That’s where all good events start – good ideas. After that obstacle, we help you apply the mathematics and logistics to make sure the idea works and that there is a ready market available.
So what do you do when you have an idea? Where do you start? Let’s use a conference as an example…
Is your idea unique?
Is there another conference out there that is successfully doing what you want to do? If so, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve stopped before you started. If anything it gives you a great research project – look at the website, the social media platforms, the programme, the marketing collateral – work out what makes that event successful. You may decide the market for your idea has already been exhausted – but hey, at least you found out before you spent time and money.
If you’re lucky and your idea is unique it’s time to move onto the next step…
Can the event afford to exist?
We nearly always follow up an original briefing discussion with a detailed budget. Your event budget will show you what you have to spend to manage the event successfully and what revenue you need to ensure you deliver the event ‘in budget’.
We cannot emphasise enough how important it is to be as detailed as possible when putting together the event budget. Use ‘worst case scenario’ figures in the expenditure and be under-generous in your revenues, allow for a 10% contingency of the total budget cost too. It’s very easy to think ‘I can get that for cheaper’ and lower the expected costs in your expenditure. It’s a much more difficult task to question how to achieve the revenue – be balanced, be realistic.
If you want to spend £100K to have an all singing all dancing conference that’s fine, but you need to balance the budget. Be realistic and answer the following questions:
- Will delegates pay to attend? How much?
- How many tickets will you sell? How will you sell them? Is there a service charge application on your sales platform?
- How can you attract sponsorship? What will your sponsors want from their packages? Can you offer sponsor packages with good ROI for both parties?
- What do I NEED to put this event on and what is a NICE TO HAVE? (You can always add ‘nice to have’ elements in later)
- Have you spent enough on marketing? If no one knows about your event they won’t know to buy a ticket and you’re likely to have a quiet event with disappointed sponsors.
It’s not an exhaustive list but it will get you thinking along the right lines.
Can you deliver the event?
Having an idea is one thing. Having the time to realise the idea is another (of course this depends on your day job, your work/life balance and your life choices!). Create a production schedule; this will help you to plot out the busy times in the delivery of the event. Again, there’s no steadfast rule for this, different types of event have different types of preparatory periods.
Using a first time conference as an example, allow ample time to plan the event launch, create the brand and consistently adopt this throughout your marketing. The first few months should be focused on finding a venue, negotiating supplier costs, approaching speakers and attracting sponsorship. These factors will determine the viability of your event. If enough time and effort is put into this stage the other delivery factors should fall neatly into three further categories; production, customer service, and delivery. And always, always update your budget.
There is no precise recipe for ‘event delivery’ but to reiterate, planning is key. Seek advice, talk your idea through (get a confidentiality agreement signed if you’re worried), choose partners to work with that you feel understand your idea and that are as enthusiastic as you are about delivering it. Find your team; trying to deliver an event yourself can be time consuming and the amount of work involved often underestimated. Using the expertise of industry professionals such as designers, marketeers, AV teams, event dressing agencies etc can be the maker or breaker of your event. Getting support isn’t always as pricey as people might assume and the right support can result in your event making a much larger profit, making the impact you wanted to, and not result in news headlines for the wrong reasons.
This is just a taster; the hope is that the information here might inspire you to take any event idea to the next stage and prepare you for what those exciting next steps look like.