#1 Benefit of Events & 7 Tips

I’ve organized and executed lots of events for different reasons over the years.  Events are both exciting and exhausting.  But why do them?

The #1 benefit of events is they bring FOCUS.

Everybody gets wrapped up in events – those leading the charge, fellow staff or volunteers helping out, customers, and the media.  (Who knows maybe your animals on the farm get excited when they know they are going to be greeted by hordes of children.)

An event can be a gardening workshop you are holding for 10 people, participation in a large yoga conference with a booth, or a themed festival day at your farm.

Events deserve focus.  They shine a spotlight on your company, its products and services – so you want to make sure that whatever type of event you are doing it’s done well.

 

7 Tips…
Know why you are doing the event. 

Be sure to have a clear purpose and goals for your event.  Are you trying to reach new customers?  Is it purely for additional sales?  Are you trying to get media coverage?  Be sure you plan your event to achieve those goals.

Start planning a minimum of 6 months in advance, ideally 1 year. 

3 months is possible but it’s tight.  Why so much time?  See the next point.

Promote it properly

Lead times are important so that you can cement all the necessary details – date/time/location/activities/speakers/sponsors etc.  This is especially important when printing materials such as a flyer.

For a simple event, promotion may mean 1 page flyers from your home printer, a listing on your website, and a series of emails to your newsletter subscribers.  For larger events, you may want to develop a specific graphic look for the event, print a professionally looking postcard or brochure, give it a page on your website, as well as promote it to your email list.

The more time you have the more people you can tell about the event, and the more successful it will be.

Be aware events are resource intensive.

To me this is the number one negative about events.  They can be incredibly resource intensive – requiring time and money.  For example, you may need to boost production to have more product ready and/or find additional people to staff your booth at the conference that weekend.

Map out a timeline

When you starting planning an event sit down and make a list of all the required steps.  Estimate how much time each step will take, and who will be responsible for it.  Keep the list updated as much as possible, although this always goes a bit off the track near the actual event.

I start an Excel spreadsheet and record every possible step I can think of on a separate line.  Then I go back and sort them by when they need to be completed.  I jot notes down on a printed copy and update the Excel file ongoing and after the event so that all of the information is there for next time.

Have a supplies list

Similar to the timeline I prefer to keep a list on Excel of everything needed for the event.  Use sub-categories as necessary – for example, before the event, at the event, follow up.  No item is too small.

Start with estimating everything you need and then note the actuals used.  For the next event it will all be in one place.  For example – 1,000 postcards printed / 700 distributed, 40 lbs of summer sausage used for samples/ 2 lbs leftover, next time bring 2 garbage pails for sample waste, etc.

Avoid one off events

Because events are resource intensive, avoid events that you will only hold one time.  Look for events that can be done on a regular basis.  Maybe every August you offer canning workshops.  Maybe your focus is attending 3 conferences each year.  Maybe it’s an annual Spring Open House.  The benefit is that your event will continually improve as you learn what works and you won’t be recreating the wheel each time when it comes to processes and promotional efforts.

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