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How To Start An Event Planning Service?

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These are all good reasons to pursue event management profession. But anyone who contemplates the fantasy of starting their own event planning business must follow some important steps before you even beginning to talk to clients.

1. Gain Event Planning Skills and Experience

The long-term success of an event planning business will be based on the experience that the planner brings to his or her clients. That means, if you’re thinking about starting an event planning business, you should have a solid grasp as to what an event planner is, and make sure you have some solid skills:

  • Verbal and written communications

  • Organization and time management

  • Negotiation and budget management

  • Creativity, marketing, public relations and more

It would also be helpful to obtain professional certification in the industry, including CMP designation or involvement in MPI.

2. Determine Your Event Planning Market/Forte

Okay, let’s say you’ve been working in corporate meetings for five years and are ready to create a business. The first thing to realize is that your strengths are in the corporate arena. A common error many planners make is to say that they are

willing to coordinate all kinds of events, including corporate meetings, weddings, fundraising galas and more.

Stop. While the urge may be there to offer a variety of services, the reason you’re ready is based on your collective previous experiences. In time you may handle a full range of events, but initially recognize that there are distinctive differences between corporate, association, nonprofit and social events. Determine your market accordingly.

3. Develop a Business Plan

Because you decided on your market, you may be thinking this is a good time to share the news about what you can offer to the world. Not so fast. Starting your own business isn’t as glamorous as such fantasies. Like everything else, starting an event planning business requires a business plan.

4. Designate Which Business Entity Fits Best for Your Firm

Now that you realize that creating an event planning business should be viewed as a “work in progress,” it’s very important to determine your business structure in the beginning. The most fundamental step is to make sure you decide what type of business entity works best for your plan. For this, it’s important to secure professional advice.

There are several options available to you, and it’s important to select the type of business organization that best represents your interests.

5. Obtain Business Insurance

Business insurance is mandatory. Event planning businesses should secure general liability and other forms of insurance to protect the business owner’s interests. Several forms of insurance exist, so it’s best to speak with an insurance advisor to learn all of the requirements.

Whether you plan on starting a home-based business or if you will have a small office elsewhere, ask questions about these forms of insurance (but not limited to) as follows:

However, innovative ideas can only amount to action within a system that’s built to nurture them. Entrepreneurs need a supportive environment to launch startups that could one day have an impact not only on the local economy but on society as a whole. But what is a startup ecosystem? From self-contained initiatives like Station F in Paris to city blocks like Silicon Roundabout in London and 22@ in Barcelona, there are lots of examples.

Let’s explore what goes into making one, what its most important resources are, what conditions affect its development and lastly, how to start growing one of your own!

What is a startup ecosystem?

Startups do not and cannot exist in a vacuum. They are born in a specific context as parts of an entity – a network, a system – much bigger than themselves. Entrepreneurs are supported by a community of people, organisations and other startups that surround them. This is what we refer to as a startup ecosystem.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ‘ecosystem’ as “something (such as a network of businesses) considered to resemble an ecological ecosystem especially because of its complex interdependent parts.”

The keyword here is interdependence. One member of an ecosystem cannot function or exist without the others, they’re linked in a mutually beneficial relationship.

The members of a startup ecosystem work together to foster innovation in their local community – be that a specific city, a region, or a complex of buildings – and use the pool of resources available to them to create and scale new businesses.

Now, let’s take a closer look at what makes up a startup ecosystem.

What makes up a startup ecosystem?

Of course, there is no recipe for exactly what should go into the pot when building a startup ecosystem. However, there are a few key ingredients that each local ecosystem needs in order to thrive.

1. Startups

2. Colleges, universities and other education programmes

3. Funding providers

4. Incubators and accelerators

5. Coworking spaces

6. Agencies, consultants and freelancers

7. Service providers

8. Advisory organisations and mentors

9. Events

10. Media and blogs

11. Corporations

12. Supportive Government agencies

13. Research organisations

14. Talent

Building a thriving startup ecosystem is not as simple as mixing together all the right ingredients. Brilliant entrepreneurs, adventurous investors and well-organised events are important – but not everything. There is a range of external and internal factors that influence the development of each ecosystem.

The economy

The global and local financial climate, the available market (in other words, access to customers), the region’s international business relations, the maturity of the ecosystem, the extent of government incentives and the level of startup ecosystem management (including branding) can all determine the entrepreneurial activity that an ecosystem is able to manifest.

Startups can hardly be expected to flourish in the middle of a global financial recession. Nor would you expect them to grow or during a national economic meltdown.

Market size is also key. Having access to a large potential market – such as that of China or the United States – is very different from only being able to target customers in a limited geography. Strong international business relations are therefore crucial for scaling startups in smaller or less powerful countries.

Maturity and risk

Young ecosystems face different challenges to more mature ones. In established ecosystems, big exits release the capital and talent. This is what’s needed to build new startups and give investors a reason to be willing to take more risks.

Oversight and preferential treatment

Ecosystems with less government support will struggle where ecosystems with sufficient state incentives thrive. The way a startup ecosystem is managed and represented on an international level via branding can make all the difference.

  • General liability

  • Product liability

  • Home-based insurance

  • Worker’s compensation

  • Criminal insurance

  • Health and other benefits

6. Develop Your Network of Suppliers and Staffing Resources

It’s time to try to lighten the burden of business structure for a moment. Now it’s time to consider who you want to include in your network of suppliers. Event planners work with a variety of suppliers, including caterers, florists, photographers and more.

And although you may think that you can handle all tasks, ultimately you are going to need to establish an infrastructure of resources to support your events and overall operations. This includes staffing resources for administrative, sales, marketing, communications, legal, accounting, and other functions.

7. Define Your Event Planning Services

Some of you may be disheartened by the reference to “legal” and “accounting.”. Don’t be. They are very important friends and resources. But now it is also a time to think a little deeper and continue pondering what types of event planning services you will offer.

We recognize that many of you have probably already thought of this, but it’s important to stay focused on your core services. What’s your product? Who is your target market?.

Will you offer full-service planning and execution on behalf of your client for venues, catering, production, speakers, gifts, transportation, lodging and more?

Will you specialize in one particular aspect of the planning? What about communications services for event communications and more?

8. Establish an Event Planning Fee Structure

With services in mind, it’s important to determine your fee structure. Many independent and small event planning firms should be conscious of the various ways to cover their expenses and make a reasonable profit. After all, this will help keep you in business five years from now. Most event planners charge based on the following:

  • Flat fee

  • Percentage of expenses

  • Hourly rate

  • Percentage of expenses plus hourly rate

  • Commissionable rate

9. Secure Funding for Your Business

In most cases, this shouldn’t be step 9, but it’s important to be motivated by the work that your new firm will bring so that you don’t get discouraged when

considering the necessary realities. And each business owner will vary how he or she chooses to secure and source such funds.

Most businesses require an operating budget, and it will be important to have access to a comfortable base of cash while establishing the firm. While it is possible to establish a business with limited funds, it is still important to have enough money to start your business and cover any living expenses while waiting to become profitable.

10. Focus on Business Development and Marketing for Your Event Business

With your business model in place, an understanding of your services, a sense of how you will charge for your services, now it’s time to begin to develop important business and marketing materials.

Well, now you’re ready to choose the right name for your business and work your business development plan. You will also need to create business cards, stationery, a website, sales collateral, proposals, client agreements and more.

*This story is covered by Swiftnlift Business Magazine

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