How to Host and Manage a Successful Business Event: Business events can help you with various corporate needs, such as finding the next resource, connecting with potential clients, and branding your company.
However, because business events are primarily work-related, they can be less engaging than other leisure events; thus, proper planning is essential. The trick to succeeding at it is finding a happy medium between fun and work.
Memorable events do not happen by chance. Creating, planning, and executing a fantastic event experience necessitates skill and precision. Whether you have a year or three weeks to prepare a tradeshow, conference, seminar, product launch, convention, or congress, the success of your event is in the details.
It is important to note that when it comes to business event management, there are very few hard and fast rules. Each event is unique. Each one needs a different approach; however, use this piece as a general guide to go from planning to execution in your next business event.
First, Some Housekeeping
Consider the following to be the cornerstones of successful business event planning. Getting these details out of the way will allow you to make more informed decisions as your event planning progresses.
Define the Purpose of the Event
Before you can begin planning a business event, be clear on why you are doing it in the first place. The reason is simple: every decision you make towards the event should support the main business goal you outline; brand awareness, lead generation, feedback on a product, or connecting with your target market. It is also a good idea to decide on what the draw would be for the attendees of your event.
If it is a product launch, the appeal might be to have a party-like event with freebies, product demos, and some excellent entertainment. For a conference, it might be panel sessions with exciting, well-known expert speakers. Whatever you decide on, remember to make sure it aligns with the purpose of your event.
Decide on Your Target Audience
Who is this event intended for?
All of the other decisions you’ll have to make will fall into place once you’ve answered this question, including content, location, format, pricing, and more.
This structured approach will also help you stay focused on achieving the specific business goals your event is created to meet. This way, you are less likely to allow the scope of your event to become too watered down or broad. For example, turning a simple product launch into a conference.
Pick a Date
When scheduling, keep other industry events in mind. Make sure that your event is not scheduled on or too close to holidays or popular vacation times. It’s also a good idea to look for other events that your target audience might attend to avoid scheduling conflicts.
Second, Create a Budget for Your Event
Events tend to cost more than the average business owner anticipates, owing to the food, menus, and other logistical details. As a result, it is vital to create a budget for your event.
To do this well, make a list of everything your event requires, including parking, transportation, and hotel reservations for out-of-town guests, to ensure nothing is overlooked.
Remember to factor in the cost of any licences or permits you may require. Then outline how you intend to pay for the items on your list. Some of the available options include an internal marketing budget, ticket sales, sponsorships, or a combination of all three. Don’t forget to estimate how much money you can realistically raise from each area.
Pro Tip: Before you sign any contracts or book your venue, it’s a good idea to start signing sponsors first. Or put up early bird tickets to make sure there is enough interest in your event to fund it.
Then, Sort Out Logistics
You won’t be able to handle everything yourself, so depending on the size of your event, you may need to hire an event planner.
Delegate responsibilities if you decide to keep things in-house. Allow your team members to take control of the areas they enjoy the most whenever possible. Having your company’s resident ‘foodie’ handle the catering details, for example, is one way of applying this approach.
As a general rule, look for vendors who are experienced in meeting the needs of business events. If you are expecting out-of-town guests, it is best to work with hotels in your area accustomed to serving foreign guests. Make a list of everything. For example, if your event is in Abu Dhabi, you’ll need a list of hotels in Abu Dhabi.
However, remember to be adaptable as you begin the event planning process. You may discover that your event changes in location, size, and other ways you had not anticipated. Be adaptable to change while keeping the event’s scope aligned with the business goal you’ve set.
Pro Tip: Offer online registration to secure as many attendees as possible early on; this will also aid in forecasting event numbers and budgeting.
On Event Coverage
If you do not plan to cover your event for social media, you will be missing out on a significant branding opportunity and harnessing the viral power of your audience for your business in this digitally savvy world.
Utilize the services of a skilled social media team to cover your event. If your target audience is tweeting and posting photos on Instagram, you should do the same.
If you expect guests from various cultural backgrounds, you must account for this when planning your event logistics. Distribute customised reading materials to attendees to help them understand cultural differences. Discourage the use of slang, pop-culture remarks, or inside cultural jokes, as these may alienate some guests.
Pro Tip: Consider having live translations during the event to ensure success. Encourage multilingual attendees to assist where needed. It is also possible that you will need to provide information in a visual format; make arrangements for this.
One Last Thing: Have a Contingency Plan
Although planning ahead of time is a great way to achieve success, it is never enough. Something unexpected always happens. As a result, it pays to put in a little extra effort to plan for extenuating circumstances. Imagine the event, and make a two-column list of what could go wrong in one column and your contingency plan in the second.
Perhaps the sound system isn’t working correctly. Maybe your keynote speaker will cancel.
How will you deal with it?
Getting everything covered — even the unpleasant unexpected — should be planned for. After doing these things, you can congratulate yourself and your team for a job well done