How to Organise a Conference – Business Conference 101

Conferences bring together the growing community of people and relationships build by your product or brand. By holding a conference for your business, you get to create a community, build your brand, share your expertise, learn from others and Network/make new connections among other things. Organising the conference from scratch is one of the most important aspect of the event.

These quick steps should help you organise a flawless business conference.

Decide on the best theme

theme

This is one of the first things you have to do because all conferences need a theme.  You need something that will unify the entire event altogether without taking away from the subject matter.

Your theme should be relatable, catchy, and trigger an emotional response from the audience. When setting up the theme, consider what your message is, who your target audience is and what you want them to get out of the conference. The theme should guide you in branding and advertisement.

Assemble a team

There is a vas amount of work that come with organising the conference; you simply won’t do it on your own.  Organising it will depend on the type of people you bring onto the team

You need to get a dedicated team of individuals who will be ready to assume the responsibilities fully.  The team should be split into planning, administration, sponsorship ad marketing to help make the conference organisation easy. Having a large team will help you make all the arrangements and plan the conference successfully and on time.  Check for well organised, well driven and enthusiastic team players.

Budget and business plan strategies

Being clear from the jump about what you hope to achieve from the conference will help in its success.  Whether you are funded by sponsors or not, you need to put together a budget.

If this is not a corporate event, the end goal is to turn in a profit at the end of it all. This is why you need to create a clear picture of the expenditure you are willing to use for the conference and the income you expect to earn in the long run.

Keep in mind that you are going to go overboard or under the budget more or less due to some estimations on your budget.  Also, the registration fee should not be the only source of income on the event. You can look for other areas to save and make more money.

Talk to sponsors if you need to

plan

When selecting the sponsors, you want at the event, keep the theme and attendees in mind. Try as much as possible to find a good match for the conference.

Start by looking for sponsors that are known to find similar events in your area. Make sure you communicate with them and let them know how much say they have in the entire event. Decide if you want their branding and equipment in your conference.

Don’t do too much otherwise you might overstep the boundaries between funding and integrity of the entire event. If you can afford to cater for the event financially on your own, there you are in no need for sponsors

Find a venue and set the date

This probably sounds like one of the easiest tasks when it comes to organising your conference but its not. Before you start searching for a venue, it’s probably better to set the date first. For most conferences, 6 months to a year and more is probably a nice timeline for a conference. 

You will also need to calculate the average number of attendees at the conference. Once you have these two figured out, you can pick out the venue.  Make sure you schedule it for the weekdays, don’t pick a conflicting date and try to avoid winter conferences.

Decide on the speakers

speaker

Recruiting guest speakers is an important role in conference organisation. You end goal is to get a solid line-up of speakers so you can guarantee a professional experience for your attendees as well as attract more.

One way to capture the attention of potential attendees is by inviting big league/celebrity speakers to the event. People will probably respond to popular and well-respected speakers. This will also boost your credibility levels in the other potential speakers making it likely for them to attend as well.

Create a list of speakers you would want attending the event and contact them about the event. Make sure you address the requirements, compensation and supporting equipment to the attending speakers.

Put together the agenda

When you finally have all your key elements in place you can start planning the agenda. You want to get into this part of planning at least 4 months before the set conference date.

 Create an agenda based in the expectations of the attendees, their knowledge on the subject matter, the expected presentation by guest speakers and anything else important to the event. Make sure to include interactive sessions, Q&A and workshops when setting up the Agenda.

Register the attendees

attendes

This is where you get people to sign up for the conference. The first thing you should do is create a website for your conference. It should include the conference programme, registration, and all the details about the conference.

If you opt out of the website creation, you can hire a third party for ticketing. Ticketing is Very stressful and hiring a third party makes it easier. All you have to do is decide the price based on the budget and the payment methods for money transfer.

Promote/advertise the conference

There are plenty of ways you can promote your conference on a budget. Social media platforms, Niche-related forums and your Blog is a good way to start in promoting the conference. Encourage your speakers, workmates, team members and attendees to help you advertise the conference online.

Final word

All that is left now is hosting your conference. On the set date, you will be hands on in the event with other organisers and the guest speakers. Make sure you have backup speakers on speed dial before the event in case of any cancellations. After the event, follow up with all your attendees to appreciate participation as well as collect feedback.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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