I may be the oddball here. But I absolutely love grocery shopping. It might be because I'm a foodie at heart, and I love dreaming up new recipes and finding sales. But nevertheless it's one of the chores I will gladly do over folding this week’s laundry.
However no matter how much I like it, the errand still takes a substantial amount of time to complete. Grocery shopping for a family is nearly always time consuming, no matter when you go. It doesn't matter if it's done late night on Wednesday (my preferred day of the week) or Saturday midday.
Regardless how long the checkout line is or how many people are in the store, you still have to walk yourself around from aisle to aisle to pick your items. Gathering enough food for four or more people just requires time.
But even though you can't avoid putting in the time to do the work, you can be more organized and orderly with a plan. That’s why I love the idea of meal planning. It requires sitting down beforehand to group together meal ideas so that you minimize your ingredients list, cut costs, and eliminate waste.
That's why I love Wegmans. They have a store app that lets me see my previous purchases, create shopping lists from done-for-your recipe ideas, and then orders my list by aisle and section so I don't needlessly zigzag across the store because I wrote down eggs next to the chicken. When I take the time to create a meal plan, it allows me to go through my pantry, create a shopping list, and then go shopping with greater ease and efficiency, all because I have a filter by which to make all my purchasing decisions.
Okay Diera. What in the world does this have to do with event planning? I'm glad you asked!
Similar can be said for planning an event.
Why great events start with clarity of purpose
I’m not going to lie, planning an event takes time and effort. No matter what you do you’re going to have to put in the time, even if you hire someone else to do most of the logistics for you.
However, your time can be used more efficiently and wisely if you have this one thing: clarity of purpose.
The problem with not having a clear purpose for your event is lack for filtering.
Like the meal plan is to your shopping, a clear purpose provides the filter for planning an decision-making for your event plans.
There are many directions you can go with your event, and along the way there will be many decisions you’ll need to make. Most time a decision early on will have major implications on later decisions. For instance, deciding whether your overnight retreat will focus on education versus relaxation, will have great implications on the type of hotel or venue you choose. That decision alone will steer you in very different directions in your planning.
Another example might be planning an event to make profit versus planning an event to generate leads versus planning an event to build your network. This has implications not just on your budget and financial investment, but also your content. All events are planned with the bottom line in mind, but turning an event for profit requires different spending considerations. And an event for new leads instead of making industry contacts are totally different in terms of content.
To host an event with no clear understanding of how it aligns with your overarching business goals is like taking a road trip across country with no map. You could end up in Seattle, or you could end up San Diego. Both are on the west coast, but in Seattle you’ll need wellingtons and a raincoat and in San Diego you’ll need flip flops and a swimsuit.
So how is this done?
How to determine your events purpose
At the outset of your planning, before you book a venue, before you write a sales page, while your event is still just a concept in your head, you need to be very clear about three things:
1 | My business goal(s) for hosting this event is...
Am I looking for new referrals and leads? Do I want more my current clients to consider working with me at a deeper level? Do I have a new service I want to sell or preview? Will this be part of a mastermind or high-end service offering? Or perhaps lead up to one?
Do you want to connect with more folks in your industry? Are there new relationships, or connections you’d like to make to establish yourself?
2 | A live, in-person event best helps me achieve this because...
Is there another more effective, more affordable way to reach my people? Is an in-person event a good way to experience my brand? I’ll be the first to say, in-person events are not for everyone or every business.
Who will you need to target for this event to be successful? Current clients? Will you reach out to others in your industry? You can have a successful event with a relatively small number of people, if they are the right number of people.
3 | By attending my event, attendees will..
What is the greatest benefit for my attendee? What one problem will my event solve for them? This is the point where less really is more.
There are a plethora of decisions to make for even the smallest events. Such laser focus now will be a great help later. Starting with a clear purpose gives you the necessary filter thru which to run all your financial, branding, promotional, and content decisions.
And to help you with this step, I created a short worksheet where you can write down your thoughts and work through your ideas. Click here to grab it!
When you’re done, come back and she with me your ideas and why’s!