All birthday parties are the same right? Wrong. Think about it. Planning a 2 year old’s birthday party of 10 people in your living room is probably different from Adam Levine’s birthday of 500 at a club.Well that’s also how small and large businesses work. While they have similar aspects of planning like budgeting, venue searching and organizing, they’re done differently to cater to diverse business types.

So what should you do differently? Let’s find out! Hint: (SB=Small Business, BB=Big Business).

1. Pre-Planning & Organization.

SB: For a SB event, you may be able to slide with planning around two to three months in advance. If you have less people involved with the planning, you may only need one overall checklist.

BB: Because a BB event will have more attendees and will have a larger venue, plan about 4-5 months in advance. An event like this also means more is going to be going on…which may require “teams” who you can delegate responsibilities to. Each team (ex. marketing, human resources, etc.) may have their own checklists, however one or two people should be monitoring the overall checklist.

In General:
*Use a timeline. The event planning team always wants to know “what’s next.”
*Provide itineraries. Your guests want to know everything that’ll be happening at the event.
*Use spreadsheets. This is the best way to map out what each person needs to be in charge of, with details.

2. Business Goals

SB: Goals for small businesses often differ from big business goals. For example, brand awareness or fundraising might be a theme for a small business.

BB: Since big businesses may be a little more established, goals may include networking, increased engagement, etc. Goals in general are very important to think about for both types of businesses and will serve as a starting point to your planning.

In General:
*Find out how to measure. It could be the number of alumni engaged, donors recognized, community exposed to    your programs, money raised, etc.
*Ask yourself; do you have the time and resources necessary to achieve these goals?

3. Registration

SB: Although most people aren’t fans of this idea, you can probably get away with on-site registration if it’s a fairly small event.

BB: Especially for BB events, online registration is the way to go. This secures attendees as soon as possible which can also be a great insight to your budget. Create your event on Freshtix, check the “free” option for your tickets, and register your attendees that way.

In General:
*Whatever you use, make it easy. If people have to work too hard to figure out how to register, they won’t do it.
*Make it quick. If you’re using registration at the site, have multiple people on staff. No one wants to wait!

4. Advertising the event.

SB: Social media is your best friend with small businesses. Because smaller companies most likely have a smaller budget, running a lot of advertisements can be costly. Use hashtags and interact with your followers on social media to help spread the word!

BB: Social media is also your friend with big businesses, however big businesses often have the ability to run paid online advertisements, radio spots, and even appear on television. If you can afford it…do it!

In General:
*Make an online presence. Set up an event page on Freshtix for your guests to register, as well as a Facebook event. And don’t forget about blogging! Social media has to be short and to the point, whereas blogging allows you to elaborate and provide better detail for guests. We also recommend looking at other event planning blogs for inspiration. You can follow the Freshtix blog here!

5. Budgeting

SB: There’s a lot to budget at an event no matter what size, including catering, rentals, entertainment, venue, etc. For SB events, set a budget and stick to it. If you find yourself going over, think about ways to spend less. Try fundraising, or looking on sites like Pinterest for DIY ideas. Finding local businesses to help you out is also helpful, and you can help them in return later!

BB: If you have the money to go all out, do it! However if you do pick a larger budget, stick to it. You want people to remember your event. Pick entertainment that fits a wide audience range (SB events may be able to get a more niche entertainment) and select a venue that is spacey.

General Tips:
*Avoid impulse decisions – Stick to your budget!
*Cut your catering costs – You might be tempted to get extra food, but don’t! Set a preliminary budget and then
reduce it by 10%. It’ll save less waste!
*Monitor your expenses – You may have people in charge of various budgeting aspects, so monitor your staff!

Big or small, you can create your event with Freshtix! It’s totally free and super easy. Start here!


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