The business world is going digital – and the event industry is no different. For both a small business owner and event planner, technology is critical to keep teams on track and events running smoothly.
As a purveyor of organization and endless task lists, I’ve compiled my favorite digital tools that help manage the many to-dos and multiple stakeholders at BB Events. I hope you find it useful too!
Preparation is Key
Whether you’re setting out to plan an event or embarking on a new project, it’s important to start with clear foundations to map out everyone’s roles and responsibilities. It forms the roadmap to make sure things go off without a hitch.
Particularly in events, we work with multiple stakeholders that need clearly defined roles and responsibilities to keep everything running smoothly. And this works in the same way as a complex project that has many moving parts.
A collaborative Google Spreadsheet is our go-to for keeping all key information in one place for everyone to access. Our top tip? Ensure that the project manager – or in our case, the primary event planner – holds control of main edits. This ensures that all communication goes through them if changes need to be made.
Floor Plan Sites
With events, it’s important to visualize what you’re doing before the event day. A major part of this is what the venue is like so we know how to set up the space inclusively. Laying out seating and activations that utilize the space effectively and initiates the best flow of people is one of the priorities of any planner. Using a good tool to start that is important! I use AllSeated or Social Tables. Both allow you to build seating charts, create a floor plan and update guest lists in real time. Then, the technology builds a 3D virtual event to give your clients a sneak peek of how the venue will look. It’s a clever way to ‘tour’ the event space contactless — something that was a huge benefit as we navigated through the pandemic.
Gather Important Intel from Stakeholders
Information is key to success. How to collect it without it getting lost in an email or text message? – Google Forms. It’s my go-to tool when I need to ask for speaker submissions, collect vital information from vendors or gather feedback post-event. We’re always on Google anyway so it’s easy to set up, easy to store and easy to track with all responses going straight to Google Drive and everyone with access to it seeing the information in real time.
Over the years, I’ve used passed forms to create new ones so I don’t start from scratch. Plus, the responses remain in your Google Drive (forever) so I’ve often gone back to old ones for reference!
A seamless registration process that asks all the right questions is a game changer for an attendee experience. It’s often the first time they’re engaging with your event content. If you make the signup easy to complete, then you’re less likely to lose potential guests in the process. Choosing a platform depends on the type of event you’re doing. For fundraisers, GiveSmart is a great option. For meetings or social events, Typeform is easy and uses bright colors and imagery for playful and fun signups. And you can never go wrong with a Google Form!
Day to Day
Sometimes the most straightforward solutions are the best. That’s definitely the case for my phone notes app – whether that’s Google Keep or the Notes App.
When I first arrive at an event venue, my brain is ticking with different thoughts to finalize our event preparations. Things like… ‘When are we going to check the light colors?’ or ‘When is the sound check?’ or “This table needs a linen”. So, when I have an idea or task, I write it down. Notes are perfect when in a hurry and I can revisit them during or after the event.
For business owners, you’re constantly thinking about new opportunities or things to do. It can get overwhelming! Ensuring that you put it all down on paper helps to delegate to other team members or virtual assistants or easily turn it into a to-do list for the next day.
Small Business Must-Haves
I use Adobe Lightroom to store imagery. It took me a while to find a platform where I could view and store albums. We document the event from start to finish — the food, the guests, the volunteers and the venue. That’s a lot of content to filter through in newsletters and social media event highlights! Lightroom’s tagging tool lets me group images by a theme — say ‘food’ for example — which is useful when I need to jump in and find an image in a hurry.
I’m happy to put my hands up and say graphic design isn’t my strong point. As a small business owner, I need to do as much as possible in-house without sacrificing quality.
Canva allows you to upload your brand’s logo and signature colors, then use pre-existing templates and sizes to create anything from signage to collateral and proposals to social content. It’s a design lifesaver and so user-friendly.
Another simple but effective tool I rely on to keep my day running on time is Reminders on my phone. I set a 5-minute reminder before each meeting so I know when to wrap up and be ready for the next thing.
What’s Your Must-Have Digital Resource?
There you have my top digital picks for seamless planning and business management. Now, I’d love to hear yours!
Get in touch to share your business hacks.