Business Events on a Budget

Photo, HIVAN ARVIZU @soyhivan.


Business Events on a Budget

Make a big splash in promoting your business with these seven key tactics for setting up a great business event for little to no money...

Businesses demand a lot of your time. As we focus on ways to acquire more profit, we have to give consideration to how we promote ourselves. It’s not easy to organise your business on little to no money, but this is where an event could be pivotal. An event does so much for a company; it gives us insight into our potential audience and gives us the perfect launchpad.

Organising an event, whether it’s in a community setting or via business trade shows, will always involve some form of investment. And this is why so many companies are now trying their hand at operating with a bottleneck approach. You might think there is no way to actually organise an event with next to no money, but it is possible. It will require patience, determination, and mindset to pull off an event that will give your business the head start it needs. Let’s show you how to do it.

Setting Up a Great Business Event for Little to No Money: 7 Key Tactics

Photo, Priscilla Du Preez.

Determine the Event You Need

As a starting point, you’ve got to look at what you are organising. If you are looking to generate awareness for a small business, you could do this under the guise of a community event. This can give you a lot more options to modify this idea. When it comes to event planning, we have to be adaptable because when we can overcome hiccups in organising these events, we will actually get further than we think. When you have finalised the type of event you want to do, start envisioning the concept or the theme, which will give you a more competitive advantage and make sure the event stands out.

Writing a Plan

While people will potentially volunteer for events, they will only do so if they feel it is beneficial to them or it is unique or seismic enough to make a massive change. So this is where we’ve got to think about the plan and understand that we have to give our event the best possible starting point. The right foundation for the event ensures that you have the best possible structure, so you have to look at some of the following.

Is there going to be a staging area? If so, you will need to liaise with a local company that could lend equipment.

— The technology. If you are running a business event with professional speakers, are you going to need the internet? You can find many WiFi rental services out there to help you on-site, and for the protection of your data and that of your guests, make sure you use a reputable VPN such as Surfshark.

— The entertainment. If you are running a community event, you will need a diverse selection of entertainment, whether it’s musicians, magicians, and everyone in between!

— Health and safety. An event outside will require you to liaise with your local government to ensure that you are doing everything by the book. We cannot underestimate health and safety because if we end up with injuries or accidents, we are liable.

Setting Up a Great Business Event for Little to No Money: 7 Key Tactics

Photo, Antenna.

Attracting the Talent

If you are going to create an event where there are speakers or celebrities, you’ve got to show that you are dedicated to the cause. A lot of people will do things for charity and this could help you to promote your business in a more subtle way. Of course, if you are operating a more charitable cause, this can immediately pique the interests of certain people who would like to align themselves with what you have to offer. But you’ve got to get your ducks in a row!

— Create an event plan that shows you are dedicated.
— Make a proposal to send to these people.
— Have a list of people in mind so you can have a backup plan if someone says “no.”
— Look at the exposure they want.
— The fact is that it’s not just going to benefit you, it’s got to benefit them as well.

Do You Want Sponsors?

One of the best ways to set up an event for little to no money is to acquire sponsorship. Sponsors look at your event as a form of advertising for their own brands and services. Before you reach out to sponsors, consider the types of companies that will be interested in sponsoring your events. Much like when you are trying to acquire talent, you’ve got to get your proposal ready. You have to think about some of the following:

— Does their brand align with your business or cause?
— Will they be prepared to invest in the event, even if you don’t?
— How can you “cross-pollinate” both sponsor and event to make sure that everybody benefits equally?

The fact is that you’ve got to go in with your eyes open when it comes to sponsors. When you are getting a request for sponsorship together, you need to have an abundance of data. You should include forecasted numbers as part of your proposal, but also highlight the gains the sponsor will make from your event.

Setting Up a Great Business Event for Little to No Money: 7 Key Tactics

Photo, Jakob Dalbjörn.

Asking for Donations

This is another possibility to get the event off the ground. You can knock on many doors easily through a concerted email campaign, but you can also use online platforms to create a crowdfunding campaign. You can get contributions from anywhere over the world, but you have to make it worth their while.

One of the biggest mistakes in people starting crowdfunding campaigns is they do not go into the process fully aware of the positives and negatives. Additionally, you may want to look at ticketing the event, but you’ve got to be aware that, for many people, their attendance will depend on how affordable your event is. You can set up discounts and promotions to help these people.

Advertising Cheaply

It is entirely possible to have a marketing campaign for free. There are many ways to get around the concept of expensive advertising and the biggest and most effective solution is, of course, social media. When you are advertising an event, there is an abundance of local social media groups, especially on Facebook. Advertising events can also work effectively if you get a sponsor.

You can start to spread the word about the event through resources such as Help A Reporter Out. Because if you can get genuine interest, and is newsworthy, this can be an amazing starting point for your marketing process to build your credibility.

Having a business phone number is a great way of connecting clients to a business, and can be a great way to promote your event cheaply. Many customers enjoy the human element of a phone call and prefer that to a website or a machine. A vanity phone number can help a business market its phone number to potential customers with greater ease.

Finding Interns and Volunteers

While you may be looking to set up an effective event for little to no money, you need the help and support of people. You will need volunteers to help you out and while this will be easier to get when it’s for a good cause, you can check out certain websites to advertise for volunteers.

You could use this as a way for people to get into event planning as a career. Additionally, you can look for interns and provide unpaid work experience. However, you’ve got to be careful with this approach- you need to have people who are happy to do this, but at the same time, you can’t take advantage of them.

In order to have an effective event, you’ve also got to look at the skills you bring to the table. When you don’t have a budget, this is where you’ve got to start overcompensating in terms of your persistence, patience, and negotiation skills. Money is not everything when it comes to organising events; you can use exposure and contacts that could be more valuable to other professionals.

If you really want to host an event with little to no budget, you’ve got to be creative, but also be willing to put yourself on the line and be an entrepreneur that is willing to take risks.