Just like most of you, I believe in getting high value for my well spent dollars, as a matter of fact....that's exactly what our customers are thinking every minute,particularly in today's challenging economy, so...
1. Choose TOP notch speakers for your events(and I will be listing my favorites of course): obviously ask your speakers which companies or vendors they might mention or who has supported them before,contact those companies and 'partner' with them, meaning charge them a small 'fee' for having a display table at your event to help defray the costs.
What costs am I talking about: the speakers' possible honorarium,travel expenses, audio visual rentals, any meals or refreshments, room rental of the meeting venue,marketing costs.
CHARGE money to get in(to the Drs & staff),offer a discount if paid in advance,higher fee at the door,many reasons for this. And charge enough to anticipate your costs,get a feeling how many you expect to register.
2. Choose a beautiful venue,just like most of you, your dentists want to come to a new place, a beautiful hotel, or a gorgeous restaurant that they normally would not stop at too frequently. They want a great meal with top service. In general I don't believe in including alcohol,and depending on the venue there may be a cash bar for those that must have that glass of wine with dinner. Alcohol adds to the expenses, and can interfere with the meeting,I don't see any benefits with that.
3. Partnering with vendors to market your event and offset expenses; Part of the 'deal' in letting other non-competitive vendors at your event is they must also pass out your flyers/newsletter or announcements to prospective registrants,maybe even 'stuff' it in their outgoing packages(particularly if its a big supply house). Or their reps can hand them out on their office visits to Drs.
I will go into many details on the above,including how to save $,how to maximize your marketing dollars, and insure a successful event.
For now, the largest piece of advice, is that if you are going to do this on a continuous basis, seek approval for providing education credits either with CERP (the ADA) or AGD,they are highly recognized by state boards for approving courses,etc and carry a lot of weight, as their 50page application may dictate! They have very high standards and rightly so, as you will be entrusted to provide a very objective service to their profession. But once you are an entrusted provider of continuing ed credits, it will open many doors for you. Again,details to follow. Meanwhile,feel free to comment or ask questions,Sincerely,Marc
(PS) you are welcome to check my website: asteto.com and look under 'resources and see our newsletter for samples of upcoming events,etc.