As the financial year end approaches with lightning speed, there may be some event and functions budget left over in your coffers that you’d rather see poured back into your business, than handed over to the tax man.
Here are some great ideas on how to take care of the last of your corporate event and entertainment budget as you plan your last event for the financial year:
1. Invite a high-profile keynote speaker
An event can be a bit of a snooze-fest when we hear the same message, from the same faces, over and over again. It was Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux who said (in French), ‘That which is repeated too often becomes insipid and tedious’. The last thing we want is for business leadership to sound insipid and tedious!
Thankfully, South Africa has many great motivational speakers, and an event can be made that much more impactful when an external voice brings an on-brand message.
This is your opportunity to reignite the passion and energy in your staff that makes your team what it is.
2. Hire a professional corporate event planner
This time around, give the Human Resources and Marketing team a break. Hire a professional corporate event planner. Not only will the event run smoothly, but your entire team will be able to enjoy the event, without stress.
Corporate event planners also typically have a list of trusted, reliable contacts, with more competitive rates, so you might end up with greater value for your conference than if you ‘save’ on the cost of an event planner.
3. Invest in marketing (for open events)
If your event is open to external attendees, and you have excess budget, then consider investing more of your budget into print media and digital marketing.
If you don’t have a marketing team, why not utilise the services of a marketing consultant for the project. They are typically au fait with what will be required, and they don’t come with the HR challenges associated with permanent staff.
If you do have the inhouse marketing expertise, then ask for Google Ads or increase your spend on your existing ads, place more print ads in your target market’s key publications or billboards, and consider advertising with local radio stations.
If your existing marketing team is already overburdened, consider bringing a marketing agency onboard for the conference that specialises in marketing strategies, to supplement your existing marketing efforts.
Whatever your marketing landscape, investing in greater marketing spend makes good business sense, and should show a return down the road.
4. Give staff awards and rewards (for inhouse events)
This is a great way to say ‘thank you’ for the efforts of individuals and teams alike, and not only will result in greater productivity (which means more profit), but in greater job satisfaction (which means lower staff turnover).
Awards can be team-oriented, where a permanent or project team is recognised for outstanding achievement, as well as highlighting the achievements of one or several individuals. Depending on your budget, rewards can be anything from certificates, trophies and dinner vouchers, to game farm weekends away and ship cruises.
5. Super-charge the food, beverage, and entertainment
Failing that, the last and best way to spend your events budget before financial year end, is to consume it! Pull out all the stops with your food and beverage budget, hire amazing entertainment and lighting, and put on the best show you possibly can for your attendees.
Most caterers have budget, moderate, and premium menu options, so this time, throw caution to the wind and request the option that best utilises your inflated purse. For entertainment, instead of a playlist from someone’s phone connected to speakers, hire a full-spectrum DJ, a live band, or the Ndlovu Youth Choir! Your attendees will thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to let their hair down and connect with one another, and will remember your event long after it is over.
At the end of it all, spending your full event budget is an investment back into your business, and should be done. Motivating your team, realigning them to corporate vision, highlighting progress and challenges, and refocusing your people is one of the best ways to future proof your business for the year ahead, and a great way to spend the last of that events budget.