We are all conscious of it and we continually hear about it. There isn’t a day we don’t think about it. But still, the powers that be constantly pontificate about it. And so do the majority of our clients.
About what, you ask?
The significance and importance of budget, budget, budget. And these days, not only is it essential to create and utilize a budget, but it is equally (and I mean equally) as important to stick to it.
The times have definitely changed in the meeting and event planning industry. Gone are the glory days of the non-existent or unlimited budget when planning meetings, events and conferences. Put together a group of meeting planners and inevitably, the conversation tends to go to the”good old days”. The days of what I call the “fun” event and meeting planning days. The days when the sky really was the limit.
Planning Tips – Budgets, Budgets, Budgets!
So it’s been established that, for the best use of our time, energy and resources, we must put together a budget and use it. But how you go about putting it together is really the question on the table.
For years, when working with clients, I would be given a total sum (bottom line) that had been set aside to spend on the event, meeting or conference. I would then use my expertise to plan, coordinate and execute our combined (the clients and mine) vision. I remember once, when I was almost finished planning a huge welcome reception event, I was told by the client that I would have to reduce the event by $25,000.00. Internally I panicked, as my budget was sketchy at best. I worked, reworked and then reworked the numbers again and while I knew I would be able to cut the twenty five grand off the event, it would be impossible to say where or how. So I told the client I guaranteed her I could do it and she would just have to trust me. Shockingly, she did. I came through and fifteen years later we’re still working together on her events.
For me, the major lesson was if I was working with a proper budget with all the line items outlined, it would have been easy peasy for me to trim where required, speak with my suppliers and then report back to the client.
Planning Tips – What To Do Next
Budgets can be complicated, depending on our own abilities. We are the drivers and can make it as difficult or as basic as needed. When putting a budget together there are a couple of ways to go.
Do it Yourself – If you are the kind of person that has no problem with numbers and has the ability to work with figures, then kudos to you! You can easily put a workable budget together.
Years ago, I worked with a client who required a budget for every single event. Anytime we had a conversation, she made me forward a copy of the budget for the specific event we happened to be discussing. During the annual conference, I literally had about twenty budgets going at one time. And in the end those “office made” budgets saved my skin, making it that much easier to work the meetings and events and eventually plough through all the invoices and material when the conference was done.
It really was pretty basic and easy. All I did was type out and create a budget, with one column outlining all the actual line item costs. And next to it, the second column had all the budget line costs outlined. A very simple way to keep a continuous tally that showed me where I was over and under budget, while at the same time highlighting where I could borrow dollars from.
Templates – There are so many great examples and templates available to choose from, with the majority online that can simply be downloaded and then immediately utilized.
Budgets are likely one of the most necessary templates in the meeting, event and conference industry. If you are the creative sort and not the numbers type, don’t fight it and don’t fret! If you (like most of us) truly don’t have a knack for numbers and aren’t able to envision and comprehend figures, then a template is definitely the way to go.
A template will provide you with the tools to manage the financial side of each and every event and meeting. At the same time, it will give you peace of mind so you know where you are from an economic perspective at every single step.
Don’t agonize about the stuff you can’t control! Budgets will always be an important part of event planning. If you aren’t a numbers person, jump online, download a template and get going. Don’t stress, because there is always an easy solution available.