What to do when your event doesn’t go as planned

Want to produce an event?  Then get ready for it to not go as you planned.  Already produce events?  Then you know what we’re talking about here.  Come join the conversation.  After you listen, find more episodes here.



Hey guys, I’m Brooks and I Mandee. So we’re husband and wife, entrepreneurs. And we believe that life and business are a giant adventure and we want to live it with you guys. So let’s get


To it.


All right, Mandee, welcome. How you doing today?


Great. How are you? Awesome.


Now doing well. So what we want to talk about in this episode to the folks is, what can they do? When their events project business, whatever is not going as they expected.


That’s a good topic.


What can they do? And so we recently had an event so we produced an event that so let me fast forward and say it was awesome. It was fun. It was a really good time, but we produced an called the funnel cake 2.51 K. Run. Fun Run we call it a run like in quotes because it wasn’t like a real run right? 2.51 K’s like a mile and a half, people got a funnel cake at the end. They got this fun buff when they register, they get free entry into the greater goal state fair.


I think it was more a run for the people who don’t really run. Exactly, exactly. And that’s like


What we were going for. What you know, because we talked about doing five K’s before five k runs and I’ve never been interested with our brand the middle rundown I’ve never been interested to produce a five K and that’s me because everyone doesn’t you know, right and I just we just want to be a little bit different. Like how can we can put our spin on things? So when this opportunity came up to have a run like in the fair, like in the Midway where all the rides are and before the fair open. Yeah, I was really intrigued and the fact that it could be a 2.51 k our area code being 2.51 for everyone out there that


I don’t think a lot of people realize so that was what we were trying to do. I don’t think that guy, but it did work out that 2.51 is half of a five k?


Five k? Yes. That’s a good point. Yeah, I don’t know. Yeah, kind of hope that that would be obvious, you know, 2.51 but you know, hey, even if it wasn’t obvious, so be it. That’s okay. Yeah. Um, but yeah, I’m gonna click over here to some stats like from Facebook. So from on the event, we reach this is just via social, so we printed like 100 or so posters around town. we advertise via our newsletter online. Did we get print or no, I guess we know we probably wouldn’t have time for print. Yeah, okay. But um, so advertise via our outlets, our channels. So for this our event reached 17,000 people. We had 937 responses. But like for the event itself, I think a few days before the event we’ve literally sold like 15 tickets or something or 15 entries or something that well we had like 30 people at the at the run, right? But I feel like I feel like a few days before was only like 15 and so we moved the day so let’s rewind back again we move the date because the weekend that we were supposed to have the run tornadoes we had tornadoes on Friday and the fair close down like completely close to the first time ever. It was crazy for those guys, but they actually came back and set some record like set a record day of attendance later in the year, which is incredible. But so we cancelled and moved our date a week later, right. So clearly that affected us as well. But there’s just so many like a perfect storm. So there was we also chose weekends where there were tons of events just in general going on right in our city, right like there’s all kinds of stuff like the Saturday that we make moved it to like we moved it one week, probably one of the biggest runs in our community, the senior bowl cheer on its Yeah, it’s a huge run. There’s a man called wine on the river. Yeah. Which is a big event. There was no one like, do you remember what else there was?


There were so many things. But yeah, I mean, I guess it was one of those weekends where we just had competition for people and what they were doing with their time, so.


Exactly, exactly. So we like we feel that we laid it all on the line and always talk to Mandy about this. Like when we have events, I say, look, as long as we turn over every rock, like we’re gonna do everything in our power to let everyone know about this event. Like we think it’s great. We think its fun. And everyone said, Oh my gosh, it’s such a great idea. Like everyone, everyone. Everyone was like, oh, yeah, this is awesome. So we honestly like when we first set out for this event, we didn’t really have a goal or a target but I think we both may not both assume we probably have about 100 folks,


I’d like is kind of what we thought minimum. I was thinking like, you know, this was gonna be, this was gonna be a huge hit.


Like the first the very first year. That’s what you thought. Okay, so we did it. Um, now, we didn’t have 100 people, we had about 30 people that were there the first year now, as you heard at the beginning, we had a blast. We had fine. I attempted to skip the whole thing and that go, yeah, I didn’t make it. It’s hard. I thought it’d be easier. It’s actually harder to skip than it is to jog. You know, our whole thing with this run was like, Man, you can run you can walk, you can walk backwards. You can sidestep, you can skip whatever. So yeah. So I tried to skip didn’t work out. But so we had a blast. We had local DJ from 92 Zoo guy named Matt McCoy. Awesome. Like DJ for us and St. Jay on Earth. When he when he showed up that morning for us. I was nervous. I was noticeably nervous to him because I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know I was like, I told him I was I mean, I was I don’t know if we’re gonna have 10 people. I literally have no idea. I was like, how do you how do you DJ and have a party and kind of do this If there’s like, there’s nobody here and he was he’s kind of laughing at me, but I was absolutely serious. Yeah, I just wasn’t sure right. Um, but turnout incredible. Got some video got some footage, everyone had a good experience, they got their funnel cake. I think everyone had fun and we talked to people and people number these people had never been to the fair before, which I thought was really incredible. There were some people from out of town and there were some people that signed up because they were like, yeah, I’ve never signed up for five k like I just I want to do this. I think all the reasons why people signed up was exactly what we were going for. Right? Um, but a few days before the event. You and I had the conversation and the weather wasn’t looking well. I guess it was earlier in the week. The weather wasn’t great at that point. Well maybe it wasn’t whether we were just purely looking at signups but we thought about it. Yeah,


We were just looking at signups. Mainly it was it was a little bit chilly that morning. But yeah, enough for us to cancel it for other than the fact that we just didn’t have very many people signed up.


We didn’t have tons of buy and we’re like shouldn’t We canceled this event. That question came across our labs. And we talked about it right? Like we seriously we were 5050 I think for a couple of days, we were 5050. We were like, should we cancel this event? Ultimately, we decided not to. And I think we made the absolute correct decision. I mean, what


I agree, I agree, because I think whenever you if you have a business or an event, I think that just doing what you say you’re going to do goes a long way. Because that one person who bought a ticket or that, you know, 20 people that bought a ticket, it may not be like exactly what you had hoped for, but they expect something. And our whole thing for this was just to have fun anyway, so they expected they expected for someone to be there when they showed up Saturday morning for a run and we didn’t want to let them down.


Yep. And of course, if we cancelled it, obviously we’re gonna like refund everybody’s money and maybe now we’re going to eat all the cost of what we had already, you know, dumped, not dumped, but what we had spent on the event. for advertising, marketing, planning, you know, buying products like buffs and stuff, obviously, we would not have had the fair entry that we would have to pay, we would not have the funnel cake cost, you know, these are all costs that we incurred for every entry every runner. But um, yeah, so we wouldn’t have had that as well, we probably would have lost about 500 bucks or something heartache, I think just approximately on that event, if we had canceled it, which would not have been fun, but we were like, really debating it and really willing to do it. But so I think I agree. I agree with you, Mandy. I agree that I think our learning thing from this is and I made this note right here, it’s put on put on the show, like, put on a show, whether it’s one or 1000. Like if you say unless the show must go on. Like if you set out to do something and you say you’re gonna do it, do it and I and yeah, we were partners and we didn’t cancel even not knowing what we were gonna have, whether there’s 10 people was our integrity and the integrity of the event going forward, right? Because if this event goes forward, well, how can you expect it to happen. Well, next year, what if you canceled too if you don’t give people an experience of what to expect? And like what it is? Right, right, right. So we did that. I think we did that. Um,


We did get some feedback on some things that we could change for, you know, future years and making the course longer and


Yeah, and we may or may, I’m wrong may or may not do those things. Right. But we did. Yeah, absolutely. Did get some feedback. I mean, you’re absolutely right,


That we would have never gotten if we didn’t move forward with it. So, exactly. And then


The other. The other thing that’s kind of tough, and you have to swallow your pride and be humble, because all of your friends or all of your colleagues or anyone, everyone asked you Yeah, how did the event go? That’s the obvious question, because we’re marketing the mess out of it. Right. So everyone knows we’re doing the event, right? Oh, how did your event go? And you have the option to respond. It’s kind of like the Hey, how are you doing? I mean, it’s either like the real quick answer, like I’m great. How are you? You know, and maybe you are great. Or maybe it’s just the quick answer. You just want to give someone because it’s like a formality. So it’s so we could just reach out went great, you know, it was good. But sometimes I respond with the just kind of the reality just kind of pins when someone asked me, you know how they didn’t go like, oh, it was great. Like we didn’t have it all we expected we had a blast, you know, we had about 30 runners, but it was a really good time. Yeah, it I don’t know about you, but it for me, it I feel, I feel weird every time I give that, like I feel a physical something in my body when I’m giving that response because it’s almost like a, I don’t want to call it like not a winner’s response. But it’s kind of like something that didn’t go how you expected it to and you’re talking about it,


And you think you’re letting them down by giving, like maybe that answer, but I guess it’s your pride. You’re kind of letting yourself down. But given the reality of the answer.


I think so. I think so. And I don’t know ultimately, if it’s like, you know, I don’t know if it’s correct to give that answer. I mean, maybe you should just keep it general. Maybe I should keep it general in the sense of, oh, it went really went really great. It was you know, went awesome for a first year event. I don’t know about like spinning it in. Yeah, maybe how do I spin it to be positive? But I’m just a very like, I’m very realist. And I yeah, ultimately was incredible. We had some challenges. Yeah. You know, we didn’t have the turnout that we expected, but it was really good. Yeah, you know, I feel confident with that. But every time I have these conversations, it’s just kind of, it’s kind of it’s kind of strange, you know, post something that doesn’t go well, because obviously if you killed it, it went incredibly well. Oh, man. Yeah, you’re just like, I have 1000 people ask me Hey, how did that thing go? Right. So you can be like, it was awesome. Yeah. Um, but yeah, so I think ultimately for us, the outweigh you know, we’re learning something every day, as humans as business owners, as event organizers, as members of our community. And I think what we learn from this is, swallow your pride, be humble, put on the show. The show must go on, you know, do for one what she would do For me, that’s a very that’s like a actual philosophical type thing in our lives as well. But like, it’s almost that same concept in this event do for one what you wish you could do for all or do for many.


And that’s kind of what we did.


Yeah. You know, I thought it went great.


And it was it was a beautiful day. Absolutely. And you asked people if they had a good time while they’re eating their funnel cake, and they were like, yes, absolutely. Totally agree. So yeah, it was a it really was a win situation.


So when you have your event, when you are running your business, when you have your project and things are not going well. Stay the course. Live the adventure, enjoy the journey, and put on a show for one do the same for one as you would do for all 4000s


Like that.


Yeah. Any final thoughts?


No, I think you’ve summed it up. Cool.


All right, guys. We’ll see you next time.




Guys, one additional note. So, in addition to marketing, in addition to posters in social media, we also did a TV spot on a morning news show as well as we had radio advertising that was also running for a period of three to four weeks prior to the event. So just wanted to add that additional note in there. So you guys didn’t think we were marketing slackers. Thanks.


Hey, guys, thanks for hanging out with us. We’d love for you to share it, maybe with a friend review it and don’t hesitate to reach out and say hello. You can connect with us and see the resources that we talked about destroyed the box with.us that’s www.destroytheboxwith.us.

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Brooks Conkle

Brooks is an entrepreneur, father, husband, & follower of the golden rule. He has over 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur after graduating with a Finance degree from Auburn University. Addicted to starting new business projects, he believes in creating multiple income streams and a life of flexibility. Business should work around your life, not the other way around. He creates content on his website, sharing his projects to help other hustlers in marketing, personal finance, and online business.