How to Event Plan for Success

The first thing that usually comes to mind when people think of an event planner, is that this generally refers to weddings. Although weddings are the most common events that the average person attends each year, event planning itself covers a wide range of activities. This includes coordinating business meetings and seminars, conferences, online webinars, academic presentations, fundraisers, family gatherings, and political rallies. Events are a great way to bring the right people together in the right place, at the right time. It is a controlled environment where a specific activity is facilitated by a trained team of professionals.

Pitfalls to Avoid in Building a Strong Event

Whether you are new to the industry or are an established company that is looking to grow your event planning business, here are some pitfalls to avoid in building a strong event.

Misunderstanding Your Client’s Needs

The first step in planning a successful event is to meet with your clients and make sure you take detailed notes on what exactly they want, and what they’ll expect from you. The last thing you want to do is deliver an event that your client didn’t expect. If you are planning an event for a larger audience rather than one company or client, you can still make sure that this step is not missed. Ideas for this can be sending out a survey, getting feedback from previous events, or contacting loyal attendees/ sponsors for your event to see what adds value to them when attending events.

Choosing a Bad Venue or Unreliable Vendor

Your event is only as good as the services that you deliver. You must ensure that every outside vendor that you work with is trustworthy, reliable, professional, and takes their role in your event seriously. If you have a great venue with an outside food vendor that doesn’t live up to the set expectations, you will take the blame. If you have a vendor that does not show up, you will take the blame. If the venue or hotel staff are unprofessional or difficult for attendees to work with, you will take the blame. It’s your responsibility as an event planner to review each vendor and venue to ensure you and your client’s expectations will be met or, better yet, exceeded.

Poor Coordination

Your vendors and temporary staff are part of your team, and coordination and competence among team members is very important if you want to avoid unforced errors. When beginning your project, make sure each member of your team understands their role during the event. Make sure to set clear expectations of what you want them to focus on at the event, what their responsibilities are, and who to turn to if issues arise that could affect the overall production of the event. Open the lines of communication between team members so that everyone is on the same page and understands their responsibilities. A great way to make sure that all of these boxes get checked is by creating a playbook that includes job duties, timelines, processes, and contact information with points of contacts for all staff, coordinators, vendors, etc.

Underestimating Expenses

Accurate estimates and budgeting for events are critical if your business is to survive in a competitive market. Take the time to double check your vendor and venue costs to ensure you haven’t missed any of the important details throughout the planning process. Inaccurate estimates can be costly, both financially, and to your brand. If you continuously come in with estimates that are lower than the actual cost of the event, your clients will begin to lose confidence in your ability to accurately plan an event, or worse, possibly think you are passing the cost of your failures on to them. If your expenses spiral out of control, you’ll end up over budget, either eating the extra costs or explaining to your clients why they owe more after the event is over.

Poor Customer Communication

One of the biggest pitfalls to avoid when planning an event is poor communication with your clients or staff. A lack of communication can lead to a bad experience and be considered extremely poor customer service. Dedicated, constant communication with your team, clients, vendors, staff, attendees, or sponsors is what will truly ensure a successful event. Problems will always arise at events, but it’s the way that you deal with these issues which determines if you’re providing the level of customer service your clients expect.

How to grow a successful event planning business

A helpful policy to have when beginning the planning stage of an event is to always have a “crisis management” strategy. This is where you identify the things that could go wrong and areas that may need special attention during an event. A common phrase used in event planning is “Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.” Preparing for unforeseen circumstances will allow you to quickly address problem areas and make corrections before they become a true issue, and before your attendees or clients can even know that an error has occurred.

Here are some event planning tips that will help prepare you for success.

Have a plan

Build a plan and make sure you stay on task. Write out your timeline for event preparation, execution, and clean up; create written processes for event logistics; put together checklists of what needs to get accomplished; and write out specific role responsibilities for each person that will be working on the event.

Stay upbeat

Maintaining and broadcasting a positive attitude will calm your staff and keep your clients feeling confident in your ability to deliver. Being the friendly, helpful, consistent presence at the event provides peace of mind to all involved in the event.

Consult with experts

If you come across a portion of an event that you may not fully understand, don’t be afraid to consult an expert. Getting advice on certain aspects of your job doesn’t show weakness, but rather courage, humbleness, and the willingness to learn.

Deliver on your promises

Perform on your guarantees. Stick to your plan and make sure that all the deliverables you promised are provided as expected.

Think on the fly

To stay ahead of the curve, you need to think quickly and be prepared to adjust your plan to make the event a success. Again, plan for the best, prepare for the worst – having a plan B and C ready to pull out of your back pocket if need be.

Build a reliable team

Remember, you are only as strong as your weakest link. Create an eager, talented, kind, and competent team, and you will be on your way to success.

Develop a bond with customers

Build a strong pipeline of clients and pay attention to their needs. Reach out to them and ensure they feel they are involved in the planning, or execution of the event, and are happy with your strategy or plan. Address any areas where they think there is a shortfall and present a backup plan, if necessary.

The event planning industry can be very rewarding, but it can also be incredibly stressful since there is a large margin for error to occur. Businesses and individuals hire event planners because they want to hand off this process to an experienced planner that knows how to plan, execute, and reflect for future events going forward.

If you take the time to strategically develop a great plan, build a strong team, communicate well with your clients to ensure they are kept “in-the-loop” on your progression, keep your costs down, plan for contingencies, and build a robust marketing brand, your business will flourish, creating a network of customers that will keep you busy for years to come.

Tips on Creating a Logo That Fits Your Brand

When building a brand, you want a logo that’s not only unique but one that uniquely fits with your brand identity. Logos serve as a visual representation of your company as well as a recognizable icon of your business for existing clients.
If you’re a business just starting up, you may want a logo that helps you stand out from your competitors. If you are an established business going through rebranding, then you may want a logo that accentuates your brand or maybe emphasizes a new strategy.
Either way, here are seven insights into what you need to know in creating the perfect company logo.
1. Decide what defines your brand.
Begin your logo design by deciding what your brand represents and what you want your audience to learn about your company. Your logo should take on the personality of your business and reflect its core values. When customers see your logo, they should get a feeling of what you stand for, and in the process, call out to them to learn more about who you are and what you offer.
2. Portray your company values.
A logo is an excellent way to visualize the core values of your business. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about what grabs them. What will make them take notice? Does your logo adequately tell the story of your company through its design, or portray your values? Toss around ideas with your team on how you can incorporate some or all of your values in a logo. Provide clarity about what makes you stand out as a brand.
3. Make your logo your brand.
Before you begin designing a logo, think about how you can build a brand around a logo. Take Microsoft’s logo for instance. It’s only four colored square tiles, but almost everyone recognizes the logo as being related to the “Windows” brand. Your logo doesn’t have to be overly complicated to describe your brand; it just needs to resonate with the audience. Play around with several designs where you focus on your brand as the central design element.
4. Ask for professional help.
There is real science behind designing a brand that is relatable to the public. About 90% of people’s assessment of a product or brand is based on their personal preference of color and color schemes. Try to choose colors that evoke the right type of emotion from your audience. While it’s always great to come up with some “cocktail napkin” drawings of your logo, a professional logo designer can help with putting on the polish. The value they add in creating the right size file with the correct color palette is worth the price, especially if you plan on placing your logo on multiple platforms, including print, web, social media, product packaging, and signage.
5. Trial by error.
Work with team members to come up with several designs. Not everyone’s perception is the same, and some team members may have ideas you hadn’t considered. Many times, logo designers work up several models and after consulting with business owners, combine aspects from two or more mockups into the final design.
6. Tell your story.
If your customers compared your new logo to your closest competitor, would they know the difference? How are you telling the story of your business through your logo? Work on creating a logo around your brand that’s recognizable across all marketing channels. This strategy will help get your story out while staying consistent with your marketing elements.
7. Review competitor logos.
Some businesses merely contract a logo designer and go with the first design they find attractive. This is a bad idea. A poorly designed logo can send the wrong message, one you may not have picked up on at first glance. Take your time to review and evaluate your competitor’s logos to see how you can stand out. Bring in your team members, maybe from various departments, and get their input and feedback. Research and determine what color schemes suit your brand and draw emotion. Take your time, do your research, gather feedback, and make sure it’s a logo where everyone on your team agrees it will represent your brand well for a long time to come.