On average, B2B companies spend 5 to 8 weeks when planning events. Needless to say, it takes a whole lot of preparation to pull off a successful event.
You may have been through the wringer a few times before, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have the best habits when it comes to event preparation. You may unwittingly have some that are detrimental to the whole process.
Here are some bad event planning habits to break so your future ones won't be so stressful.
Not Starting Early Enough
This may seem painfully obvious, but it needs to be said. Typically, people will underestimate how much work goes into planning and pulling off an event. As a result, they'll end up scrambling around like chickens without heads when the date gets nearer.
Do yourself a favor and start doing the legwork as soon as you know when the event is and what it's about. Consider attending meeting planner conferences so you can learn how to improve your planning skills even further.
That way, everything will be done on time. And if anything, unexpected arises, you'll have time to fix it.
Not Creating an Overarching Plan
It's true that the more stakeholders you have on a project, the more help you'll have. But at the same time, there's a caveat: things can get messy and chaotic quickly as well.
The more people you have on your team, the more communication becomes like a game of Telephone. Someone may think Sally said to do A, but she actually meant to do B. As the message travels further down the line, the end result may even be action G!
You need to get together with your team to create an overarching plan from start to finish. That way, everyone understands what happens when, and what their role is at each stage.
Consider using project management software that also has an app. With this, your team can easily pull up the event timeline, even while they're on the go. They can also tag important stakeholders and leave messages, so communication is much clearer.
Not Sticking to the Budget
Sure, a budget may be just an estimate of how much you can spend on an event. And of course, sometimes you may go over by just a little bit. That's fine.
But when you go massively out of your budget, that's not a good habit to have at all. Not only does this diminish your ROI, but it also makes your budgets for future events even smaller.
You've made a budget for a reason, so stick to it. If you find yourself exceeding it, ask yourself if you really need the items or services you're paying for. Or, maybe there are cheaper alternatives.
Make sure you shop around and ask your contacts about good deals so you can get the most bang out of your buck.
Not Keeping Track of All Changes
Yes, this means even the tiniest ones. If you don't do so, there may be huge consequences in the future; this is the result of the butterfly effect. Untracked changes can lead to inaccurate financial records and/or changes in your event timeline. What seemed like a minor adjustment can end up having a huge domino effect on your entire event!
By diligently tracking every change to your event, you'll ensure both your budget and timeline will stay on track and according to plan. Make sure all stakeholders are on the same page and have an easy and uniform way to report changes to streamline the process.
Not Hiring the Right Staff (Or Enough of Them)
This is always a difficult task. Hire too many people, and you're spending extra money for people to stand around. But hire too little, and you're all overworked and spreading yourselves thin.
A good idea is to start out small, then hire more people as you get a better feel for where your event planning is lacking. Never try to delegate one type of responsibility to someone who's in another department, as this will just go wrong.
For example, if you have a social media manager, you don't want to make them the vendor coordinator as well. If you find yourself considering such a thing, then it's time to hire more appropriate staff.
Make sure everyone's true talents are maximized by giving them the jobs they're hired on for. Also, check-in regularly to ensure their workload isn't too much.
Not Doing Risk Assessment for the Event
It's a tremendous mistake to just hope for the best. You've worked so hard on the event, so why leave things to chance?
You and your team should put your heads together at the beginning of event planning. Think about anything and everything that can go wrong.
Then, have a contingency plan for each of those scenarios so you're not caught off-guard should these things actually happen. The more you think this out, the less possible downtime there will be at your event.
For instance, maybe your event is outdoors. Even though the forecast for that entire week says there won't be rain, you should still have a backup plan in case it does. Without this contingency plan, you'd be left with no choice but to cancel the whole thing.
Make Event Planning Easy by Breaking These Bad Habits
Now that you're aware of the bad event planning habits you should break and/or avoid, you'll have a better time when you're putting together future events.
The key is to start early, stay focused, have open lines of communication, and don't go outside of your budget too much. If you can keep these things in mind, then you'll be golden.
Get more insight into event planning by attending The Event Planner Expo 2020. Pre-register for the event now!