Organizing events for small business

March 13, 2014

ConferenceRoom

I have been organizing Kaleidoscope events for the past few months and have organized many more events of varying size in the past. People have often asked me how much time it takes and what the benefits are.

Questions about topics small business owners and new entrepreneurs face always inspire me to organize an event. This time, I thought a blog post would answer these questions.

Event benefits for small businesses

I can share many benefits, but the main reasons are creating brand awareness and publicity for your small business. Smaller benefits are generating networking opportunities with prospects, clients and partners.

Organizing an educational event has obviously a slightly different purpose; you choose to communicate relevant information in class or other training format. This is not related to publicity; it is a service for clients.

For Kaleidoscope, the benefit is the creation of a start-up community that has access to peer learning, best practices and professional advice without paying huge membership or vendor bills. It is essentially meeting my own need!

Event calendar

Think about the timing if you are interested in organizing several events. Too many in a short time will be too time-consuming for you, potentially costly and overkill for people and businesses you are targeting.

Successful events are held in certain time periods:

  • Spring time. Especially after a long winter, Canadians are happy to get together to celebrate the arrival of spring.
  • Canada Day. Who doesn’t love getting together on a sunny day when there’s a good topic and the potential to make business connections in summer clothes?
  • Halloween. Days are turning shorter, darker and colder – celebrating Halloween gives people the chance to brighten up a little.
  • Thanksgiving. Spring and fall are the best times for holding events, as the weather is comfortable enough to go out while people are not out of town on holiday. Thanksgiving is a unique opportunity to give back.
  • Holiday Season. Traditional Christmas and New Year’s parties are abundant. Before taking a break, people are ready to mingle and network with their best moods!
  • Valentines Day. Ah… don’t we all want love? Share the love with your clients and business partners! Invite them for a get together and shower them with a great savings.

Reducing the planning time of events

The core process to plan your events efficiently and effectively is to realize what you and stakeholders need.

  • Purpose. Know the purpose of the event. Be more specific than those mentioned above like branding awareness. For example: to launch a new service, to celebrate an anniversary, and to promote a new partnership.
  • Look and feel. Do you want the event to be informal or official? This influences your event space, branding materials, guest speakers, cocktails or cokes and the layout of the space.
  • Attendee experience. Understand what the attendee wants to experience. What are their expectations? This can make or break the success of an event.
  • Roles. Define the responsibilities for volunteers and colleagues. Ask sponsors for catering or space. Ask a guest speaker and/or moderator. Don’t forget to invite media!
  • Follow up. Here is the opportunity for you to learn what can be improved and what element was considered successful. It is also the right time to remind attendees of the promotional sale or other information.

If you’re interested in events but are not comfortable organizing them, consider jumping on the bandwagon of events organized by other businesses. Choose to have (or share to lower the costs) a booth to showcase your materials or offer to be a guest speaker at conferences, tradeshows and/or networking events.

Author

Lisette Andreyko

Lisette is the founder of Kaleidoscope and is passionate about start-up leadership, personal growth and women in business (and psst.. about tea!). She enjoys connecting with small businesses through her network. You can find her on LinkedIn.