15 Event Planning Tips for Small Businesses

November 3, 2016

Holding a memorable event gives you the power to expand your small business, connect with clients and congratulate employees. But organising your event takes specific planning, to ensure smooth running and an enjoyable time for all involved. When you follow tips from the professionals, you’re on the right track towards success. Let’s take a look at 15 top event planning tips. 

Identify Your Target Audience

First up, you need to identify your target audience, so the event caters for specific age-groups, interests or goals. For example, a party for staff may be much more casual than one for clients. Therefore, your choice of venue, decorations, entertainment and food needs to suit the overall vibe you’re aiming to create.

Determine Your Goals

Do you want to thank your employees for their wonderful efforts? Increase your network? Attract more clients? When you have a clear business goal in mind, you can tailor your event to achieve maximum results.

For a small business with the goal of demonstrating industry knowledge, a class or workshop structure gives you the perfect forum. Or, to foster good work relationships, team building events bring everyone together in a fun environment.

Start Making Lists

Making lists ensures you don’t miss any important details that are crucial to the success of your event. An easy way to do this is to have various lists for your requirements. Headings could include location, catering, entertainment, decorations and seating options. Under each one, write down everything needed to fulfil your ideals. While you’re at it, jot down event planning tips for each category.

Set Your Budget

Once you have a good idea of the elements needed for your event, develop a financial plan to cover it, before booking anything. Make an expense budget for venue, food, beverages and all the added extras you’d like. If you’re selling tickets or getting sponsorship, estimate how much money you’ll have towards costs. Partnering with similar businesses is a great way to reduce expenses and double the networking power.

Get the Timing Right

Timing really is paramount to a successful event, so put some thought into what’s going on and where, when choosing a date. Check local event sites to ensure yours isn’t clashing with too many others. Be wary of holding it too close to major holiday dates, when people are away or too busy to attend. Don’t forget to give yourself more than enough time, to organise everything in advance.

Choose an Event Team

event planning tips

Whether you’re hiring professionals or doing everything in-house, having an event team makes the whole process easier. Select your team based on a variety of skills, positive attitudes, flexibility and the ability to think outside the box.

Delegate Specific Jobs

Once you’ve chosen your team, delegate specific roles so everyone knows exactly what they’re responsible for. This divides tasks up to make them more achievable and ensures accountability. Have daily or weekly meetings, so everyone stays on the same page with regard to logistics.

Be Imaginative

No matter what type of event you’re holding, the more creative you get, the more memorable it will be. Search for unique ways of decorating, cutting-edge performers, interesting takes on catering, inventive lighting and innovative designs for seating and staging.

Create a Marketing Plan

No amount of event planning tips can help, without getting the word out. A marketing plan is the best way to do this, with all your options for promotion. Reach out via social media, email, signage, radio and press-releases to the local media. If your event is for employees, send invitations as early as possible and ask for RSVPs, so you can adjust your plans if needed.

Back up Event Planning Tips

Though your event organisation might seem water-tight, it never hurts to have back up plans. An entertainer could pull out at the last minute, your audio system might break or a torrential downpour may cut the size of your venue in half. When you already know what ‘Plan B’ is, nothing will turn into a disaster.

Offer excellent customer service

After the event kicks off, you and your team are responsible for the level of enjoyment your guests are experiencing. The best way to keep everyone happy, is to offer fantastic customer service, even if the guests are your employees. Greet everyone, smile and ensure everyone has what they need.

Stay Flexible

It’s pretty hard to keep track of time, while your event is in full swing. Chances are a band will start late, which pushes the speeches back, which destroys the timing of dessert, for example. One of the most important event planning tips, is to stay flexible, so you can adjust.

Check in with Your Guests

Through out the event assign members of your team to periodically check in with guests, to see how their feeling. Ask questions about the performers, the food and anything else that’s relevant to having a good time. You might receive valuable feedback so you can fix issues, before they turn into complaints. As a bonus, you’ll get to hear all the wonderful feedback as well!

Give Everyone Something to Go

event planning tips

When it’s time to wrap the party up, you have the perfect opportunity to further advertise your business or show your thanks. Create gift bags with your product or simply offer everyone a piece of your delicious, homemade cake to take home.

Follow up with Guests

If your event is for attracting clients and networking, following up with guests lets you assess how beneficial it was. Send emails or notifications thanking attendees and offering discounts, free trails or member deals.

This way, you’ll generate more opportunities and gather valuable feedback for future events, to really make an impact for your small business.


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