then there are those other things that you might require, including seating, lighting, and platforms for guest speakers. You should also consider catering, as some venues will have their own caterers, so factor this into your research if you want to make life easier for yourself in this regard.
There is much more to consider, but this checklist for choosing a venue should remind you of all the things you should be looking for. When you have booked the venue, you will be able to concentrate on the rest of your planning, so make this a priority very early on before the best venues get taken by others.
#6: Book your guest speakers
This only applies if you are hosting a conference or training event, so skip ahead if you don’t need to hire speakers (or trainers) for your event. If you are hiring somebody, you need to think about the people who will have value for the people coming along, as you don’t want to sabotage your event by hiring somebody that is a bad fit.
Commit to research, and use these tips for finding speakers for your event. Again, book the people you need early, as the best speakers will often get booked up early.
#7: Consider how you will market your event
You want people to hear about your event, so this is something you need to focus on. You need to think about marketing early too because people’s calendars can quickly get booked up, so you want to get the word out as soon as possible to ensure you became a firm fixture in their diaries.
So, when thinking about your marketing plan consider the ways in which you can encourage people to come. These are the key points you will include within your advertising, so think hard about incentives. If you were to hold a conference, you could highlight the guest speaker as the pull to get people in. Or if you were to hold a product launch, you could promise hands-on demonstrations and freebies. These are just a couple of examples, but tailor your incentives to the people you invite and make sure they are highlighted within your marketing.
Then think about the marketing platforms you will be using. So, you might send out the word on social media, using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn when targeting your demographics. You could use email too if you had the email addresses of people you wanted to invite, and you could send out promotional materials through snail mail too if you had address details.
There is much more you can do of course, and there are loads of event marketing ideas here that could be implemented into your plan. Work with the budget you have, and use free marketing ideas alongside those that are going to incur costs.
#8: Collect details of attendees
When you start marketing your business, be sure to remind people to book a place at your event. This way, you will know how many people to expect, and you will be able to work out seating, food, parking, and other logistical requirements.
So, include RSVP’s with your printed invites, and when inviting people online, use a booking system to simplify things for them and you. Especially if you’re relying on raising money through ticket sales, it is vitally important that you encourage people to respond as soon as possible. You might even use the promise of discounts to the people who book early as a way of generating interest.
After collecting all of the relevant details, keep them on file. You will need these to remind people about your event when it is getting closer, as you should never assume people will remember the event, even if you haven’t been able to think about anything else.
#9: Get together with your team
You won’t be able to plan or run the event alone, so create an event planning team from within your employees, and work with them on each aspect we have discussed thus far.
Delegate responsibilities to each person, with jobs to do before the day of the event, and with a list of tasks that you might want them to get on with during the day itself.
So, in the running up to the event, you might want to designate people to the various aspects of your marketing plan, and you might want to enlist people to organise such things as the catering and entertainment, as examples.
And on the day of the event itself, you might have somebody in charge of parking, somebody in charge of greeting your guests, and somebody in charge of serving food.
Be sure to give people jobs they are equipped to do, as the more confident they are, the more confident you will be before and during the event. Use these tips on delegation for some other useful advice.
After you have followed each of the stages on this list, you should be ready for your business event. We hope it goes well, whatever you plan to do.
We haven’t covered every single detail here, of course, so look online for further advice, and seek support from people you know who have already found success with their own event planning.