2017: FIVE EASY STEPS TO PLAN THE YEAR AHEAD
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
WE HOPE YOU TOOK ALL OF OUR ASTUTE ADVICE ON HOW TO PREPARE FOR AND RECOVER FROM YOUR NEW YEARS FETE. WE ARE TRYING TO FINISH UP THE LAST OF THE BUBBLY AND CAKE BEFORE OUR RESOLUTIONS KICK IN. WE ARE ALSO LOOKING FORWARD TO THE YEAR AHEAD OF US. WE ARE ROLLING OUT SOME EXCITING NEW THINGS FOR THE BLOG THIS YEAR BUT FIRST, WE WANTED TO HELP YOU THINK THROUGH YOUR EVENTS FOR 2017 WITH CLARITY. SO WE ARE TAKING A DEEP-DIVE INTO ONE TOPIC TO START THIS YEAR: EVENT PLANNING. WE WILL BE DISCUSSING HOW TO DO IT BEST, HELPFUL TOOLS, AND WE ARE ALSO HARD AT WORK ON A TOP SECRET SPECIAL SURPRISE JUST FOR YOU!
HAVE A SEAT, GRAB A PEN (OR OPEN YOUR GOOGLE DOCS) AND GET READY TO TAKE SOME NOTES. HERE ARE OUR FIVE EASY STEPS FOR SETTING A GREAT FOUNDATION FOR YOUR EVENTS FOR THIS YEAR.
STEP 1: A LOOK BACK
If you took our advice about how to tie up an event after the big show, you will remember that one of the things we suggest is a productive discussion with your staff as a post-game strategy. You examine what worked, what didn't, look honestly at the mistakes you made, and your many triumphs. Taking these notes as a foundation, take a moment to break down a big annual list of the same things. If you didn't do this, no biggie, just dig in yourself and see if you can come up with a hearty list of things you'd repeat and things you would change. This way, you'll be sure you understand what you do well, where you still have room for improvement, and all of the tricks and tactics you want to take into the coming year.
STEP 2: THE MACRO VIEW
Now that you have looked back and understand your past years' events clearly, you can look ahead at the coming year. Grab your calendar (paper or online) and pencil in dates for all of the events (conferences, celebrations, product launches, seasonal parties, etc.) Even if it's just a wish list or goal-setting dates for celebrating a new big client you want to land or creating and rolling out your company's next big thing, it helps to give you a sense of all you want to accomplish as the months roll on. Gazing down from this virtual mountaintop, you can see a wide open view of all of the events you need to anticipate for 2017 and the action steps you need to take now to make it all a reality.
STEP 3: THE TALENT LINEUP
No doubt there were some shining stars in supporting roles at your events this year. If you didn't take the time to thank them yet, start there. (We have a great gift guide from the holidays and it's never too late to express appreciation. Read Part I here and Part II here). Even a simple thank you note is a great gesture to share your gratitude for all that stand-out people have done to assist you. Mail is most personal but if all your time will allow for is an email, well, it's better than nothing. The most important thing here in terms of planning for next year is to make sure that each person you hope will be there for you again is lined up and ready to rock. Let them know how much you anticipate their contribution for your events and let them know you will continue to value their help and support. Now you will have a loyal stable of hardworking folks ready to do great work for you in the future.
STEP 4: BUDGET BASICS
Ah, budget. How could we forget you? We can't. If you felt like you could have gotten more for your money in 2016, make sure you check out our free budgeting checklist to get the most bang for your buck.(Did we mention it's FREE?) Since you've looked back at last year, you have a good sense of what you spent on your events and how you might want to amend your budget next year (New event management software? So worth it! Overrated caterer? So not!) Figure out where you invested wisely and where you could afford to be more creative with your dollars next time. Looking at the calendar overview you made, apply some budget estimates to each so that you can get a sense of how your company needs to adjust expenditures for the events you will plan to have in the months ahead. Make sure you loop your accountant, financial adviser (if you have one) or money management software into this step so that you know you haven't overlooked anything. We think that doing this will probably save you not only time but money, as well. That's pretty priceless.
STEP 5: THE PLANNING CHECKLIST
Now that you've looked back to the past, forward to the future, thanked your crew, and examined your budget, it's time to get moving (or at least set the foundation for future action). Creating a lucid, realistic list of actionable steps is the essential ending for this exercise. You can do it one of two ways--the year as a whole, or event by event. We suggest breaking this up by event--it's just easier to digest everything in smaller quantities, in our humble opinion. If you prefer, you can set up your events in some kind of team management software (we love Asana but we've heard that Quip and Teamwork are good, also) or on a simple spreadsheet in Excel or Google Sheets, organized by event or by calendar month. Make it simple but clear, making sure that each item that needs doing is covered. Really at a loss for where to begin this step? We've got something up our sleeve, so stay tuned to the blog to find out what it is.
WISHING YOU THE HAPPIEST NEW YEAR FROM ALL OF US HERE AT BLACKSTONE PRODUCTIONS. WE'RE BACK THIS WEEK, RENEWED AND REFRESHED, READY TO MAKE YOUR 2017 EVENTS THE BEST THEY CAN POSSIBLY BE. LET US KNOW HOW WE CAN HELP YOU MOST. WE'VE GOT YOUR BACK.