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How To Start A Compelling Event Management Business

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Event planning business can be one of the most creative and lucrative businesses of all time. If you ever feel stagnant in your career and want to do something else that helps you discover your sense of creativity, more than your 9 to 5 job does, you should try your hand at event management. This is a great freelance business model, which you can start from home. Working from home is a natural choice unless you want to increase your overheads and bring in partners.

Most successful event planning businesses started with just one person and many brilliant ideas. You can actually work for a year or so alone before outgrowing your office and renting a space. Here is a much better and profitable option – you can actually run your event planning company in the evenings and during the weekends without quitting your day job and save more.

There are million and one things you have to consider before setting up your event management business. We shall tell you the steps you need to follow to start a successful event planning business.

Event Management Industry Overview

The event planning industry has grown 10 folds in the past several years. Today people spend millions on special events. It is estimated around $500 billion is spent annually on events, according to research conducted by the founder of International Special Event Society (ISES). Today, the average profit margin of event planners is whopping 40 percent from 15 percent a few years ago.

From baby showers to funerals, from opening ceremonies to success parties, from birthdays to weddings – people are hiring event planners to unburden the management work off their shoulders.

Event planners manage special events that take place once in a blue moon. As an event planner, you will be managing one or all of the following tasks:

  • Conduct research
  • Design a plan
  • Find a site for events
  • Negotiate prices
  • Arrange food and beverages, decorations, entertainment, return gifts
  • Hire coordinators and emcees
  • Send invitations
  • Arrange for stay and transportation
  • Promote event
  • Supervise the site
  • Conduct the event or show
  • Evaluate performance

Why Should You Choose Event Planning

Apart from being one of the growing-in-demand industries, there are other reasons why people need event planners. People have become busier than before. It is the lifestyle, which is the culprit. We want to get married, but we don’t have time to prepare for it, we want our companies to reach a wider market, but we don’t have time to promote it and so on. Our tiring schedules have considerably dampened our creativity side. Lack of creativity, expertise, and patience has given way to the rise of the planet of event planners.

People are going to get busier in the coming years and no matter what, there will always be events happening every other day. Therefore, this is a sure shot business where there is a rewarding market waiting for you. 

What’s more, you can start the business with almost nil investment.

Steps to Start an Event Planning Company

Step 1: Get Certified

You should consider getting a degree or certification on event planning or management to solidify your relationship with clients. There is a huge list of online institutes and colleges that offers several degree courses and certifications in this field. Moving forward, you need to have some kind of experience to make you seem like an expert in event planning. The more experience you have the better service you are going to be able to offer to your customers.

You could volunteer at different events, jump at any opportunity (paid or unpaid) to work with big brand names from the industry, travel with them and look around different events from different cultures, and research. Several programs are available online. Use the internet to learn more about event planning, event management, creative ideas, and event management tools.

Make sure you have gained a lot of managerial and administrative experience before you start your own business. You need to refine many of your skills, such as leadership, presentation, communication, problem-solving, and negotiation.

Step 2: Research Your Market

You can cater to two different markets – the corporate market and the social market. Events and parties hosted by non-profit organizations, charity trusts, companies, and big corporates fall under corporate markets.

Weddings, birthdays, engagement parties, anniversary parties, reunions, baby showers or any other celebration that involve friends and family fall under the social market.

Thousands of events occur each year in both markets, and although large ones require dedicated planning and execution, you can definitely start with smaller and local events. Some of the events upon which you should set your business foundation include:

  • Company trade shows
  • Baby showers
  • Kids birthday parties
  • Holiday parties
  • Board member’s meet
  • Reunions
  • Farewell parties
  • Sweet 16 parties
  • Prom nights
  • Reunions and so on

No Need to Hurry…

Start with a small group, where the number of guests does not exceed 80 to 100. Even if something goes wrong, no one will object or question you. Once you excel in this sector, you should plan big. Take baby steps. Make yourself comfortable at smaller gatherings. Big events may seem overwhelming in the beginning. In addition, you will get to learn so many things once you are in the field. It is best you deliver small projects before taking the giant leap.

Go One Niche at a Time…

We also advise you to start with a specific niche and expand slowly towards other event types. For instance, if kids’ events are more of your type, then start with school events or birthday parties. Build your clients and your resources around your niche and once you have found your ground within your circle, you must open doors to other offers.

Step 3: Refine Your Skills

If you are introverted, reserved, opinionated, and non-creative, this profession is not for you. You have to be extremely outgoing, social, innovating, and imaginative to become a successful player. Even if you are given just a sack full of pebbles, you should have the ability to use your creativity and turn them into art.

You have to be extremely active too. For instance, you would have to run back and forth between your office and event site numerous times a day. If you are a desk person with little customer engagement, this profession is not likely going to do you any good for you.

You have to collaborate, communicate, negotiate, deal, and solve problems all the time. You may have to be on calls continuously for several hours together to plan and organize until you expand. Teamwork is the key skill required for this business. If that excites you, event planning is the perfect career for you.  

Step 4: Develop a Business Plan

Once your niche is identified, you have received your certifications and once you have secured few event management projects under your hood, it’s time for you to start laying your foundation for your business. The groundwork begins with a solid business plan.

Since the event planning business can be started with a very low start-up cost, you don’t have to develop a traditional elaborate business plan. A lean plan that guides your decision-making process and keeps you on the right path is more than enough.

Only if you plan to apply for a bank loan or SBA, must you consider creating a comprehensive business plan to educate investors and bankers about your intentions.

Most expansive business plan documents contain the following segments:

  • Executive Summary: Describe your event planning business in few words – why it is different and why it will bring success. It should hook the audience like the good trailer of a movie.
  • Company Overview: Mention your company name, company structure, address, contact details, and the type of event management business it is.
  • Market Analysis: It should include recent trends, statistics and charts, SWOT analysis, and what you can bring in that is missing from the market.
  • Customer Analysis: Who should your target customers be? Include surveys and studies. Target a single niche customer type and provide ways to target them.
  • Competition Analysis: Write about your key competitors, what they do, how they do, what are their key selling points, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and ultimately, how you can differentiate yourself from your competitors.
  • Financial Strategy: How much start-up cost you will require based on your expenses, prelaunch, and support until breakeven? How do you plan to gather your funds? What is your financial projection? Include customer demand estimates, asset management, and competitive pricing.
  • Management Team: List of your team members, along with their roles and designation, if you decide to hire in the future.
  • Operational Strategy: How will your event planning business work. Include salaries, rent, milestones, job descriptions, hosting guests, wedding, conducting events and so on.
  • Marketing Strategy: What are your advertising tactics? What are the marketing mediums you will use to advertise your business?

Step 5: Incorporate Your Business

You have to register your business officially to run it legally. Select a name for your business and register your business in your state. As a start-up, you may not be aware of the rules and regulations. You will need help for understanding the entire process. We advise you to hire an attorney who will walk you through the company policies, state requirements, local laws and guidelines, and different business structures.

You can look up the state and federal government websites for accurate details on licenses and permits pertaining to an event planning business.

You have to decide the type of business structure you would like to establish. You will have to choose between Partnership, Sole Proprietorship, Limited Liability Company, and Corporation. Your attorney, after evaluating your business plan, your financial condition, and your personal liabilities, will be able to suggest you the best structure for your business.

The rules and regulations differ from state to state and business to business. Make sure you apply and obtain all of the required licenses and permits to run the business. Failure to do so may result in heavy fines and even lead to premature shutdown.

Moving forward, you have to apply for an Employer Identification Number, buy an Insurance Policy, and open a business checking account.

You can apply for EIN on your state’s IRS website, consult an insurance advisor for your business specific insurance requirements, and open a bank account to separate your personal incomes from your business incomes and expenses.

Don’t forget to find out about your tax obligations as well. Your business structure will decide your taxes. Your attorney or an accounting professional will be able to guide you on this.

Step 6: Establish Your Network of Resources

To make your events successful, you will need to network and build relationships with different businesses, such as caterers, decorators, videography and photography, sound and music experts, marketing professionals, suppliers, PRs, choreographers etc. While your work is organizing these resources, the actual job is done by them. Therefore, you cannot choose businesses that are incompetent and uninventive. As much as you are going to be proactive and effective, your resources should also reflect the same business ethics and work culture.

You also need right vendors who would provide tools for your events. Look up the internet to find the best vendors in the market. You can also request your competitors or veterans to provide you with valuable links.

Step 7: Promote Your Event Management Company

The best way to promote your event management company is doing the work for your friends and family. Apart from promoting your services, you should also focus on promoting your creativity.

For instance, if you are a wedding planner, you should concentrate on advertising the different types of weddings you can arrange, including the menu and caterer, the photography and photographer, different wedding ideas and everything related to it.

Video and image stimulation works best in event management. People should see your work to believe in you. Use social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to your best. Hire a marketing expert to get optimum response if you can afford.

The benefits of running an event planning company are huge. Once you get a perfect grip of the market, there is no looking back. Success is assured. Was our blog helpful? Please let us know in the comments below.