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Establishing a Business Event Budget the Smart Way

Any business that wants to establish engagements should know how to organize and host professional events. If you have a corporate event to produce, you will need to work on the five stages of proper event management. These include conceptualization, coordination, control, culmination, and closeout.

But regardless of what corporate event you’re planning for, there’s one thing that requires great preparation: the budget. In reality, it’s always a challenge even for experienced planners to balance an event budget. To make things easier for you, we’ve listed a few important things you should do to create and manage a budget for your corporate event.

1. Set the event goals

Before anything else, you need to determine the goal or purpose of the event. It’s advisable that instead of thinking as just a business event, look at it as something you can produce for an interactive brand experience. You should also answer questions such as: What is the event all about, and what do you expect from it? Or how can you produce an event that will resonate with the audience? Whether it’s meant to introduce a new product or meet potential partners, the event must be engaging and meaningful.

2. Reference historical data

Checking the data from past events can help you assess what will work and what will not. Start by determining the items where you or previous planners have underspend and overspend. Be sure to evaluate if the budget data are different or the same from year to year. Doing these will allow you to have a clearer view of what needs more or less budget. You can also consider presenting a preliminary budget to your boss for the green light so that you already got something that you can update as you proceed.

3. Talk to stakeholders and event vendors

Talking about a preliminary budget, getting the green light from stakeholders or departments is best done in advance. Communicate with everyone who’s part of the event’s financial oversight. In case of a budget cut on rental expenses, be sure that the one in charge of rentals is informed.

For external communication, it is advisable to obtain three or more quotes from various event vendors. It doesn’t matter if you are already eyeing a specific vendor for catering or production services. For instance, you can have the chance to find a better provider of rental chairs and tables that offers more reasonable pricing. Or, you can get a catering service that provides more variety of items in their menu.

4. Check for event trends

Another ideal way to properly allocate the budget is to know the trends in the event industry. This is even more essential if you are considering a hybrid and virtual event. This can also help you determine what trends will resonate with the guests and decrease or increase spending. Be updated with the event trends aren’t just for the sake of being trendy. It’s a huge factoring in determining your projected marketing spend, from the venue, speakers and talent, promotion and marketing, to the printed materials.

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5. Map your specific expenses

After determining what areas to focus on, it’s time to concentrate on the line items. The venue category covers location rental, venue-specific staff, Wi-Fi, equipment rental, and security. As for marketing expenses, these may include photography, event materials, online ads, social media, and email marketing.

Also include any technology costs such as event app, live streaming, and ticketing partner, if necessary. When it comes to promotion costs, you can save money by learning how effective your strategy is. If you have a small team, you can maximize the marketing budget to event tech and tools.

6. Finalize the budget

As you perform the steps above, you are already creating the final budget for your corporate event. The next thing to do is to actualize the budget. If you’re using a spreadsheet for budget tracking, add a column for your actual spend next to the projected spend. It doesn’t matter if they don’t match. You need to see the numbers. After all, events can often be unpredictable. That said, you could also consider having a contingency fund for additional or unexpected expenses. The ideal is 20% of your total event budget.

Organizing a corporate event can be stressful and challenging, so make sure to get ahead of your budget. Follow the steps outlined in this article to create a comprehensive budget for all the event needs. Keep this in mind. You should plan and organize the event based on your actual budget and not vice versa.

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