December 6, 2022 — So, you want to spread the word. Maybe, celebrate an achievement or give a shout-out to the people who have the most significant impact on your small business. Whatever the reason, planning an event is a great way to engage and entertain your community.
But it’s not all just fun and games—organizing a successful event requires a bit of strategy. Here are five simple tips to ensure that your event goes off without a hitch.
1. Create An Event Plan
As the name suggests, it’s essential to start with a comprehensive plan. Consider this a to-do list that covers every aspect of your event, ranging from the goals you want to accomplish to the logistical details of planning the event.
This list will keep you on track and on time, and you should share it with everyone involved in the planning process. Here are a few essential topics to include:
Your objectives and goals
- Event timeline
- Venue and parking information
- Guestlist and contact information (if it’s a private event)
- Audio/visual elements
- Catering details
2. Choose A Venue
Location is everything. A big part of choosing the right space is dependent on the size and scope of your event, but it’s important to consider factors such as ambiance and logistics.
In addition, determine what features are necessary to your event, whether it’s a performance space, culinary appliances for catering, or added seating.
Then, identify potential venues in the area that might work for your event and do a site visit. Provide the venue manager with a list of all the requirements you have for your event, and if you have ideas on how you want to use the space, feel free to share them. You’ll be working closely with the venue manager throughout this process, so consider this a team effort.
3. Define Your Budget
Be realistic about the kind of money you’re willing to put into your event. Once you’ve decided on the essentials, you can start calculating what it might cost you. Consider the cost of the venue itself, any catering and entertainment you’re going to provide, decorations and signage, and staff. From there, you can find ways to minimize some of these expenses.
One of the easiest ways to save money and stay under budget is to do some of the work yourself. Print or create your invitations, signs, and decorations if possible. When you can’t cut costs by doing it yourself, look for discounts on supplies and package deals from vendors.
4. Market Your Event
Marketing your event is essential to engage your audience and grow attendance. Nowadays, going online is one of the most effective ways to market your event.
Your guests will likely be active on one or more social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Use these resources to share information about the venue, timeline, and entertainers or speakers.
Here are some other effective marketing resources you might consider using:
- Other small businesses
- Local media/publications
- Bloggers/influencers in your area
- Professional photographers/videographers
- Don’t forget about email marketing!
5. Food, Entertainment, and Staff
If you truly want to wow your guests, it’s critical to tick these three boxes. You don’t want to skimp on food and beverages, but you don’t have to break the bank.
One popular and cost-effective option is hiring several local food trucks, which gives guests a more personalized dining experience, especially for outdoor events.
As for entertainment, your goal should be to keep your guests engaged. In addition to live music and performances, you can add smaller entertainment opportunities such as games, photo booths, and other activities.
Finally, invest in hiring the right staff, focusing on people who are courteous, professional, and knowledgeable enough about the event to answer any questions they might get from attendees. Treat this like any other hiring process—have them fill out an application and provide references and experience.
6. Get Feedback
So, you followed steps one through five, and you nailed your event. Before you kick up your feet, there’s one final step. Once your event is over, collect feedback from your guests and staff.
You can go the traditional route of providing a short-and-sweet anonymous questionnaire for attendees to fill out as they leave, or you can go digital and allow them to give feedback on their own time. SurveyMonkey is a popular choice that offers free options for online surveys, but others provide the same service, so shop around online until you find what you need.
Whatever you decide, make sure to ask questions about what people enjoyed, what needs improvement, and if there were any problems. This information is key to improving your event planning strategy for next time.