Any event is as good as the time spent actually planning it.
As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”.
I couldn’t agree more with this statement, setting out your plans right from the start will help you see any potential problems that may arise in advance and will allow you to set and achieve your goals, keep within your budget and ensure that you can get everything done in time. Over spending and being late are two of my favourite pastimes outside of work so I need to have plans to stop my personal and professional lives meeting with perhaps dire results.
Thinking your event through
At the start have a think about the 5 W’s. Who, Where, Why, What, When. Answering these questions in relation to your event allow you to gather all the basic/necessary information to start planning your awesome event.
Who is the event for? Whole families, internal staff, the general public etc. Think about the demographics of the people attending. Are they adults and if so what age group do they predominantly fall into (an 18 – 25 year old will want different things to a 40 – 50 year old), Will there be children and if so what age group do they encompass, do you need to provide some age appropriate entertainment. Also think if you have disabled or elderly people with mobile issues attending as you will have to consider access issues in much more detail.
Where is it going to be held? Initially a general location is fine, ie London, Liverpool. If it’s a national event perhaps a location in the middle of the country can be a good option. (Ever wondered why there are so many big venues and good events happening in and around Birmingham)
Why are you running this event? A celebration, to strengthen brand loyalty, to educate people, to increase sales or maybe simply to have fun. Events can be run for all these reason and more and you need to decide why you are running the event there may be more than just one reason….
What is the event? Is it an exhibition, Internal conference, party, product launch, charity dinner the list of options can be anything that meets your needs.
When is the event to be held? Do you have a fixed date or are you flexible? Having a degree of flexibility can be helpful when securing a good venue as the date you initially want could be booked up.
Once you have got the answers you are in a stronger position to start getting down to the nitty gritty of the planning.
If you are like me and like to evaluate to success or failure of your event try setting yourself some SMART objectives. (Look at me showing off one of the few things I actually remember from my days at university) If you want to read more about it there is even a Wiki page dedicated to the subject!
Now that you have thought everything through you will have a really good basis to start your more detailed planning. Well done you, hop on the train to event success.
Now its time to get down to business, write yourself a timeline and fill it with all the tasks that you will need to complete to bring it all together in one outstanding event. A good planning document allows you to see in black and white what needs to be done and by when. Here is an example of a simple planning sheet that you can use to begin with. event plan template
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but unless you are a rich Sultan or J.K Rowling the money you have to spend on your event is not endless. Setting a clear budget right from the start can make the planning process much simpler and stop you from bankrupting yourself or your employer leaving you free to work another day.
If you blindly start booking suppliers, you will quickly see your money disappear. It’s really important to sit down and think about what you want and how much you have to spend on it. Don’t get carried away with the lovely things that you see on the internet. Often what it says on google is not the whole truth and there are better deals to be found by actually speaking to someone on a telephone. (My new campaign to keep the art of person to person vocal conversation alive, death to emails, texts and emoji’s)
Think about it, do you really need an LED dance floor or 6 ft giant letters at the front of the room to make the event special???? Suppliers want to sell you as much as they can, they are a business after all, so you need to have a smart business head on too!
Writing a detailed budget plan can help you keep in control and maybe even save some money to spend on some luxurious extras. Maybe if you have saved a few pennies on the essential items then you can consider that dance floor after all.
Here is an example budget sheet that you can use to get you started. It can be adapted to work for any event big or small. Event budget template
You have probably read this and thought, is this person for real, how obvious is it you have to plan an event and work out what you have to spend, well the truth is a lot of people don’t do it properly. I don’t want your event to fail before it begins so trust me, a little time spent on this will save you loads of nightmares down the road, it’s very easy to miss something small and everything to come crashing down round your ears.