They’re everywhere. Seems there’s a checklist for pretty much everything these days. A quick Google search for any industry will show you there’s a checklist for everyone. Of course some checklists are better than others. Most really depend on your level of expertise to determine whether or not they’ll be useful. While I’m a proponent of checklists, I have an issue with some checklists that are so simple that they’re pretty much telling you that you should have a checklist for your checklist. So while there is relevance to most checklists, there are three key areas that should be included in every checklist and certainly an event plan checklist.
1) Your Event Plan Must Have a Timeline
At the end of the day timelines are really only worth the paper they’re written on. However a timeline is probably one of the most crucial areas of an event plan, yet we devote very little time to timelines. It sounds ironic but the truth is that most of us are procrastinators of some type. So, for your event plan, take a little bit of time up front to get an understanding of just how much time you will need to devote to your event plan. Next, compare that to how much actual time you have to work on your event. If there is a difference between your budgeted time and how much time you’ll actually have, then you could have a potential problem on your hands. It happens to all of us – either we run out of time when planning an event or we just did not factor enough time to do a proper job. Either way you could be in for a rough ride if you didn’t properly schedule enough time to do all of the tasks necessary for a successful event.
2) Establish Your Event Plan Budget at the Beginning
if you’ve had the luxury of working with clients in the event industry then you know all too well how hard it can be to get a budget from those clients. Many clients are reluctant to tell you their budget at the beginning for a couple of reasons. First is that they probably fear that if they tell you how much money they have to spend on an event then you’re most likely to come in at that dollar figure. The second fear is that if the event comes under the proposed budget then many clients fear that you’ll simply make up the difference as profit for yourself. Yes there are companies out there that will do both of those things to their clients. And it’s these types of companies that give our industry a bad name. Well any industry for that matter. But here’s what I tell clients when I asked them for budget information. First you want to tell them why you’re asking for their budget amount. Obviously the main reason you’re asking is so that you can propose event ideas that will fall within their budget. In addition to a whole event budget I also like the client to break it down for me. And this usually takes a bit of prompting on my part. For example I like to find out from the client how much they expect to spend on transportation, food and beverage, entertainment and venue rental. The reason for this is that I can usually spot when a client is totally off base when they break their budget down. If they say they want to spend $10 per person on transportation while expecting a private highway coach then it’s important to point out that their expectation is simply out of touch.
For you the importance of establishing a budget for your event plan is so that you can begin to break down the various components of your event based on costs. It’s a lot easier to review where you are not meeting budget if you have it broken down by the various components. Your suppliers will also either confirm that you have the right amount budgeted or explain where you are off. It’ll help keep you focused on the type of venue, the type of menu, and other aspects of the event plan.
3) Your Event Plan Must Focus on How You Will Get Attendees
Otherwise known as marketing, getting people to attend your event is what will make or break your event. This item also ties in with point number two as well. From a budget you’ll know how much you have to spend on marketing your event. And one thing is certain and that’s that you must have a marketing plan as part of your event plan.