A business event is one of the most effective ways of promoting products, because you hit your target market most of the time. Only those interested (most of them anyway) in the line of products attend the event, so you have already half-sold them to your view. Hosting and holding a business event should thus be one weapon in your armory of sales wares.
However, many entrepreneurs are scared of holding a business event simply because they do not know how. If you are one of them, here are the basics of hosting and managing a successful business event.
Before the event
First and foremost is you must establish the purposes and outputs the event must achieve. Is it to sell products or just inform the market about them? How large should the meeting be or you target how many attendees? Depending on this, where should the venue be, and what audiovisual or other equipment are needed for presentations? Visit the venue to assess its potentials, amenities and other needs, and then make the arrangements for decoration, signage and similar accoutrements. About the participants’ kits and their contents, are there enough brochures and info materials? Produce them as necessary, with your company giveaways and comment sheets for post-event evaluation.
Form your team and delegate duties and responsibilities to them so you don’t have to think about every detail. Make checklists and monitor progress periodically.
Invite the speakers and prospective participants, making clear in the invitation letters the venue, time, topics and payments, if any. Include a map to the place if necessary for the out-of-town invitees, noting the nearby interesting places to visit. Refrain from issuing form invitations where you just fill in the invitee’s or speaker’s name. This depersonalizes the invitation and turns off prospective attendees or speakers. Print the invitation letters individually. Also, ask your resource persons what they need to make their presentations and have them ready as soon as possible.
Make the arrangements for local news promotions and news coverage during the event, writing the news items if you have to. Otherwise, invite the local press for a briefing a month or so before the event to drum up local support.
A week or so before the date, confirm via reminders all your invitees and speakers for attendance head count. Engage your caterer if you need one.
During the event
Arrive early at the venue and check the arrangements, modifying them as needed. Put special attention to the sound system, equipment for the speakers, air conditioning, decorations. Review the procedures per team section (reception, registration, documentation, etc.) and position your people for the start.
While the proceedings are ongoing, carefully monitor it and anticipate the needs of the participants and speakers, especially the food side. No invitee ever wants to be hungry in a conference or event. Have someone or several team members always on hand to assist the participants and speakers as needed.
You can organize an evening social if you wish in the last night of the event just to let the attendees loosen up, meet each other informally, and compare notes. Often this is where long-time business partnerships are forged.
After the event
After the event, gather your people and discuss the areas and aspects of the event where you succeeded and failed, analyzing the reasons for the failures to find corrective measures. Collect the documents, print the photos, and collate them. Write your report, including the documentary proofs and you’re done.
Hosting and managing a business event is not easy to do, actually, but neither is it very difficult. The trick is to systematize the process, plan in detail and have ample time to prepare for it. A good team is of course a big plus and you should get the best people if you can. But essentially if you know what to do every step of the way, you would not stray far from success.
About the Author: This was an article by Peter from EEF Venues – the conference venue specialists. When not working Peter loves spending his time rock climbing and doing outdoor activities with his wife.
Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson