Most companies are still motivated to entertain their existing and new customers as a way of nurturing relationships and ultimately boosting profit but many find themselves restricted by budget, time and resources, especially during times of recession. The dilemma facing any business owner wishing to improve their connections in today’s economy is to work out which events or functions are going to bring financial returns to the business and which will be fruitless.
So how do you make corporate entertainment worth the time and expenditure and how do you measure the value it has created?
Entrepreneurs should not automatically dismiss all corporate entertainment experiences as worth it just because they are ‘building’ relationships with either their customers or their employees. A return on investment is essential. For every £1k spent on corporate entertainment, the business should be looking for a return of at least £5k over and above what is already coming in.
Organising corporate functions or events is a good way of cementing relationships, enticing new ones and raising brand awareness but don’t do it on the cheap – it needs to be memorable.
It’s important to set a budget for entertaining and stick to it. Look at individual customers and assess the net profit they contribute to the business and how this can be increased. When it comes to the invitations, get the right balance of new and current customers.
Existing, happy customers can boost the confidence of prospective clients and are likely to say the right things at the event to improve your profile but pick your guests carefully. It’s also important to fill empty spaces with the right people not friends to ensure you maximise your investment so it’s always worth sending out the invites well in advance of an event.
When it comes to holding or attending corporate events don’t just send the sales team – the owner should be present to promote strong, genuine relationships.
Spectator sports are among the most popular corporate events as well as golf days, races, concerts and awards dinners. As with all entertaining, it’s essential to be clear about the objectives which should be strongly linked to long-term corporate goals as this will have an impact on the outcome. But clearly a memorable event will increase your access to a customer over the following months, and then it is up to you to make the most of it.
This article was taken from a discussion at a Business Exposure Group event.