Small business events and meetings can be great opportunities to expand your network, draw potential customers, and generally promote your name. Let’s look at 5 tips for doing an event or meeting without breaking the bank.
1. Meeting Management Services Software is Your Friend
If you’re trying to plan events and meetings, you would do well to invest in some good meeting management services software. There are a lot of things to get right with a meeting or an event, and it’s a good idea to be strategic about it—and that’s precisely what meeting management services software can help you with.
We’ve talked before about the 10 important tools for streamlined communication every small business owner needs—consider this the 11th.
Your software solution should help you to maximize savings opportunities, gain greater visibility into meetings spending and activities, and help you track the results.
Meetings management software can do this by aligning the people, the process, and the technology involved in a good meeting or event. This provides a way to help you manage the activities, the suppliers, and the data that go into a meeting, meaning you will be better prepared to ascertain whether or not you have achieved your objectives.
2. Clear and Measurable Goals
What are the goals for your meeting or event? What are you trying to accomplish?
If you set clear and measurable goals, you will be setting yourself up for success. For one thing, you’ll have to think about what you can reasonably expect to be able to accomplish, and merely thinking about this will help you to define what you really want to occur, what needs to happen as a result of the meeting or event.
It’s important to be as specific as possible, so that you can figure out what you really care about and whether or not you can consider the event a success.
Second, you’ll be prepared to think about budget constraints, and how you can most effectively use your resources to get from A to B. This is likely to help you save money.
Some ideas for clear and specific goals include:
- Selling a certain number of tickets
- Inviting and booking speakers
- A time frame, say 30 days, for promoting and selling tickets
- A time to host the event
- A budget you do not want to exceed in setting the event up and promoting it
3. Know Your Audience
Know your audience, know your event—or at least, know the kind of event that is likely to appeal to them. After all, your event is for them, so you need to have a clear sense of who they are and what they really want to see from an event.
Some guiding questions to help you include:
- Who are my audience?
- What are their interests?
- What times and locations would be ideal for them?
- What will they want to take away from the event?
Once you have answers for these questions, it should be fairly doable to create an event targeted to your audience.
4. Budget Ahead of Time
Did we mention budgeting ahead of time? If you are trying to keep the costs under control and only spend a certain amount, budget ahead of time and plan out how much you will spend on X, Y, Z, or the other activity.
This strategy sounds simple, but it’s one of those things that turns out to be powerful in its simplicity: the simple act of budgeting out ahead of time will help you to guide your thinking about relevant points.
This is another area where meeting management software can shine, by helping you to identify areas where you may be able to save.
5. Sponsorship May Be for You
Depending on how large of an event you are planning, you may want to consider sponsorship. If you’re incredulous, ask yourself this: are you going to offer an event that can reasonably be expected to draw a lot of people—in other words, to provide good value to a prospective sponsor?
Sponsors care about getting their signage and their message in front of people’s eyeballs. If you can offer a great many sets of eyeballs, you likely have something worthwhile for the right sponsor.
If you’re worried that a big event means big money and thus would defeat the point of what we are talking about here, guess again! Getting sponsors is the ultimate trick to putting on a large, successful event on a budget: the whole point is that the sponsors will pay for it in exchange for opportunities for engagement and interaction benefits with your audience.
If you’re planning an event or meeting, there are a number of things you can do to make sure everything goes according to plan. While the circumstances of your event or meeting will be particular to you, following the tips discussed here should help get you off to a good start.