Your Event Deserves a Business Plan — Here’s How to Craft One

Successful events pair passion with a comprehensive business plan. To ensure your next event accomplishes your goals, spend some time crafting a plan ahead of time.

Good ideas don’t just stand on their own. They need structure to realize their true potential.

Take a successful event, for example — perhaps one of your own. Great events combine passion with a strong foundation and an intricate blueprint that plots every detail out to a T. In other words, organizers write a business plan to ensure their success isn’t accidental.

An event business plan is a must for newcomers and seasoned planners alike. New events enter a saturated event market and won’t survive without funding, and even the best ideas can fall short without some direction. A business plan contains financial, organizational, and other miscellaneous details that contribute to an event’s ultimate objective.

Here are three things to include in your next event’s business plan:

1. Create a mission statement and vision. Consider these your elevator pitches for attendees and investors and a guide for decisions. Writing this is a tall task, and it’ll probably take some time and effort to condense your beliefs, values, and goals into just a few words.

Your vision should provide a glimpse at your event could be — at least aspirationally. This is the opportunity to share your big, hairy, audacious goals for your event. Even if they seem a bit far-fetched, remember that you have the drive to achieve them.

The Special Olympics is a celebrated and well-regarded event for myriad reasons. Chief among them is that the event is guided for more than 50 years by one goal: to provide year-round fitness and access to Olympic sports to children and adults who have intellectual disabilities. Everything the event does — from logistics to funding to marketing — comes back to that goal.

When an event builds its purpose into its operations, there’s never any confusion about what direction it’s going.

2. Identify key performance indicators. In any business plan, performance indicators are essential. While it’s great to generate ticket sales, you need to be able to prove that your event is a success.

This is where you convert your goals into actions that support your mission. Your KPIs should be specific and measurable, such as “Have 70 new attendees at this event” or “Drive 150 ticket sales from X marketing source.” Avoid overly broad or generic goals like “Get a lot of people to come.”

A study found that 63% of event creators use past performance to determine future participation in trade shows or conventions. Analysis that goes beyond things like ticket sales provides insight regarding how your event is performing. Measuring the right KPIs can help you grow your audience, maximize your return on investment, and make informed decisions on marketing strategies.

3. Understand your revenue model. Even if your budget isn’t set in stone, it’s an essential part of your business plan. Your plan should include all income streams, expenditures, ticket sales projections, and funding that you’ve secured.

Most of the money goes toward marketing and promotion, followed by event talent, printed materials, and venue fees. Be as detailed as possible when putting your plan together. Remember, your event’s value is ultimately defined in dollars and cents.

For your event to be successful, you need to pair your passion with a business plan. Whether you’re launching a new event or growing one that’s been around for years, a thorough plan is an ideal way to put your event on solid footing.

Need more insight on how to build a business plan that helps your event thrive? Download “The Event Business Plan to Launch, Grow, and Propel Your Event” to learn more!

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Author: Ronnie Higgins

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