Organising a business conference is a phenomenal way to promote your business and meet important people in your industry. This explains why so many business conferences are staged every year. However, organizing one sounds a lot easier than it actually is. If you decided to do it, you probably have a million questions on your mind. But the truth is, you’re not the first entrepreneur out there organising a business conference and there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Just follow this guide and there’s no doubt you’ll host a smooth event.
Find the right venue
Location. Location. Location. You’ve likely heard this term a lot before and that’s because location indeed is one of the most important aspects of organising a business conference. While there are numerous reasons why choosing the right venue for your conference is important, there are some that really stand out. For example, there’s no point in hosting a business conference at a place that’s just too difficult to access. On the other hand, a venue that’s close to an airport or can be accessed by public transportation might help attract more attendees. Also, don’t forget to think about other attractions outside your venue. If you’re organising your conference in a popular place, chances are more people will come and stay even once the event is over. At the end of the day, business conferences aren’t all about speaking and networking. The overall experience matters a lot and that’s why it’s important to put enough effort into finding the right location.
Decide on a theme
Every good conference needs a theme. In fact, the theme is the glue that holds your event together. When there’s a theme set, you automatically give your attendees something to talk about and take their experience to the next level. The good news is, there’s no reason to stress about it. Actually, setting the theme is rather simple. Just think about what kind of people will show up and what your message to them is supposed to be. Also, put some thought into what you want them to get out of your event. Bear in mind that the best themes are catchy and able to trigger an emotional response. Let’s say you’re organising a conference about teamwork. “Stronger as a team” sounds a lot better than “Achieving better results through improved collaboration in your company.” Once you pick a theme, it’s time to decide on hashtags you can use to promote your event. #strongerasateam sounds just about right.
This is arguably the most exciting part of the process. It’s very important to have people sign up for your conference as it allows you to plan everything right. Maybe more people decide to show up and you need to make more space available. If attendance doesn’t seem to be so high, maybe you can order less food and allocate that money to another aspect of organising your conference. Luckily, we live in the age of the internet and creating a list of your attendees shouldn’t be tough. You can create a Facebook event but that isn’t necessarily the most accurate tool to use. Consider creating a website for your conference and use it as a place where attendees can register and secure their tickets. If you want to make your conference look more professional, consider getting name badges for all your attendees. This is a perfect way to make them feel valued and show up at your next event.
Think about your budget
Obviously, you can’t host a business conference without money. Your budget dictates everything from the number of attendees you can have to what kind of food you’ll serve at your event. It’s a good idea to start putting your budget together even before you announce your conference. If it turns out you can’t invest enough money into it, delaying it and improving your budget is a much smarter idea. However, there are plenty of ways to fund your conference and exploring all of them is a must. Events like this attract a number of sponsors and you might be able to increase your budget simply by promoting another organization at your event. Just make sure taking on sponsors doesn’t hurt the integrity of your conference. Another good idea is to set a small amount of money aside just in case some unexpected costs arise (and they always do).
What makes a conference different from other types of business events is that you’re supposed to have as many speakers as possible. Remember that it’s not all about promoting your business but helping people learn something new or take different perspectives that makes a conference successful. In fact, how good your speakers are is one of those things that can make or break your event. You might want to speak about something yourself or have your employees do it but why not invite other speakers as well? Reach out to other experts in your field who aren’t your competitors and see if they’d be interested in speaking at your event. The best part of it is that they usually won’t request any compensation for doing so. Just make sure you cover travel and accommodation costs and you can be assured they’ll show up and make your event even better. Don’t let any rejections discourage you as it’s all part of the process of recruiting the best speakers available.
In the end, organising a successful business conference is a pretty straightforward process. Do it and not only will you give something back to the community but you’ll also promote your business in an extremely effective way. However, fail to invest enough time and effort into it, and the whole thing might turn into a real disaster. Remember that every process in the business world starts with a carefully-designed plan. Make sure you have everything lined out before you start investing any money into your conference and you’ll have nothing to worry about.