Who Doesn’t Love Budgets?

12 06 2010

Budgets change when numbers of attendees change, and the client usually doesn’t understand that.  Sponsorships (sometimes) increase, and the client wants to spend the apparently extra money on the program, even though all expenses have not been covered.  Sponsorships (more often) decrease, and the client does not want to pare down expenses in reaction.  Bottom lines are constantly changing because of the nature of profit and expense fluctuations, and the client usually doesn’t understand that either. This is not because the client is stupid (if they were really dense, why did they choose you?)  it is simply not generally their area of expertise. A great article on three reasons budgets don’t work (and how to fix them can be found at 3 Reasons)

What the event planner/producer does understand, and is usually in total agreement with the client, is that the event must remain true to its purpose – everything must remain memorable and successful in every facet of its’ expectations and execution.

Major challenge?  Sure!  But that is what makes our profession so very important.  Following are just a few examples of ways to ease the process from planning through completion.  Many of these ideas and suggestions are pretty “DUH” for many of us, but hopefully something will be a new idea for somebody.  I will keep this brief – if you have any questions or great ideas to add, please respond and I promise to elaborate or include your input in future postings.

1.) If location is not a foregone conclusion, you have carte blanche to negotiate almost everything.

2.) Negotiate with your vendor to incorporate decor owned by the vendor.  Be inventive about how to re-imagine funky or unusual prop/decor items to enhance your event (if they are free).

3.) Unless your goal is “Over The Top” keep the decor simple – in many cases “less can be more”.

4.) Create a spreadsheet for your budget whose values change as you input new guest and dollar amounts – this is very helpful in keeping on top of your budget at all times.

5.) Determine every reason for your event to occur – later, if you have to adjust expenses, it will be easier to eliminate line items deemed least important to your final goal.

6.) Ask your suppliers for suggestions.  They frequently have excellent advise, especially if they have often worked in your venue.

If you do your homework, utilize your creative skills, and communicate constantly with your client, budgets can be manageable.  Who knows, you might even earn more than you anticipated, and you will have developed or enhanced a great relationship with your client.

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