The key components to organizing a successful business conference

Organizing a successful business conference is quite a task. There’s just so much work that needs to go into making sure the conference is a success. But where do you even begin to start?

The easiest way to get the ball rolling is to break it down into core sections. Those core sections can also be broken down further. For example, the budget is a core section of any conference. But included in the budget is a whole multitude of things such as venue hire, building a website, catering, the list just goes on.

There is no need to overcomplicate things though. These days the information is readily available, and although it won’t relieve the stress involved in organizing your conference, it will help.

Carefully identifying your target audience

The first step is to identify your target audience. This might sound obvious, but it’s really important to get this correct. If the key objective is to sell, you don’t want to be inviting a load of delegates who are within your industry but are just there for a free day out. You want to have delegates there who are likely to invest in or buy your product. In short, delegates are likely to spend money over some time.

Targeting the correct people within your industry, rather than just people who are in your industry is paramount to the potential failure or success of your conference. You don’t want your conference to simply end with everything running smoothly, but no one buying or investing in whatever it is you are trying to sell or promote.

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Organising a budget

This section can morph into a whole heap of sub-sections on its own. There is venue hire, building a website, screens, microphones, wi-fi, catering, the list just goes on and on.

Time and consideration will need to be taken to decide how to do this. Do you invest heavily in the venue or the presentation of your conference? For example, you may wish to showcase your product with a big-name host, with high-tech presentation, or with an upmarket video or audio presentation. 

All these things can cost a fortune. And depending on your audience and what it is you’re trying to sell, should have a bearing on how much of your budget you wish to spend on your presentation.

If you’re looking at a low-key presentation, you could instead look to invest more heavily in your venue, or in facilities to make your conference more comfortable and appealing.  

When you’re planning your event, also look for sponsors who may be interested in getting involved. You can increase your chances by creating sponsorship packages. And don’t forget to see if you are entitled to any funding. There could be organizations within your industry that offer grants. Remember, just because you are organizing a conference, doesn’t mean it has to be a loss leader for your company. But at the same time, you don’t want to dilute the quality because you are more interested in making a profit.

As is the case with planning a budget for nearly anything these days, costs will change. There will also be last-minute issues that crop up, needing immediate action, which you have to be prepared for. One way of dealing with this is by issuing virtual credit cards to members of your team. These are extremely helpful when it comes to running last-minute errands, as they enable your conference organizers to safely purchase any items that may have been overlooked, to keep the preparations running as smoothly as possible.

As they aren’t physical, virtual credit cards can’t be lost or stolen. This makes them more secure, and if the details are in any way compromised, they are easy to deactivate. Using virtual cards will also help you as an organizer as you can set up spending limits on them to ensure that you keep within your budget, without placing restrictions that could affect the quality of the conference.

Venue and date

The date and venue slightly overlap the budget section of your planning. A venue is going to cost you money to hire, and this has an impact on your budget.

Venues close to transport hubs are likely to cost more. Even if you bite the bullet and pay for that privilege, you still need to ensure that delegates can get flights or trains that get there at the correct time on the right day. There is also the road network to take into consideration, as well as car parking spaces.

If it is a hotel you are using, can they do a deal for any delegates wishing to stay the night before or after the conference? And don’t forget to do careful research on the date of your conference. Is there something else happening that day that might keep delegates away?

This could be date clashes with business-related events, or even for social reasons. You might consider it wise not to organize the event on the day of a huge sporting event that could attract a lot of corporate interest for example.

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What do you want to achieve from your business conference?

Finally, what are your objectives and what do you want to achieve from your conference? You will need to define these before you start putting your event together.

Some of the reasons why you might be organizing a conference are to promote your business, sell a product, increase brand awareness, or build contacts. You will also likely learn from other delegates at the conference who are within your industry.

At the very least you should create new connections and show off your brand to what should be an influential audience. But that’s probably not the real reason why you are planning a business conference. You should have a target in mind. For example, a certain amount of investment, or a particular amount of sales.

So before you start planning your conference and your budget, have a clear idea of what exactly it is you are looking to achieve from your conference. If it’s properly planned out, the chances are your conference will be a success. This is key. Prepare properly, and everything else should hopefully fall into place.