top tips on reducing risk at your next event

How to reduce event risk my top ten tips

I’ve been managing events for over twenty years. I’ve seen my fair share of risky events taken to market and in this post I want to share some of my tips to reduce the risks of your next event. 

I would hope that if you can tick off most of these risk reduction techniques you will run a less risky event. So here goes: My Top Ten Tips to Reduce Event Risk.

1. Build your event on a proper event management process

If you want to bullet proof your event the best way to do that is to use a tried and tested event management process. Here’s the Gallus Events Nine Steps. We use this for every event we organise. Following this process makes sure we do the right thing at the right time. Here’s a detailed overview as a 10min Video that explains how you can use this process to manage any event.

event management process

Nine Steps: How to manage every event

2. Include a contingency in your event budget

Every event should included a contingency. However, that’s not always the case! Often when we carry out our “Event Check” we often find event budgets that don’t include this crucial way to minimise risk. Here’s a full post on how to calculate the riskiness of your event!

3. Operate a yellow, amber and red warning system

If you run a series of events we highly recommend using a very simple traffic light system to highlight any potential risks. We implemented this for a client a few years ago, and it literally saved their events business. In simple terms you can highlight an event green when it passes brake even status, mark it amber when you think you are on target and red if you see a lower than expected revenue. This helps you quickly and easily target the events that most need your attention, thereby reducing the event risk.

4. Provisionally book and don’t sign ANYTHING straight away

Even if a venue is chasing you to sign, you should hold off until you are sure of the number of attendees. Just because they ask doesn’t mean you need to sign straight away. I often have venues on hold for a few months. It’s rare that you lose a provisional hold but of course if you need that venue then you have to sign, however make sure you sign for as low a cost as you can. Here are loads of venue negotiation tips!

5. Ensure you have maximised your income streams 

For most event planners if you increase revenue you will reduce the risk. The biggest risk after all is losing money. So I suggest you pay the absolute most attention to your revenue stream. Are you able to secure more sponsors, add an exhibition, or sell the content during or after the event? Can you maximise revenue from food, drinks or other expenditure that takes place at your event? Tighten up on the revenue and you will reduce risks.

6. Stay on top of expenditure

The same goes for your costs. Have a bullet proof budget and let it guide you. If you don’t have extra expenditure you will reduce the risk of losing money.

7. Insure your events

You can still be left with a huge problem if your event doesn’t work however having insurance will help you reduce your risk profile. Here’s a great article about the Fyre Festival and the need for the right type of event insurance.

8. Have up to date terms and conditions

We have probably all been guilty of forgetting to amend or update our terms and conditions. This is an easy one to miss but it can cause you some serious problems. If your attendees haven’t signed your t+s, or they are out of date, you are in a pretty shaky position should anything go wrong.

9. Engage properly with all your stakeholders

I am amazed how many event organisers show an absolute trust (without seeing them in action) in all their suppliers and stakeholders. Those supplying services are crucial to its success. So event organisers should know as much as possible about their suppliers and where possible have seen them in action. It’s obviously not possible in every case but event organisers should do everything they can to see their suppliers in action before their event.

10. Consider crowdfunding

Perhaps the best way to reduce the risk of an event is to crowd fund the event. We did this for a client in 2017 and it was a massive success. Crowdfunding is basically the ultimate market research. With a crowdfunding campaign the organiser gets to ask their “potential” attendees to guarantee their attendance BEFORE they have organised the event, or spent any money on the event! Here’s a GREAT crowdfunding Case Study.

Knowing how risky your event is an event essential

Being able to show that you have an understanding of the risk profile of your event is crucial if you want to be seen to be in charge of your event. It is an added bonus if you can demonstrate to your boss, or your stakeholder what you have done to limit that risk. I hope this blog post helps.

Our Introduction To Event Management course, which is a four hour online course, will help every event manager to stay on top of all of the event essentials.

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