Planning a Successful Event

The job of an event planner is to pull off a flawless event regardless of size, scope, requirements or any challenges that may crop up during the planning phase or during the event.  At first glance it might seem easy, but a great event planner is truly a special breed of individual with what sometimes seems to be super human skills.  Strength of character, flexibility, quick thinking, creativity, strong communication skills, insightful, doers, uber organized with a tendency towards being a perfectionist are but a few of the characteristics that make for an excellent event planner.  With that being said, choose your planner carefully as they are the first step to ensuring you host a successful event.

Choosing a planner is one piece of the puzzle, but there are several others to consider and one very important piece that must be considered before all else is BUDGET.  Without question, determining your budget is essential to planning your event. Most persons don’t have an unlimited budget so knowing beforehand where the funds are coming from (personal, sponsors etc.), as well as how much you have to spend, controls every element of the event (how many guests will be attending, food and beverage choices, venue selection, entertainment etc.). A budget will help in determining how much to spend on event necessities versus luxuries, determine profit, loss or break even based on projected revenue targets in addition to making informed choices and controlling spend through the planning phase.  Don’t forget this critical step when planning.

Formulating a comprehensive event plan is another critical piece of the puzzle. Your event plan is a checklist of sorts, which will act as a guide through the planning phase of the event as no task is too miniscule to be added and nothing should be left off.  It sets out the various tasks that need to be completed; timelines for getting them completed and provides a great way to show at any given time what part of the planning stage you are at. This master document will detail everything from appointments with vendors, site selection, marketing and promotion, risk assessment, securing licenses, contingency plan etc.  Although setting out this plan may seem daunting at first, it’s a critical step that should be undertaken to ensure that nothing is forgotten. Be sure to check out the online resources which provide event plan templates to get you started.

Depending on the size of your event, it is unlikely that you will be undertaking everything yourself.  As such building a team of persons that you trust and know can get a job done with minimal supervision is imperative.  Furthermore, your team should be multifaceted comprising persons who work well together and possess skills and strengths in a variety of areas (design, procurement, negotiation, technical etc.). Another key point for successful event hosting is building strong relationships with reputable and reliable suppliers, who in essence are an extension of the service you provide to a client. They can either make or break your event by the quality of service and product they provide. Be aware of what they expect and in turn communicate to them what you expect.  Viewing the relationship in terms of mutual benefit and remaining loyal to the ones who get it right, decreases the likelihood of problems arising.  Knowing that you can call on a loyal supplier of at a moment’s notice makes planning that much easier.

Every event is unique, has its own nuisances and will present its own set of challenges, but following the tips above will definitely increase your chances of hosting a successful event.