Hosting a business event requires a lot of work, and many small business owners often ask themselves whether all that planning and budgeting is worth the effort. The answer is yes! Business events can be great for promoting your business, networking, as well as showing your employees your appreciation. Although throwing a successful and memorable business event is a real challenge for SMB owners, there are some things that can help you entertain your guests and achieve your goal.
Determine your event’s purpose
Before you start planning anything, it’s essential to establish event goals and objectives. This way you’ll have a clear sense of direction and you’ll be able to keep track of how effective your efforts are. Also, your staff needs to know whether you’re organizing an event in order to promote your new product, attract new clients, or to mark an anniversary so that they could focus their efforts and attention on reaching the goals that were set. This step will also help you define your target audience, a piece of information which will affect your budget, as well as decide on the format, location, and content of your event.
Don’t make it about yourself
Yes, the main idea is to build awareness and recognition of your small business, but you need to be subtle. By shifting the focus of the evening to your audience, you’ll keep them engaged and interested. Many companies fall into the trap of blowing their own horn and bragging about their accomplishments without thanking the ones who are responsible for the success – their workforce. Great companies put a spotlight on their employees at every opportunity, and business events are the perfect setting for presenting them with cool corporate rewards. Needless to say, this practice is crucial for keeping top performers and attracting new talent. Similarly, organizing a giveaway is an excellent way of building customer loyalty.
Set a budget
Since small businesses usually operate on a shoestring, it’s important to set a budget and stick to it. Building the best-case and worst-case scenario is also something that will help you be prepared for the big event, without having to worry if a couple of details go wrong. We all know that such events can be pretty expensive, so teaming up with another business can be a financial weight off your shoulders. You can either partner with a complimentary business and throw a party together, or you can, for example, offer your free services to a catering company in exchange for the food and drinks.
Avoid scheduling conflicts
Before you set a date, check out your competition and see whether they’re hosting an event at the same time. Such a scheduling conflict could heavily affect your turnout because you share target audience or at least a particular segment with them. Also, it’s a good idea not to schedule your event on big holidays or too close to them, because people aren’t very keen on sacrificing their family time in order to attend a corporate party or luncheon.
If you want your event to be successful, you have to be flexible and adapt to potential changes. This means that sometimes you’ll have to opt for another location or date. For example, if your original idea is to throw a big party for 100 people, and only 50 of them RSVP, it’s better to change a venue and pick something smaller than to host the event at a half-empty reception hall or not to host it whatsoever.
Promote your event
Use social media to heavily promote your event and spread the word. Email marketing is another cost-effective method of reaching your target audience and letting them know about your party. Of course, don’t underestimate direct mail, especially if you’re planning a closed event. Handwritten invitations add a personal touch to your marketing efforts as they will show your guests that you care and make them feel special.
Follow these tips and host a successful corporate event that will help your business thrive and promote your company culture.