It goes without saying that a well-planned and even better-executed event could do wonders for your small business. First of all, you get a unique and personal way to establish your brand and connect your customers to some of the core values of your company. Second, it encourages loyalty and generates more repeat business. Finally, it helps you make a great first impression on new connections, some of which will grow to become an invaluable part of your network of contacts. The first step in getting there, however, lies in your ability to understand what this event is all about. With that in mind, here are several simple tips for organizing your next small business event.
Start by calculating attendance
The first thing you need to do is make an estimate of the total attendance of the event. The reason why this has to do first is due to the fact that the majority of other factors tend to be closely tied to this one. Namely, the venue that you decide to host the event at, the catering company that you hire and the number of people that you intend to involve in the organization directly depend on the number of people attending. Even something as simple as sending out invitations is affected by this factor. As you can see, budgeting is nearly impossible before you manage to establish attendance.
The purpose of the event
The next thing you need to do is find a way to align the company event with your long-term business objectives. For instance, you might be celebrating a particularly important milestone, announcing a new product or strategy or try to build stronger relationships. This last part could be internal (directed towards your own team) or external (directed towards investors, partners and customers). From these several factors alone it gets more than obvious that the purpose of this event carries a lot of weight when it comes to planning.
List of details
Provided that you’ve started planning in advance, you’ll have enough time to develop a list of details. Earlier on, we talked about important factors like the choice of the venue and hiring a catering company, however, this is too situational and no one-size-fits-all option will work. The proximity of the venue, the size of the place, the cost, it all depends on the budget you have on your disposal, the ROI that you expect to receive and the specific needs of your business and your guests. These factors are not something that you could resolve quickly.
What you can, on the other hand, settle right away are details revolving the activities of the event, greeting systems, decoration and whether or not you intend to serve alcohol. The lasts issue is also a logistical one, seeing as how you’ll have to find a reliable local supplier. For instance, for your NSW event, you’ll have to find the right agency for corporate alcohol delivery in Sydney. Other than this, serving alcohol sets a tad more informal tone to the event, which is a good thing. It also means that you’ll have to help your guests figure out the commute back home by either organizing it, reimbursing it or assigning designated drivers.
Check out the calendar
One of the biggest mistakes that small business events make here is to schedule the event without consulting the calendar first. The last thing you want is to host your event on the same date as your competitors. First of all, even if you are competing for the same portion of the market, the last thing you need are enemies. Second, you don’t want to share your audience with anyone else, even if you do get the bigger part. Finally, having too many events too close to one another may lead to a certain amount of oversaturation. This too works against your best interests. This is why some strategic planning is advised when it comes to scheduling.
The Q&A is the most vital part
The last thing you need to understand is the importance of a good Q&A session at the end of the event. If you, or your speaker, have done all you can to engage the audience, the attendants won’t have any problem asking questions. Fortunately, you and your team may be able to anticipate the most common questions and prepare for them in advance. In fact, these questions should be your go-to method if your audience turns out to be too timid to ask them themselves. This can turn out to be a great ice-breaker that will encourage others to jump in with some questions of their own. Just try not to be too repetitive and return to issues you’ve already spent too much time clarifying during the speech.
In the end, the main problem with this type of guidelines and walkthroughs lies in the fact that different industries and events have different formats of corporate events. For this reason alone, we tried to focus on the essentials and give you the basics of developing your own small business event platform. Tips like organizing attendance first, scheduling second and figuring out the purpose of the event are universally useful, no matter the event, the organization or the audience.