Considered various options to reduce upfront costs to zero for the first event: http://markmail.org/thread/b4lii3tkgiv5epgp
Opened a separate (personal) bank account to use to receive funds from ticket sales and to reimburse expenses.
While some items were paid for in advance (e.g. materials for name badges) no expenditure was committed to unless there was sufficient projected income from confirmed ticket sales to cover. i.e. at no point was anyone at risk of financial loss.
Tracked all expenses and income for the event and reported it publicly. Reporting was after the event.
Events aim to break even with surplus from previous event used to pay upfront costs for the next.
Sponsorship allows larger / nicer / better located venues and/or funding travel for additional speakers.
Ticket sales via EventBrite.
Ticket price set at £50. High enough to discourage no shows but low enough that attendees should find it easy to get the expense approved.
The topics for the first event were selected based on a combination of know popular topics from past events and speaker choice. Also had an ask me anything session at the end of the day. Received useful community feedback from this session on possible future features.
Venue for first event handled entirely by sponsor.
Looking at Premier Inn meeting rooms as possible venues for future events.
Purchased a USB microphone and used this, combined with screen recording software on speaker's laptops to record session where possible.