When you’re planning an event for the first time, few things are more daunting than putting together your first budget. To help you get started, our team of event planning experts put together some tips to make you an event budgeting machine in no time.
Start with the basics
Before you do anything else, make a thorough list of all the costs (and potential costs) that you’ll have to keep in mind. While bigger event aspects like your venue hire might be obvious, you may be surprised by how many smaller costs there are, and how they can be easily overlooked and will eventually add up. Take a look at your event as a whole, and go through each and every aspect, making sure that you’ve taken into account any and all potential cost implications. If you’ve got it all laid out and written down, you’ll have a much better idea of what kind of budget you’re looking at.
If you’re in charge, your team will be looking to you for expertise in both coordinating and managing the finances of an event. There’s little doubt that they’ll be dreaming of perfection, which is great, but it also means that they don’t always have the best financial judgement. Rather than letting big ideas get out of hand, be sure to ask as many questions as possible right from the get go. If you have a good idea of exactly what the team wants and what they can afford from the beginning, you’ll have a much better chance of those aligning.
Build your first draft
With your team’s vision, your anticipated costs, and a clearer idea of how much you actually have to spend, it’s time to build your budget – or, its first draft at least. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect straight away, at this point you just need to develop some kind of basic structure that you can build and mould from here. The key now is to make sure that your team understands that your budget is a living thing – it will grow, change, and develop as you get further into the planning process and you collect more specific details. And don’t forget to build in a contingency – things almost always cost a little more than you anticipated.
Strike a balance
When it comes to event planning, the ultimate goal is all about striking the balance between efficient budgeting while still delivering on the creative wow factor and audience experience, so it’s important that you don’t let either dictate the discussion. As the team lead on this event, it’s your job to deliver a return on investment (ROI) for your company, and we know that aiming to achieve business results against the spend can be scary. You can minimise this stress a little by matching your budget to a quick audience perception model to find out if the spend on your event will resonate with the industry. To find out more about how to do this, check out our topic on Inclusive and Sustainable Trends in our 2018 Event Trends eBook.
Know all of the players
You may be at the helm of the ship, but any event planning process will involve many different teams and players, so get to know everyone and what their specific role is. Establish early on who in your organisation is responsible for signing off on the budget, and get their buy in and understanding up front. If you explain to them where the potential budget variables might occur, this is far less likely to derail the project later on. It’s also important to understand the terms and conditions of all your suppliers and partners – some agreements have expiration dates, and only finding this out when it’s too late could dramatically impact on your budget. And never be afraid to lean on your event partners – we’re here to help you shape the budget to match the brand ambitions and spot the ‘snags’ before they hit.
Trim the fat
We’ll say it again – your budget is a living thing, so don’t be afraid to whip it into shape every now and then. While that big dream that your team had on day one might be lovely, as you get deeper into the project (and the spending) you might need to trim some of your original aspects in order to make room for more important things. Keep the event objective in mind and match the cost to the required outcome – if this is not aligned, then adjust it. Sometimes spending more to get the outcome is needed, and be especially careful to not skimp on the ‘unfun’ stuff just so that you come in under budget. Safety, security, and crowd management might not be the most exciting lines on your budget, but they’re imperative to making sure the event goes off without a hitch.
Looking for some more tips on how to save some cash for your next event? Check out our blog post on Money Saving Tips.