Written By: Paighton Moffitt
Product launch parties, conferences, lunch & learns, employee celebrations, company retreats, networking events…SLOW DOWN.
People don’t often talk about how many events come with running a business, and it can be overwhelming. Hosting an event takes a lot of time, planning, organization, and hard work.
At this point, you might be thinking, “Where do I even begin?”
Well, you can start right here—with the 5 steps you need to plan your next successful event.
1. Ask Questions & Establish Goals
First things first, there are many questions you need to address before moving forward with your planning. Sit down with the person/people helping you host the event and address a couple questions listed below.
- What is the purpose of this event?
- Who will be attending?
- What kind of speakers or entertainment is needed?
- What’s the budget?
- What’s the overall goal for this event?
Oh, and if you’re an event planning team of one, that’s okay too! Walk yourself through those same questions.
Asking these questions will help you set expectations from the beginning.
2. Create A Timeline Plan
Now that you have expectations and goals in place, you can move forward with planning. Create a timeline with everything that needs to be done up until the event.
This may include:
- Choosing the venue
- Creating menus
- Booking catering
- Scheduling speakers/entertainment
- Getting day-of volunteers
- Organizing the agenda
- Buying decor
- Sending out invitations
- Getting sponsors
- Developing a landing page
- Marketing your event
- And so much more!
Any task that needs to be done before the event should be included in this timeline plan. I suggest creating your timeline plan in a google spreadsheet so everything can all be in one place and can easily be shared with other team members.
3. Establish A Team & Assign Roles
Congratulations, your plan is in place! Now it’s time to recruit a team to help you execute the plan. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and assign responsibilities to your team members.
For example, any marketing tasks should be given to the marketing team, any development tasks should be given to the development team, and so forth .
We’ve all heard the saying, “Many hands make light work.” This couldn’t be more true when it comes to planning an event. Don’t try to do everything yourself.
Assign it out, create a checklist or spreadsheet, and begin executing.
4. Follow-Up Until The Event
Your timeline & execution plan are now in place. *Hallelujah* now you’ve arrived at the easy part.
Your follow up efforts from now until the event are key! Make sure you follow up with every task that has not yet been completed on the timeline plan/execution checklist.
For example, if “Alex” is supposed to send out the 1st email campaign on Tuesday, you will want to follow up with “Alex” to make sure everything is ready to go on Monday. Ask “Alex” if it will be ready to be sent out tomorrow and if there is anything you can do to help him.
Following up is crucial to ensure that every task will be completed on time and everything will go smoothly the day of your event.
You should also follow up with caterers, your venue, any rentals, speakers, audio/visual equipment operators, and entertainment a week before the event to make sure all details are clear and finalized, and arrival time/location is confirmed.
5. Execute, Enjoy, & Review
The event is here! All that hard work has finally paid off. The most important thing is to make sure you make yourself available to answer guest questions and take the time to enjoy the event you’ve successfully executed..
Some things might not go as planned and that is OKAY! You did everything right to prepare for the event and now you need to relax and let your hard work show.
After the event is over, I highly recommend doing an AAR (After Action Review) with the team involved. This review is a process for analyzing what happened, why it happened, and how it can be done better next time.
As you can see, throwing an event takes a lot of time, planning, organization, & hard work. Hopefully these 5 steps will help as you plan and execute your next successful event!