Posted: Thu 6th Aug 2015
Events are an effective and powerful way to meet new customers and contacts, and to raise profile. There are some straightforward steps to follow to ensure you host one that people will remember.
In planning and organising an event, consider these questions:
Who's it for?
What is the purpose of the event and who would you like to see attend? Is the purpose of the event to thank customers for their loyalty or to demonstrate your expertise? Is it a leisurely lunch to facilitate introductions or an upbeat practical workshop to share expertise with others? Honing in on the reason for the event, and its audience, will help determine the event checklist to follow.
Mark Walker from event management tool Eventbrite said: "There's no one event format that attracts the largest audiences, but the one common factor amongst all successful events is a focus on the customer. Great event organisers understand why people would want to attend their event, clearly communicate those benefits in their marketing, and consistently deliver a good experience on the day." [source: Five tips for running a small business event]
Where and when?
Based on the intended audience, decide on a suitable date, time and location. Enterprise Nation previously hosted an event for people holding down a day job and building a business at nights and weekends, so that event was held on a Saturday. Evening events are for business owners who want to work on the business during the day and take time to learn and network at night. You get the idea. Style the event around your audience and their requirements.
When it comes to sourcing a venue, look for one that's free! Approach someone who has space and who would welcome the type of audience you can bring. You'll be surprised by what you can access for free, just by asking and being clear on the benefits to the one holding the asset.
How do I manage?
With venue and date booked, contact guests on your list (via print or email) and ask them to sign up to the event via an event booking tool such as Eventbrite and Meetup.
Eventbrite enables you to keep in touch with guests in the lead-up to the event, ask questions on their event expectations, print off delegate lists, create badges etc. You can also chose an option of allowing guests to see who else will be attending.
The day has arrived. What now?
This is not a question to ask yourself on the day, but in the weeks before! Plan speakers (if there are any), refreshments, attending media and book any friends or professionals who will help you capture the event such as a photographer or videographer. Do a test-run of the tech so everything runs seamlessly on the day/night. Encourage guests to share the event through tweeting or uploading images to Instagram and create a Storify the next day so those who couldn't attend can access a running commentary.
Keep in contact with guests by sending a follow-up note or offer to maintain interest. And then it's time to start planning the next event!
This 'how to' series is sponsored by Regus, the world's largest provider of flexible workplaces Work however you want. Whenever you want. Wherever you are.
Enterprise Nation runs hundreds of events every year. Find the latest small business events here.