Guest Post by Kara Sarvey
Planning an extravagant event on an unlimited budget is both a fun and simple task, however, planning a business-related event on a strict budget may present more challenges. Business events are intended to allow employees to socialize, reinforce existing relationships between the business and clients, and foster new relationships for future business. The following tips can be utilized by a company or a person organizing an event on a limited budget.
- Plan ahead. Plan the event six months ahead in order to lock in prices and find deals in advance. Waiting until the last minute does not leave any time for negotiation.
- Decide on the budget, and stick to it. This is very important if this is a business event and not your money to spend freely. Make sure to consider all the various expenditures, projected expenses and miscellaneous items such as tips and taxes.
- Find a partner. If you are hosting something such as a client appreciation event, think of a few local businesses that could use the exposure and work together. Find coffee shops, salons, and restaurants willing to donate gift certificates for their place of business to use as gifts or door prizes at the event.
- Get ready to bargain! Work on your negotiating skills because as long as you’re willing to ask, you can get discounts and deals on many aspects of a big event. Will the caterer lower their price if you use paper goods instead of renting their china? Can you supply the alcohol for the bar? It can’t hurt to ask any of those questions or ask for a better rate.
- Become friendly with a local caterer. If you would like food at your event, and events in the future, set up meetings with a few caterers. Catering companies are likely to give discounts to companies that hold a lot of events and will need their services in the future. Create a relationship with the catering companies and use one or two exclusively.
- Save a tree, time and money with paperless invitations. Today, everyone has an e-mail address so there’s no need to waste the paper or money on sending out invitations for informal events. E-vite has free e-card invitations for everything from birthdays to fundraisers and professional events. E-vite will even remind invitees of the event the day before.
- Save money on food and drinks. Instead of a full sit-down dinner, perhaps have a cocktail party with appetizers and light desserts. At the bar, the event coordinators can save money by limiting the drink options to beer, wine and a signature cocktail.
- Utilize the wonders of (free!) social networking. If the event is open to the public, tweet the details to your followers, and send out reminders the day before and the day of the event. Update your status on profiles such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. Create an event page on Facebook and cross-post it on the company’s Facebook page. The event organizer can also encourage others to update their own Facebook pages with information about the event. Before beginning any social media outreach, be sure to check your company’s social media policy for appropriate guidelines.
Businesses that frequently host events can easily combine the promotion of their events with their marketing and public relations tactics. Social media simplifies that process because while promoting the company on a platform, it can also be a forum to post events the company is hosting. By employing these simple tips, a seminar, client appreciation event or business luncheon can be an affordable and stress-free event that will benefit your company.
This post was written by Kara Sarvey, a graduate from West Chester University with a B.A. in Communications Studies. Sarvey is currently interning with the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce events department while searching for her next full-time opportunity. Kara can be reached at KaraSarvey@Comcast.net or via her LinkedIn profile here.