Planning a corporate event shares many similarities with planning other types of parties. It requires time, dedication and attention to detail. To successfully plan an event for a business, you'll have to budget smartly, pick an appropriate theme, and scout locations and venues. After deciding on these elements, you'll then want to sign your contracts, create a backup plan, and get buzz going for the big day. All of these things can contribute to a memorable corporate event that goes off without a hitch!
Like other types of get-togethers, corporate events can benefit from staying within a particular budget. Deciding on a set amount of money to spend on the event – and staying well under it – can keep money coming into your business, instead of rolling out of it. Determining a budget can also help you allot adequate funds to aspects of the event, such as food, entertainment, venue rental, or anything else that you'd like to include in the festivities.
Pick a Theme
An event's theme can be one of the first decisions that a corporate event planner will make. A good theme can set the tone, and influence all other facets of the event. Try to pick a theme that is connected to your company, an important aspect of its business, or even a present goal. Selecting the right theme can tie the other elements of your corporate event together. If you incorporate colors and logos that are associated with your company into the theme, it can also be a great way to boost your company's brand.
Scout Locations and Vendors
Consider vendors' pricing, quality of products and hours of service when determining if they're a good fit for your event. Be sure to sample as many products as you can to make informed decisions. If you're interested in saving money, consider vendors who will provide additional items that you will need for your event. For instance, a venue manager might offer to supply you with free tableware as an incentive to rent his property, which can save you money. Don't leave the frills to the last minute – make sure your bartender is licensed and that you can serve alcohol at the venue, if you plan to put it on the menu. Provide your vendors with as much detail as you can. Let them know about your preferences regarding serving times and methods so that they can prepare.
Sign on the Dotted Line
Set your event's date in stone by signing your vendors' contracts. Make sure that you read the contracts' fine print and iron out all details, no matter how minor, to ensure an event that goes smoothly. After you sign your contracts, you can begin purchasing your decorations. Continue to do as much preparation as you can before the day of your event. For example, you can visit your venue's location the night before the event and decorate it yourself, so that you'll have one less thing to worry about while the event is taking place.
Have a Backup Plan
To avoid mishaps, create a to-do list a week before the event to ensure that all remaining tasks are addressed. You can use an event planning checklist for general guidance, as well. Consider hiring security so that unwelcome guests are kept out of your event. Hiring security may also protect you from liability issues. Investing in insurance can also be a good idea, and can be a safety net, should an accident or an injury occur on the premises. Ask for volunteers for the event so that you can dispatch them as needs arise.
Get Buzz Going
Create your invitations. Get positive word of mouth going by making your invitations warm, inviting and interesting. Remember that your invitations are advertisements for the event. Double-check guest list information and send out the invitations electronically or through the mail. If your event is supposed to be high-profile, consider using a publicist's services. The publicist can create some press releases and make sure that the spotlight will be on your event.
Event Planning Handbook (PDF)
Written By Sophie Pierce.