Not all events are giant productions hosted by large corporations. Here are some tips for small business event planning!

1. Decide upon your target audience before anything else.

2. Make a list of details — everything including lighting and public transportation, to content and refreshments.

3. Have a clear business purpose for holding the event.

4. Watch out for other industry events when scheduling.

5. Be flexible with changes in size, location and other details.

6. Know your limitations.

7. Create SMART goals.

8. Develop a “financing plan” for your event, and estimate the numbers.

9. Create an expense budget  – and save money through “in-kind” sponsor donations.

10. You’ll need a DETAILED marketing plan.

11. Be tireless in your efforts or your event will fail.

12. Define good reason(s) for people to show up.

13. Lay out in writing why your target market should attend – don’t assume the benefits are obvious.

14. Learn how to talk to the media.

15. Use Twitter hashtags.

16. Buy advertising on social media networks.

17. Use YouTube to promote your event.

18. Create an awesome low-budget promotional video.

19. Get local bloggers involved.

20. Use online registration.

21. Offer local partners incentives to promote you.

22. Give early bird incentives.

23. Follow up – and follow up again.

24. Set expectations carefully – then deliver.

25. Let crowd reaction be your barometer.

26.  Imagine the event, step by step, and make a 2-column list: what could go wrong in one column, and your contingency plan in the second.

27. Be ready to lend a hand to fill any gaps.

Happy planning! 🙂