Today we're continuing our series on how to throw a fabulous event for your small business. When all of the big decisions, as we talked about in the last post, have been decided, here's my top five tips for the details of your event day:
1. Think like a guest. Will they know where to go once they've arrived at the venue? Where coats should be checked, where to register, how the bar/food works? Are there any items they should know to bring ahead of time (for example, swimsuits to a pool party)? Put up clear signage that directs guests on where to go, and be sure to have someone greet everyone at the door and explain the details of the event.
2. Hire an event planner. I'm not just saying that because I am a planner, but you want to concentrate on your guests - not on making the event run smoothly. Even if your event is at your home, a planner can keep the food and drinks filled, clean, and be a go-to person if a guest has an issue. While working at events hosted at a home we've also: warmed up baby bottles, helped moms find somewhere to feed babies, played games with the kids, loaded cars, done dishes, helped people who suddenly got sick, swept up broken glass, etc. Unexpected things will happen, and can take up a lot of your valuable time if you haven't hired someone to help. Remember that if you are relaxed and enjoying yourself, the entire atmosphere of the event will be relaxed and enjoyable.
3. So since you've hired a planner, you'll be able to spend time with each guest individually. Before the event, be sure to go through your notes and remind yourselves of any names you have trouble with. There is nothing more awkward than being in a conversation with someone, especially a client, and not remembering their name. Bonus if you know children's names or something a bit more personal - their jobs, where they like to vacation, etc.
4. Make sure the party flows. If you read our last post, I'm sure you've picked an event that is suitable to your crowd, and your guests are having an awesome time. Be sure to introduce people to each other. You may have to be the first person to get a drink, jump in the pool, start a game, etc. if you want your guests to participate. We once planned a wedding where the couple wanted to have a picnic dinner. When dinner rolled around, everybody stood around with their plates until the bride sat in the middle of the lawn on a blanket and called her wedding party to join her. Within a few seconds the guests were seated on the lawn themselves.
5. Give them something to remember. You're already throwing a totally fabulous party, so it doesn't need to be big. Since you're not hardcore selling on this night (unless the purpose is directly to launch a product or share about your company), consider something like a treat to take home in a paper bag with your logo on it or something. After the event, followup with your guests. Contact people individually if there is any conversation that was left unfinished or an opportunity to work together.