Excerpt below is unedited draft prior to publication
Sound planning is crucial to holding a great event. When you start to plan your event, make sure you cover these bases:
* Know the costs.
You don’t need any financial surprises once you commit to a certain event. It’s important to know exactly what resources you need to pull it off properly. Find out what you need and what it will cost, including any prizes or gifts, decorations, amenities (anything from bottles of water to snacks to food, depending on the event), tables, chairs, or other items.
Essentially, this is your last chance to rule out an event based on cost. It’s very important you go over all aspects of your event and determine just how much you need to spend to do it right. They don’t have to be the most lavish and pricey amenities, but—as we discussed earlier—you need to put your best foot forward and make a good impression. Walk yourself through the event from beginning to end, giving yourself a fair estimate of the cost for everything you need. If you can, consult with someone who has held a similar event to see if you’ve left anything out.
If you think you might be going beyond your budget, don’t be frustrated. It’s good to know that now, before you actually commit to an event and advertise it. (Don’t forget advertising costs in your budgeting, by the way.) You might find that you can save money in some areas, or you might determine the potential benefit of the event is worth the added expense. Finally, you might decide to go with an event that costs less. Whatever you choose, the decision will be based on an accurate idea of what it really costs to make the event happen—and that means your decision will likely be the best one for your business. In any case, budgeting before you finalize your event is critical to its success.
* Know the logistics.
Where will your event be held? Is it easy for people to get there, and will there be enough room for everyone once they do? Is there enough parking? How will you get everything you need to the location? Do you have a truck or van available if you need one? Do you need recycling and garbage containers? Can you do everything yourself, or will you need help setting up, breaking down, and during the event? What happens if someone doesn’t show up? What if it rains?
Those are just a few of the questions you should be asking when you plan your event. There are more, of course, but you might not be able to think of them all. So when trying to root out any and all variables that can limit the success of your event, ask an outsider to review your plans. Family members, friends, and even existing clients with whom you have a close relationship can give a fresh eye to your event plan and uncover angles you might not have considered. A friend or associate with a lot of event experience might even think of some ways to save money or make the event better, but they will probably think of some potential pitfalls you can easily avoid if uncovered in time to build in a contingency plan.
Many entrepreneurs are natural optimists, which allows them to take
chances, visualize success, and work toward achieving it. Most of the time, their optimism is enviable. However, when looking for what could go wrong with an event, being overly optimistic might prevent you from seeing likely obstacles. Consult with different people—including some who don’t see the glass as half-full—and you’ll get a good idea of what preparations are needed to insure your event comes off smoothly and successfully.
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