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Pro Tip: Treat Your Event Like a Startup

By Samantha Stallard, Director of Marketing and Business Development

I began my career at a startup. Looking back, it was the best possible environment to professionally grow from. I was employee #12 at a SaaS company and, while there were technically enough of us to warrant departments, we knew never to say, "that's not my job." From testing software updates for bugs to staying late with pizza to stuff informational packets for trade shows, and from the CEO to the most junior sales developer, it was all of our responsibilities to grow the company together.


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Brands should run their events the same way. Employees with varying skillsets can all come together with unique value propositions for your event and, especially in the first few years, it should be all hands on deck to plan, promote, produce, and analyze the experience. Here are three areas of event planning in which you can adopt a startup mentality...

the website

Startups often have to push their website live while they are still figuring themselves out behind the scenes. While your website doesn't have to be an encyclopedia of your business, it does have to at least tease your capabilities, highlight team members, and be built with SEO in mind.

The same goes for your event website! Set up a microsite or landing page that gives readers enough skimmable information about your event for them to understand its cost, purpose, and location. Then, continue to beef up the content as more information becomes available. Try...

  • Getting to the point as quickly as possible
  • Cutting out unnecessary information
  • Highlighting important information in bold and italics
  • Including images that support textual content
  • Avoiding stock photos and meaningless visuals

The guests

When a business is just getting off of the ground, every client is your most important client. These companies and individuals took a risk by working with you. They invested their time, resources, and bottomline into the vision of what your startup could one day be. However, they often benefit greatly, especially in the tech world, with the ability to influence a software's updates and capabilities to meet their own needs.

A new event should be just as thankful for and accommodating to their first guests. While you might not be able to make production changes on their behalf, you can ask for feedback in a post-event survey and work to implement those changes (within reason) in the years to come, acknowledging that you take the attendee experience seriously and want your guests to feel apart of the fiber of the experience. Those first few years, all guests are VIPs, so continue that experience by offering them discounted pricing or preview access in the years that follow

the staff

Startups are known for their long hours, open collaboration, and family-like connection among the staff. As with my experience, every team member is expected to bring a unique expertise that can prove beneficial in everything from site development to sales.

Events require the same can-do attitude. You may pivot from alphabetizing t-shirts to managing Instagram Stories in a matter of minutes. By educating everyone on the needs from all onsite staff in the days and weeks leading up to the event's launch, you will eliminate headaches and wasted time onsite. Train everyone on the check-in process and review the answers to every guest question from "Where is the closest bathroom?" to "How many square feet is this venue?"


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