Meetings Canada


The Idea is Just the Starting Point

Sandy Biback

Recently read a new publication, The Advocate, from Brantford, Ont. The editorial, written by Andrew Macklin, titled “It Takes More Than Just an Idea,” relates strongly to events/conferences. As of this writing, it is not up on the website (www., but it does appear in the July issue. Keep checking for it.

In a nutshell, there was some fallout from a festival in Brantford, that is now embroiled in lawsuits, as a result of the event being cancelled.

We can only surmise the impact on Brantford, not only in lost revenue, but in the loss of something that was to unite the city with a sense of pride.

The impact adds to negativity in a town already reeling from the closing of businesses. What does this do to the population? What does this have to do with tourism and hospitality? Imagine cancelling Pride week in Toronto!

The main point of Macklin’s article is about not just having an idea.

A successful event, he says, results from realizing that the stakes are high; that events are a team effort and require blood, sweat and tears; that an event, to be successful, must be planned by professionals; that there is always a business objective, and that a plan needs to be made, followed and successfully executed.

Macklin stresses that having the idea will not automatically bring success. As we all know, there has to be skills and knowledge, and supporting resources, to reach success. And even that won’t guarantee success. Just creating an event doesn’t mean people will come. The program has to appeal to the market and the event has to be valuable, in order for people to pay money to come and sponsors to pony up their dollars.

Macklin concludes by saying: “If you have an idea, find someone who plans events and have a conversation.”

Why am I repeating all this? My guess is, everyone in our business is aware of all this—and yet, and yet, we forget how important it is to go to the experts.

We must remember to hire the specialists. I can’t even imagine doing an event without hiring an audiovisual company to be part of the team. And yet, and yet, how many planners, who do non-profit, are asked to make do with the client’s antiquated equipment and then become the scapegoat if something goes wrong?

It’s our job as professionals to take the client’s idea and add all the elements—to have a plan and execute it.

And to those reading this, who want to get into the business—I encourage you to think beyond the fact that you have good organizational skills. It takes much more to take an idea to fruition.

Thank you, Andrew Macklin, for making me think about my profession.

Twitter: @AMacklin



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4 Comments » for The Idea is Just the Starting Point
  1. Thanks Sandy for pointing that important fact out. The idea is only the beginning. After that the work must start and not everyone has the knowledge to take it to fruitition. Involve a professional from the onset. it will not only save time but money and in the end a professional successful event.

  2. Sandy Biback says:

    Mariette, yup, we can all have ideas. It’s the pros who can take those ideas & massage them into viable events.

  3. Hello Sandy! You had me at ‘the idea is just the starting point’ and then it circled back to the same conversation:( Side bar: I didn’t read the editorial.

    What I mean is yes…executing tactics efficiently and professionally is important. And answering questions like Why this event? Why these options? And What is the current reality? Are more important and could have avoided the cancellation.

    If a different result is the goal, then the conversation needs to change from event inputs to event outputs.

    Thx for sharing!

  4. Sandy Biback says:

    Susan, you are so right-it is about asking the right questions upfront. Many just believe having the idea is enough to make it happen.

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