The event planning industry certainly suffered some setbacks in 2020 and this year, too, as the global pandemic left people stuck at home more than usual, and many events canceled.
However, as increasing numbers of people get vaccinated against COVID-19, and it’s more feasible to open things up again and attend more events in person, now is a time when you might be considering launching your own venture in this field. To give yourself the best chance of success, take a few strategic steps.
Do Plenty of Research
Firstly, you need to research what other operators are offering in the market. Investigate what event planning firms in your local area or further afield, if you plan to target multiple locations, do for clients and who it is they market and sell to.
You need to discover the specific services competitors offer to clients, the types of prices charged, how companies brand themselves, what their marketing and sales processes involve, and the kind of customer support and retention techniques they utilize. By conducting competitive research, you’ll be better able to ensure you break away from the pack and compete less on price.
It’s also essential to research your proposed target market. Learn as much as you can about prospective clients, such as their location(s), needs, preferences, budgets, and more.
Determine the Niche You’ll Focus On
The above research will help you narrow in on which niche you want to focus on in your industry. It’s not practical to go after clients of all types; instead, develop a unique selling proposition (USP) that showcases how your venture is different from your competitors. Find a way to stand out and grab attention for the right reasons by offering something fresh and interesting.
Your point of difference might stem from the locations you target or the particular people or organizations you plan to advertise to. For instance, if you’ve found there’s a gap in the market for producers of sustainable corporate events or themed weddings, you might concentrate on one of these areas. Your USP could revolve around the prices you charge, such as a luxury or budget offering, how you plan and run your events, market your services, or something else entirely.
Develop a Detailed Business Plan
Another step to take is to develop a detailed business plan. This document is necessary if you want to apply for a loan from a bank or other lender or get partners or investors in your enterprise. Plus, the plan will help you check that you’ve thought about all the vital aspects of running an event venture.
Your business plan should focus on the first year of operation and a few years after that. Document the types of services you’ll make available to consumers, information about your target customers, and the roles and responsibilities of yourself and any other owners or managers in the business.
Note down likely fees you’ll charge and financial projections, especially for the first 12 months. Pay attention to top supplier risk management factors, legal and insurance matters, staffing and outsourcing needs, and marketing and sales concepts. It’s also wise to do a SWOT analysis, where you examine the likely strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for your organization. Plus, detail systems and processes you’ve already worked out that will help you streamline operations and cut costs.
Find Yourself Excellent Suppliers and Staff
Even if you’re starting your business as a small venture and doing many of the jobs yourself, you’ll need help to deliver memorable events. This is where having suitable suppliers and staff come in. You likely need to find event venues, caterers, photographers, videographers, florists, stationery and graphic designers, props and accessory hirers, lighting, sound, and signage experts, and so on.
Plus, you’ll need staff to help you run events and potentially handle tasks relating to admin, sales, marketing, finance, and legal matters, among others. Take your time finding the right people to join your team, whether you put them on the payroll or outsource certain tasks to them, as you need to find the right mix of affordability, expertise, and knowledge.
Also, start building relationships with journalists who can help you market your business and events and build your profile in the industry to attract new clients.
Launching your own event planning business will be a significant undertaking that combines excitement with plenty of challenges. Be smart about the choices you make and follow the tips above to help you create a successful venture for yourself.