By: Trace Kingham
When it comes to planning corporate and non-profit events, it takes valuable time and resources for an organization to produce a successful experience. It can cost even more, i.e. reputation and revenue, if you don’t avoid these top seven most costly mistakes.
- Not having a clear and concise purpose for your event.
We’ve all heard the old adage, “You must have a plan in order to know where you are going!” In order for your event to be successful, you must understand what you want to accomplish. This is achieved by sitting down with all the stakeholders and defining the end result the organization needs to realize (your purpose) and define strategies on how you are going to achieve those results.
- Not following standard, repeatable event management processes.
Lack of an agreed upon planning process increases the risk that tasks related to the event will inevitably fall through the cracks or last-minute implementation, which results in last-minute issues, will fall short on meeting your budget and ultimately miss major objectives.
- Ineffective management of scope creep.
It’s vital to follow a formal ‘change tracking process’ to keep changes documented, communicated and under control. If requesting a change (e.g. additional seating capacity or change in the food service) these types of requests require justification. The event manager needs to determine how that request will impact the overall experience, budget, timeline; and communicate it to all other stakeholders involved on the impact this change would have on the event experience and mutually agreed upon outcomes.
- Improperly allocating resources.
It takes many different resources to pull off a successful event- whether it be Venue, AV, Lighting, Sound, Staging, Caterers, Sponsors, Donors, Talent and other outsourcers. A thorough valuation of all resources at the onset of the planning process is critical in order to determine how to allocate resources across the vast amount of components and intricacies it will take to pull off your event.
- Not planning for Murphy’s Law.
As they say; “If it can go wrong, IT WILL.” A way to reduce risk is to do a thorough risk assessment during the entire planning process. An effective planner is continuously assessing risk. By having an expert on hand that has experienced the many possible things that could go wrong, you can plan for the worst case scenarios. This level of preparedness will examine and create a “plan b” (and in some cases “plan c”) which will make it much easier to react to a “curve ball” in the moment.
- Lack of budget controls.
Stakeholders must have confidence that budgets are being met with a clear process in place that maintains a keen eye on your event budget. Negotiations is just one way to ensure that you can maximize the event experience and stay within your event’s budget allocation. Knowing what you can and can’t ask from trusted vendors/venues is an important part of planning an event. These simple requests can help keep you budget inline and improve results. Have everything you spend in writing and assess frequently to determine effective budget control.
7. Not Working with an Experienced Event Planner
Too often one underestimates the value of having an experienced event manager on board. They are a professional that brings the right combination of industry knowledge, connections, and expertise to ensure your event is a success and the strategic goals are always at the forefront and therefore met. Because this is what they do, experienced planners have the expertise to facilitate planning meetings, manage risk, control spending and have the skill to successfully handle a variety of different vendors and key stakeholders.
Avoid these pitfalls when planning your next event and it will inevitably help your organization reach and exceed expectations.
Trace Kingham, President & Chief Experience Officer for Kingham Signature Events and Author of STANDOUT: Place Your Business in the Spotlight with Results Driven Events, has planned events for 20 years for large corporate and non-profit organizations. Trace’s has received 2 National and 1 International Award for his work. Trace’s designs have been featured in International BRIDES magazine and was named one of Tampa’s Outstanding Voices in 2016.