How to start an event planning business
Do you dream about starting your own event planning company? Maybe you have been in the event and meeting industry for a while and feel that it is now the right time to start your own business. Maybe you have experience organizing events and think this could be your passion. All of these are good reasons to choose this career. However, anyone contemplating the dream of owning an event planning company must take certain steps before they even start to speak to clients.
Learn event planning skills and experience
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Event planning experience is key to long-term success and longevity. This means that if you are thinking of starting an event-planning business, it is important to have a good understanding of event planner and some solid skills.
- Written and verbal communications
- Time and organization
- Budget management and negotiation
- Marketing, creativity, public affairs and other skills
Professional certification in the industry would be helpful, such as CMP designation and involvement in MPI.
Find Your Event Planning Market/Forte
Let’s suppose you have been working in corporate meetings for five years now and want to start your own business. First, you need to recognize that your strengths lie in the corporate world. Many planners make the common mistake of assuming they can coordinate all types of events, such as corporate meetings, fundraising galas, and other special occasions.
Stop. Although the desire to offer many services may be strong, your collective past experiences will prepare you. You may eventually be able to handle all types of events. However, you will need to recognize the differences between social, corporate and association events. Your market should be determined accordingly.
Create a business plan
You may think now is the right time to tell the world about your market. But not so fast. It’s not as easy as it sounds. A business plan is necessary to start an event planning company.
The U.S Small Business Administration has a wealth of information about business plans. Many resources can help. Expert to Home Business Randy Duermyer offers some insight into business plans and guides you through the process.
Choose the best business entity for your firm.
Realizing that event planning is a work in progress, it is important to establish your business structure from the very beginning. You must determine the type of entity that best suits your business plan. Professional advice is essential for this.
There are many options, so it is important to choose the right business organization for you. William Perez, the Expert in Tax Planning, outlines six types of business organizations recognized by the IRS in the United States: Partnership, Trust, C-Corporation and S-Corporation.
Get Business Insurance
It is mandatory to have business insurance. Event planning companies should have general liability and other forms of insurance to protect their interests. There are many types of insurance available, so it is best to consult an insurance advisor to understand all requirements.
You can ask questions about insurance, regardless of whether you plan to start a business from home or if your office will be located elsewhere.
- General liability
- Product liability
- Home-based insurance
- Workers’ compensation
- Insurance for criminals
- Health and other benefits
Create a network of suppliers and staffing resources
Let’s take a moment to reduce the stress of your business structure. It’s now time to think about who you want to include within your supplier network. Event planners have access to many suppliers, including caterers and florists.
Although you might think you can do all the tasks, you will eventually need an infrastructure to support your events. This includes the staffing of administrative, legal, accounting and marketing resources.
Get Event Planning Services
You may feel discouraged by mentioning “legal” or “accounting.” Don’t be. They are your best friends and most valuable resources. It is time to think deeper about what event planning services you can offer.
While we know that you may have already considered this, it is important to focus on your core services. What is your product? What is your target audience?
Can you provide full-service planning and execution for your client’s venues, catering, productions, speakers, gifts and transportation? Do you have a specialization in any aspect of event planning? How about communication services for event communications?
Set up an event planning fee structure
It is important to establish your fee structure when considering services. Independent and small event planners should be aware of all the options available to make a profit and cover their expenses. This will ensure that you are still in business five years down the line. The following is the basis of most event planners’ fees:
- Flat fee
- Percentage of expenses
- Hourly rate
- Percentage of expenses and hourly rate
- Rates subject to commission
Secure funding for your business
This shouldn’t be step 9. Each business owner will choose how to source these funds. However, it is important to remain positive about your new company’s work to avoid losing sight of the realities.
Businesses require an operating budget. You must have enough cash to start the business. Although it is possible to start a business without much capital, it is important to have sufficient funds to pay for your living expenses and fund your business while you wait to be profitable.
It would be best to focus on business development and marketing for your event business.
Now it’s time for you to start to build important marketing materials.
Now you are ready to pick the right name and develop your business plan. A website, business cards, stationery and proposals are all important.