When to Start Planning Your Next Event

Originally seen on Linkedin

There’s a negative trend that I see becoming more prolific and I just have to speak up (because you know I have such a hard time sharing my opinion…lol).
What is this negative trend you ask?
You’re screwing up your event lead times. You are doing last minute event creation and planning! I’m talking about planning an event or hiring an event planner 60-90 days out from your event.
Let me just give you a big WTH are you doing?!
Look, most event planners (myself included) are willing to take on last minute work, but we are going to charge a premium rate because
1) We really have no idea how far along in the process you are. What you tell us and what is actually happening are usually 2 different things BECAUSE you don’t know all the nitty gritty details that need to be completed that have been missed and
2) We typically have 6-12 months of work to complete in 90 days or less, which can be REALLY stressful, and
3) You need to learn a lesson that you need to plan ahead better.
Here’s why I think this is all happening last minute:

  1. You didn’t want to spend the money to hire an event planner. Look, I get it. Hiring a team is an investment that not everyone is financially prepared to do. There’s nothing wrong with that and there is no judgment with trying your best.
  2. You thought you could do it all and you’ve had a come to Jesus meeting with yourself and realized that you need help and you need help NOW. The problem with this is you usually wait until too late. You are in the throws of desperation and you are still not financially ready to hire an event planner. Remember from above, we are going to charge you a premium rate because we have way more work to do with a much shorter lead time.
  3. You hired an assistant to help you plan your event, but they have no experience either. So now you have the blind leading the blind and your event planning is not progressing. Now you need to hire an event planner to get the ball moving because your event is coming up fast.
  4. You didn’t put enough focus and energy into planning the event because you are running a business and trying to plan an event. You’ve split your time and attention and your event has taken the hit. It’s hard to focus on your business and income producing activities AND plan an event for many unless you have a team on board. Now you need to hire an event planner to fix this.

Every bit of this is preventable. Hire an event planner earlier!
Ideally, when you start planning an event you need to give yourself 9-12 months to plan your event. Certain events you can start planning 6 months out, but when you are 60-90 days out from your event, you are in what I call “Red Flag” mode. I start looking and asking questions to find out what got you to this point.
What do lead times for your event look like? Take a look and see if you are on track or if you are in a danger zone, red flag scenario.
When you are booking and planning your event in this last minute, stressful stage it affects everyone that you work with. We as event planners, have timelines for everything to do with your event. While most of us can successfully accomplish a lot in a few short months, you run the risk of your vendors and suppliers charging you premium pricing as well. When we have 6-12 months of prep time, we are not rushed and we actually save you money which means that you have higher profit margins. What a novel concept.
Let’s talk about where we are today as I write this. We are closing in on the end of August 2017. If you are planning events in 2018 here’s what your timing needs to look like. These are 6 month lead times, but let me give you some wise counsel, the longer the lead time (time to plan and execute), the less stress and higher success you will have.
I highly recommend that you begin planning your event at least 9 months out if not 12 months. A longer lead time also allows you to spread the cost of creating the event over a longer period of time. Sounds like a smart move, right?
If you are looking to plan an event between January to September 2018, now is the MOST ideal time to start planning your event.
Do not wait until we are in January 2018 to say, “Oh, I think I want to plan an event this year.” Especially if you have never planned an event before. You need to prepare to plan. As you move forward in the event creation process, you need to determine your budget first and foremost. Make sure you plug into the free resources that I have at or to help you plan your next event you can get your copy of the Event Planning Roadmap to get you started off on the right foot.

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