Putting on a Show: Handle Your Event Budget Like a Boss

business events planning how to plan event budget like a boss

Anyone who's had a hand in planning an event knows just how much work goes into putting something like a conference one. Easily one of the most difficult parts of planning a large-scale event is planning out the event budget.

In this post, we'll deconstruct the complicated task of planning an event budget into a few simple guidelines.


Figure out Financial Success

The first step to being successful with your event budget is simple: figure out what a successful application of your budget looks like.

You should have a concrete definition of what you are trying to achieve with the budget that you have been given. After all, if you don't know what financial success for your event looks like, how can you hope to achieve that success?

Ask yourself how much of your budget you want to use. Often, you'll want to use up to 80% of your budget, leaving a fifth for contingencies. If those contingencies never materialize, great! You just hosted your event under-budget!

Talk to the higher-ups and peers who are organizing the conference with you to gain a solid understanding of what all the stakeholders for the conference define as financial success for the event.


Understand Fixed and Variable Costs

With any event, there are two different sets of costs: fixed costs, and variable costs. Fixed costs are those costs that do not change depending on the number of attendees. These include things like rent for the venue, like the Midlothian Conference Center — chances are, the venue rent is on a per day or per hour basis, not a per person in the room basis.

Your variable costs are the exact opposite — they are costs that increase with increasing attendance. Food and beverages, for instance, one of the most significant expenses of any event, are variable costs. The more attendees you have, the more food and beverages you will be required to purchase.

Once you understand how much your fixed and variable costs are, you can decide how much you want to budget based on how much attendance you have.


Know Anticipated Attendance

In order to put your understanding of fixed and variable costs to good use, you have to have a good anticipation of what attendance levels will look like for the event. The higher the attendance, the more variable costs you have, but the lower your fixed cost turns out to be per head. 

Take a look at previous conferences and do market research to gauge an accurate estimate of attendance for your event.


Build a Model

Once you know all your costs and your estimated attendance, you can build a financial model for your budget. By putting in the variable factors of fixed costs, variable costs, and attendance, you can estimate how much of your budget will be used up.

With the model, you can also build in the 20% cushion that we were discussing above. If you're an Excel pro, this kind of model will be relatively easy to build out in Excel. If not, take a look at some of the online financial planning software available.


An Event Budget, Made Simple

Planning your event budget doesn't have to be hard. By keeping these guidelines in mind and using the right tool to model your budget, you'll be able to put on a phenomenal event at a minimal cost.

For more event planning and business advice, make sure to check out the rest of the articles on our website!

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