Tips for organizing a corporate event

Hours are running out and you don’t have time to take an event planning course. That is why you are here: to have a crash course on how to run your first corporate event.

Read on to find out how:

  • Define the objective of the event.
  • Compress everything into manageable tasks.
  • Create a realistic budget.
  • Choose an appropriate date.
  • Create a timeline.
  • Assemble a team.
  • Find a suitable location.
  • Promote the event.

Start at the end.

If it sounds like reverse engineering, that’s because it is.

When you’re about to organize an event, it’s easy to get caught up in the immediate details. But all projects need a vision and a macro plan before they go into detail.

Think about what you want your colleagues and bosses to get out of the event. Is it a network? Education? A good time? All three?

What exactly are you organizing?

It’s a…

  • Conference or seminar
  • A fair
  • A company retreat
  • Christmas party
  • Team-building event
  • Product launch

It is also crucial to serve your target audience. The expectations of your guests will depend on the industry and the level of payment. Start with the end and let it determine the battle plan.

Make a list of the components.

Once you have a general idea of what the event should look like, it is time to segment your plan. Determine each component that is required to make it a success.

Depending on the event, you will need the following:

  • Location.
  • Decoration.
  • Food and beverage.
  • Entertainment.
  • Marketing collateral.
  • Transportation.
  • Accommodation.
  • Ticketing.

Remember that, at first, it doesn’t matter how big a project looks. All that matters is that you can break it down into small, manageable components.

Establish a budget.

You may not be able to establish your own budget for the event. In fact, event planners rarely have unlimited funds to work with.

It’s okay. You can make do with what you have. It’s even possible to organize a zero-budget event if that’s what it is.

Once you know how much work you have to do, it’s time to make some appointments. Compare the costs of different venues, caterers, printers and anything else you need for the event.

The sooner you can book any of them, the more likely you are to get a good price. Otherwise, you’ll just have to negotiate as best you can.

Choose a date.

If you are in a position to choose a date, now is a good time to do so. If the event is seasonal, such as a Christmas party, your options may be limited. The date you set could be influenced by these factors:

  • Who you want to attend (and how much notice they need).
  • How long will it take for everything to be ready?
  • When you launch the product or service.
  • When the site is available

Set a tentative date. You’ll probably have to adjust it slightly once you find the right place.

Create a timeline.

Each plan has a timeline, and you will benefit from making one, too. It doesn’t need to be much more than a series of deadlines to get everything done on time.

It’s good to be optimistic. But when you’re organizing a corporate event, it’s better to be realistic.

Here are some of the unexpected delays you should be aware of:

  • The venue can be doubly booked.
  • The decoration may be sold out.
  • Catering may be late.
  • Printers may misspell your company name.
  • Transportation may be broken.

It is unlikely that all these things will happen, but even one or two of them may put a lock on your wheels.

Assemble your team.

You may need more than one pair of hands to make your event a success. Even if it is a small-scale event, it is helpful to have a team to work with.

If your budget doesn’t allow it, then see if you can use some good persuasion to get your colleagues involved. They might even get excited about being part of the organization.

Find a place.

No matter what event you’re organizing, you’ll need a place for guests to meet. The search for a location can be stressful and can easily affect your budget.

When evaluating different venues, you should consider the following questions:

  • How long do you have to wait?
  • Is it large enough to accommodate the number of attendees?
  • Does the venue have A/C equipment, or should you bring your own?
  • Is there adequate phone reception and WiFi?
  • How much do you have to pay for the deposit?
  • What are the cancellation and refund policies?

As mentioned, it is a good idea to reserve the place as soon as possible to get the best possible price.

Promote your event.

This part will also depend on the event you are organizing. It can be as simple as sending an email to your colleagues. Or as simple as a full-scale marketing campaign.

If you are creating a larger scale event, you should also consider the following:

  • Social media publications and announcements.
  • Brochures and posters.
  • Blog postings.
  • Event listing websites.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  • Direct mail invitations.

What matters is that I get people to attend. Let them know the Q’s: what, when and where.