Planning a corporate event can be extremely stressful, with a host of tedious tasks that need to be completed before the big day. To add to this pressure, corporate events will now need to follow strict health and safety guidelines to ensure that all guests, speakers and staff remain safe throughout the event. However, staying organised can ensure that your day runs smoothly, as well as minimise the stress leading up to your event. As professional entertainment specialists offering event hire in Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas for many years, we thought that a guide on how to plan a corporate event could give you a head start on perfecting your next experience.

How To Plan A Corporate Event In 6 Easy Steps

Whether it’s a conference, product launch or awards evening, many corporate events have been put on hold due to the lockdown, and many are dubious about planning an event in the near future for obvious reasons. However, as long as you keep to the social distancing rules and provide a safe and hygienic environment for your guests, now is the perfect time to start planning to ensure everything is ready in time for your next corporate event.

There is a lot that goes into planning a corporate event, as not only do you need to make a good impression on your guests, but you also need to ensure that you get your brand message and image across. This is actually a lot easier than you may think, and with extensive planning and a host of checklists, you can be well on the way to a successful event. We have put together some easy steps to help you organise your event from start to finish:

man on stage

Establish Your Goals

Every event has a purpose, whether it is to promote something to your clients/customers or to inform your employees of a new project or campaign that you are launching. For this reason, it is essential to make sure that you establish your goals to ensure that they are portrayed in the event. This will help you to pick a venue and theme for the event, as well as provide you with foundations for your presentation. Start by asking yourself why you are hosting this event and what you expect to come out of it. By answering these questions, you can then determine what type of event you are planning and how you are going to target your audience. Other questions that you should try answering before you start planning your event include the following:

  • What is this event for?
  • What do I wish to achieve from this event?
  • What are your business values?
  • What is your business message?

Another way to identify your goals is to use the SMART technique; this is where you split each aspect of your mission into sections. Try using the technique below:

  • S pecific – make sure that your goal is simple yet significant
  • M easurable – is your event going to be meaningful to your audience?
  • A ttainable – is your goal achievable?
  • R ealistic – your goal will need to be reasonable and relevant to your audience, i.e. does your event resolve your audience’s issues or answer their questions?
  • T ime bound – is your goal time-limited? If so, then you may need to plan your event around a time frame.

finding goals

Work Out Your Budget

As you can imagine, events can cost a lot of money, and the bigger the event, the more expensive it is going to cost. A significant factor that you will need to consider when thinking about your budget is whether your event is for employees or an outside audience. This will greatly impact your budget, as an outside audience will pay for tickets, meaning that you will either get all your money back, or even make a profit. Whereas, when it’s an internal event, the money that you spend is likely going to come from the company’s overall budget.

Setting a budget is important as it can have a significant impact on what venue you opt for, how many people attend and what additional features and decoration you choose to include. A budget usually works one of two ways; you have a dedicated budget that you have to work around, or you work out roughly how much you need to spend on certain aspects of the event to come up with an overall budget. The Balance Small Business has put together a helpful guide on the different types of expenses that you will need to consider when hosting a corporate event, so it is well worth a look before starting your planning. When planning your budget, we would advise that you consider the following:

working on budget

Look At Past Events

Have you had an event in the past that was a similar size to the one you are currently planning? If the answer is yes, then this could benefit you when trying to piece together a budget. The amount that was spent on that project can help you understand roughly how much it may cost you to host a similar event. Not only this, but it can also help you to find reputable companies to help you set up the event, as you will know that you can rely on teams used on the past to lend you a helping hand.

Consider Budget Allocation

Many larger companies tend not to have a budget at all, but this isn’t quite the case for everyone. However, through these larger companies spending sprees when it comes to events, we can gather an understanding of how much of our budget should be going to specific areas. By allocating your budget, it means that you can research each aspect of the event to find how much it may cost you; therefore, helping you to devise a budget plan. Big companies usually spend the following percentage of their budget on the following:

  • Marketing & Promotion – 43%
  • Speakers – 32%
  • Printed Materials (posters, brochures, leaflets, etc.) – 29%
  • Venue – 18%

working out plan

Identify Your Goal

Once you have identified your event goals using the advice above, you can begin to allocate spending on certain services to help enhance your goals. For example, if your main goal is to promote your new product to your customers, then you may want to allocate more of your budget towards marketing and promotional materials. Other goals, such as profits, can also help you to set budgets; once you have a budget in place, you can then work out how much tickets will cost to help you achieve your profit goals.

List Your Event Expenses

A common mistake that many people make when planning their corporate event, is to factor in all the elements that need to be paid for in order for the event to be successful. Think carefully about every aspect of your event and what you may need to help enhance it; remember that staffing is key to maintain safety, productivity and order. Some things that you may need to add to your list of payments include:

  • Venue
  • Staff (both internal and external)
  • Technology
  • Staging
  • Decorations
  • Food & Drink
  • Event Branding
  • Promotional Materials
  • Travel
  • Accommodation
  • Security
  • Hand Sanitiser

woman working out plan

Organise Your Project Timeline

Checklists are going to be your best friend when it comes to planning an event of any kind. While it may sound time-consuming, it is important to make sure that you organise multiple checklists for various different things, such as things you need to pay for, people you plan to invite, speakers you need to contact and more. To make sure that you stay on top of everything event-related, we would advise making checklists for every month leading up to the event; this way, you can keep on top of everything and ensure that the urgent tasks are completed way before the event date. Other aspects such as decorations can always wait until a few months before, whereas venues may need to be organised months in advanced to secure your place. A basic checklist for your event may include the following:

Soft drinks
Alcoholic drinks

If you need a helping hand in creating the perfect checklist for your event, and to know more about how to create a checklist for each month leading up to the event, then we would suggest taking a look at Social Tables helpful guide. Once you know exactly how to make a checklist, why not head over to Checkli to create your checklist that can be customised with your company branding and then printed out to hand over to teams or emailed for online ticking.

Choose A Venue & Date

It is likely that your venue is going to have an impact on the date of your event, as after all, if you have no venue, then you won’t be able to book in a date. You may have a specific date in mind, but if you have a venue you wish to book, then you may find that it has already been booked. For this reason, it’s best to first pick a month in which you wish to hold your event, and then search for your favourite venues to host in.

When searching for your venue, there are multiple questions that you need to ask yourself first. For example:

  • What location do you need? – Is it near a train station, bus stop or taxi rank? Is it easy to access?
  • Does it fit in with your budget? – some venues can be extremely expensive.
  • Have you been there before? – if the answer is no, then you may need to book in a visit.
  • Can everyone fit inside? – whether the event is seated or standing, you will need to ensure that everyone can fit in the venue along with your stage.
  • Is there a social area? – before your event, people will want to chat and graze on food, so make sure there is somewhere for them to do so before the event starts.

Due to government rules of social distancing and hygiene regulations, many offices and events require fresh air to circulate to maintain a safe and healthy environment. One of the best ways to do this, is to consider event marquees in Oxford and the surrounding areas. A marquee outside allows guests to enjoy the outdoors and sunshine, while remaining safe and comfortable. The marquee can be fully customised to your brand and message, as well as using LED lighting to create an engaging and entertaining atmosphere for your guests. The marquees are perfect for various event types, such as sit down conferences, product launches and even exhibitions. Even if your event is located inside, our InflataBreakout package is perfect for creating engaging and innovative presentations. Please feel free to contact the team about our marquee hire in London and the surrounding areas for more information and to book yours today!

inflatable booth

Target Your Audience

Whether you’re planning an internal or external corporate event, you will need to ensure that you target your audience. This can be done via email for internal events, and through various platforms when looking for your customers online. Nowadays, finding your target audience is easier than ever, with a vast amount of online platforms creating groups and communities where you can contact potential customers. Research is always the way forward when trying to look for your target audience, and Hootsuite has put together a helpful guide on how to identify your audience. Once you have done this, then it’s time to find your audience on social media, such as Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Promo Republic has ten helpful tips to finding your target audience on social media platforms.

There are multiple different ways in which you can promote your event to your target audience, and ensuring that you have a good marketing plan can enhance your presence online. Just some simple ways of using social media to promote your event include:

  • Fill out your profile information – this will help customers get in contact with you
  • Add you brands hashtags/appropriate hashtags that relate to your event
  • Always promote your social media on newsletters or email signatures
  • Think about considering social media ads
  • Social media only discounts will always attract customers – you can always do ‘10% off tickets when you follow us on social’

Business West has some further advice on how to promote your business on social media, so we would highly recommend taking a few minutes to give it a read!

on social media

Plan The Day

Just like you would plan the lead up to the event, you need to make sure that you plan the day itself. This will help you to organise where staff should be and when speakers will be on stage. Start by mapping out the day from start to finish. The first step is going to be the venue and decorations; will you have someone at the venue sorting everything out on your behalf, or will you and a team of employees need to attend? You are also likely going to need to rehearse your presentation on stage to ensure the lighting is perfect. Here is a rough guide on what things may need to be scheduled:

  • Your arrival at the venue
  • Setting up the venue
  • Practicing your presentation
  • Guests arriving
  • Serving food/drinks
  • Guests enter to venue
  • First speaker starts
  • Breaks
  • Last speaker
  • Question time
  • Guests leaving
  • Team catch up
  • Venue clear up

Another thing you will need to factor into your planning on the day is hygiene, such as two-metre rules and hand sanitiser dotted around the venue. This can be arranged during the set-up of the venue by placing tape on the floor and situating seats a safe distance apart. If you require further guidance on this topic, then please take a look at Medical New Today’s article.

mapping out day

Organise A Successful Event

While there are many things that go into organising your corporate event, as long as you stay on top of all your tasks and keep organised, you should find the process simple and stress-free. If you find yourself getting confused or things keep getting missed, then take a few minutes out of your planning to make a checklist. Checklists are a fantastic way to stay on top of things, and can highlight when things are missed or behind schedule. So, now that you’re an expert in planning corporate events and have your checklists at hand, it’s time to start organising your successful, innovative and engaging event!