The Entrepreneur’s Corner

Planning successful business events
We discover a simple truth as adults – life isn’t much different once we reach the point deemed “older and wiser.”

Take events, for example. It wasn’t too long ago that your biggest concern was whether or not everyone would come to your birthday party. Now as a business owner, you may very well find yourself in the same position.

Planning meetings and events are oftentimes a necessary task in the business world. From shareholders meetings and annual retreats to fundraisers and galas, planning an event can be challenging enough without worrying about whether or not anyone will come.

The good news? The success lies in the details, and in our fair city, there are a wealth of resources and vendors who are ready and willing to collaborate with you to ensure your event is the one everyone is planning on attending.

Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind as start making plans-

1. Location, location, location – Select a venue that is fresh and inviting to your potential guests. The “same old, same old” won’t cut it- pick a spot that will cause intrigue.

2. Put on your industry cap – If hosting a meeting for a particular industry, keep that in mind while finalizing dates and times. April would be off limits for accountants while December is a no-go for caterers.

3. Create buzz – Establish a core group of potential attendees to advertise they are coming- either through word of mouth or social media (or both!).

4. Make it fabulous – The little details are what make an event memorable in the mind of the attendees. There is absolutely no replacement for good food, drink, entertainment and company!

If hosting an event on a grander scale, then you may also want to consider teaming up with a media sponsor as well as featuring a local “celebrity” as the event’s spokesperson. Additionally, offering the option to sell tickets by table may entice other companies to purchase the tickets in bulk and distribute among the staff as incentives.

And when in doubt, I always like to say, simply create an event that you yourself would like to attend.

After the big day has come and gone, make sure you take the necessary steps to ensure the next soiree is an even bigger hit. Promptly send out surveys to attendees to better gauge their feedback. In the same vein, take the time to sit down and do a “post-mortem” and dissect what went well and what could be improved.

Planning a successful and well attended event can be a tremendously rewarding experience. With a few additional measures, you’ll be the toast of the town in no time.

Jennifer McBride is the owner of Henrico-based McBride Events, a full-service event management firm specializing in weddings, corporate events, social events and fundraisers. Contact her at (804) 697-9251 or through

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