Organizing a business event is a shrewd move for a small business owner. It brings you prominence in your industry, gives you a reason to develop relationships with thought and market leaders, and provides an introduction to potential clients.
It’s a daunting prospect if you’ve never done it before, but with careful planning and a good team, it’s possible to host an event that will boost your business and reputation.
Organizing with the attendee experience at the front of your mind will help you focus on the small details that make all the difference.
Keep Everyone Safe
Health and safety gets a bad rap from just about everyone these days, but it’s a vital aspect of running an event. Accidents happen, but by putting all safety measures into place (and this includes insurance) you can cut down on the chances.
One of the main considerations is security. This applies whether you’re holding your business event indoor or out. At both types of location it’s always possible members of the public will wander in and make free with your expensive amenities if you don’t have boundaries. You could consider hiring barriers or fences to demarcate your event area if outdoors, or employ people on the door for indoor ticketed events. Keeping your area secure also makes it safer for children if they are a part of the event.
Catering and Staging
Catering is part of just about every business event, even if it’s just a buffet breakfast at an early networking event, or coffee and biscuits during a break. Food is one area where you can really impress your guests. Investigate options for caterers early in the planning stage, once you know how many guests will attend.
Other ideas include pop-up kitchens or gourmet fast food depending on the size and formality of your event. An idea to help figure out what to put on the menu is to ask the guests themselves. Pop a quick question on the booking form asking for their preferences from a few ideas you’ve narrowed down.
Consider seating. Will you need to hire banqueting facilities? You might if you’re planning a sit-down dinner. There is also decor to think about, which will help set the mood and tone of the event. For party style events you can go to town with lighting and decor, but for more sombre conferences it’s probably best to keep it more business-like and sophisticated.
Handling the Practical Details
As if just organising all the events, locations, staging equipment and speakers or other activities isn’t enough, you also have to market, log registrations and accept/process payments.
It’s much easier to do this now than it used to be when everything was done by hand. Online registration forms make the whole thing happen automatically but there are few particular things to look for when choosing your platform:
- You’ll need facilities for online credit or debit card payments.
- You’ll need a registration form you can customise, not just with your event name and details, but preferably also with your logo and customisable question fields (so you can ask about food preferences, for instance).
- A secure database is a must to fulfil compliance laws and keep registrants’ personal information private.
- Your system must capture email addresses so you can keep in touch with attendees.
As well as practical details like these, you should take full advantage of online, social marketing. Create materials in the form of graphics and written content or video, with plenty of variety that you can regularly push to social media channels in the run-up to the event.
With a good team and thorough strategic planning, you’ll create a business event that’s a huge success, and have a willing audience ready to do it all again next year.