I’ve noticed a lot of smaller events happening lately where small business owners area taking the time and putting in the energy to host live events based around their area of expertise. The biggest question is usually: “Am I ready to host a live event?”. I believe anyone can host a live event if they have valuable information to provide to the to the marketplace. Events are a great way to meet your marketplace members face to face, which builds camaraderie. I wrote an article on events you might want to check out here regarding the value of a handshake.

The two key elements to hosting any live event are:

1) Having a Message People Want to Hear and
2) Promoting Well Enough That People Sign Up to Attend

From there, the rest of the logistics can be planned properly. Here are the top 5 items to be aware of when hosting a live event that will help with your success.

1) Venue — the time of year and location is critical to your success. This will vary if you’re hosting a local event or a regional event. Is the location easy to get to and is there ample parking or ease of travel.

2) Agenda – while I think the venue is top of the list for many due to costs associated with travel, if the agenda is compelling enough, that draws attendance. Make sure you have an agenda ready when you’re opening registration so potential attendees can see what they will be getting. While its ok to add additional speakers, you do want to have the main line up ready to share.

3) Ease of Registration – you want to make it easy to purchase tickets as well as to register while at your event. A 20-30 person event is different then a 100+ person event. You’ll want to make sure you have a good ticketing system as well as registration materials such as badges, workbooks well organized A couple of tools to check out are: http://www.eventbrite.com/ and https://www.digitalid.co.uk/. Eventbrite offers options for events that are both paid and free and is an online service that is easy to use. Digital ID is a great resource for lanyards and badges.

4) Food availability – As part of choosing your venue you’ll want to make sure there is ample opportunity for participants to purchase food as necessary either after or during the event. For example, if you host a morning only event don’t need to worry about food during the event but after the event participants may want to have lunch together nearby.

5) Event Purpose & Outcomes – Hosting an event can be fun and wildly rewarding. One of the things that gets lost in the mix sometimes is understanding your final out come for the event. Is the event to build your business, is the event to earn money through ticket sales and sponsorships, is the event a value add to the community? Whatever the reason to host the event, knowing your end goal will help you in the planning portion of the agenda.

My recommendation is to be as organized as possible and use the tools at your disposal via the Internet to help you in planning properly. One more thing, you’ll want help. Even if it is a small 20-30 person event, enlist help from at least one other person. A second set of eyes helps ensure you aren’t missing anything.

Events are critical to any business, from small local events, to nationwide and worldwide trade shows, the value comes from connecting live with others. The ability to build rapport face to face takes the relationship of business to a new level.

As always, drop me a note and let me know what you think and feel free to share! You never know when the post you share will help someone.

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