5 Ways to stave off disasters at your small business' first event
Planning a large event, such as a concert, festival or tradeshow, can be costly and time consuming. If you've never done it before, it's downright daunting. The best event planners make the process look easy, but most are graduates from the school-of-hard-knocks. They have learned, with time and a few career disasters, what not to do. Drawing from their experiences, learn the top 5 ways to stave off disasters when planning your own special event.
1. CONSIDER SECURITY
Hiring security may seem an expensive and unnecessary investment for most events. However, any time there is a large gathering of people, and especially when the venue is dark, noisy or involves alcohol, security is an issue. With inhibitions down among strangers, fights can sometimes break out unexpectedly; additionally, criminals may take advantage of a large crowd to try and access sensitive parts of a facility with expensive equipment or computer systems. Experienced event planners report this sort of thing happens more often than anyone would imagine and don’t want to be caught with their pants down. While you hope you won't need security for your event, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Ridding an event of an unruly guest is easier and less obtrusive when done by hired security than if you have to have your on-site employees take care of it, or wait for the police.
Like security, insurance can, at first, seem like an unnecessary expense. Taking 10 minutes to talk to an insurance agent about getting a liability policy may save a conversation with an attorney later. Accidents happen every day and if somebody happens to get hurt while attending your event, you will have saved your organization a ton of money, not to mention long term headaches, by having insurance.
Often overlooked, but almost always necessary, are control barriers whether it's temporary fencing or setting up queues. Large numbers of people tend to behave in a disorderly manner. Crowd control barriers, temporary fencing and queues help direct traffic into desirable patterns so chaos doesn't rule the day. Additionally, you may want to keep some parts of a venue off-limits to visitors during your event. A company that provides barrier and fencing solutions can work with you to determine what sort of crowd control you may need to keep things running smoothly.
4. ACCESSIBILITY AND SPACE
Related to problems with large crowds is that of space and accessibility. Often this issue isn't given a second thought until it's too late and a visitor who’s already paid can’t access the venue due to a lack of a ramp, handrail or some other necessity. Look around your venue and consider how to handle any elderly guest, guests with special needs, or physical disabilities. Will they be able to access important parts of the event? Is there enough space for comfortable sitting or standing? Will guests be able to move with a reasonable amount of freedom once inside? Give careful consideration to the venue and choose wisely.
How long will your event last? Any event that lasts an hour long or more will require restroom accommodations. If your venue is small or has inadequate facilities for the number of people, as is often the case with older buildings, small venues, or outdoor locations, consider portable toilets. They don't have to be the plastic construction site types. Some models are large, spacious and look like part of the scenery with log cabin or cottage themes. Many are compliant with regulations on accessibility as well.
If it’s lasting more than a couple of hours, you may want to consider offering an option for food or beverages. If you do so, make sure you’re following the law – many locations will require a permit for serving refreshments at an event.
REMEMBER – FOLLOWING THE CHECKLIST ISN’T ENOUGH!
These are our top 5 most critical considerations for a disaster proof event, but don’t stop here; success requires thinking through every aspect of the event. Make sure you’ve mapped out your space and created a schedule or timeline – this will help you catch any oversights during planning.