By Saskia Smith

Making the most of your event budget: Advice from Alicorn Director Charlotte Cheshire

To help control your expenses and revenues, your event budget needs to be accurate, primarily as it measures the success of your event performance.

We’ve spoken to expert Charlotte Cheshire on how to maximise your event budget when hosting. Former Head of Salesforce and CLM Alliances, EMEA at Wipro and current Director at Alicorn, Charlotte has all-around experience with managing a company’s event budget. “Our particular product is people, so there is no recurring revenue. If sales are at a minimum every month, we are at a loss”, explains Charlotte. “Where we lose time, we lose deals, so making and maintaining personal connections is key, and this is where our B2B events come into play”.

Determine your event and overall budget

Determining your event’s objectives and priorities will help you create realistic expectations. Decide what sort of event you are looking to host,  who is attending your event, and your goal. Start planning your event by establishing how much money you have available to spend this way you can estimate which costs may change as you plan. 

Create a high-level plan regarding your event format and goals

Establish which venue works best for your goal and people count. If you have speakers or are including dining experience, this must be factored into your venue. Build your event with your consumer in mind. Charlotte’s approach is by providing a good format with your target teams and products. “Reach out to the correct people and determine who your ideal customers are”.

Charlotte has had to work with low to no budgets resulting in rooftop events but her “ideal event would be a Cheltenham Race with a box or a private table at a boxing match as these are the most fun and where the best relationships are built”. Another alternative Charlotte suggests if you have a low budget, is sourcing partners with a higher budget, giving them most of the tickets and Co-Hosting an event.  

Estimate your costs

Prepare for contingencies in your budget. Add around 10-20%  cushion when setting your ballpark budget to serve as your emergency fund to cover any unexpected costs. Another important aspect is to keep track and record all additional costs made, this keeps you a step ahead for your next event. Transportation for clients and your team as well as food and beverage are also elements that should be accounted for. 

“Everyone is after aggressive growth, but to achieve the best growth, you have to build face-to-face relationships and stand out from your competitors. You have to get out there with your team. Without that face-to-face connection, you just won’t grow and you won’t hit the same numbers”

Is your budget going off track? Here are a few steps to consider:

  1. What was the offending item to cause your budget to go off track?
  2. Can you get a deal to get the price down for that venue, photographer, etc or a discount?
  3. What are the essential event items vs. nice-to-haves? Can we remove anything?
  4. Have you adjusted your budget accordingly and updated potential stakeholders?

Finalise and ensure your event can stay on budget.

You’ve come to the end, now it’s time to do a final sweep over your budget and points. If someone needs to sign off on the budget, make sure you present the information in a way that will make sense to them. Once it’s approved, you can share it with the team and get started.

As you can see, there are plenty of aspects to keep in mind when planning your event budget. Calculation mistakes or last-minute changes can quickly derail your budget, but don’t let this put you off as events are the best way to build new relationships.


Planning to co-host a B2B event?

PitchLevel helps high-growth organisations win more business by connecting your sales team with prospective clients at bespoke sports hospitality events. We create better results for your investments by sourcing engaged attendees who match your target audience and are ready to connect.