Space. If we’re talking about Star Trek, it’s the final frontier. If we’re talking about the venue for your small business conference, it’s probably a pain in the you-know-what.
You’ve planned. You’ve created cool swag. You’ve developed a genius event strategy. But if you think you’re done, think again. You still have to figure out how to make the most out of your small business event space. And to do that, you need these tips.
1. Nail Down the Numbers
Once the final tally of attendees is in, you need to stay (sort of) true to the numbers. You don’t want too many empty chairs. However, you also need to make sure you have enough for everyone who’s coming, and a few extra for those who “forgot” to RSVP. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 10% more of everything that you think you need, including food, tables, chairs and giveaways.
Arrange the chairs so that they face the main stage or speaking area, and leave enough space between each row so that people can sit comfortably. Also make sure you have center and side aisles so your audience can enter and exit without disturbing too many attendees.
2. Set the Scene
Your event space will likely come with the basics – walls, doors and maybe some windows. Everything else, you’ll probably need to provide. While no one wants to spend their day surrounded by plain, boring walls, remember this is a business event, not an eight-year-old’s birthday party.
Keep the balloons, streamers and crepe paper to a minimum. However, feel free to use chair covers and tablecloths that compliment your company’s logo and color scheme.
3. Remember, Incidentals Aren’t Always Incidental
Does your conference room have a whiteboard? An overhead projector? A screen for presentations? All of these things are pretty essential for a small business event, so make sure your space comes equipped with them or make plans to bring your own.
Will your event require attendees to break into groups at any point? If so, make sure you have a spot for each breakout session, preferably far enough apart that people don’t have to yell over one another to be heard.
Small businesses often have small budgets, so you probably can’t rent the grand ballroom at the Four Seasons for your next small business event space. The trick is to make the most of what you’ve got. Crunch your numbers, set a tactful scene and make sure that all the incidentals are taken care of beforehand. The space can make or break your event – make sure it’s the latter by planning it out carefully.