Hosting a business conference can generate significant benefits for your business. A conference can bring in your trusted customers where you can meet, network, plan additional business deals, and provide helpful learning materials about your products or services.
However, hosting a conference takes a great deal of organization and planning. If you are planning to host your first or 10th conference, consider these tips that can help make your small business conference a success.
You can never start too early to begin planning your small business conference. Try to set the date as early as possible. A full year or more gives you plenty of time to plan a big event and get interested parties to commit.
An early start also gives you first pick at booking a venue. You will most likely want to try hosting a conference at a nice venue, such as a hotel ballroom or other reasonable meeting room. But the best venues book early, and to assure you have a venue, you must sign an agreement and give a monetary deposit to the venue.
Determine a Strict Budget
Part of the early conference planning process is determining a budget – and then sticking to it. Look at your previous years’ budgets as a starting point. If you are new to conference planning, research what other businesses similar in size to yours budget for a conference. Ask around in your network for insight. You might be able to get good advice from other business associates who have hosted a conference.
Delegate to a Trusted Individual
Do you have an executive assistant? This position is usually in charge of completing most of the legwork of conference planning. If you do not have an assistant, consider hiring one, even on a contract basis, who is experienced in event planning. You will save a lot of time, money, and stress by having a trusted assistant execute your conference plan.
Hire a Reputable Keynote Speaker
One of the biggest draws to a business conference is the keynote speaker. If you are hosting a conference, then you must determine the theme of the conference, as well as all the activities. Try to include a budget line for a quality keynote speaker.
Search through national and government organizations for a reputable individual. You might even get lucky and find a great speaker in your own metropolis that might save you money on travel and lodging.
Contact the individual with the details about your conference and a proposal as the keynote speaker. Explain who will attend the conference. Ask what his or her fees are. If he or she agrees, draw up a simple agreement with the terms you discussed. Then, don’t forget to promote your celebrated speaker to all your invited guests.
Hosting a conference can be great for business, but it can also be an expensive endeavor. Be sure you are ready to be organized and start early with your conference planning, and you’ll be more successful on the day it arrives.