1. Consider the purpose of the event
If you’re planning on hosting an event, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you’d like to accomplish through it. Brian Worley creative director and owner of B. Worley Productions emphasizes: “It is important to know the goals and objectives of the event you are trying to produce before you can do anything else,”
Think about why you want to run the event and what you’d like to get out of it so that you can tailor everything to your chosen audience. Serena Holmes of Tigris Events says “Rather than thinking of it as just a corporate event, think about it like you’re delivering an interactive brand experience.” Doing this will help you to create an experience that is both meaningful and engaging, so you’ll be more likely to achieve your goals. And make sure to prepare some corporate event icebreakers to start things off.
2. Identify your audience
Once you know what you want to achieve with your event, the next step is working out your target audience. Do you want to reach company executives and those who have control over purchasing decisions? Are you looking for potential business partners? Is your goal to reach customers in the local community? While you could run a general event doing outreach for a variety of different groups, a targeted event is likely to offer a better return on investment.
You’ll also need to decide how many people to invite. Erring on the side of inviting too many people usually works out better than inviting too few. If you’ve got empty seats and lay on a large buffet that ends up being barely touched this is a waste of money for you and can be bad for your brand too. On the other hand, if your event is bustling, it will create lots of buzz.
Of course, there are exceptions to this. If you’re planning an event at a place with strictly limited space or hosting a sit-down meal, it’s better to have the event properly ticketed to avoid having to turn away people who registered in advance.
Remember that in general people don’t care about the size of the guest list. Rather, they will remember how they were personally treated. Have brand ambassadors meet people and talk to them one-on-one, and consider giving them a small personalized gift so they’ll feel welcomed individually. It’s those little details that make a big difference.
3. Have a clear budget worked out?
Set your budget early on, and make sure it’s realistic. Have some extra money set aside just in case there are any unexpected expenses. Ideally, you should set aside 10% above the basic budget for emergencies.
If you’re having speakers at your event, make sure you have a good lighting and audio crew, otherwise, the experience for your guests could be poor. If you’re bringing in those speakers from outside, remember that many of the best speakers charge appearance fees, so you’ll need to make sure you have the ability to pay a fair rate for those speakers.
Refreshments are another area where it’s sensible to give yourself lots of budget space. Guests who are well-fed and have good drink options (taking into account allergies and other dietary restrictions) are more likely to forgive delays or schedule issues than guests who are stuck in a hall with limited refreshment options!