Launching your first business event can be an exciting yet daunting prospect if you’re a start-up or SME. Your budgets, and your contingency funds, feel vulnerable and inadequate by comparison to the generous resources thrown at large corporate events.
Add in the fact that careful planning can’t always mitigate against the unknowns, and that prospect can easily spin out of control in your imagination. Failure to concentrate on those crucial details in the planning stages can cause many a would-be success to stumble and fall spectacularly. But if you dare to cover the known unknowns and guesstimate the unknown unknowns with an open mind, you’ll be well on the way to pulling off your first successful business event.
These four crucial details will help you nail it:
Planning for Risk.
One strict rule of thumb known to any event management professional worth their salt is to apply forensic scrutiny to detail to all three stages of your event: in the launch, execution, and finish. For instance, have you researched its exact location in case staff or guests can’t give first-responders the correct street name in an emergency? And, tempting as it is, don’t bank on the accuracy of the weather forecast – few others do.
Communication, Communication, Communication.
Faultless communication can solve problems before they even arise. And be sure of one thing — they will. Make clear to your event organisers that you expect a regular 360⁰ approach and ensure they remind you of your “launch, execution, finish” check-list as often as you brief them on it.
Access All Areas.
Try pushing yourself round the venue in a wheelchair to seek out those unwanted step-only access points and ask: Are all spaces accessible to wheelchairs and other mobility aids? You’ll need to have someone checking that the venue meets all current requirements, practical and legal, and ensure staff test the flush in every restroom, including the disabled ones.
Heating, Ventilation & Air-Con (HVAC).
Regardless of season, HVAC is one crucial detail which is easily overlooked, often with disappointing results. Without prior planning, the first inkling you may get of unexpected trouble is when your guests complain of excessive warmth or mind-numbing cold. Temperature control is a detail which is only ever notable by its absence. But a back-up mobile energy supply is an affordable way of providing some protection against loss of heating or air-con or even wifi, with the added bonus that if your venue goes off-grid, your guests won’t go offline.
So you can relax now, right? It’ll often by-pass many an amateur event manager, but guests’ lasting impression is arguably more important than their first. In any event, plan for a fast, smooth and grimace-free exit for your attendees. Remember, “launch, execution AND finish”; a quick coat check, a dry walk to the parking lot and an exit onto a highway free of rush-hour traffic.
Thank them all for coming, and the outcome of your first business event could be as successful as the outcome for your start-up itself.
[Image by nile, used under the Creative Commons License]