By: Emily Klaus | Marketing Associate
When you own a small business, you wear many hats: CEO, marketing guru, sales associate and janitor just to name a few. When the occasion arises, a merchant’s role repertoire also includes event planner.
Unfortunately, planning a promotional event for your small business is no easy feat. Creating a memorable and successful event takes a lot of time, effort and funding. Here are just a few tips to help the planning and preparing process happen smoothly.
Develop clear goals and objectives
What is your goal for this event? Who are you aiming to reach and what message are you trying to send them about your company? These are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself as you begin your event planning journey. Starting out with a clear, concise, and realistic goal in mind can help guide the rest of your planning and helps to ensure that your efforts are consistently in line with your objective.
Your goal depends on what kind of event you are creating. If it’s a charity event, maybe your goal is reaching a certain fundraising amount. From there your questions should be, “What can I use as an incentive to encourage attendees to donate more?”, “How do I position this cause as worthy of a donation?”, and so on. If your event is more of a promotional opportunity for your small business, your goals and the paths to achieving them will be different.
No matter what type of event you are hosting, one question will almost always be the same: How do I get the word out there?
Get the word out!
You know that saying, “If a tree falls and there’s no one around to hear it, did it make a sound?”. The same thing happens when you have an event, but no marketing. People have to know about your event in order to attend it!
One of the easiest things you can do is promote your event on social media. Hopefully your company has a Facebook or Twitter or some sort of social channel where you can push out notifications with the details of your event!
Other ways to promote your event include putting an ad in your local newspaper or weekly magazine, posting about it on your website, or sending out flyers to a specific list of people or businesses.
Making sure your event has some type of “headliner” can also boost knowledge and attendance. Here are just a few ideas:
Create a realistic budget
Whether your pocket is unlimited or tightly strapped, creating a working budget is one of the most important parts of your planning process. If you’re a first-time planner, here are just a few of the expenses you can expect:
If you’re a planner with a tight budget, consider looking into sponsorships! Many local small businesses and companies will pay top-dollar for getting their name out there on a lanyard, sign, or goody bag. They may also be interested in “in-kind” trades, which is simply an exchange of goods or services for other goods or services. Talk to a local catering company and find out if they’d be willing to donate some hors d'oeuvres in exchange for logo recognition on your event site and signage.
No matter how big your allowance is, it’s almost always better to budget a bit more than you think you need. Last-minute expenses and extra charges can happen, so you’ll be glad you gave yourself a little more cushion.
If you find yourself faced with a great opportunity, but don’t have the cash to jump on it, consider applying for a merchant cash advance with Jet Capital. With a quick and simple application, the Jet Capital team makes an initial decision in minutes, and if approved, can usually have funds wired within days!
Don’t forget to stay organized
One of the easiest traps you can fall into while planning an event is becoming disorganized. From sponsor contracts to receipts and invoices, you have a lot of paperwork and information to keep track of. Keeping a binder or file folder for each of your events minimizes the chance that documents will be lost or misplaced. Depending on how complex your event is, consider buying dividers for the binder and labeling them for “Budget”, “Key Contacts”, “Agenda”, “Contracts”, and so on.
If you’re more tech-savvy and want to keep your organization digital, consider using a tool like Evernote. With Evernote, you can create “Notebooks” for each aspect of your event. You can then upload any document you might need. The great thing about this tool is that you are able to “tag” your documents. For example, for a vendor contract you could tag it with “contract”, “[Vendor Name]”, etc. It is suggested to use as many tags as possible because you can search any of those tags and the document you are looking for should appear.
Make sure you always “sync” your Notebooks after you upload or add something new. This will ensure the most updated version of your files can be accessed across all your devices.
If you stay organized, all your hard work will pay off. During the event, be sure your guests are having fun and learning about your small business or charity. And don’t forget to enjoy and relax yourself, you deserve it!
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