How To Hit Your Event Budget On the Head

Event Budget

So, you’ve been put in charge of planning a large event, and now you’ve come to sorting out the budget. When it comes to budgeting for an event, you can never be too organized. Every penny counts with these things, and if you go into your event without a budget that’s planned down to a tee you’ll only be setting yourself up for failure. To ensure that you manage your overheads as cleanly as possible, and avoid shooting yourself in the foot, here’s some of my best advice for event budgeting.

Always Differentiate Wants and Needs

 In many cases, it can be hard for the organizer to distinguish what the event needs to be, and what they want it to look like. One of the very first steps in your budgeting plan should be establishing what the event can do without. When you’re drafting that first list, make sure you’re only including things that your event really needs. Within those needs, there will be different choices which are down to personal preference, but the decision you settle on should always coincide with your drive to be as cost-effective as possible.

Take furniture, for example. Unless your event is going to be a yoga-meditation workshop, you’re going to need somewhere for everyone to sit. Lavish, Georgian-style dining chairs may be impressive, but will more affordable banquet chairs suffice? Apply the same kind of critical thought to everything at your event. Do you really need to serve lobster? Do you really need to organize transport for your guests, or can you  let them make their own way there? Differentiating wants and needs properly is essential for a successful event budget, so make sure you’re not neglecting it.

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Avoid Extra Liability Costs

As I’m sure you’ve discovered in some way or another, events don’t always go according to plan, and this can often result in extra liability costs for the people at the head of it all. When you’re pinning down the venue, be sure to take your time reviewing every little clause of the contract. It’s pretty common for clients to be charged additional liability fees if they don’t meet certain conditions.

For example, if significantly more guests come than was specified when you first applied for the venue, or if the venue or any of its equipment is damaged. One of the most common causes for extra liability fees is the clients leaving behind a huge mess, thereby forcing the cleaning staff to work overtime. You may also incur costs if you get your catering from somewhere else, having agreed to use the venue’s own catering service. Make sure that you’re going through the contract meticulously, and that you understand anything that could possibly result in extra fees. If you take a blasé attitude to the terms and conditions you’re under, your budget could easily come up a little short!

Set Aside a Contingency Fund

Understanding the terms that can slap you with some liability costs can steer you out of some serious financial pitfalls.  Every event budget should include a contingency fund as a kind of safety net. This is essentially money that you set aside in case of unforeseen costs, like liability fees and other nasty surprises. Other factors such as ticket sales coming up short, sponsors abruptly having to drop out, and various other factors can suddenly leave you out of pocket.

When this happens, it’s extremely handy to have a contingency fund you can fall back on, rather than being forced to scramble for some kind of emergency funding solution. Generally, you should aim to carve off a contingency fund that’s roughly 10% of the total overhead cost. This will stop your boss tearing your head off due to the actual overhead exceeding the given budget!

Cut Back, or Forget About Entertainment

 No one goes to business events for pleasure. At least I hope they don’t, anyway! The guests at your event are going to be there to learn something, do some networking, or further their professional development in some other way. Keeping this in mind, consider whether or not your event really needs any entertainment.

If the event is going to mark an anniversary or some large triumph by the company, or your guests are being encouraged to bring friends and family, then some kind of entertainment may be necessary. In some cases, you’re going to need some kind of incentive to drive up ticket sales.  But even if this is the case, you should be doing everything you can to keep the cost to a minimum.


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