It’s that time of year again! As my team and I come together and prepare for (what we believe to be one of the most anticipated events of the year) Money, Mindset and Marketing, we couldn’t help but map out a list of previous event fails. Yes, event fails. Let’s be honest here- no matter how much time you invest, how much effort you attempt to put into your flawless execution or how much energy you put into planning an event, things can, and likely will, go wrong.
There truly is nothing more rewarding than seeing your ideas come to fruition. Seeing like-minded individuals connect and exchange stories (and Twitter handles!), and seeing the smile on every one of your guests’ faces makes all that hard work worth it.
Hosting an event can be a fantastic way to build your brand, establish stronger relationships and gain credibility in your space. Events are fun because people come together in person, and that creates a much better opportunity for connection. Having said all of that, when you transition from a small event to planning a big event, you need to be prepared to play in the big leagues!
Are you considering hosting an event?
I have definitely learned my fair share of do’s and don’ts over the years, and have discovered 7 important things that I believe every business owner considering planning an event would appreciate.
1) Expect the unexpected
Everything changes when you take your event from a small gathering to a room filled with hundreds of people. You’ll need contracts with the venue you choose, a stage, screens, an AV team and more than your neighbour John to shoot the video. It becomes a full production, and you should expect the unexpected. There will be things that happen that you didn’t expect. Here are a couple of mine:
-> Increased fees at the venue to do set up the night before. Although this should be expected, it was unexpected to me the first time it happened.
-> Increased fees at the venue to use a different Audio Visual (AV) team. Venues often have agreements with companies they work with. Be sure to read every line of your contract carefully. In fact, work with someone who has experience doing this so you understand what you are signing.
2) Everything takes longer than you expect
Trust me, everything takes longer. Selling tickets, attracting sponsors, setting up the room, doing your presentation, designing your print materials, coordinating the timing of the event, having your AV team set up, getting sponsors set up and organized, and checking people in at reception. You name it, it takes longer than you expect. Give yourself the time and space you need to do a good job. During my first year, I did my presentation the night before because I ran out of time. This year and last, I worked on it for months before the event, always updating and tweaking, and it was outstanding compared to the previous year. It takes more time than you think to do things really well.
3) You simply cannot do it alone
Although you may be capable of doing every task yourself, you need to have a team to help you. There aren’t enough hours in a year for me to do everything that needed to go into Money, Mindset and Marketing by myself. You should enlist volunteers and an event planner to help you. The stronger the team you have supporting you, the better the day will flow. The better the day flows, the better experience for you and your guests. It’s impossible to do it all alone.
4) Your ROI isn’t going to be immediate
Big events cost way more than you expect. File that under “expect the unexpected” because there will be a ton of things you didn’t expect to pay for that come up and you have no choice but to take care of them. Money stresses people out, so be sure to have a contingency fund. Have conversations with other people about what your “must have” and “nice to have” items are. It’s quite possible that when you first start out, you may not generate a positive return on your investment the first couple of years. There are some things that you’ll need to invest in, such as banners and trade show signage items, that once you buy, you have for a long time. The capital investment, in the beginning, can suck up nearly all the profits from your event.
5) If you’ve got sponsors, you can’t let them down
If you tell them you will fill the room, you must fill the room, even if it means giving away tickets at your own expense. (Remember, everything costs more than you expect.) If you need to “put bums in seats” to fulfill your sponsor commitments, be strategic. Don’t invite just anyone. Get creative about bringing the right people together. There’s nothing better than hosting an event where half of the room is filled with people who know, like and trust you, and the rest of the room is brand new to you and what you offer.
6) Give yourself time and money to learn
If you’re not an event planner, give yourself the time, money and grace to learn. The best way to learn is to capture your learning as you go and carry it forward to next time. After each event, my team and I spend a lot of time debriefing and creating plans for the next event while the experience is still fresh in our minds. Planning a big event is a huge endeavour. Give yourself time to learn and permission not to get it perfect right out of the gate.
7) Expect mistakes and always look for solutions
The day of the event, mistakes are going to happen and while they may feel huge to you, chances are your audience won’t even notice. If you’re the leader of the event, you should put someone on your team in charge that day so your energy is not impacted every time some small mistake happens.
After all, we are perfectly imperfect humans who make mistakes. Understand that mistakes WILL happen and things will go wrong. Have someone who is competent, ready to take charge and find solutions so that your event can continue to run smoothly with minimal disruption. It’s also equally important to set clear expectations with people ahead of the event. Mistakes often happen because people didn’t know what you meant or expected from them.
Would you like to join us this year at Money, Mindset and Marketing on November 7th and learn about the importance of storytelling? Story is one of the most powerful ways to communicate, share your message, build your business and allow others to get to know you. Take advantage today and secure your tickets at the early bird pricing of $197 until October 15th by going to https://lisalarter.com/mmmevent.
Leave a comment below and let me know, what’s the driving force behind you attending an event?
Founder and CEO of the Lisa Larter Group, master strategist, author, speaker, podcast host, social media expert, consultant, and business coach. Lisa inspires entrepreneurs and business owners to see the possibilities for their organizations when it comes to strategy. She uncomplicates modern marketing and creates (and implements) strategies for businesses that are guaranteed to increase visibility, inbound leads, and revenue.