Twelve Steps to Planning a Business Event
Planning business events are part of owning a business. You can have many different types of events, from online events to offline events. Many of the steps are the same regardless of what type of event you are planning.
The best thing to do is to create an event checklist based off these basic factors with additions depending on the type of event you’re planning. A checklist will prevent you from missing any important ingredients.
1. Identify the Target Audience for Your Event – Before attempting to market anything to anyone, or even coming up with an appropriate topic, it’s essential that you understand who your target audience will be for your event. Try creating a persona for your target audience so that you’ll know who you are trying to relate to.
2. Define Your Event Topic – You likely have a lot of topics whirling around in your head, so take the time to focus the subject matter down to a very succinct definition. You want people to understand at a glance what the event is about.
3. Develop Goals for Your Event – Once you understand your topic and have identified your target audience, it’s time to create goals for your event. Make the goals specific and to the point. For instance: “Through this event I want to increase my connections by 100 individuals and make 20 sales.”
4. Create Your Event Budget – Once you understand your audience, goals, and topic of your event, it’s time to create your budget. How much can you afford to spend to make this event successful? Where will you get the money and how much do you need to sale to break even? Does it look possible based on past events or statistics?
5. Decide Venue – Decide whether your event will be online or offline and then choose your technology or place based on your decision. The venue is very important and should take into consideration what the costs are as well as your audience and whether or not they can travel.
6. Determine a Date for Your Event – It’s important that you pick a date far enough in advance of your event so that you have time to do everything you need. Six weeks is about the minimum needed for an online event; it might be longer for an offline event due to having to find and rent a venue.
7. Partner with Others – Once you have your topic and some of the above information, consider partnering with complementary business owners for the event. This can make the event more compelling to attend for your audience and it can spread out the costs as well as leverage other people’s connections.
8. Create an Event Timeline – Once you have the venue and the date chosen for your event, you can create a timeline for your event starting from the date of the event and working your way back to today. Create a to-do list that gets everything done on time.
9. Develop a Program for the Event – If your event lasts for one hour, it’s important to create a program that moves everything along to keep people on time during their presentations. Make sure there is time for Q & A.
10. Market Your Event – Once you have the date and the topic, you can start marketing your event right away. Leave no stone unturned – use social media, press releases, and more. For local events it’s imperative that you use the local newspaper and print and even TV to ensure that your venue is full.
11. Follow up – All attendees to the event should be contacted within 24 hours of the event. If you recorded the event, send recordings, drop them an upsell or cross-sell. It’s always a good idea to also send out a survey to attendees to get some feedback.
12. Evaluate Your Event – Once your event is done, always evaluate the results of the event right away. You are likely to continue seeing results a few weeks after an event if you remember to follow up.
Finally, don’t forget to test out all technology that you want to use. Do a practice run of the schedule of events to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Practice really does make perfect. Remember that during the event everything will not go perfectly, but that is okay. Don’t let it distract you from your goals.