Perhaps you have successfully organized events or meeting for friends and family in the past. Now you are considering if this is the right business for you and how people start event planning companies. You’ve come to the right place. I have put together a detailed list of 8 steps to help entrepreneurs get their own event planning companies up and running.
Gain Relevant Event Planning Experience:
The success of your business as an event planner will depend largely on the wealth of experience that you bring to your clients. This means if you are considering a business in event planning, you need to have a solid understanding of how it works. Along with that understanding, coming to the table with soft skills like verbal communication, creativity, leadership, organization, budget management, negotiation, promotional and marketing skills. It may also be an advantage to your business if you have professional certifications in the industry.
Determine your niche and identify your target market:
It is very important to identify which segment of the market that will be the focus of your business. It’s a lot easier marketing to a smaller segment of individuals or companies than trying to market to everyone. Therefore, sit down and decide which category of events you want to plan. When doing so, consider your strengths and experiences. It’ll likely be easier working in a niche you’re strong in and know the ins and outs, rather than starting with a niche that’s entirely unfamiliar to you. For instance, if you have experience planning corporate events, then you may find event planning for companies fits well with you.
Above all, you do not want to make the error that a lot of event planners make by trying to be a key player in an assortment of venues. Celebrational, educational, promotional and commemorative events… they all have a different segment of consumers and require a different style of marketing. I advise that you start out in a particular niche, make it your forte, then consider diversifying to other event types as your business grows. In the end, you may find your single microniche is more than enough to handle.
Formulate a Business Plan:
Now that you have decided on your target market, the next thing event planning companies need is a business plan to guide the businesses’ actions. A solid business plan is a foundation on which a successful business is built. For starters, LivePlan offers a step-by-step wizard that will help you write a business. Also, check back on Friday, where I’ll show you an example Event Planning business plan.
A solid business plan should contain the following information about your business:
- Executive Summary
- Industry analysis
- Product and Service information
- Marketing and Sales Strategy
- Financial forecast
- Competition and competitive advantages
Invest in your business:
Now that you’ve done a lot of groundwork and research, it is time for you to invest in your event planning business. To succeed as an event planner, it is important that you have a complete understanding of the various aspect of the industry. Taking the required courses and attending coaching sessions (physical and online) is a good way to develop yourself. There are a bunch of online courses, webinars, events and coaching sessions that could help you increase your skill level.
Obtain Business Insurance:
It is of utmost importance to get insurance for your business. I always recommend securing business liability and other forms of insurance to protect your business interests in case of unforeseen circumstances. Regardless of whether your event planning business will be run from within or outside your home, it is important that you talk to an insurance firm to see which form of insurance is best for you. The most common forms of insurance for event planning companies include the following:
- Home-based Insurance
- Criminal Insurance
- Health Benefits
- General and Product liability
- Worker’s Compensation.
Grow your Network of Suppliers & Resources:
To make your gigs a success & to lighten your burden, you will need to work with trusted vendors, suppliers, and other professionals to include photographers, caterers, decorators, entertainers, technical experts, marketing experts and more. While you will be in charge of coordinating and organizing, it is the duty of these vendors to provide the tools and services required to help make your events a success.
Needless to say, a good support network is vital. If you don’t have a strong network, ask individuals you know for vendor referrals. Assess and take notes from events you attend. It’s alright to do a little reconnaissance, even going as far as asking other event planning companies who they use. Without a network to give you leads, you may find you’re relying on internet research.
Draw out your event planning fee structure:
A business is nothing more than an expensive hobby with profits. To ensure that your business does not run at a loss, you have to set up a fee structure for the services you will be offering. This way, you can be sure that all your expenses are covered and there are no losses incurred. The most common fee structure used by event planners are based on commissionable rate, a percentage of expenses, time rate and a flat fee with a certain percentage paid upfront. It’s helpful to run financial projections to determine which model works best for your event planning business.
After you must have done all of the above and secured funding to start your event planning business, then it is time to start promoting your business. You need to search out potential customers, business partners, staff, suppliers, and vendors. From experience, I have seen that the best place to start is with your network of family and friends.
With the advent of social media, marketing has never been easier. You can leverage on professional platforms like LinkedIn to promote your business. Referrals and Direct are also very productive methods of marketing. To learn more about promoting your business, check out “The Ultimate Guide to Fostering Relationships at Your Networking Event.”
Bonus: Event Planning Companies & Customers
CONGRATULATIONS! You have landed your first gig. Now what? Combine all the skills, lessons, experience and networks that you have acquired along the way and make a big success of your first event. Why? Because the reputation of an event planner is EVERYTHING. People hire an event planner for a variety of reasons. Regardless of their reason, the success of the event is of utmost importance. They’re counting on you to make that happen.
A success event means future referrals, while a flop… well, a flop isn’t good for anyone, including your business. Focus on outstanding customer service and be ready to manage any potential hiccups as they come.