To event or not to event: That is the question for which you need to seek a sensible answer!
So you think you want to run an event. Well by all means ‘go for it’. You could get lucky! Or may I suggest that checking an events’ market and financial feasibility before committing to it…is a MUST do activity. Clearly I am not talking about parties, wedding and so forth but wouldn’t you want to increase your chances of having a successful event on your hands by conducting a market analysis and checking out its financial feasibility?
While this all sounds very grown up (it’s just an event: I hear you cry) events are also the ultimate live marketing experience. Get in right (provide something that people actually want) and it can be very powerful. Get it wrong and you could be left with a big bill and a damaged reputation. Call me old fashioned but I like to improve my chances of getting it right!
So your first port of call is to do a little pre-event market research. You can do this by conducting informal or formal primary research, running a survey, by reviewing previous event attendee data, buy doing an internet search or by conducting a focus group with the view to enabling you:
- Identify a need, desire, trend, opportunity
- To seek opinions, interest, find out if there is any existing event competition, establish key event components, event times / dates, perhaps what people might be willing to pay or have paid elsewhere.
The aim of this back ground work is to:
- Enable you to create broad ‘relevant’ concepts
- Enable you to identify key stakeholders – customers, participants, sponsors and key influencers in this world
- Decide what type of events you should hold. It may be not the one you thought you would hold!
While your pre-event marketing research may be encouraging you now need to assess the resource implications of planning and delivering your event plans. These will include making an assessment of the likely cost and time of such things as:
- Staffing, venue, equipment, marketing, programming and any other professional services involved in running the event.
You would also want to know whether your event will deliver. Could it make a profit: develop participation, generate sales and engage communities in social and cultural activities or whatever the objective might be? For larger public events you want to make an assessment of any social, cultural or environmental factors and decide whether it would be a ‘good fit’ with interests of the community as well as politically and with local available event skills.
And so to the money. The required or desired budget!
How much you intend spend on your events tends to rest with what the aim of your event is. Big bold aim will require a big budget. You would also need to agree what your financial strategy will be i.e. to profit: break even: to spend the budget or accept a loss. Operating decisions about the quality of the programme, the on-site services, the cost of providing any minimum health and safety requirements, the effects of weather (need for e.g. marquees) and nature / expectations of the proposed audience will all affect the size of the budget you ideally want.
It an attempt to reduce your financial risk you may want to seek strategic partners to invest in your event, reduce expenditure and or spread the word. You may also want to establish how you could generate income from your event – a sponsor, ticket income…etc.
While somewhat easier to say than to do a Cost Benefit Analysis is also a good idea. Do the economic benefits: possible business opportunities and or any boost in company or a location’s profile out way the costs. For the bigger public events you’d like to know if your event would attract visitors and whether there could be any cultural / social benefits or possible legacies.
To go ahead or not to go ahead?
Well that decision may rest on securing funding, being able to generate the money and or the recruitment of partners to share the burden. In short all this work is aimed at establishing…that it’s worth entering the market and investing your time, energy and money in it. The bigger the event, the greater the risk the more you need to do. Even for small budget events I’d always suggest doing some background before you jump in and plan your next event!
Chris Powell – The Event Expert runs event management courses covering all types of public and business events