Business Conferences: How to Organize Your next Business Event
Business events are not easy to organize but they are extremely valuable for attracting new customers and interacting with existing clients. That’s why self-conscious enterprises try to boost their brand image by attending all sorts of business events and especially conventions or conferences.
Actually, when you become a big player in the business, your competitors and clients alike will expect and look forward to conferences you will be responsible for hosting. Once the time comes to organize a business conference, there are X you need to know in order to prepare for the event.
Timing is of essence
Before you start searching for the venue, you need to have the date of the conference. Start by looking at a calendar, taking notice of weekend, religious or national holidays, as well as bank holidays. Also, if any major world events are scheduled for that like, like the Superbowl, consider rescheduling. You want the date you choose to be unique in the sense that potential visitors won’t be tied up with other commitments.
Once you decide on a particular date or dates, take into consideration the time needed for visitors to arrive at the event and the time necessary to drive back home. The last thing you want is for the conference to end after midnight so guests have to drive back in the middle of the night. Include a buffer zone of a couple of hours before and after the conference. Although the exact opening hours depend on the main theme, the gates should open around 10 AM and close at 8 PM at the latest.
Choosing the right location
After you decide on a particular date, it is time to secure the venue. Ideally, your company will have an empty space large enough to welcome all the guests but if that’s not the case, you’ll have to lease a property. Try to work out a rough number of attendees (more on the scope in the next paragraph) and based on that info rent a banquet hall or a place at the fairgrounds.
Open-air events are popular in the summer but because of the weather always have a backup option that has a roof overhead. Also, if the location is outside town, you might want to organize a shuttle bus or at the very least provide visitors with detailed information on how to get there (and return).
How big will the event be?
After you have answered the “when” and “where” questions, it is time to divert your attention to the “how (much).” Namely, you should know the scope of the event straight away in order not to lose time, money, and nerves, later on.
Is the conference local, regional, national or international in character? Will only business people be able to attend or will the event be open to the public? If latter, then are you going to charge admission or will it be free to enter? These are just some of the questions that will help you with the scope.
Once you know how many people to expect and their business profile, you will be able to book catering and refreshments, organize workshops, hire entertainers, brink in the right speakers, etc. It is our sincere advice to start small and that the first conference your firm organizes is a local gathering of experts that will last for a couple of hours. If everything goes well that day, you can build your business even portfolio from there.
Presentation is everything
Since you are organizing a business event, arranging the stands and counters of exhibitors should take precedence over more trivial matters like the choice of music. Apart from potential clients and people who are simply curious, you want to invite your business partners who will take the opportunity to present their businesses, which is precisely what your firm does every time it is invited to a corporate event.
Therefore, you probably already own several portable counters that are used for promotion. Other people will bring them as well, so make sure there is enough room for all the counters and that they are set in a visible place.
HR: The best of the best
In most cases, companies hire existing employees to organize a corporate event on their behalf. This is a cheaper solution in terms of money than hiring a marketing agency because their fees are several times higher than the bonus a team of workers would get for their effort.
Once a team of diligent individuals is assembled, they need to delegate tasks and share responsibility so every person would know what his or her duties are. Of course, there should be one person or a team of people in charge to oversee the preparations.
Be realistic about the budget
Even if you assemble the best organizational team ever, their ideas could not be realized because of the event’s budget. Unless you apply for additional funds or get a grant of some sort, the conference will be financed through the company’s budget.
If you deem the budget too low, then turn to potential sponsors, as they are your best way of securing extra funds to turn into reality everything planned. Another solution to money problems is to team up with another company in the same industry as you and co-host the conference.
Creating a buzz in the media and on social media
As we have stated earlier, there are various types of corporate events in terms of size, industry, admission, targeted audience, etc. However, in most cases conferences are intended to draw the attention of new business partners and customers so you need to create a buzz around the event.
Start by ringing the local media and see if they are interested in covering the conference. Even if they refuse your request, you can contact influential bloggers or other people with social media profiles with millions of followers. The will probably secure you a bigger marketing outreach than the local media ever could.
Even if the upcoming business conference doesn’t go according to plan, don’t let your heart sink. Organizing business events is a process that involves a lot of learning through trial and error. After a couple of events, your employees will have become seasoned corporate events organizer.