I have hosted many parties in my time. From picnics and having the entire family for every holiday, to corporate shindigs, to showers and graduation parties: I've basically done it all. And I love it. I love to feed people - it's that simple! But when you really break down the specifics of hosting any sort of party it comes down to marketing and branding.
Branding is defined as: "The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products."
Let's break it down.
What are your intentions?
Let's take my niece's graduation party, for example. The intention is to have great food, a beautiful setting, for everyone to have an amazing time and talk about how wonderful it was to others. You want your party to stand out! No different than your marketing and branding plan, right? You want great content (food), your logo, marketing materials and website - your beautiful, eye-catching "brand kit" (the venue and decorations), and you want people to enjoy working with you so much that they become regular or return clients and they refer you to others (the overall "wow" factor of a successful event).
Who is on your guest list?
Just like you wouldn't invite people who will ruin your party, you won't try to sell your products or services to companies who just aren't a fit, right? Don't waste time promoting your company to organizations who just won't work well with what you offer. We all want to land the BIG JOB but know when to "stay in your lane." Figure out where you fit best: small business, women-owned, nonprofit, industry specific, and so on.
Don't be afraid to ask for help.
Another example of staying in your lane: Don't try to be everything to everyone. Know when to bring another person(s) in to do tasks you just aren't good at! If you can't cook, you hire a caterer. Not good at thinking of a theme and decor? In comes a party planner. I am not a graphics gal, I don't have the experience or software programs... and frankly, I don't want to do it. Enter Colleen! She handles requests for logo creations, refreshes and other creatives that I'm just not skilled to do. We stay in our lanes, work well together, and now my company can offer a service that is a great fit with the core of my business. It's the trifecta: Content, Marketing, Branding!
Do the homework!
It may take a lot of research and trial and error, but doing your homework is worth it. Compare it to shopping for a location and food options. If you're hosting a party for 50 it may be easier and less expensive to rent a small hall and make the food yourself. Compare that to an advertising budget. Can you afford to spend thousands on an ad that may only bring a few hundred dollars in revenue? Take advantage of free and relatively inexpensive advertising like Facebook, Facebook ads, Chamber memberships, online groups, and the all- important word-of-mouth and referral exchange. (See "What are your intentions?")
After any great get-together you'll ask your guests a lot of questions because you want reinforcement about the event. Your family and friends will tell you if your new dip was a hit or miss and they'll be certain to have an opinion on your decorations. You'll need to uncover thoughts and feelings with your clients as well. Keep an open line of communication with them before, during, and after a project. Try to have as many face-to-face (Zoom, Skype for now) meetings as you can. Too many things are lost in translation during an email exchange and everyone is looking for human interaction, even while sitting in front of a computer screen.
And, of course, HAVE FUN!
While as a host, you truly never relax or have the same experience as a guest - it's important to have fun! When you're working on an important proposal or project make sure to take time to get outside for fresh air, take a walk, stretch, do anything that takes your mind off the task at hand. You'll return refreshed and more focused.
At the end of the party (project) you'll show more wear and tear than anyone else, but when you get messages telling you how great the party was (the check and additional client work) it'll all be worth it!
And P.S. - The party was amazing and everyone had an incredible time!