How To Start an Event Planning Business in 6 Steps

There are a lot of things to consider when starting an event planning business. To help you figure out how to start your business, I wanted to share a few key pieces that were vital to me when I was researching and starting a successful event business!

How to Start Your Event Planning Business with No Money

Why are event planning businesses valuable?

Event planning businesses are a valuable entity for business owners and consumers alike. Some of the greatest benefits for business owners are financial. Due to the low up-front and maintenance costs and the unique payment structure, starting an event or party planning business typically involves minimal financial risk. Being able to work remotely and conduct almost all business electronically or at venue sites reduces the need for formal office space, saving costly overhead expenses typically associated with business ownership.

Additionally, because event booking commonly requires partial payment upfront and full payment before the event, business owners do not face the same missed payment issues as in other industries.

For consumers, an event planning business serves to plan and organize events based on their customers specifications, while minimizing the stress and frustration associated with the planning process. Event planning businesses can offer inspiration, access and logistical support for personal or professional occasions. An easy-to-navigate website and a strong marketing approach make it even easier for consumers to identify the event planning business best suited to meet their needs.

What is an event planning business?

An event planning business is a small or large company that supports individuals and/or corporations in planning and executing events. These can be personal events such as weddings and birthday parties, or professional events such as graduation ceremonies and annual conferences. Some of the specific responsibilities of an event planning business include:

How to start an event planning business

These six steps will help you successfully start your own event planning business:

1. Gain relevant experience

Spending time working in the event planning industry, either on a paid or unpaid basis, is a valuable pre-requisite for starting your own event planning business. You can use this time to learn about industry trends and prices, identify best practices, hone your skills and learn about customer preferences. Ideally, you will hold multiple roles in the industry so you develop a comprehensive picture to inform your business planning. It is also a great way to build connections and establish a network of prospective clients to engage once established.

If possible, set up a shadowing or mentorship opportunity with an event planning business owner. More targeted than simply working in the industry, this type of opportunity would provide valuable insight into the field from the perspective of a business owner. If an ongoing arrangement is not possible, you could consider interviewing a few business owners or attending seminars for aspiring event planning business owners. Observing the specific skills and competencies that these business owners posses can help you self-assess your own readiness and, if necessary, establish a growth plan before embarking on your own business venture.

2. Establish a vision

In addition to developing and refining your technical and interpersonal skills, working in the industry will also help shape your vision. Establishing a clear vision is both a creative and pragmatic step in the process of starting your own event planning business. This includes meaningful reflection about the specific services you want to offer and your preferred business format. Things to consider include:

3. Conduct market research

The most essential question that market research seeks to answer is whether or not there is a demand for the service you want to offer. The abundance of information available digitally makes it easier to answer this question, and related questions, with minimal cost and the convenience of researching remotely.

To begin, you need to identify your target market and determine if a large enough client base exists to sustain the services you plan to offer. For example: if your vision is to plan extravagant weddings, do the financial demographics of residents in your target location suggest they can afford that? Similarly, do the cultural and religious norms of residents in your target area align with your business vision? If the answer to either question is no, you will want to reconsider your strategy or location. Similar questioning can be applied across a range of sample event types.

Additionally, your research needs to include an evaluation of your prospective competitors, their client base, their client spending habits and their client satisfaction. You will then want to compare their services to those you plan to offer to identify what motivation clients would have, if any, to choose your business. If you anticipate some overlap in services, you will want to determine if the current demand is greater than the current supply, indicating your business could be competitive. You could determine that by investigating wait times for new clients or job postings on competitor websites.

4. Build a business plan

The bridge connecting your vision and market research to the reality of starting your own event planning business is a strong business plan. This should be an organized document that guides your initial startup and is flexible in response to changing circumstances once launched. While exact templates vary, the most essential components include:

It can be helpful to have current business owners review your plan and provide feedback. If you have access to someone in the event planning or hospitality industry, their feedback will be more specific and thus more valuable.

5. Create a website

Essential to the success of any 21st-century business is a clear, easily accessible and informative website. In the event planning industry specifically, aesthetics and visual content are especially critical. Prospective clients want to quickly and easily scan your site for sample photos, price information and service options. As events often hold significant sentimental value, the feelings evoked by your websites images will impact the likelihood that a client will consider your services. Leveraging for your website development the same skills used to create meaningful, evocative events will help ensure your website is inspiring and memorable for prospective clients.

6. Follow all legal guidelines

Before you start your new business, you must research and comply with any relevant legal or financial guidelines. Initial steps include choosing a business structure, registering your business name and applying for a federal tax identification number. Following that youll want to research whether your state requires a state tax identification number and any related permits and licenses. Obtaining business insurance and opening a business bank account are two additional steps. Since requirements vary by state and business type, it is a good idea to consult legal professionals to ensure you havent overlooked any necessary steps.

FAQ

How profitable is event planning business?

According to Goldblatt’s research, profits in this industry continue to rise. Just a few years ago, Goldblatt says, the average profit margin for an event planning entrepreneur was around 15 percent. His most recent studies, however, show profit margins can be as much as 40 percent.

How do I start an event planning business with no money?

How to Start a Party Planning Business with Little to No Money
  1. Come to terms with unavoidable party expenses.
  2. Write down realistic revenue projections.
  3. Make a pitch for initial funding.
  4. Invest the revenue you have wisely.
  5. Unlock the true potential of your party planning business.

What is needed to start an event planning business?

How to Start an Event Planning Business
  • Gain Event Planning Skills and Experience. …
  • Determine Your Event Planning Market/Forte. …
  • Develop a Business Plan. …
  • Designate Which Business Entity Fits Best for Your Firm. …
  • Obtain Business Insurance. …
  • Develop Your Network of Suppliers and Staffing Resources.

How do event planners make money?

How to Make More Money As an Event Planner
  1. Choose a niche and excel at it. If you’re trying to be an event planning generalist, it’s time to get specific. …
  2. Use Pinterest and Instagram to “get found” …
  3. Combine SEO tactics with excellent customer service. …
  4. Ditch the idea of the “average” bride. …
  5. Outsource wherever possible.

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