One of the biggest hurdles that comes up in planning an event is balancing a budget, which is why it’s key to design it around your financial resources from the start. The expenses can add up when you consider all that goes into an event, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially if you have no help from a professional! Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help estimate costs and identify areas where money can be saved.
1. Keep it simple. You don’t need the help of a professional planner or fancy budgeting tools to create a solid event budget. You can start off by using an empty spread sheet to track items you need to account for. Start by creating a few columns such as item, description, amount needed, estimated cost, and actual cost. By using categories you’ll be able to see which items can be eliminated or decreased and cut costs before you spend anything.
2. Research research research! Once you have a budget in mind for your event, it’s time to research prices to get a look at what your actual budget will look like. If this isn’t the first time you’ve put on this event, look back at past budgets and expenses to see what your end costs will look like. Although it’s likely that the new event won’t be exactly the same as it was in the past (change of location, food, decorations, etc.), you can get a pretty good idea of what you’ll be spending by looking at what was spent previously.
If this is the first time you’re hosting this event, you can still contact vendors that you’ve worked with in the past to look at pricing options. Working with companies with whom you’ve already done business can potentially save you some upfront costs. And if you were happy with the services they had provided in the past, it’s essentially risk free.
3. Look at all costs, big and small. Of course you need to consider the major costs of your event like a venue, food, and entertainment, but keep in mind that the small costs add up too. When creating your event budget don’t forget to account for costs like taxes, marketing, and travel. If this is an internal event you don’t really have to worry about marketing costs, but if you’re hosting clients and other members of the community, marketing can be expensive. Keep these smaller fees in mind throughout the process so that they don’t creep up on you at the end.
4. Communication is key. During the creation of your budget it’s so important to make sure everyone is on the same page at all times. You may have an idea on how much you want to spend, but someone else in the mix may have a completely different idea in mind. Communicating all ideas and budgeting limitations can save a lot of confusion and misunderstandings (and money!).
If you’re planning an event for your business, creating a budgeting plan not only allows you to visually see where your money is going and coming from, but it also forces you to think about the focus of your event. Following the simple steps above could help you avoid overspending and the unnecessary stresses that comes with putting on an event for your business!