Small business owners often feel that their company just does not have the resources or viability to host corporate events. This is because the very idea of such an occasion usually involves city halls, lavish spreads of exotic food and extraordinary entertainment. However, with a little planning, forethought and help, your small business can host and benefit from a very successful function.
There are various reasons to have a corporate event, some of which include:
- To network
- To launch a new product or service
- To raise awareness of your company amongst those within the industry
- To gauge what your competition is doing
- To establish valuable ties with prospective partners and / or potential clients
In addition, there are several types of events to have, depending on your budget, goals and target market. Events may include dinners, seminars, training, open houses, cocktail parties, product launches, and so on.
By following a few tips and courses of action, you will be able to host a bespoke event that suits you, your company and your wallet.
Know Your Reasons
Think carefully about why you want to have a corporate function. This should include a list of goals that you can measure and evaluate, both before and after the function. These goals will comprise factors such as how many people from different, specific industries you want to attend, how you plan to appeal to these ones, what sorts of responses you expect, and so on.
Know Your Guests
There is no point in randomly inviting people simply to make up your guest numbers. Each person should be invited for a valid reason. They should either be a potential client, a possible partner, an important contact or a key competitor (if appropriate). By being able to give a good reason for every single invitee being included on your list, you will begin to develop an effective plan based on the profile of your guests.
Hire a Professional
Do not take on all of the responsibility of planning this event by yourself if you are not a formal event planner. This will only cause you to give disrupted attention to all aspects of your life. It is wise to use an in-house events coordinator to be responsible for the end product. This can be your PA or someone in the PR department (or even your spouse or sister, if your company / budget does not allow for much more). Give this person clear direction and then allow them to take on the onus of phone calls, contracts, and so on.
Ask For Help
If you need certain items that can be obtained from business partners and contacts, use your connections. This gives them the opportunity to gain some exposure and will no doubt decrease your costs significantly. For example, if one of your guests contribute branded stationery for the function, their logo will be right in front of every single person there; which is hugely valuable to them, while it saved you the cost of corporate stationery. Even if these ones are unable or unwilling to assist you, asking them gives you the opportunity to speak to them, tell them about your goals and make them realise how seriously you take your business.
Keep a Record
Make sure that every single cost is recorded and accounted for, so that you do not look back on your bank account with dismay after the event. In addition, record all who attended, as well as contact details, if possible (you may want to ask them to drop a business card into a box as they arrive, for example). Make a note of important discussions had with various ones, and those who need to be followed up upon. Then, keep track of how many of your follow-ups were converted into business. Your strategies will develop at an astounding pace if you work in this way.
An effective corporate function that combines professionalism and a touch of fun is actually one of the cheapest ways to market your company. Instead of forking out tens of thousands of Rands or Dollars for expensive magazine campaigns or television commercials, you are able to reach a host of people from different sectors on a one-on-one basis. Make effective use of this prize opportunity by being prepared and conscientious.