There are many factors involved in organizing and setting up a live business event. You need to consider the venue, food, transportation, accommodation, entertainment, speakers, and equipment among others.

Whether this is your first or tenth time organizing an event, you may encounter an expense that you didn’t plan for. In some cases, it could be a minor expense that can be paid off and included under the miscellaneous category. However, you might also find yourself in a situation where you overlooked a major expense.

The following tips will help you avoid any significant surprises that can send your event budget crashing.

1. Think about your guests

Similar to marketing a product or service, organizing a business event involves catering to a specific audience. What is their age group of your attendees? Will you be expecting an all-male crowd, just females or a combination of both? Are they from a specific industry? By defining your event’s target audience, you can better plan aspects of your event such as the flow of the program, type of venue, location, price range and more.

Your target audience also defines the type of event you should organize. For instance, if you are holding an event for food bloggers, then catering will be an essential aspect of the event. You will need to devote more time, money and effort in this aspect to make the event more successful.

2. Opt for flexible reservations

Emergencies can, unfortunately, occur which may affect how your event turns out. For instance, your caterers could back out at the last minute, or your VIPs can’t make it because their flights got canceled. Look for suppliers that offer the option of changing event dates or giving you a refund in the event of a cancellation. If the business cannot offer options for flexible dates or cancellations, think about paying for cancellation insurance. The insurance becomes more important if your dates, venue or accommodations are not confirmed.

3. Check your variable and non-variable expenses

Fixed expenses are aspects that remain the same regardless of the size of your event. Examples include the fee for the entertainer and rental cost for equipment such as audiovisuals or lighting.

Variable expenses, on the other hand, are aspects that can change depending on the size of your event and the number of your attendees. Catering and souvenirs are examples of this type of expenses. To avoid surprises, make sure that you have a clear idea of how many people are coming to your event. This will make it easier to get an estimate for your variables.

4. Check the fine print

Read all of your contracts carefully before you sign them. Check the terms, conditions, and policies. Some contracts may contain information about additional charges for overtime, paying for additional help or how much you need to pay if you plan to cancel your contract.

5. Allocate a budget for contingencies

Regardless of how carefully you plan your event, things can still happen that are beyond your control. It is advised to always have a small budget ready for these unexpected expenses. This will come in handy if you need to pay for broken dinnerware, or for perhaps additional line items that weren’t originally budgeted for.

6. Get professional help

Find or hire an event planning expert. For most people, hiring an event organizer or coordinator is an added expense. However, this professional can provide you with the help, knowledge, and expertise that you need to make your event run more smoothly. For one, event experts have contacts to different types of suppliers. They can provide recommendations on the venue, accommodations, entertainment, catering, and equipment depending on your needs and budget limitations.

In addition, event organizers have experience in planning and handling the actual event. They will advise you on how much you need to shell out and help you avoid hidden charges that go beyond your budget.

Anything can happen when it comes to events. Expect the unexpected and plan accordingly as far as possible. However, some accidents or unforeseen circumstances may cause you to pay more than what you planned for. By following these tips, you can keep these surprises to a minimum and organize an event that is within your means.

About the Author: 


Hadi Al Rifai is a MANAGING PARTNER at LEVEL PRODUCTION in DUBAI and specializes in audio engineering and event management and holds a BA in business management from the American University of Science and Technology in Beirut. Before settling down in Dubai to manage Level Production, Mr. Rifai has worked with leading national and multinational event management organizations in the Middle East where he honed his AV production skills. Among the notable projects he has worked with are the X Factor and Baalbek Film Festival.

Photo by Teemu Paananen on Unsplash