Holding an event can be a great way to publicize your business and attract new clients. However, as a small business owner, you may struggle to decipher when to outsource the event planning…and if you do want to hire, you may wonder how to find a good event planner and what to expect from the relationship.
These questions about event planning were recently asked in the Smart Hustle Community, our Facebook group that allows people to give advice and get advice about all of their small business challenges. Although I personally replied to the smart hustler who asked this question, I know that many small business owners are wondering the same things. So let’s discuss!
When to Hire an Event Planner
First things first: should you actually hire an event planner or should you manage things yourself? Here are 4 signs that you should outsource the job.
1. It’s a large event.
The bigger the event, the more details there are. An event planner will make sure nothing falls through the cracks!
2. You’re already super busy running your business.
Planning an event takes time and will pull you away from your normal tasks. If other aspects of your business may suffer, you should outsource the work.
3. You’ve never planned an event before.
Planning an event is stressful. You may struggle in executing your vision, overlook crucial aspects, or have trouble finding locations, hotels, airlines, caterers and other vendors since you have no previous relationships.
4. You want to ‘wow’ your attendees.
An event planner will make sure that the location looks stunning and that everything runs smoothly. Instead of worrying about details and dealing with crises, you can enjoy the event and connect with guests.
How to Screen and Find the Right Event Planner
So now you’ve decided that you should, in fact, hire an event planner. Screen candidates with these 6 questions to find the right planner for your event.
1. What sort of past events have you worked on? Can I get references?
Assess their attention to detail, design, style, and execution. Do they have the skills to execute your vision? Does their area of expertise match what you are looking for?
2. What vendors do you work with? Can I get references?
Your event planner’s established relationships can help you get the perfect location, hotel, caterer, etc.
3. What budgets have you worked with?
Make sure the planner has experience doing events within your budget.
4. Do you charge markup fees?
You want to work with someone who will give you the best price and is upfront about the numbers.
5. Do you provide staffing and where do you find your staff?
You’ll need all hands on deck during the event. You also want to make sure they have reliable staff and don’t just “go to Craigslist" and hire some ratchet nut job.
6. What services do you provide and what is your experience with the different aspects of event logistics?
You should be thinking about what specific services you need and which you can manage on your own.
Working with an Event Planner: Best Practices
Congratulations on finding the perfect event planner for your event! Now here are 3 best practices for establishing a good working relationship.
1. Get a timeline.
There is a lot that must happen in the space between hiring your planner and holding the actual event. Establish a timeline to ensure that each detail is addressed at the proper time and nothing is overlooked. You should also have a specific timeline for how things will run on the day of the event.
2. Keep an eye on the budget.
Costs will be estimated at the beginning, but they become more concrete as work is performed and contracts are signed. Keep track of the numbers, watch for overspending, and adjust as needed.
3. Communication is key.
Stay in regular contact with your event planner to confirm that things are being executed as discussed. Make sure you provide the details needed for the event planner to transform your vision into reality.
I hope these tips will help you help you find the right event planner and hold a wildly successful event! Do you have other questions about running your small business? Post them in the Smart Hustle Community! You will get insightful answers and who knows, your question may be featured in a future blog post someday!