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Creating an Event Budget: Step-By-Step Guide

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Creating an Event Budget

One of the key aspects of planning and hosting an event is to estimate and create a comprehensive event budget. 

The event budget should be established as early as possible since it will dictate many different aspects of the event and help you to avoid unwanted surprises. 

Without an event budget in place, you are literally setting yourself up for disaster: running out of money for promoting your events, don’t have any emergency funding, and so on. 

With that being said, here we will share our step-by-step guide on establishing an event budget. By the end of this guide, you’d have learned about: 

  • How to accurately estimate an event budget based on your event strategy
  • How to allocate your budget on different aspects of the event’s needs
  • How to effectively track and manage budget usage
  • How to evaluate budget usage in the post-event stage

Without further ado, let us begin right away. 

Step 1: Identify Your Event’s Needs

Establishing an event budget (or any budget), is essentially about finding the balance between the event’s needs and how much money you can spend. 

It’s typically best to design the event around the available resources you can secure (including sponsorships), and not the other way around. For example, if you are confident you can secure $10,000, then start with this number. 

By now you should’ve also identified the type of event you are going to plan (i.e. a trade show, and you can list the event’s needs including: 

  • Budget
  • Speakers/talents
  • Employees and volunteers
  • Branding collaterals
  • Food and beverage
  • Marketing
  • Event technology and infrastructure
  • Equipment
  • Transportation

And more. 

If you’ve hosted past events, you can use the data from these past experiences to figure out the must-have needs for your event. You can also research similar events in your area for common trends. 

At the same time, discuss the projected high-level budget with your internal stakeholders (and external stakeholders if you, for example, have retaining sponsors). The earlier you communicate the high-level budget plan, the better since you can avoid future surprises and secure the buy-in from stakeholders ASAP. 

Step 2: Estimate Costs In Detail

Now that we’ve identified the must-have needs of the event and the high-level budget, the next step is to estimate the costs for individual items on your list.

The goal of this step is to have a detailed budget for individual items. The more accurate and detailed the budget is, the better. 

The actual list might vary depending on the event itself, but ideally, you should break down the budget into different elements. Here is an example of a typical large-scale event: 

Catering

  • Food and beverage
  • Equipment and tools
  • Additional staffing

Venue and Equipment

Decoration

  • Venue decoration

Marketing

  • Online advertising 
  • Offline advertising
  • Influencer marketing
  • Referral commissions

Transportation

  • Staff transportation
  • Talent transportation and accommodation

Contingency

  • Equipment failure
  • Failure of talents to arrive on time
  • Weather issues
  • Breakage/losses
  • Injuries and accidents

Don’t forget your contingency fund. As we know, even the most well-planned events will always have something unexpected. You should allocate at least 20 to 25% of your total event budget for contingency and emergency. 

Gradually reach out to potential vendors for quotes when planning this budget so you don’t have to pile up your vendor outreach efforts. Also, use this time to choose the right vendors for each element of your budget, and if possible, lock the vendors with written contracts as early as possible. You should especially secure your venue and your date as early as possible

By the end of this step, you should have developed a detailed budget estimation as the foundation for your event planning. 

Step 3: Monitor Budget Usage

In the previous step, you should’ve booked your venue and chosen at least the crucial vendors. Probably you’ve also paid some of your vendors.

In this step, our focus is to make sure the event planning and execution go according to plan so the event stays within budget. 

Record the actual spending for each element of your budget, and monitor them. Small deviations are okay, but if you stray too far away from your projected budget, you should adjust your strategy accordingly. 

This is where your contingency fund comes in so you are prepared to handle additional expenses and major changes in your plan. This will help keep you from going over your budget, which can be an issue when you report the budget usage to your stakeholders. 

However, even if you’ve planned contingency or emergency funds beforehand, it’s still important to also get your stakeholders’ sign-off so they are aware and prepared. 

One of the key purposes of creating an event budget is to keep yourself accountable, so make sure it stays that way. 

Step 4: Evaluation

If you’ve monitored your actual budget usage carefully in step 3, then this step should be very easy.

Once your event has concluded, revisit your contracts and track your spendings to ensure you’ve settled all payables. Also, this is the time to re-check your budget and make sure every single cost has been recorded.

Identify your total spend, and report this with your stakeholders accurately and in detail. This will especially help in evaluating your event’s performance. 

Identify areas where you underspend and overspend. If you are planning to host other events in the future, then these can be very valuable insights. Analyze areas on your budget that can be further optimized, and areas that have been working well so far. 

Wrapping Up

Accurately estimating and planning your event budget are very important in ensuring the success of your event.

However, it’s no secret that planning an event budget can be challenging if you don’t know where to start. It’s crucial to plan your budget as early as possible, and by following the four simple steps we’ve shared above, the process of planning your event budget should be more streamlined and manageable. 

It’s also crucial to monitor your budget usage and evaluate it after the event has been concluded. They can provide valuable insights and make it easier for you to plan another budget for future events. 

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Debt Consolidation: A Smart Move To Manage Your Finances

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Debt Consolidation

In this fast-moving world, managing your finances can be tricky. It might be tough to keep track of payments and balances on existing bills when you have credit cards, school loans and vehicle loans. To be on top of this issue and find a way to achieve your financial goals, all you need to have is a solid debt consolidation strategy. Consolidating these loans into a single loan may help you to simplify your budget.

This article covers the topic of Debt Consolidation in a nutshell.

What is Debt Consolidation?

Debt consolidation is a rational financial approach that combines various bills into a single debt that can be paid off each month through a debt management plan.

By following the debt consolidation strategy, you can reduce the interest rate and lower monthly payments on the debt, thus making your debt more affordable and easier to manage.

Types of Debt Consolidation

It is important to have choices when it comes to Debt consolidation, as the right option can improve your financial situation significantly. Debt consolidation is the process of repaying various debts with a new Personal Loan or Balance Transfer Credit Card, which usually has a reduced interest rate. Let us look at the two options in more detail.

        I.            Personal Loan

A Personal Loan is a type of consolidation strategy with the source being from either the bank, a credit union or from a friend or family member. You can use this plan to clear credit card debt or any other type of debt that may have a higher interest rate. The advantage of a Personal Loan is that even though this type of loan comes with higher interest rates when compared to that of a Car loan or Home Loan, there is no need to show any collateral.

Furthermore, approval of a Personal Loan will depend on your credit score. Once approved, you will receive a lump sum of money fortnightly, which you will be agreeing to pay a certain amount of money back for a specified period with an agreed interest rate, thus making it an Installment loan. Plus, interest rates may be reduced depending on your credit score.

By making payments for the personal loan each month, you can have your monthly budget planned accordingly and at the end of the loan term you will have fully paid off your consolidated debt.

It is advised to consider not just the interest rates but also the total cost of the loan in the long run. This will give you an idea of whether opting for a Personal Loan is the best way to go.

   II.            Credit Card Balance Transfer

Some companies like Coles or Virgin Money, offer a balance transfer onto your credit card, but the stipulation in this case is that you have a good credit score. You can use this to apply for a new credit card and then channel the loan debt to the card. The advantage is that there will likely be a promotional 0% interest rate for a certain period (generally 12-18 months). After this period is completed normal interest (generally above 20% p.a.) will be applied.

The cons that come with credit card balance transfer are –

·         Credit score might take a serious blow

·         You may not save money after the balance transfer fee is added

·         There is a risk of ending up with more debt

·         After the promotion period concludes you could end up with a higher interest rate.

From the above two options, you can easily understand why there is a need to have a debt consolidation plan in place. In the next section, we highlight the importance of debt consolidation.  

Significance of Debt Consolidation

1.  Pay off your debt faster

What’s more stress-free than clearing off debt quicker than you initially thought? With debt consolidation this can be achieved. If your Debt Consolidation Loan has a lower interest than individual debts, try to make extra payments with the money that’s saved each month. With a long run of interest, you can save money as well as consolidate your debt.

2.  Can lower your interest rates

If you combine loans like credit cards and Personal Loans, which have high-interest rates, in the long run you pay lower interest rates, especially if your debt consolidation loan is at low interest.

3.  Improve credit score

Payment history is the deciding factor that can boost your overall credit score if you make on-time payments on the loan.

4.  Life, stress-free

Fewer debts, less stress. It is wise to have a single debt that has the advantages of easy managing, easy repayment, and more importantly, can consolidate all the loans into a single, consistent payment.

Act now. Do your own research. Live a debt-free life.

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Business

6 Ways On How It Boosts Sales And Business Growth

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Business Growth

The retail industry is ever-growing and ever-changing. To remain in the game, one must constantly assess their strengths, weaknesses, ups and downs, consumer behaviour, etc.

Some of you might be aware of what mystery shopping is all about. But for those who don’t know about this term, you’ll find this article very helpful. Before you get into the details of this topic, you should know that more customers do not affect business growth. It is more challenging to retain your current customer and not allow them to get diverted to a cheaper competitor. Now scroll down to learn how you can retain them.

Businesses appoint agencies that offer mystery shopping services. It is amongst the most cost-effective solutions to find out about customer experiences. The agency you appoint will appoint mysterious shoppers. The agency then asks the mystery shopper to visit different stores and locations and gather the information that the client needs. All the collected data reaches the agency, where it is analysed and provided to the client to understand customer loyalty, progress, customer satisfaction, and much more.

How does a mystery shopper help in growing your business?

As you appoint an agency to give you an insight through their mystery services, you can attain many benefits from the outputs it generates. Below is a list of benefits you can attain with mystery shopper service.

  • You get honest feedback from your customers.

The most valuable information is the customer review to boost sales for a company. Unless you know where your product or service lacks to satisfy the customer, you won’t have any scope for improvement. Knowing what the customer thinks about you is essential, and through mystery shopper ideas, you can get real answers from your current customers.

  • You can direct and manage your sales team.

Knowing what your customer thinks about you makes it much easier to direct your sales and marketing team to plan a strategy that’ll work best to please the customers. You can review your techniques and give feedback to your staff on what works and does not work for your business.

  • Spreads awareness and motivates employees to perform better

If the feedback from mystery shoppers is positive, it will encourage the staff to perform better and maintain the company’s graph. But if the response is negative, it will make the staff aware of their flaws so they can plan on improving them and move forward.

  • It gives you a reality check about your competitor.

In a fluctuating market environment, it is always better that you constantly know what your competitors are doing. A mystery shopper can visit your competitor’s store and get you information about how they are placing and marketing their products. Or how the customer is responding to their campaigns and more. Keeping an eye on the competition and levelling up your game should be your priority.

  • Helps in customer retention

Retaining customers is the biggest challenge, and you can overcome it with mystery shopper service. Once you know what your customers think about you, you can start working on aspects that require improvement. You can plan a marketing strategy that gives additional benefits to unique customers to keep them happy.

Look for a mystery shopping agency that has an edge in the market. Ensure you thoroughly research the agency and read reviews to learn more about their service quality. Discuss what type of information you expect to get from them. Also, you can seek a free trial before you sign a contract with the agency.

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Launching A Business? Here’s What You Need To Know About Different Insurance Plans

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Launching A Business

Insurance is a way of securing your aspiring business against any form of risk that can occur, but most individuals get confused when it comes to choosing the right type of business insurance. If you are one of such people, don’t worry, as we will share with you information regarding different types of insurance plans so it can become easier for you to pick a suitable one. 

Understanding the Types

Insurance companies usually provide their services in the form of different coverage categories which can be availed individually or collectively. Examples include commercial property insurance, general liability insurance, and professional liability insurance to name a few. Most companies and businesses make a business owner’s policy that allows business owners to add different insurance coverages to get the best outcomes. Most common insurance policies include general liability insurance, commercial property insurance, business income insurance, and professional liability insurance which are mostly availed as a collective by an aspiring business. Without further ado, here are some types of insurance for businesses.

Business Income Insurance

If your business experiences a decrease in revenue due to unexpected property or equipment damage, business income insurance can provide you with sufficient capital so you can keep running your day-to-day expenses like utility bills, payroll, or the rent of the commercial property.

Commercial Property Insurance

This insurance helps in keeping your owned or rented property protected against damage. However, you would need to get additional coverage and take certain measures if you want protection against unexpected natural disasters like a flood or an earthquake. However, don’t forget to compare the coverage of the available insurance services in order to make the right choice.

Industry-Specific Insurance

 Let’s say you live in Canada, for instance, then you need to look into the country’s and the industry’s laws and regulations in terms of the insurance. Canada is a country with flexible laws for businesses and has policies that allow smooth business operations. Still, businesses must have insurance policies in place to protect their interests. When it comes to business insurance in Canada the regulations should be looked into in detail. Professionals in the field suggest looking for industry-specific insurance as it will be able to provide you full coverage. For example, if you have a business providing services, industry-specific insurance for your business will include professional liability protection so you can be prepared when facing lawsuits filed against your services. Nowadays, it is easier than ever to sign up for an insurance plan. You can even find insurance providers offering their services online also you can pick the right insurance policy with ease.

Data Breach Insurance

Big data, automation, and AI are revolutionizing the way we conduct business. User data, their activities, and behavior are all pieces of information used by companies to target specific marketing campaigns. It’s the responsibility of the business owner to secure information and take adequate security measures. However, if there is a cyber-attack resulting in a data breach, this form of insurance will assist you in contacting the affected individuals, managing public relations, and providing you with the right tools that keep valuable data protected in the first place.

Getting the right type of insurance is crucial for your business, especially for those who have just started their journey. Therefore, dedicate some time to research different insurance services, read about the offered coverage, and then make the decision that will guarantee the best business outcomes.

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