Planning an event is hard enough. Planning multiple events at the same time can make you pull your hair out! There’s a lot to juggle and a single mistake (like sending a caterer to the wrong venue) could ruin more than one event.
Like all things, however, event planning can become easier as you scale up as long as you plan ahead and think strategically. Here are some tips to successfully manage multiple events.Planning multiple events is manageable if you think strategically. Here are some tips to manage multiple events. Click To Tweet
1. Create Your Own Checklists
Create some comprehensive checklists that outline everything you need to do, plan, and buy or rent for your events. Save the document somewhere you can access and edit easily. Create a fresh copy for each event.
Get as granular as possible when you create templates. Add plenty of items and subitems to cover everything you need to plan a high-quality event.
For example, you definitely need a checklist item for “find a venue,” but you also need subitems for tasks like…
- Get copy of the occupancy certificate.
- Find out if the venue provides tables and chairs.
- Map the venue’s audio, visual, and lighting setup.
- Identify spots that will need signage.
- Decide where to place the admission/registration table.
- Check on local transportation options.
You get the idea. The point is to include everything you need to do or know for each event. Some items may not apply to every event, but it’s better to put them on your checklist for when they do.
2. Keep Your Files Separate
This seems like a simple technique, but it works well. If your files are mixed together, there’s a chance you could mistake one for another in a rush. So you’ll want to keep your event files and documents separate from one another so there’s no confusion.
It’s also helpful to store everything digitally. Scan paper documents into PDFs and host them on a cloud storage site like Dropbox or Google Drive. This will keep them safe and ensure you and your team can access them at any time.
3. Use an Event Calendar
This should go without saying, but we didn’t want to leave it off our list. Every good event planner should use a calendar to keep themselves organized. What goes on your calendar?
- Event dates (obviously)
- Deliverable dates, like when you need to commit to the florist or when the venue needs your centerpieces.
- Payment dates, so you and your vendors get paid on time.
- Appointments with key players, like vendors, volunteers, or speakers. (Note what you’ll discuss so you can show up prepared.)
Your events calendar should also lay out your entire promotion schedule. Mark dates to post on social media, when to send emails, when to open registration (if applicable), etc. Set deadlines to add information or push notifications to your custom event app.
4. Separate Your Budgets and Finances
Properly planned events require comprehensive event budgets. You need a fresh, standalone budget for each event, no matter how small. Budgets keep you organized and prevent you from overspending. This is pretty important if you plan events to earn income. It’s easy to accidentally burn through your profit by overspending a little here and there.
It also helps to keep all of your finances separate for each event. This will prevent you from spending one event’s money to pay for another, or from thinking you have more cash on hand than you really do.
You can do this by configuring your accounting software to separate debits and credits for each event. You can also open a unique bank account for each event. Online bank accounts are easy to open, close, and transfer money to/from without visiting a branch.
5. Outsource as Much as Possible
The easiest way to manage a task is to have someone else do it! This is especially true when you’re talking about specialized skills, such as catering, audio/visual, or printing.
Yes, it’s possible to cook your own food or setup your own sound equipment, but if you are planning multiple events, that probably isn’t the best use of your time. Farm these obligations out to third party vendors, give them your orders, and let them handle the details.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with outsourced marketing, as well. If you have the budget, you could hire companies to handle your social media or email marketing. This could save a lot of your time.
6. Work with the Same Vendors
Once you find a few third-party vendors that you like, use them as much as possible. Over time you’ll build an efficient working relationship with these vendors. They will learn what you like and what you don’t like. They may even give you better pricing because you give them so much work.
Create a list or use a contact management tool to organize your vendors. Group them by purpose. Add notes to remind you why you like them. For instance, you may have one caterer who’s adept at cooking for small, intimate dinner parties, and another who can feed an army efficiently.
7. Delegate as Much as Possible
If you’ve outsourced as much as you can but still have too much on your plate, it’s important to delegate as many tasks as possible to employees or volunteers.
If you plan events so frequently that you often have multiple events on your schedule at any given time, consider enlisting the help of a regular team to help you with all of your events. Over time, your team will learn to work together, and be far more efficient than if you hired new people for every event.
Once you find people to help you with your event, avoid the temptation to micromanage them. Delegate problems, not tasks. For example, instead of telling your bartender exactly how to set up the bar, instruct him or her to handle it on their own, then check it for mistakes or inefficiencies. This will get them into the habit of solving their own problems rather than coming to you for everything.
8. Be Generous with Your Deadlines
When you’re planning a single event, it’s not a big deal if the caterer takes two extra days to lay out a sample spread. It’s not a problem if your keynote speaker takes a week to reply to your email. But these little delays can be serious problems if you’re trying to manage multiple events at the same time.
Build plenty of time into your schedule to account for delays and holdups, even if they aren’t your fault. Assume that something will go wrong and force you to delay a task or complete a project, which could easily cram into other tasks and projects on your schedule.
9. Standardize What You Can
If you’re planning multiple events of the same type or the same event at multiple locations, standardize as many details as possible. This will make your life easier and cut down on costs.
For example, let’s say you’re hosting a 5K race in four different cities at the same time. You don’t need unique branding at each event. The runners can wear the same admission wristbands. You can buy enough plastic water cups in bulk for all four races. You can sell the same T-shirts at your merchandise table.
You can even standardize details across different events for different clients. Create pre-planned events to sell as a package.
For instance, you might have a Hawaiian Birthday Party package that you sell for a flat price. Your planning will be minimal when customers purchase the package because everything is decided.
10. Focus on Event Day
When an event day comes, it’s important to focus on the event in front of you, no matter how many other events you have on your plate. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted with next week’s event when you have clients and attendees who may need your help.
Even if you don’t plan to be at the event, it’s a good idea not to schedule anything important during the event hours. This way you won’t be indisposed in case something goes wrong or there’s a problem you need to solve.
Organization Is Paramount
We don’t need to tell you about the importance of staying organized. You can’t plan an event if you write illegible notes, let your files float around, or neglect your voicemail messages.
Organization is especially important when you’re juggling multiple events. Use these tips to keep yourself organized so you can throw successful events.