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Help with business strategy to get customers

2little2late2little2late subscriber Posts: 1
edited June 2008 in Business Planning
Hello all! I am new to SUN & found some realy valuable advice on here already so I`m hoing you can help me.  I just recently started a social networking group which will host business networking parties, make new friends events, singles events etc. Basically my plan is to build my database of people by building a profile on all the netowrking sites such as myspace, facebook, meetup, linkedin etc & send my invites out through email distributions or through their profiles etc.
My question is, what is the best strategy for where I should request the funds from to pay for the event...& make some money . Should I negotiate with the place where I hold the event & if I bring in X # of people then they pay me a certain pre-determined amount of money in addition to getting a certain percentage of the total alcohol consumption based on the business I brought the location? And then not charge my clients to attend? If I do it this way, I`m afraid I can`t guarantee they will attend.  Or should I charge my clients & have them pay in advance using a registration service via the email/invite I send out? If I do it this way, it`s hard to pre-determine before people register/pay what size location I will need.  And if the event falls through because nobody registers, then I`m sure I`m out a deposit.  I`m not sure which strategy would work better for me to guarantee the most attendance. And I`m wondering to what extent bar/restaurant owners will negotiate to bring additional business into their location. Any feedback is greatly appreciated & if you have a better suggestion, I`m open to that as well! thanks


  • 2little2late2little2late subscriber Posts: 1
    Hi CraigL. Thank you for the response.  I guess I should clarify a bit further.  I am a certified event & wedding planner so am very familiar with the event planning industry.  However, aside from knowing the concept of putting together a successful event from conception through execution, I don`t see how it relates to my current business idea.  Yes, they are both "events" that will be organized but as an event planner, someone pays me a deposit in advance for my ideas to create their vision for their event.  Ultimately, they are paying the locations, vendors etc upfront & contracts are through my client & their vendors.  I am more a consultant to help bring all the elements together to create a great event & remove any stress from the planning aspects from an event for my client.
    I don`t know if I am necessarily looking for overall tactics to run my overall business as I am very familiar with this as well.  I guess what I am looking for is sales/marketing tactics & ways to gain customers to attend my events, ways to negotiate with venue owners so that I am not financially risking much for each event I organize. 
    I hope this makes this a bit clearer.
  • 2little2late2little2late subscriber Posts: 1
    No not really. I must not be explaining myself correctly.  I have knowledge on lots of things but in terms of the financial aspects of business, I`m lacking a bit I`ll try to explain it is simple terms, more for myself than you so don`t take this that I think you`re not comprehending.. I know it`s my lack of explanation...
    Scenario 1: I go to X bar & tell the owner I want to use their location for my next event & intend to invite  a certain # of people mostly in their 20`s & 30`s.  But I want X bar to myself during this event for a few set amount of hours.  X bar might want to do this because maybe they are either slow during those hours or even closed normally.  How do I make money on putting that event together? Do I negotiate with X bar that I am bringing new business they would not have had at this specific time or more business than this usual time & therefore ask for some sort of kick back from X bar depending on the # of attendees that show? In addition can I ask for a profit from the total drink consumption from the group I bring in? Would X bar want to do this & how do I come up with the estimated cost  based on the # of people I bring.
    Scenario 2-I need to book a separate room at X bar because X bar is already popular & can`t afford to close down to the public.  But having an event at X bar could be worth while since it already has a reputation for being a great place therefore, holding my own event inside a room at X bar geared towards a particular interest group i.e. singles, would probably draw more people.
    Either of these scenarios would involve me seeking a location for an event, prior to sending out invites.  So essentially, what I envision, is building my database of people/emails & organize the people based on interests/age etc.  Then booking X bar for a certain date & time, creating an invitation & sending out blast emails & using word of mouth & my website to get the word out about my event.  So, I now have an event location on hold & invites out & essentially I am waiting to see who registers to attend. 
    I`m wondering to what level of negotiating a restaurant/bar owner is usually open to & are their estimated standards for something like this? Additionally, I`m wondering if it makes more sense tomake my profit by charging the location I do the event at or the people who attend or both.
    I hope this helps explain things better.  I know I am at fault for not being more clear.  I appreciate any help you can provide! thanks again!
  • robertjrobertj subscriber Posts: 0 Member
    From my experience at putting on "public" type events (seminars, presentations, etc) - you want to charge the attendees something. Since most locations will want to know how many will be attending - you will need to encourage people to make a reservation. My data says that the number of "no shows" (reserve but don`t attend) is double when there is no charge than when there is a nominal ($20 or less) charge to attend.
  • 2little2late2little2late subscriber Posts: 1
    Thank you Robert, Craig & Paula. I appreciate the feedback.
    Craig-Yes, now you`re "seeing it" or better yet..I explained it better All of this info has help me greatly. 
    I guess I should be charging the attendees for the event I organize.  Initially I was assuming I would, until I heard of another very successful person doing a similar business in another state & not chanrging the attendees to attend.  So that got me thinking.
    I still don`t think I know exactly what my set guidelines should be though for negotiating these types of deals with the owners.  I agree that a bar owner is mostly just interested in having a packed house..they can care less where I get the people from.  ie. the bar owner tells me he will give me 1% of the total bill from the alcohol consumption of my party as my profit is that considered a lot or a little? Additionally, if a location charges me $5 per person for example, what % do I tack on as my profit? Is there general standards or guidelines I can follow to help in determining this type of stuff? I can`t base it on my comeptition because nobody else in my state is doing this right now.
  • robertjrobertj subscriber Posts: 0 Member
    Getting the restaurant to "share" a portion of their revenue may be a challenge in more way than one. It might be difficult for them to track and it`s impossible for you to monitor.  Some places are more open to providing teh place at no charge in return for a minimum number of folks.
    Also, as you work out your business model - you might think about sponsors for each event.
     robertj2008-6-19 19:42:59
  • 2little2late2little2late subscriber Posts: 1
    Okay this is great feedback.  Thank you very much for your valuable opinions.  This makes me feel much better continuing with my initial assumption of charging attendees upfront for services being organized & as the attendees start adding up (here`s hoping), I can discuss any necessary room changes as the date gets closer.  I guess I need to start going through my roladex of venues & seeing who`s willing to work the best deal with me.  Thanks again! Much appreciated advice.
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