Event planners are often seen as the “it” people of the industry. They spend their days sketching out perfect event layouts, handpicking flowers and lighting to make everything feel magical, and even arranging for string quartets or DJs to play at just the right moments. But it takes more than just an eye for detail to become a successful event planner these days.
With so many event planning companies popping up all over the place, you have to be willing to work hard if you want your business to succeed. Here are three things you need to know before you can start an event planning business that will really take off in the next couple of years.
1. It won’t be easy at the start
Like any business, starting an event planning company takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Since most of your customers don’t know who you are, you’ll have to put in a lot of legwork in your marketing campaigns to get your name out there. This means networking as much as possible, building up a portfolio of successful events, finding reliable vendors that will give you good rates for their services, and getting good referrals from happy clients. Here’s a quick rundown on how you can manage to do these tasks:
Network with other professionals in the industry
It’s important not only for networking purposes but also because they can be great references for your company when you get started. This can even branch off to different business opportunities. Here are some tips on how you can network effectively:
- Go to events where other event professionals will be like the National Association of Catering Executives’ conference.
- Do an informational interview with someone who has their own business or is a client or vendor for another event planning company to see what they do, how much their costs are, and so forth.
Build up a portfolio of successful events
The best way to get new clients is by having references from past ones. Here are some tips on how you can build up your portfolio in no time:
- Look through your personal contacts for people to contact about potential events.
- Be sure to take great pictures and videos of your events so that you can use them for marketing materials.
Find reliable vendors and get good rates from them
One of the main reasons clients choose event planners is because they don’t have to worry about dealing with different vendors themselves. This means that it’s important for you to find reputable vendors that will give you good rates for their services. Suppose you’re organizing a kid’s party. That means you’ll have to find vendors fun activities like a bounce house. You’ll need to find a reliable vendor that rents out inflatable bounces houses to keep your client’s children engaged throughout the party. Here are some tips on how you can go about doing that:
- Contact local vendors and ask them to send you their pricing information.
- Sign up for vendor mailing lists so you can get notifications about special deals they’re offering.
Get referrals from happy clients
One of the best ways to get new clients is by getting referrals from happy ones. Here are some tips on how you can get great referrals:
- Always do a good job and provide excellent customer service so your clients will be more than willing to refer your business to others.
- Take time out of your day to send thank-you notes or emails after the event. Let them know that you enjoyed working with them.
2. You need knowledge in many different subjects
The event planning industry has come a long way since it first started gaining popularity decades ago, which means that you’ll have to learn quite a few skills to stay ahead. Not only will you be responsible for managing all of the details behind an event, but you’ll also have to know how to communicate effectively with your company’s clients and vendors. Here are some tips on how you can acquire this knowledge:
- Take continuing education classes: These courses will teach you the basics, like legalities and ethics, in addition to advanced topics like marketing and financial management.
- Read books and articles: There are many different resources out there that can help you learn about all aspects of event planning.
- Attend trade shows: This is a great way to see new products and services as they become available in the market as well as network with other professionals.
3. There’s a lot of competition out there
The event planning industry is booming right now, which means that there are many other people out there trying to do the same thing as you. Without a good plan, your company can easily fall behind. Here are some tips on how you can create an effective business plan:
- Determine if this is really what you want to do: If it’s not, then it’s going to be very difficult to succeed.
- Make a list of your business’s strengths and weaknesses: This will help you focus on the areas that you need to improve on.
- Create a marketing plan: This will outline how you’re going to reach your target market as well as what techniques you’ll be using.
- Set realistic goals: It’s important to have goals, but make sure they’re achievable so you don’t get discouraged.
Starting an event planning business can be a lot of work, but it can also be very rewarding. By following the tips above, you’ll be on your way to becoming a successful event planner.