Thinking of starting your own business? Then starting your own event planning business is a great chance to jump into the lucrative event industry.
Although the event industry is one of the most heavily affected industries throughout the global covid-19 pandemic, it’s still going strong and is expected to grow even stronger in the coming years.
Whether you are an experienced event planner/organizer or are just planning to learn about the event planning industry, there’s definitely an opportunity for you.
However, just because the industry is promising, doesn’t mean you’ll automatically attract clients, attendees, and sponsors as soon as you are starting your business and hosting your first event. You’ll still need to plan the event planning business carefully and develop an effective strategy.
Here, we will learn how, and this is our step-by-step guide to starting an event planning business.
How To Start an Event Planning Business: Step-By-Step Guide
Step 1: Market Research
Before anything else, we should perform thorough market research to determine whether it’s actually viable to start an event planning business in your area mainly by considering three things:
- Whether there’s adequate demand for an event planning business in your area
- Who is the most ideal target market in your area
- Whether the competition in your area is manageable
There are various methods you can use to perform market research, the most basic is to browse the internet and social media for information (observation-based research), but you can also conduct interviews and focus group discussions with potential clients. If necessary, you can hire a specialist market research company to help you.
Step 2: Create a Business Plan
A business plan is especially useful if you are planning to secure outside funding (i.e. investment), but a well-written business plan can also be useful for yourself as a roadmap for your event planning business in achieving success.
While you can use various different approaches for your business plan, and there are many (free) templates available, the traditional business plan format should include:
- Executive summary : what your company is about and a summary of the whole business plan. Should be written last after you’ve finished the other parts
- Company description : detailed information about your company including target clients/businesses you plan to serve.
- Market analysis : the result of your market research in the previous step
- Organization : how your company is going to be structured and who will run it
- Service/product line : what service you’ll offer (in this case, event planning)
- Funding request : budget and funding requirements
- Financial projection : prospective financial outlook for the next five years (forecasted income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and so on).
Step 3: Register Your Business
In most locations in the U.S., you will not need an official license or certification to start an event planning business. However, getting certified and a degree in event management can be very valuable for your business so you can attract more clients.
You should definitely register your event management company and your business name. Also, open a separate banking account for your business so you can track all your expenses and income for tax purposes appropriately.
Do your research beforehand of what kinds of legal requirements will apply to your business, including requirements to be insured. Keep in mind that if you are planning to host events that serve alcohol, you will need additional legal requirements.
Step 4: Invest In The Right Tools and Equipment
One of the greatest aspects of starting an event planner business is that you don’t really need to invest in expensive equipment. However, you should invest in digital infrastructure to help you manage and automate tasks whenever you can.
It’s common for an event planning business to juggle multiple tasks and moving parts at any given time, and there are various tools that can help you, for example:
- Eventtia is a professional platform to manage your virtual event with a plethora of features designed specifically for event planning businesses. Will cover most of your needs including managing registrations/ticketing, internal scheduling, attendee management and tracking, and more.
- Email marketing remains very important for an event planning business, so an email automation platform like MailChimp can be a great help.
- HelloSign, the digital signature app, can help you with handling legal contracts and other needs.
- If you use various different digital tools (i.e. DropBox, Google Suite, etc.), Zapier can help you integrate these different tools so you can control all of them in one place.
Step 5: Establish Your Pricing Strategy
As an event planning business, you can charge your clients in several different pricing models:
- Flat fee/per project
- Hourly rate
- Percentage of expenses (can be combined with hourly rate)
What types of pricing models should you use? And how much should you charge? It depends on many different factors, but the best approach you can use is to perform a competitive analysis and check how your closest competitors are pricing their service.
Keep in mind, however, that you shouldn’t always aim to charge lower than your competitors. If you can provide more value than them, it’s perfectly okay to charge more.
Step 6: Planning Your Marketing Strategy
One of the biggest challenges of running an event planning business is landing those first few clients, so having a clear marketing plan is crucial. Based on your market research, identify who your target clients are and decide on the best marketing tactics and channels to approach them.
Establish a professional website that will act as a portfolio for your business to showcase, and also build your presence on social media. You should also emphasize content marketing to regularly publish content that can provide value to your target client to establish your credibility as a brand.
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