How to organize your first public event as a small business
Organizing events is a major feat. Organizing your very first public event as a small business can be even more nerve-racking. Planning can take weeks and countless sleepless nights, but staying organized can reduce event headaches.
So how do you plan your very first small business event without losing your mind? Here’s how you can organize your first public event as a small business.
Write a budget
First and foremost, determine how much your business can afford to spend on your event. You don’t want to be halfway through planning the event only to have to delay it because you can’t afford to pay a supplier. To be realistic. Know your limits and consider consulting with the person in charge of your finances. A budget will help you stay on top of the scale of your event.
Define your goal
Have a clear goal for your event. You want your audience to know why they’re there. If you are launching a new product, sell the event as a product launch. If you are organizing a fundraiser, be prepared to tell people why they should donate money to your cause. Are you a restaurant that organizes a smooth opening? Great! Let your customers know that you would like their feedback.
Identify your target audience
Once you’ve determined your budget and your goal, you need to identify your target audience. Once you do that, everything else should become clearer. Demographics can help you determine the format of your event and the type of concessions to have; you will even be able to determine the aesthetics, entertainment and accommodations.
Select a date
There are many considerations to take into account when choosing the date for your event. For example, find out if your competition is hosting a similar event at around the same time. Make sure your target audience is available beforehand. Most importantly, don’t schedule your event too early. You need time to book speakers, raise funds, make down payments, etc. It is perfectly normal to start planning an event a year in advance. On the other hand, don’t wait too long to organize a product launch. Anticipate the event in advance by perfecting your product design.
Create a to-do list
Don’t rely on your brain to remember every little detail and task you need to accomplish. You will have a lot of distractions to make you lose sight of your to-do list. Write it down instead. Make a physical list – on paper or on your phone, computer, anywhere – of the things you need to do to prepare for the event.
Assemble a list of suppliers
Once you have created a task list, make a list of suppliers. Your tasks will show you who you need to hire to accomplish them. Choose two or three suppliers for each category – food, entertainment, equipment rental, etc. – and ask for quotes. Remember, the cheapest quote isn’t always the best option. Balance quality and affordability for the best value for money.
Prepare a detailed marketing plan
Work on a detailed marketing plan to attract people to your event. Work with an ingenious marketing team to make your campaign a success. Consider using social media to promote the event in the days leading up to it.
Many like-minded organizations are always looking for opportunities to collaborate with small businesses. Research these companies and offer them incentives to attract their sponsorship. Incentives can include free advertising space, brand promotion, and samples of your product.
Delegate as much as possible
You can’t do it all yourself. Delegate responsibilities as much as possible to your partners and employees. Consider letting different people manage the areas they like. For example, an employee might be good at location logistics (space, security codes, etc.) and someone else might like to help with the music.
Your team will look to you for guidance. Set expectations for your event and keep track of each item. Clearly communicate these expectations to everyone attending the event, including suppliers. Set a good example by meeting and exceeding your own expectations as well.
Finally, expect the best
After all the planning and hard work, expect the best. Having a positive attitude after working so hard will communicate a job well done to your team. Remember that there is no shame in making mistakes and that you will have plenty of opportunities to correct them in the future. It’s your first event, and while it’s important, it’s just the start of something big.