Whether you're an experienced planner or are just starting out, building your events budget isn't always easy (or fun for that matter). It can be an overwhelming process, and difficult decisions will have to be made in order to create the most successful budget possible. To make the process a little bit less daunting, take a big breath and think about these fundamental questions that will help put you in full budget tackling mode and will help navigate the intricate facets of event spend.
1. What are your goals for the upcoming year?
First and foremost, you cannot start planning your events budget without thinking about your goals for the upcoming year. They'll set the tone of the entire budgeting process and will help guide you when it's time to make the tough decisions about where to spend your money. You don't have to go overboard; pick two or three goals and go from there.
2. What were last year's success and areas for improvement?
Looking back on previous budgets and data goes beyond your basic increases or decreases in revenue. Looking back on last year's or your recent event's ROI and key KPIs can tell you more about what exactly was a positive investment and what didn't work out, helping you make smarter, more thoughtful decisions when it comes to your budget.
3. What are my must-haves, what are the extras?
No matter the event, there are typically the same unavoidable essentials you have to account for in your budget: venue, travel, staff, A/V, F&B and programming to name a few. But when it comes to spending beyond those essentials, think about the most critical aspects or goals of your event. Maybe it's hosting quality networking opportunities, or creating a high-tech event experience. Or perhaps it's having an impressive venue or a top industry keynote speaker. List your top three, and you'll know where to make your investments and where you can cut corners.
4. How can I prepare for unexpected costs?
Every good planner knows it's important to be prepared, and that couldn't be truer when it comes to your budget. The reality is, minor (and sometimes major) disasters and events go hand in hand. Having a rainy day or discretionary fund available for last minute emergencies can be a lifesaver and can help you keep costs under control even in the worst-case scenarios.
5. What can I consolidate?
Consolidation can make a significant impact on your budget, especially when it comes to technology. Take a look at all the tools you and your team are using. Are they using multiple online survey tools or maybe your registration and website tools don't integrate well? Investing in something like a robust event management software solution can put all of these popular planning features into one platform, saving money, while streamlining processes.
6. Should I shop around?
The short answer to this question is, yes. Whether it's an event technology provider or a local vendor, it's important to get multiple quotes when you select who to work with throughout your event. While it may seem like yet another thing to juggle, taking the time to find the best deal, will result in significant savings. Plus, there are a lot of tools on the market to help manage the back and forth, especially with venue sourcing.
Did we miss any questions? What do you like to think about when creating your events budget? Let us know in the comments.