Is your business considering throwing an event? Below is a step-by-step guide to ensure your next event is a success!
1. Define your purpose
Why do you want to host this event? Is it to promote client loyalty? To attract new clients? To obtain referrals? To educate your clients? Is it something else? Hint: it can be more than one! It is vital to define your event’s purpose because it will help you achieve real business goals rather than aimlessly spend money on an expensive catering bill. An event without a purpose is like a car without wheels – what’s the point?
2. Create a budget
When deciding on the budget, remember to consider all the pieces – not just the venue and catering. There can be costs associated with parking, lighting, gifts, decorations, speakers, AV equipment, music, rentals, tips and so much more.
3. Make a plan and delegate responsibility
If you are hosting a large conference, consider giving yourself at least a year to plan and giving yourself a budget with plenty of wiggle room. However, if you’re hosting a small luncheon, perhaps a month or two of planning will suffice. When drafting a timeline, give yourself deadlines. When will you send save the dates and invitations? When do you need to have your vendors booked? When do you order gifts? When will you send confirmations? And most importantly – who is responsible for each step?
4. Pick a date
Make sure to stay away from any major holidays as many families are travelling. Also consider if you want to host your event on a weekend or weekday. Many corporate events are appropriate and expected to be held on weekdays since so many of us want our weekends with our families. This, however, depends on the nature of your event. For example, a client dinner on a Thursday may be great! However, a golf outing would be best suited for a weekend.
5. Branding & PR
If you are trying to attract new faces, you need a branded event with a compelling theme that will differentiate you from your competition. Branding can include picking a catchy name, tagline, logo, custom webpage, etc. At Prosperity, we pay special attention to this for our educational events. See some examples below!
If your event needs branding, it likely needs a PR plan. This may include press releases, email campaigns, advertising, etc. Depending on your event and budget, you can decide what’s best for you.
6. Send Invitations
Depending on the type of event you’re having, you may only be inviting an exclusive list of people or you could be sending out invitations to everyone you know. Make sure you have a good system of tracking RSVPs. You can use an old-fashioned spreadsheet or you can track registrations through your website – it’s up to you and the nature of your event. You may also want to send “Save The Date” notices as well.
7. Draft a timeline
When making your timeline, include the arrival time of all your vendors and guests, keep track of your catering schedule (when does each course come out?), and schedule speakers and entertainment vendors appropriately throughout the night. Make sure to include the time when the event will start winding down as this will signal catering to stop pouring drinks, wrap up dessert and coffee service, etc.
8. Locate appropriate vendors
Depending on the type of event, you may require many vendors, or just one. If you have time, make sure to shop around for prices on valet, lighting, photography, decorations, music, etc.
Send a confirmation email no more than a week prior to your event to all your attendees. Make sure you include the address and parking instructions. You should also confirm with all your vendors to confirm their arrival, set-up time and break-down time.
10. Evaluate and follow-up
Was your event a success? Revisit your purpose to help answer this question. De-brief with your team to discuss how the event went and evaluate next steps, areas for improvement and the follow-up plan. If your event led to new leads – great! Make sure to follow-up in a timely manner and add any new contacts to existing mailing lists.
Don’t forgot to have fun! No matter what kind of event you’re having, events bring people together! While the steps above may be a good place to start, remember, every event is unique and different.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions. Good luck and happy planning!
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