How to get started in event planning
The demand for qualified event planning is constantly growing. Event businesses have become a profitable segment of the market. So there is no surprise that new event agencies appear like mushrooms after rain. Therefor event market today is very intense, and it can be quite difficult to succeed almost and immediately. But if that doesn't scare you, here are a few rules you should know before you get started in event planning.
Choose your specialization. All MBA managers know that small and medium sized businesses (event planning is not an exception) must have a certain narrow focus. Broadly speaking, there are two markets for event planning services: corporate (trade shows, conventions, company picnics, holiday parties, meetings for staff members, board members or stockholders, gala fundraisers, receptions and charity events) and social (weddings, birthdays, anniversary parties). You should specialize in one of them or even choose just one event format for your work. Further development strategy will depend on your choice. Let us imagine, for example, that your choice was the organization of conferences.
Write a business plan. To launch a startup without a business plan is foolish and it inevitably leads to losses and ruin. Especially if you’re just a newbie entrepreneur. We recommend you buy a template and to refine it according to your requirements. What will be in your business plan? That depends on different things. At the very beginning, for example, you can do quite well without an office so you may not include this expenditure into a business plan. But in the future this item will have to be reviewed if you want to gain status in the eyes of more demanding customers. It is wise to make a number of initial investments into sound and projection equipment: then you will be able to hold a small conference by yourself - without the involvement of technical contractors. It also makes sense to invest in purchasing specialized software for conference planning (this will help to systematize the process and minimize the human error factor). But the most important item of your budget will payroll, of course.
Find the best employees. The company will not be able to achieve success without professional experts. If you have a small budget and can hire only a few employees – analyze what specialists will be needed on a permanent basis and who you can attract as outsourcers. Major recruitment portals like EventCV.com are a great opportunity to find the best candidates for permanent employment as well as freelancers. You also may pay attention to young professionals and students. Many of them will be happy to work for small compensation in order to gain some good practice.
Always think of your target audience. In every business it is important to understand who is the end consumer and it's necessary to determine the average age, income, needs, and interests of customers. And even your future conferences will slightly differ. Do not forget to start every project with a personal touch. With every different project you have to re-analyze your guests' specifics, lifestyle, needs and goals.
Get more knowledge and practice. Be sure to review the experience of successful event agencies and pay attention to the advice of leading event gurus. Learn from the mistakes of others. In interviews professionals can share not only advice, but also the mistakes they themselves made in the beginning of their career – it could be very valuable information for you. Gain experience wherever and whenever you can. Find ways to get involved with event planning, build a resume and start a portfolio. A portfolio is extremely important. Even if you still work in a different field, you can help plan a fundraising event, or your corporate jubilee, or your friend’s wedding, or your company’s conference as a volunteer (the last proposal will be ideal if we are speaking about conference planning in the future).
Professional connections. The event industry requires great knowledge of sites, vendors, contractors, performers of various genres, photographers, etc. It also requires good personal relationships with journalists, PR-managers of client companies, event industry leaders and so on. The latest trends in event marketing are also among the “must knows” of your future business. That’s why you must attend as many professional conferences as possible. There you’ll be able to find all the necessary information and do some useful networking.