One of the hardest parts about organizing a corporate event in Toronto is managing a budget. It’s no easy task, especially when you’re managing multiple vendors at once and you have money funnelling into different directions. If you don’t keep track of costs, you increase your chances of going over budget and losing more money than you need to and nobody wants that.
If this is your first time organizing a corporate event in Toronto, here are some of our tips and tricks to managing an event budget and how to keep a couple dollars in your pocket:
Know Your Budget
Let’s start from the ground up. Before you start planning for your corporate event, you want to know what your budget is so you always have that number in mind when sourcing out different venders. Have a max budget and then absolute max budget so you always have money matters in-check. Your max budget is the ideal ballpark amount of what you want to spend and your absolute max is your budget limit. You don’t want to splurge outside of that number.
Map Out All Your Expected Costs
Once you have a budget in mind, in a spreadsheet (this will be your best friend!), start marking down all your expected costs and areas where you plan on spending money. This can include the venue, catering, decorations, swag bags and speaker fees.
Once you have all those items mapped out, in a column beside those it, include their estimated costs. This is a great way to visually see where you plan on spending your money and whether or not you need to be cutting some items off the list. If you notice your estimated costs already outweigh your budget at this stage, you’re going to have to reel some things. For best practice, make sure your estimate costs are all under budget before sourcing vendors.
Start Sourcing Vendors
Now you’re ready to start booking vendors! Don’t be afraid to consult multiple vendors in each category before landing on one that’s reasonable and fits within your budget. Take catering for example. Chat with multiple catering companies and see what they can offer you within your estimate budget and try to keep it within that range.
Once you find a vendor that you like, besides your column of estimate costs in your spreadsheet, include a column that says actual cost. This is where you’ll mark dark the actual spending cost of that item. Make sure you’re always adding up the actual cost column so you’re always making sure you’re staying within your event budget.
Always Update Your Spreadsheet
Keeping track of all your budget items on a spreadsheet is going to save you a lot of time and headache, which is why you should stick with it until the very end. Every time you book a vendor, be sure to include their actual costs in the spreadsheet so you have an idea of what the final numbers are going to look like when all the vendor costs are added up.
Also don’t be afraid to use spreadsheets to your advantage! Use them to help you keep track of which vendors got paid and which payments are still pending. This document is also a great place to house all your vendor information such as contact information and deliverables.
Pro Tip: Find Areas Where You Can Save
Once you’ve built out a budget, find areas where you think you can save. Can you get sponsors to donate the catering? Can you get a venue sponsor so you don’t have to pay a fee to host the event?
Look into your own professional and personal networks to see if anyone can assist you on this front. If not, create a list of potential sponsors that would align with your brand and see if any of them are interested in becoming a sponsor. You never know who might be willing to help you out, especially if your event demographic matches that of the potential sponsor. This method can help you and your company save a lot of money, especially if it’s organized within a reasonable amount of time. That extra money can either go towards other items on your checklist or right back into your pocket. Either way, it’s a win-win!
The more you organize corporate events for your company or brand, the easier it will be to manage budgets. The first time is always the trickiest, but after doing it once, that spreadsheet you’ve built will become the framework for organizing all your corporate event budgets in the future. It will also help you understand what estimate costs were reasonable and which ones were unrealistic so you can start building better budgets down the road. While money matters aren’t a fun part of the event planning job, it’s an important one. After doing one event, watch yourself become a pro at it. Don’t worry, you’ve got this!