Last week I attended an interesting talk about budgeting for meetings and events and it explained a lot about the plethora of responses I receive when a planner or a corporate buyer asks P&V Enterprises to submit a proposal for their annual meeting or annual recognition event. The answers are usually, "I don't know" or "what do you think you can do?" The latter is an open ended question. We can do a lot of things to produce your meeting or event but without the input on budget and objectives it is futile.
With planners working on a shorter lead time, I could give the benefit of the doubt, but after hearing the discussion I realized that there is a budget created by someone but perhaps not by the planner.
I also learned about a strategic approach to budgeting.
Questions should arise such as, "what is most important to this event or meeting?" That should help one decide if table decor is important, or if staging and audio visual are important. Perhaps the venue is the important factor. The purpose of the event will help determine the importance of various parts of the budget and how much weight to give each part.
If the event consists of a reception and dancing, your budget leans towards satisfying that, but if your event has a couple of speeches, a video and PowerPoint, then good lighting, good sound and good projection are important. Having a technical director and/or producer and a stage manager would be part of the budget.
After you have all your elements in a spread sheet and allocate budget percentages to them, you can then fill in dollar amounts. Then you need to, based on this, see what the cost per person is. The latter is another good determination on the value of the program.
For instance is it worth it to spend $200 per person for a sales meeting, where your sales and marketing people are being trained about new products, initiatives and generally being given a huge pep talk? Ot is it worth $400 to do this?
I could go on and on, but I'm not a financial wizard. What I do know, though, after hearing the discussion is if you do know what your objective is and what you want to get out of the event it's much easier to budget. In turn it makes it possible to determine the return on investment (ROI), the important thing that the CFO of your company will want to know.
I'm being a bit simplisitc about this, but I hope that I have shown that your event production or meeting must be thought out so you develop the right budget.I don't mean that you need to do all the creative development, but you do need to know your objectives and what you or your company wants to receive in the way of sales, recognition, publicity, good employee or client relations, etc. and the rest should fall into place.
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I enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience. Event production is a very difficult task. You will be responsible for planning and implementing ideas and strategies to have a successful event.