5 Things to Keep In Mind When Planning for 2018

2017 flew by. You’ve had some triumphs, made some mistakes, learned something new, and done your best to make it a successful one. But 2018 is now upon us, January is the perfect time to start planning for the year ahead. Planning is essential for a successful year, as it gives you a roadmap to where your events and business is going.

So what do you need to do to make sure that 2018 goes just as well — or much better — than 2017?

  1. Learn from your mistakes

What went well last year? What didn’t? What strengths and weaknesses emerged over the course of 2017? Think about these questions, and you’ll get an idea of how you can improve for 2018. Review all the feedback you’ve received from colleagues, clients, and attendees to find areas for improvement, even if it’s negative. Just don’t be too hard on yourself. Analysing your strengths and weaknesses should be about improvement, not beating yourself up.

Another thing to consider is whether you keep making the same mistakes year after year. If you have, then there’s something inherently ineffective to your process or strategy that’s not quite working. That’s something you should work on identifying and fixing in 2018.

2. Set some goals

What do you want to achieve over the next year? It might be to make your planning more efficient or to incorporate more technology into your events. You might want to improve your team working skills or get better at making contacts and connections.

Big or small, you shouldn’t be afraid of setting ambitious — but realistic — goals for 2018. Try and go above and beyond the previous year, but make sure you won’t spend the year ahead worrying about whether you’ll meet them. It’s useful having small goals to aim for as you work. Goals will help you stay focussed and maintain a sense of direction.

3. Work out how you can innovate

There are always new ways to improve your events operation — we’ve posted about a few of our own ideas over the last few months. To make your events truly stand out over the next 12 months, try and come up with ways of making them innovative and modern, using the latest technology and very best techniques.

For instance, social media has become a vital part of event marketing, so if you haven’t caught up with it yet, 2018 is a good time to start. It’s not simply a matter of using the right hashtag. There are plenty of technology solutions for crafting an effective social media marketing strategy. Why not make it a goal for the next year?

4. Get your research done early

If you’ve already got some events in the pipeline this year, it doesn’t hurt to get some planning and research in early. After all, any project manager will tell you that leaving research and planning until the last minute is a recipe for disaster. To prevent this last minute rush, why not do some peripheral research about your clients, or about current and future event industry trends?

You could also take care of some practical considerations by making enquiries about venues or planning a social media strategy. Even if you don’t use all of your research in your next event, it will come in handy for future plans. Better still, your clients will surely be impressed by your preparedness.

5. Create a long-term plan

Your short-term goals for 2018 should ideally align with a larger, longer-term plan. Everyone should have an idea about where they want themselves or their company to be in five years, whether that’s a specific goal, or a broader, more general one.

If you don’t have a five-year plan, draw one up. Start by separating out the short term from the long term, and then work out how contributes to the other. These long-term goals can be anything from increasing the size and scale of your operation, to simply making more money. Whatever they are, what you achieve over the course of 2018 should play its part in your long term plan.

These guidelines aren’t universal: as always, every professional will have their own personal way of planning ahead and setting goals for themselves. Ultimately, we believe that following these steps will give you a good place to start your 2018. Getting a clear idea of what you want to achieve over the course of the year, and considering the mistakes of the last 12 months, will ensure that this year’s events are your best yet.