You’ve finally decided on hosting that business event you’ve always wanted – congratulations!
Well, for starters, you need to organize it! This may seem like a walk in the park, but a business event is no joke. It warrants careful consideration and planning as you don’t want people just to show up, you want to establish meaningful connections, spread brand awareness, and make a few contacts if possible. So, how exactly do you go about doing this? Read these five essential tips for organizing an event for your small business and find out!
1. Set Clear Goals
In order for an event to be successful, you need to set clear goals; otherwise, you won’t be able to accurately measure its impact afterwards.
What is the general purpose of your event?
Is it to raise awareness? Gather funds for a cause? Or perhaps you just want to express gratitude to your clients and business partners?
With a concrete goal in mind, you can begin planning your event.
This includes the exact time and duration of your event, the number of guests you’re expecting, booking the right venue, and so on.
That way, you ensure that your event is properly optimized for your specific targets, leaving little room for error.
2. Create a Flexible Budget
Coordinated events cost money. Chaotic events cost even more.
No matter how well you plan your event, things are bound to go wrong. The worst thing you can do is create a budget accounting only for the known expenses, down to the last penny. Instead, you need to create some breathing room for your funds and prepare for the unexpected.
For instance, a few hours before the event, your catering company bails on you; what then? Logically, you find a new one, but — surprise, surprise — that will cost you extra! Now, due to the unfortunate circumstances, you might not even get a favourable deal from them. Beggars can’t be choosers, right; especially when time is of the essence.
So, set yourself (and your event) up for success by taking these unforeseen expenses into account as well, and plan accordingly.
3. Brand Promotion
No matter what your main event-goal is, you want to use this opportunity to spread some brand awareness. Get your banner out, place that logo in plain sight, and make sure your team interacts with your customers as much as possible.
One thing to consider here is using promotional products. These are ideal “ice-breakers” you can use to greet passers-by and ask for their contact info in exchange for a neat business card or a brochure; the classic put-your-name-in-a-fishbowl strategy. Employ a brand that offers some exceptional printing services and you can go to a whole new level with your design. For instance, printing branded manuals and whole guides instead of using plain-old flyers. This will help you stand out of the crowd more easily, allowing you to connect with customers a lot better.
4. Generate Hype on Social Media
All your organizing and planning will be for nought if, in the end, nobody attends the event.
To avoid such a scenario, you need to effectively market your event from beginning to end.
First of all, you need to generate some hype before the event even starts. Make the proper announcements on your social media pages and invite all your friends and followers to participate. During the event, post engaging photos and hashtags to remind people that the event is taking place. In turn, this will create a FOMO effect that will entice them to join in on the fun, both online and offline. Lastly, you want to provide a recap of the event when it’s all over and present it in a positive light, possibly with a neat video or a simple presentation.
These will make sure that your event is properly marketed and known to the general public.
5. Gather Leads and Do a Follow-Up
You’ve all had your fun, the event is over, and now what?
Simple, you do a quick follow-up while the impressions are still fresh.
If your promotional strategy was successful, you should have a lot of leads on your hands. Get in touch with these contacts some 24 to 48 hours after the event, possibly via email, and invite them to an upcoming event or sale. Also, add them on social media if you can and send a personalized thank-you note for attending the event. Just be careful not to spam them too much as this could have some adverse effects.
In the end, you need to take a good look at all the feedback that you’ve been given and work on improving your game. It’s hard being a great host on your first try; practice makes perfect!