Six tips for planning an event

eventWhile it’s tempting to run an event online, nothing beats going out and meeting people face to face. Getting out of the office for a day can clear your mind, give you fresh ideas and enable you to network with others. And if you send your employees it’s a way that businesses can reward staff with employee rewards

That’s why live events will always be popular, however convenient and cost-effective the Internet may be! Here are some tips for planning your event.

Decide on the purpose of your event

Knowing the purpose of your event is essential for the rest of the planning process to fall into place. What do you plan to get from the event? And what’s in it for the people you want to attend?

Choose the right location

If your event is aimed at local people, then you may want to pick a location close to where they already live, work or gather together. If you have a national audience, then think about choosing a central location with good rail links and a range of accommodation choices nearby.

Choose the right venue

Choose the venue to suit the event. If you need a quiet, inspiring location with natural, healthy food then a plain, corporate-style venue isn’t going to be the right setting.

If keeping the ticket price down is a priority then you may want to pick a venue on a budget (although maybe you could cover some of the costs with sponsorship?). Be cautious about working on too tight a budget as the venue is an important part of the event and choosing the right venue could enable you to charge a higher ticket price.

Start promoting early

You can start promoting your course before you even have a venue booked! Use social media and your mailing list (if you don’t have a mailing list, start one now!) to create a buzz about the event long before the event happens. Once you do have a venue booked, sell tickets at a lower, early-bird price to keep building the buzz on the months running up to the event.

Choose the right speakers

Your speakers will both set the tone for the event and make your event attractive to those who want to attend, so give this some serious thought early in the planning process. Popular speakers are booked months ahead, which is another reason why you’ll want to hire an events speaker early on.

Have a plan B

Let’s face it, things can and do go wrong! Think through all the risks of running the event and have a plan B just in case the worst happens.


Finding training venues on a budget

I  love running live, face-to-face training sessions. I love the internet too, but there’s nothing like talking to real people who are in the same room as you!

I’ve been thinking of running a live workshop for a while, and although I haven’t got anything planned (well, it’s just one of the many projects on my list!) I’ve been keeping my ear to the ground for budget training venues. So I thought I’d share my ideas just in case you need to run a session too.

Even if your business is basically home-based, you might find you need a venue to train a your team or to run a promotional event. Many mums are now offering live internet marketing or social media workshops to local business, too. Workshop venues can be quite expensive, but with a little creativity, you can find some for much less.

That said, bear in mind that the venue will affect the people who will attend and the price you can charge for a ticket. For example, if you want to attract people who would normally expect to attend a business event held in a hotel, they probably wouldn’t show up to an event in a village hall, even if the ticket price was a bargain. In fact, a cheap ticket price would probably put them off. Your choice of ticket price and venue are part of your brand (whether you do it intentionally or not), so going for a low-price venue might not be the right option.

So here are some low-cost places you can run training events or workshops:

Village halls or community centres

These can be a really good value option. Some centres have a main hall plus a smaller meeting room suitable for around fifteen people. One of my local community centres even has an IT training suite. Facilities vary widely from one centre to another (as does the decor!) so it’s worth checking what is in your local area.

Sure Start Centres and charity/voluntary organisations

Sure Start Centres are usually very well equipped and happy to make a little extra income by renting out a meeting room.

Business ‘incubators’ and enterprise agency centres

Look at the organisations in your area that help new businesses get off the ground, such as enterprise agencies, as they often have low-cost meeting facilities. If you need a room on a regular basis, virtual office packages sometimes include discount meeting room hire.

Independent coffee shops

I’ve not tried this one personally (yet!) but I think that working in partnership with an independent coffee shop could work really well. You could promote each other (your leaflets could sit on the counter of the coffee shop and their coffee shop’s address will be on your promotional materials) and it could be a really nice venue with great coffee!

Anywhere that has a meeting room that isn’t in use

Get creative and think of any organisation that might have an under-used meeting room. Even your local doctor’s surgery!

Hotels and pubs

OK, this is probably one of the first places that comes to mind, but it’s worth mentioning that a) prices could vary quite a lot depending on the time slot you want, b) it’s worth seeing if you can negotiate the price down from the one advertised and c) make sure you find out the prices of refreshments in advance so you don’t have any surprises.

If you have any other ideas for workshop venues, please do leave me a comment!

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Photo credit: teaguelabs

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