Guest Blog by Debbie Marks

Guest blog post for MIBA from Debbie Marks, Qube Events & Productions

When the fabulous Estelle & Leona asked to my write a guest blog for MIBA, I jumped at the chance.

Firstly let me introduce myself, I’m Debbie, mum of 2 gorgeous girlies and owner of award winning Event management and decor company Qube Event Productions, decor hire company Qube Event Hire and light up letter company Hollywood Letters. I started my business journey 11 years ago when I went on maternity leave with my first child Dahlia. My husband said to me, ‘You have 9 months to make your business viable or your going back to work!’, I knew what I had to do and I’ve never looked back. You can read my full story in ‘Mumpreneur on Fire 4’. So for any MIB’s who are in the same situation as I was back then, you absolutely CAN do it.

Social media wasn’t a huge thing back when I started so it’s even easier for you guys now. Make sure you check out all the amazing social media content that Estelle & Leona have for you. We are super excited to be headline sponsor for the SMS Summit, it’s going to full of practical content which if you take on board and implement into your business will take you to the next level. Don’t worry if you didn’t manage to get a ticket for this years event. You can now sign up to watch a live stream.

Ok MIB’s. Especially those of you who run events and run MIBA networking events or are thinking about it in the future.

Planning an event can be a stressful process, and can often leave event organisers feeling overwhelmed, however when it all comes together and your event is a success, it’s the best feeling ever! I wanted to share my top 10 tips for Successful Event Planning with you to help you to master the fine art of planning a memorable and effective event.

1. Begin Early
Begin planning as soon as you possibly can. If your event is a large event you should realistically begin planning it to eight - twelve months in advance. We’re planning the MIBA awards next year, we’ve give ourselves 12 months to plan! (Ladies you’re in for a real treat this year!)

Smaller events need at least one month to plan. To keep the final run up to the event flowing smoothly, try to ensure that all supplier contracts are completed a few weeks before the event.

2. Remain Flexible
Over the course of planning the event, things are going to change. Whether it is event times, locations or even the type of event you’re hosting, you need to ensure that you’re flexible and can meet the changing demands.

3. Assign Responsibilities
Break up the various elements of the event into sections (e.g. registration, catering, goodybags), and assign a section to each member of your team. As they are solely responsible for their own section they will be much more clued into small detail changes.

4.Create a budget
It’s important to understand how you are going to fund your event. Get an understanding on all the costs involved with your event and then work our how you will cover them. Do you need ticket sales, sponsorship, it may be self funded and if so you need to know how much you need to put aside for it.

5. Create an Event Planning Document (EPD)
In order to keep everyone on the same page, create a master document that details everything to do with the event, including suppliers contracts, attendee information, and the floor plan. With a shared document everyone can refer back to it if they are unsure, and your entire team can spot if something is out of place.

6. Have a Backup Plan
It is rare that an event is ever pulled off without at least one issue, an item may not turn up or an important person may arrive late. Assess the most important assets your event will have, and create a backup plan for each. If a number of issues arise in the future, triage them and decide whether an alternative can be found, or if it should be cut entirely from the event.

7. Do a Run Through
About two weeks before the event, do a run through of the entire event process. Organise a meeting with your team and mentally walk through everything, from initial set up to the follow up process. Often complications are highlighted at these meetings, and you will have time to correct them. A few days before event organise another run through at the venue.

8. Photograph Everything
Pictures paint a thousand words, and posting positive photos online is an excellent way to demonstrate the success of your event. If you have the budget hire a professional photographer, they will be more clued in to the kinds of photos that are required and will approach you for specifics. Ask for a number of shots to ensure you cover all bases like a snap of the full room, photos of event branding, and lots of photos of attendees enjoying themselves.

9. Get Online
An event is the perfect way to up your social media presence. Create a custom hashtag for your event on Instagram/Twitter and encourage your followers to post about it. Similarly create an event on Facebook, and encourage your followers to tag the event in relevant posts. Upload your photos once the event is over and actively encourage users to tag themselves.

10. Follow-up Immediately.
Once the event is over, many organisers fall into a common pitfall – taking a break. While the logistics may be done it is important to be proactive in following up with attendees, be it over email or on social media, to demonstrate the success of the event. You want to entice as many people as possible to return to your next event!

So I hope I have given you all a lot to think about when it comes to planning an event. I absolutely love what I do as I’m there to hold our clients hands through every step of their planning process to ensure that their event is a huge success every time! That’s why our client come back to us time and time again, as for me it’s all about making event organisers lives easy!!

This week I’ve just launched our brand new website, I’d love you to check it out and let me know what you all think, www.qubeevents.co.uk

I’m super excited to meet you all in person at all the upcoming MIBA events.