It wasn’t that long ago that Sleek Events was a startup company working out of our founder’s spare bedroom. Five years on, having seen significant growth, we decided the time was right to give back to the brave entrepreneurs taking the leap with their own startup businesses. Along with our pledge to work with one UK-based startup each year to advise on events to support their business growth, this blog is the first in a series of advice for startups looking to harness the power of events.
And the best place to start is at the beginning – our top 5 tips for running your first ever event as a startup…
1. Define the aim of the event
First thing is first, what is the purpose of the event? Are you wanting to launch a new product? Generate new sales? Or is it to say thank you to your suppliers or business network?
No matter the reason, you need to set a goal or purpose for the event. Clearly communicate this to anyone helping you run the event or who may be attending the event on behalf of your business. This then allows everyone to be prepared to help you reach your goal.
By defining the aim of the event, this will also determine your target audience and guest list.
2. Break everything into manageable tasks and create a plan
Running your first event can seem like an overwhelming task when you’re first starting out, but you can easily overcome this by making a detailed plan.
Figure out each element that is required to make your event run smoothly and start breaking it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Such as:
- Set your venue brief – how many people does the venue need to fit, what style of venue are you looking for, etc.
- Research venues that match your brief
- Request quotes
- Visit the site in person
- Book the venue.
In your event plan, it always helps to set deadlines for tasks assigned to both you and your team. This keeps everyone on track and ensures no tasks are left to the last minute.
3. Set a budget and stick to it
It’s important to be realistic with your budget from the start and to make sure you stick to it. Create a budget document and assign a spending figure that you can afford to each element of the event i.e. venue, catering, etc.
Remember to start gathering quotes early to see how they compare to your budget. If you need to make adjustments, make them before the invitation or promotion stage. This will allow you to see if you have extra money, perhaps to spend on something you couldn’t initially afford or if you need to make some savings.
4. Promote the event
Promotion of your event will differ depending on the type of event you are running – is it open to the public or closed to your private guests? If it is closed to privately-invited guests, it can be as easy as an emailed Save the Date, followed by an Invitation and reminder to RSVP. For events that are open to the public, where you want a larger number of guests attending, you may need to put a marketing campaign into action. Consider using social media, online advertising, event listing websites and flyers or posters as promotional tools.
5. Have a follow-up plan
Look back at the aim of your event, was it to generate new sales and leads or to create new networking industry contacts? Consider how you are going to collect these contact details during the event to ensure you have a way to follow up after the event. In your event plan, ensure you come up with a communication strategy for after the event to reach out to those who attended.
An event will always cost you something – whether that is money for a venue and refreshments or your time in planning and coordination. It must deliver you a return on your investment.
And don’t forget, if all of this seems overwhelming right now, ask for advice from an expert. The best entrepreneurs know when to ask for help – we can’t all be experts at everything! For more tips from our eventprofs, follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter