Business mixers (also called networking events) are excellent places to meet fellow business professionals, develop business contacts, and socialize with like-minded people over good food, drinks, and entertainment. Most importantly, business mixers give company owners, executives, and employees a chance to establish their brand identity and make others in the community aware of their goods and services. For insider tips on hosting a successful mixer that will help put your company on the map, read on!
#1: Finding the Right Location
Many aspects of your business mixer depend on your company or organization’s budget. If you’re operating with limited funds, hosting the mixer in your office is a great way to save money and introduce outsiders to your shop or working environment, but this means space or seating might limit the number of attendees. If you have more resources at your disposal, consider renting a restaurant, conference center, or social events venue – these locations typically offer many amenities that an office setting might lack, including a bar, service staff, catering services, and presentation equipment (i.e. projectors, PA system, microphones, etc.).
#2: Creating the Guest List
Though where you decide to host your mixer will ultimately determine the size of your guest list, it’s never a bad idea to start broad, then narrow the list as needed. Your goals for why you want to host a mixer should also influence which individuals or companies receive an invitation. Looking to find new clients for a service-based company? Invite everyone in the community you think would benefit from the service, especially prominent leaders, influences, and members of the press. Trying to find other businesses to partner with or inspire more cooperation between local companies (as a Chamber of Commerce would do)? Send invitations to only business leaders and their employees.
#3: Entertaining Your Guests
While some companies will claim that business mixers should be packed with games, speeches, and live performances, many attendees might be be turned away from an afternoon or evening full of non-stop activities. Instead of scheduling hours of entertainment, limit your program to two or three short presentations, and allow most of the time for mingling. Holding a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses is a great way to encourage people to stay longer (“you only win if you’re here when we select your number!”), and silent auctions are perfect for raising money without interfering with the primary focus of the event: networking.