How to choose independent suppliers for corporate events
The venders you choose could either make or break your corporate event. If you’re choosing to throw the event yourself instead of going through an event coordinator, apply this formula for each aspect of the event you need a supplier for:
1. Nail your vision
You won’t be able to tell suppliers what you’re looking for if you’re not entirely sure to start with. Sit down with your team and discuss things like:
- How many guests you will be expecting
- What atmosphere you’re hoping to achieve
- What sort of location you have in mind
- Possible themes
- Your end goal for the event or what you want to achieve from hosting the event.
This will enable you to figure out exactly what you will need from suppliers on the day. This will also help later in the process when you’re evaluating supplier proposals against your event criteria.
2. Ask around
Who better to ask about suppliers than others that also use suppliers? You can ask event coordinators, planners and other corporates who they have previously used.
A misconception is that event coordinators, planners and other corporates are reluctant to give this information out. On the contrary, they may be more than happy to give recommendations as it helps them forge stronger relationships with the supplier and the supplier may return the favour for the referral.
3. Do your own research
Asking around is fantastic as it allows you to network and gain honest word-of-mouth referrals. This doesn’t mean that you are only limited to what others recommend.
Google is your best friend here! Search for the type of suppliers you are looking for, check out their websites and their social media activity. You may even find reviews on other sites like Hellopeter
Tip: A key indicator that suppliers are up to date with the latest trends and technology is that they are active on their online platforms.
Once you’ve done your research and asked around, it’s time to shortlist the venders that caught your eye. Tabulate them according to their function.
5. Go for coffee
We highly recommended meeting with potential suppliers in person. This allows you to share and bounce-off ideas, gauge their capabilities and ask them everything you need to ask. If you’re unable to accurately articulate what you’re looking for, they can also help you fill in the blanks with the correct technical terminology.
Treat this meeting as an interview. Have questions ready and find out exactly what the supplier can do for you.
6. Site visits
Ask your potential suppliers if you can pop in to an upcoming function. Here you can see their work ethic, interpersonal skills and ability to think on their feet. For some suppliers, a site visit may be the only way to understand their capabilities – this would apply, for example to food vendors.
7. Send out proposal requests
You might find that you can’t quite settle on a supplier yet – even after all the research, interviews and site visits. Ask your shortlist to send their proposals and evaluate each proposal according to your initial criteria.
8. Seal the deal
Select your supplier, negotiate terms and sign the contract. The hard work is over!
9. Remain loyal to your suppliers
After all the hard work you put into choosing the perfect supplier, it would be a shame to forget about them for your next event.
Using the same suppliers consistently guarantees you a certain level of work ethic and deliverable. The relationship you form with suppliers could be highly beneficial. They may cut you some slack down the road or even throw in a few extra favours. Also consider how many other people your suppliers interact with. If one of their other clients is looking for what your company offers, they may recommend your services.