When travelling, working from home or living abroad, event planning seems like a daunting task. However, in an industry driven by technology, innovative tools, virtual employees and the ability to reach a global audience, it’s a very real possibility.
Discipline, dedication and organisation drives growth for your business, along with top tips for success. Let’s take a look.
Event planning companies will tell you a great event is all about effective teamwork. Two heads are better than one, after all. Events require crucial skills, elements and tasks completed via team work. Hire virtual assistants to keep your event on track, from anywhere in the world.
First of all, a team leader brings the project together and takes control of outcomes. This person is the visionary, looking after the overall aspects and signing off on important details – like budgets. The ability to look at the bigger picture, remain flexible, trouble shoot and guide the team is key.
Administrators organise all the details to get your event off the ground. These include choosing venues, making guest lists, arranging catering, table seating, entertainment and activities. The team leader delegates specific roles to administrators, to ensure all details are covered.
A marketing team drives attendance and builds exposure for your event. The focus is to engage with audience and media and arrange photography or videography. Also, to run social media campaigns, develop branding and organise promotional materials.
Lastly, an operations team provides the foundation, whether your event is a small, private affair or a conference for hundreds or people. Hands-on tasks include setting up a venue, bumping in entertainment, crowd control, cleaning up and liaising with guests. The hiring process is simple and efficient, with online networks.
Your event planning team needs to stay connected, with information freely available. This way, everyone’s on the same page. There’s a wealth of tech tools available, depending on your needs.
Dropbox allows for permissions-based access, for large file storage in a secure space. Google Hangouts makes group messaging and video conferencing easy. GoToMeeting lets you share screens and record valuable information from meetings.
Skype is one the most popular forms of communication, with phone calls, screen sharing and file-sharing capabilities. Trello offers project management boards, with sharing options to update your clients on important developments.
Furthermore, all of these options require internet access, so make that your number one priority if you’re travelling or living overseas. Make use of hotels, cafes or portable Wi Fi adaptors, if necessary, so everyone stays in the loop at all times.
When you’ve researched and decided how to stay connected from anywhere, it makes sense to integrate systems. This way, collaboration is a breeze. It enhances the flexibility of working remotely, when everything’s contained in a central place.
For online email marketing all in the one place, use platforms like Mail Chimp. Social media systems let you pre-schedule campaigns to all your channels. You could also use platforms to manage expenses, organise calendar schedules, share and gather details.
No matter where you’re running an event, local contacts are essential to a successful outcome. You need to hire people you trust to get the job done. Research is key to finding a data base of suppliers and services.
The size and style of your event dictates the type of professionals you need on your books. Your list can include caterers, audio visual technicians, florists, cleaning companies, wait staff, performers, staging companies and promotional staff.
As well as teams immediately necessary to run your events, it pays to have backups in case of incidents. Contacts for local councils and a list of similar businesses for collaboration or sponsorship, are useful too.
When you’re event planning, sticky notes all over the desk and to-do lists become redundant. Use practical systems, so the entire team stays organised and productive.
Smartsheet, via Google Apps, lets you create production schedules and task lists, set alerts and view live status updates. Enter a task and invite colleagues to participate through an easy dashboard, with Todoist. Evernote is a cloud-based app that stores hand-written notes and you can create to-do lists to share across multiple platform devices.
The words ‘disciplined and flexible’ sound odd, when used together. Yet, both are required for successful event planning from anywhere. Remaining disciplined across all areas means sticking to deadlines, putting stringent procedures in place for follow ups and accountability. Also, sticking to routine times for meetings and ensuring constant communication within the event team is important.
As with all businesses that require the efforts of many people, flexibility is paramount to identifying and resolving issues. Encourage your team to think outside the box, especially during challenging times. Chances are you’ll face cancellations, budget restrictions and any number of issues that are easy to resolve. All you need to do, is remain open-minded for opportunities to do so.
Here’s where your database of essential contacts comes in handy also. The more experts you’re in contact with, the easier it’ll be to fix problems quickly. Save yourself the stress of having a limited timeframe to search for a new caterer, for example, with a backup list of trusted suppliers on hand.
There’s no doubt about it, event planning takes time, effort and a good deal of hard work. But, with the right tools and a ‘go-getter’ attitude, you can launch your event from anywhere and watch your business grow.