When organising a small business event much of the time is spent in the planning of that event whether it is a workshop, seminar, small exhibition with speakers, and your events success is all down to the planning and in the details.
First decide upon your target Audience: You need to define who your target audience is. This will be the start for all your other decisions, such as format, content, price and location etc.. Being structured will enable you to stay focused on achieving your goals.
Have a clear business purpose for holding your event: You have to be clear on why you are doing this event, as every decision will support your mail goal:
- Is it a medium for passing on information, educating your market
- New products or services release
- Create brand awareness
- A way to meet new customers/prospects and gather sales leads
- PR opportunity, a way to make customers feel important build on loyalty
- Involve third party vendors and resellers, strengthening business alliances
Create SMART goals: always start with strategy; this will need to be measurable. You need to know what is you are trying to achieve, outline what you are aiming for, then make sure that you follow this through to enable you to reach your goals.
Check other industry event when they are scheduled: Check the calendar for dates, no bank holidays, or school holidays etc.. Check other events that your target audience might be interested in attending.
Know your budget: Know how you are going to pay for the event. The cost will depend on the number of attendees you will have. Is the event funded by sponsorship, ticket sales, collaboration with other companies? You will need to create a budget before looking for a venue. Remember to add all expenses not just the meeting room such as food and beverage, audio visual etc..
Decide on type of venue for the event: Know your event size, location, how easy is it for your attendees to get to this venue? You may have to be flexible on this depending on availability and how the event may change in size.
Make a checklist of the details: The checklist needs to contain everything you are planning for the event. Are you are going to do all this your-self, or just certain parts? Event management logistics that needs to be considered include:
- Programme content of the event
- Putting together a Gantt chart showing time lines with action points, responsibility and critical dates
- Marketing the event – the invitation process to include attendee invitation and registration
- Registration management – client lists
- Venue liaison to include:
Room set up
Audio Visual requirements
Food and beverage
Running order for breaks, luncheon, reception
Logistics of getting materials to the conference venue
- Speaker management including co-ordination of speakers, presentation, hand outs
- Production of delegate documentation including delegate packs and badges
The organisation of an event is a project planning process. Like all projects it will grow and develop and you have to be flexible but still keep your eye on the ball as with all events that are going to happen at a certain time and all has to be ready and in place for this time. Checking and re-checking is so important to make sure that you have covered as many eventualities. Remember your events success is in the details.