1. Expertise? What expertise?
Do you have event planning experience? Get experience – This is the first tip that you will come across when you want to start out. Although experience in the event planning industry can be extremely useful, it’s not essential. During your career you will have gained some transferrable skills that you can apply to your event planning career. The most important of these skills are ORGANISATION, TIME MANAGEMENT, CREATIVITY, NEGOTIATION, COMMUNICATION, and INTERPERSONAL SKILLS. STICK TO WHAT YOU KNOW! Remember to utilise your own personal experience when deciding what type of events you are going to specialise in. For example, if your background is corporate, then this is a great place to start, rather that organising sporting events.
2. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!
We’ve all heard it, and although what you know is important, sometimes who you know carries a lot of weight too, and in the world of event planning knowing the right people is a necessity! Social media is a great way of networking. LinkedIn is a superb example, join appropriate groups and participate in discussions. Attending seminars, exhibitions, and trade shows are also great ways of expanding your contacts and network. Tip: Going to a competitor’s event is also a good way of establishing contacts and obtaining supplier information. It can also give you an indication of potential sponsors that you can approach for your event.
3. The plan
Every planner needs a solid business plan. This may be daunting, but you can obtain a business plan template from most banks when you go to enquire about setting up a business account. These templates are extremely useful as they contain all financial modelling templates that you will require to produce your year on year projections. Using the bank templates may also come in handy if you require bank funding for your business. When creating your plan, it’s essential that you do your market research! Knowing your audience and your competition is essential to finding your niche and in deciding how and where to promote your services. You can download an Audience/Persona Template and Competitor Research Template here for FREE.
4. Registering your company
There’s no point coming up with a catchy name for your company if it’s not registered. Make sure that you register your company with the relevant body, for example, if you are in the UK you can simply register your company with Companies House. Remember, simply registering your company does not give you trade mark protection, this needs to be done separately. Get professional advice before registering a company as this will have implications on the type of financial records that you will need to keep for tax purposes.
5. What do you have to offer?
Once you have determined your target market and completed your competitor research, it’s important that you think about what type of services you are going to offer your clients. For example, are you going to offer full event planning services including event registration, venue hire, catering services, event promotion, etc… or are you going to specialise in one or two areas? It’s vital that you think about the costs involved. The administrative costs and time constraints of paper based event registration for example can be a burden on a start-up as can event marketing and promotion which require special expertise. A good way of reducing these costs is to use an online event registration provider. Some providers give you the option of creating and customising your registration forms as well as your event site and emails – saving you time and money! Tip: Take all the above costs into consideration when creating your fee structure, e.g. flat fee, hourly rate, commission based etc…
6. Get your papers in order!
It’s imperative that you know all the legal procedures and complete your paperwork in advance. You don’t want to be in the position where you have to turn down a client because you haven’t allowed enough time to obtain a particular licence or certificate. Make sure you obtain business insurance to cover your employees as well as the public. To find out more about procedures and the event planning process, read our blog post “The Event Planner’s Checklist: For The Event Organisers That Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” and download you FREE copy of The Event Planner’s Checklist.
So you’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s, what next? It’s time to market your services. Sending out brochures and emails to promote your company is a good way to start, however, if you have the budget, why not showcase your services by organising a launch? Sending out email invitations to your prospective clients will enable them to see your company’s marketing machine in action and sample the services that you could provide. Ensure that you create a seamless experience for your attendees by simplifying the event registration process and offering them mobile event applications. You can find more information abou