Hosting An Event

Things To Consider if You Want To Put On Your Own Events

After you have spoken at a few events for other promoters you may want to consider putting on your own event. After all, it looks so easy, doesn’t it?

Well, not so fast cowboy. Putting on live events of any type is an entirely different business and has to be treated as such. It is one thing to come into another person’s event and do a presentation and quite another thing to be the one doing all the legwork behind the scenes to pull off an event.

people inside conference

The first question you need to answer is what kind of event do you want to put on? Will it be a small informal hands-on workshop with 10 of your best clients, a multi-day event with you as the sole trainer for the entire event, or a multi-speaker event with significant back-of-the-room sales?

All three can be great models and there is certainly no right or wrong answer to the question. Each approach has its own pros and cons and you will need to decide which model you want to start with.

Regardless of the model you might choose the first thing you need to evaluate, if you are thinking about doing a live event, is your list. Why your list you might ask? Because your list is where the majority of your event attendees will come from. It will be the people who already know, like and trust you that will be the bulk of your audience.

You are Kidding Yourself if You Think You Can Fill an Event with People Who Aren’t Already Really Sold on You

Bret Ridgway

You are kidding yourself if you think you can fill an event with people who aren’t already really sold on you. If you are going to do a multi-speaker event and think you can fill your room from the lists of your speakers, think again. It just is not going to happen.

You have got to decide if your list is right for an event. Is your list big enough and will they be interested in attending a live event? A lot of first-time event promoters have delusions of grandeur, thinking that they can get half of their list to attend a live event. Most event promoters are doing well to get 1% to 5% of their list members to come to a live event. And this has gotten even tougher over the last few years with the economy. It is getting harder and harder to put butts into seats.

The key question you need to answer first is “Is your list large enough to support a live event?”

If you decide it is a “go” then we recommend a minimum of 16 weeks lead time to successfully plan and pull off your event. If you already have a system and an experienced team in place you can utilize then you can execute an event with a 12- week schedule.

Expect to wear many different hats when you decide to host your own event. Big money can be made and big money can be lost on a live event and your ability to strike a balance between what you opt to do yourself and what you delegate or outsource to others to do for you will have a massive impact on your overall success.

Entire courses have been written on putting on live events and there is enough information on the subject to fill multiple books, but here, I want to give you a taste of some of the issues you may deal with in hosting your own event.

Following is the list of those things you should be doing 16 weeks or more in advance of your event. This is pulled from the SMART (TM) Seminar Marketing System (SeminarMarketing.com).

Planning

  • Conduct strategic planning meeting: determine event objectives and goals, select dates and location (check for industry or local conflicts and inappropriate dates)
  • Develop event program; schedule, speakers, content
  • Develop preliminary budget

Hotel – Meeting Facility

  • Research meeting facilities; send out request for proposal
  • Perform on-site review of meeting facility
  • Negotiate hotel contract
  • Set up master account for meeting charges

Speakers

  • Invite Speakers to speak
  • Secure Speakers’ contract
  • Send Speakers information about your event: goals, objectives, audience demographics
  • Secure Speaker requirements (audio, visual, etc.)
  • Verify and approve Speakers’ presentation, product package and pricing
  • Verify and approve Speakers’ close
  • Schedule Speakers’ teleseminar call and email to their database to promote event
  • Secure any bonuses and/or door prizes Speaker can contribute to event

Event Team

  • Select event team and helpers
  • Secure helpers
  • Select and secure subconsultants (audio/ video, bookstore, etc.)
  • Make travel arrangements for event

Promoting

  • Identify and contact JV partners and/or alliances to assist in promoting
  • Identify and contact affiliates to assist in promoting
  • Develop on-line and off-line strategy to promote event
  • Design website
  • Write sales letter (This could take 8-10 weeks—start early)
  • Set up shopping cart
  • Write autoresponders
  • Write broadcast emails
  • Create event brochure if promoting through off-line strategies

Wow, seems like a lot, doesn’t it? And you may be saying to yourself I don’t even know what he is talking about with some of the things on this checklist.

That is why it is critical you educate yourself on all the aspects of hosting your own events. If you decide you are the one who is going to wear the hat in a particular area you better be sure you know what you are getting into.

Dealing with hotels is an art form in itself. Great negotiators who are experienced can have multiple hotels

throwing themselves at you and offering everything under the sun. That’s because they’re a pro and understand how it all works.

But, if you don’t know how it all works you can really get hosed by the hotels. I had a colleague who did not like the way the wall in a meeting room behind his stage looked. So he ordered a black curtain backdrop behind the stage that dramatically improved the appearance of his room.

But boy, was he shocked at the end of his event when he got the bill and found out that black curtain cost him $6000! Talk about sticker shock.

If the old phrase “You don’t know what you don’t know” applies to you from an event hosting standpoint you have got to educate yourself first to “Know what you don’t know” and our hope is that this chapter will help get you down the road to that understanding.

Know What You Don’t Know

There is no doubt that hosting your own events can be wildly profitable. It establishes you even more as the expert in your niche, can help you sell more coaching and consulting services and can provide positive cash flow and quick revenue generation.

I have seen multi-speaker events pull in over a million dollars in just a few days. But I have also had event promoters crying on my shoulder because they lost thousands of dollars by not understanding how to negotiate with the hotel.

You have got to know how to do it the right way. So be smart and learn the ropes. As you are speaking at other people’s events be sure to study how they are doing what they are doing.

Then, when you are ready to host your own event you can dramatically increase your chances for success.

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Bret Ridgway

Find out more about Bret Ridgway and the services Speaker Fulfillment Services can provide you at SpeakerFulfillmentServices.com.

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