Now if there’s one thing I can emphasize to individuals and companies, and especially to individuals who are sole proprietors, it’s to have a very clear business plan for your event.

My plan for Blue Gypsy Bluesfest was, “hey I want to have a party and brand my company!” At first it was targeting the real estate industry in Hampton Roads, but then I just said, hey lets do this for charity and get anyone and everyone who loves Blues, BBQ, a great family day….and the list went on. I lost my focus and got caught up in other things, which was fine, I had the time and I had the energy, and I kept looking at it as a learning experience.

You need to make sure you have the time, and you can prioritize. At some point depending on what kind of business you have and the work you already have on the table you may want to consider hiring a professional event planner. One who is familiar with all the ins and outs and can give you a realistic idea of time in to plan an event.

If you want to take it on yourself you need a clear picture of what you are doing. Define the following.

What is my purpose for this event?
Who is my target audience?
How do I intend to reach my target audience?
What am I offering?
What am I not offering?
What kind of time do I have to plan this event?
What time frame do I need to create to reasonably put on this event?

If you are planning an open house, a small luncheon, or a small informal gathering of contacts that you already have you need a lot less time to plan an event. Anywhere from weeks to months. But if you are planning an event that means selling tickets or seats to an event or a seminar and you do not already personally know your target audience you are going to need to create a comprehensive marketing plan and give yourself a minimum of 1 year for a first time event. I know, that doesn’t hit the instant gratification button. But in order to put on a successful event you need the time to develop a plan and execute successfully.