Corporate events need careful and clever planning to ensure a successful time. There will always be several problems that can arise during the planning stages of a corporate event. The success of your event can sometimes rely on the smallest of details. So, we’ve gathered 10 steps from professional caterers and event organisers to help you get a little, if not big, idea on how to make your event a memorable one.
#1 Define goal or purpose
Your purpose and goals will drive your event; this is after all the main reason why you are organising one. So, figure out the reason you are holding the event. It might be because you are promoting your newest product or service, thanking people for the success of your past event or product launch or you are aiming to foster stronger ties with clients.
Once you have pinpointed your purpose, ask your team what goals you need establish and want to have achieved by the end of the event? Will you want people to buy, spread the word, raise money for charity, or do you just want to be generous and throw a party?
Whatever your goals and purpose are, make sure they’re feasible to achieve during the event. When defining goals, consider who your audience will be. Your audience should be your focus, aside from your VIP guests of course. They are the ones that should be the target of your goals.
#2 Determine your budget
If the number of attendants for your event is already fixed, then maybe it’s time to consider your budget. Some corporate events may first be provided with a budget by their company, which will obviously determine the number of people who can be invited. Either way, you need some serious budget management for your event. If you allocate too little budget and spend it unwisely, the event will look cheap. If you allocate the right budget and plan it wisely, you’ll get the best value for your money and your guests will be impressed. The secret is to allocate the right amount of money for each aspect of the event that requires spending.
The food and the venue usually takes the biggest chunk out of the budget plan. It isn’t cheap to decorate, either. Entertainment needs to be paid too, plus you need to set aside contingency money in case emergency needs pop out of nowhere during the planning and during the event itself.
#3 Plan and organise the experience
The whole event experience shouldn’t just be left to chance. It should be properly listed from the start to the end. Make sure you have entertainment to break the ice in between long speeches. Start with a simple welcome and slowly build audience expectation by presenting your goals chronologically. Aim for a punch line related to your goals and never let a dull moment linger. Provide extra activities prior to the event’s main focus and let the party commence on a good and fun note. But this experience should be tailored to the crowd, of course.
#4 Choose the right management team and caterer
From start to finish, a corporate event includes some serious planning work.
Unexpected queries may pop up here and there and it can’t be manned by a single person alone. For this, you may need a theme to coordinate within your company. Plus, two heads can be better than one when it comes to gathering creative ideas.
As for the caterer, they provide one of the highlights of your event; the food choices! A few things you should remember when choosing a caterer are:
- Choose a caterer that is flexible in date, time, service and whatever requests you might come up with.
- Choose one that provides good service through client reviews.
- Choose one that has foods that are unique and that serve alternative food for those with allergies and intolerances.
- Of course, choose one that is affordable but still offers the best service.
#5 Choose the right venue
The right venue should be based on the event goals. It can be big and spacious or it can be average and intimate. Often, company events are held in company halls but there can be a good psychological benefit to holding your event somewhere that is not related to work. When budget permits, you can plan to hold your event somewhere that is away from your company and will give the audience time to relax. The venue will also be chosen based on the time of the day the event is happening or the possible weather conditions on the expected date of event.
#6 Determine your marketing goals and strategies
Your event will give you a chance to improve your marketing goals and strategies. This is the time when you would benefit the most by introducing new and innovative products or simply demonstrating the positive side of your services. Your strategies should be tailored to the company’s purpose of holding the event. So whether it’s through souvenirs, inviting press people or bloggers and social media live updates, this should give you the chance to further your company’s marketing stance.
Assign someone on your management team who has a good marketing brain to take charge of this part of the program during the event.
#7 Choose your menu and serving style
When choosing the caterer, you will have the chance to choose the food that is right for your event. For themed events, you can choose to join the theme through food selection as well. With the food choice also comes the choice of eating or serving arrangements. A buffet will give people the chance to interact with each other and a sit down arrangement can be an organised way to do things. For an ultra-relaxed event, a buffet with cocktail tables inspired by the event theme is a nice touch.
#8 Promote it well
Even if people get the invitation to your event, they might not get the gist of your goals through that invitation alone. Promote the event through social media and press releases but make sure you anticipate the number of your audience in advance. Also, include all the necessary information when the invitation is sent. This information should include the dress code, the seats reserved, the venue and time. Ask ahead if they have any allergies regarding foods and inform the caterer in advance. Provide memorable souvenirs at the end, something that is unique and will not be left to collect dust after your guests go home.
#9 Create a contingency plan
Contingency plans will save your event in case something goes wrong. For example, simple things like emergency generators at your venue in case there is a blackout is one important thing to think about. You can’t have an event in the dark! Or, think about an alternate venue in case your outdoor venue is faced with unforseen bad weather issues. Extra food should also be outlined as part of the contingency plan. If left unused, the contingency budget you set aside can be used to help fund your next event.
#10 Evaluate your event
At the end of the day, you alone cannot gauge the impact of your event. Instead, distribute an evaluation form before the end of the event. This will give the audience time to fill it in (make sure there are pen stations present). This evaluation will help you check for the best part of the event based on the guests and the things that may need some improvement next time. You can use this in the future in case you plan for another big day for your company. Offer up the evaluation reports to the whole management team afterwards.
The success of your event will lie in the hands of yourself and your team. To make it work, do it like a pro (or hire a pro) and just keep the ball rolling.
Have you attended any big corporate events? What were the best and worst parts? Leave a comment below!