Have you ever dared to produce an event only to find out that no one cared? Pity, all the effort you put into planning wasn’t appreciated, or worse, noticed. The problem may be a lack of data.
Of course, there are times when just winging it works, but making decisions based on instinct alone is a risky and cavalier approach. Meeting professionals who have succeeded in the event businesses know they have to be both visionary and realistic. Any event can benefit from a powerful tool known as SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis.
A SWOT analysis assesses the chances of success or failure for your event. It will tell you:
- How well your event is positioned to succeed
- What inherent weaknesses you have to contend with
- The opportunities you’re poised to act on
- All potential threats to look out for
Before you start with your own SWOT analysis, you need to remember that events don’t exist in a vacuum. They are influenced by the market, timing, trends, weather and plenty of other factors. A SWOT analysis puts your event in context and assesses its chances of success. Let’s take it letter by letter.
S for Strength: List features of the conference, breakouts and sessions that can contribute to the project’s goals. This is the time to focus on the strongest aspects of your event. For example, if you are organizing a gathering of exceptional lecturers where you offer attendees contact with someone who is an authority in a given industry, networking activities will be your strongest asset. Creating an experienced and motivated team—regardless of whether they are volunteers or professional event coordinators—increases the chances of success of the event. Also, itemize effective tools for the promotion of events on social media.
W for Weakness: Every project incorporates some elements that can prevent you from achieving your end-goals. This is the time to think about your weaknesses.
Is it a lack of finances? Insufficient budgets are one of the prime weaknesses of many events and can lead to a major failure. Pencil in an appropriate buffer in case of unforeseen expenses. Another major concern is dealing with an inexperienced team. In such cases, start planning as early in the cycle as possible.
O for Opportunity: Earn some brownie points prior to the actual meeting to make it easier achieve project goals. For example, if you are operating in a niche market, where can you strengthen your position by communicating or promoting your event in advance? By doing this, you are preparing yourself so that even if your competitors grow strong, nothing can harm you. Keep in mind that your market situation is your ally; use it to prepare for potential “bad times.” That is how you create opportunities!
T for Threats: Certain external factors may prove detrimental to the achievement of the project’s goals. The presence of strong competition doesn’t mean you have to give up organizing events in the industry. However, it can be a significant factor affecting the achievement of your goal. Another major threat is bad weather, especially if you are organizing an outdoor event. Note the possibility so you can come up with work-arounds.
Charles Richard is a business analyst at Tatvasoft.co.uk, a software development company in London.