Many Event Planners start out working from home. This can be a great model for setting up an event planning business as it keeps overheads down in those critical early stages of trading and can maximise productivity. If you are considering whether it could work for you and how to make a success of it, here are some things to think about.
When I set up my Event Management company over 14 years ago I started working from home. It seemed like a natural choice and it meant that instead of worrying about paying expensive office rent in the early stages I could focus on building my business. It worked for me and I worked from home for over a year before outgrowing my home office and renting an office.
Many other Event Planners, Wedding Planning and Freelance Event Managers report the same and find it a workable solution for them – either for the short or the long term. Others just don’t seem able to imagine the realities of working from a home base and I have been quizzed and insulted in equal measures by people trying to understand the intricacies of working from home!
This post is designed to be the ultimate event planning startup kit, for anyone wanting to start their own event management company. These are the chapters you will explore:
- 8 Compelling Reasons You Should Start an Event Planning Business from Home
- A Quick Guide to Setting Up Your Event Planning Company: Follow These Easy Steps
- Start NOW: Get Your Free Event Planning Business Plan Template
- 9 Secrets to Nail Your Business Name without Delay
- The No $%^& Guide to Startup Costs for an Event Planning Business
- How To Create a Cash Rich Event Business in 2020
- Carve Out Your Niche: Proven Strategy to Increase Your Business Earnings
- 6 Steps to Boost Your Event Business' Sales on a Tight Budget
- 100 Effective Ways to Attract More Clients and Grow Your Event Planning Business (when time and money are in short supply)
- Important Final Advice for All New Event Business Owners
What makes you relevant in 2020? We reviewed 350 event planning job postings to find the skills needed to succeed. Download the free report.
Perhaps you are currently employed but want to test the water by starting to develop your own client base and run your own events for people? You may be part of the rise of 5 to 9 entrepreneurs – those that work evenings and weekend to get their own business off the ground.
Or you may have decided that you want to be your own boss and are simply itching to go it alone?
Are you worried that you will struggle or that it will be too big a leap?
Here are eight things to consider if you are looking to start your own Event Planning Business from home.
An Event Planner can work from almost anywhere if you have a laptop, internet and mobile phone. Most important are your personality and event management skills. Starting out by working from home keeps costs lower as renting office space can be a huge outgoing for a fledgling business and you may not wish to be tied into a long-term rental contract from the outset.
Starting from home gives a new business the best possible start during those important early months.
Au Revoir Work Commute!
Commuting to work every day can be time-consuming and stressful in terms of both time and travel expenses, and is a part of the day that fills many with dread. By working from home you are not only potentially saving on your monthly travel outlay but you are probably removing the big city temptations which are so easy to fritter away money on (coffee, cake, and other high street temptations). Most important though you become more time rich.
If your daily rush hour commute was an hour each way this gives you the chance to extend the productivity of your working day by a whole two hours (if you want to) in the blink of an eye!
Set up a specific workspace which can be your dedicated work area. Ideally have a room that you can close the door on at the end of the day, rather than being reminded about the mounds of paperwork on your desk and hearing the phone ring after hours!
You can design the space based on your work preferences. Perhaps you want to use a room with a view or perhaps staring at a brick wall would be better for your concentration. Think about what furniture you will need to work – desk, chair, phone, answer machine, shelves/filing cabinet, etc.
Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you should be any less disciplined. As well as working set office hours some people still choose to dress as if they were still going to an office job every day. In a creative industry such as the event industry, I don’t necessarily agree with this – it makes sense for me to dress more casually on non-client facing days at the office – but do whatever works for you.
When working from home the most frequent questions I used to get asked is “how do you concentrate on working from home with the lure of daytime television?” and “do you work in your pajamas?”
I think people that asked these questions completely missed the whole point that you are WORKING from home. If you are working for yourself it means that if you don’t work, you don’t get paid! It is up to you but no one else is going to pay your salary for you. Furthermore, in my experience running your own business keeps you busy, busy, busy. Organizing events is a time-consuming operation and organizing events and running your own business doesn’t give any time for slacking!
I actually found the opposite in terms of discipline – it is actually hard to switch off and working from home can fudge your work-life balance as the lines are blurred between the two. Whether you struggle to focus or struggle to switch off though discipline has to be key!
One of the things we struggled with as our business grew was storage space. We invested in bigger and better printers, event equipment, marketing materials, banners and so forth, but this investment also takes up space. Furthermore, our regular clients increasingly wanted us to hold some of their materials and branded items between events which put a further strain on storage space.
When event boxes of literature started taking over the lounge every time we had delegate folders to collate ahead of an event we realized it was time to move to a more purpose-built office solution. Perhaps this is less of a problem today when less information is printed and more is presented digitally for events, but nevertheless, it can add up.
I find that many of our clients prefer us to travel to their offices to meet but if you ever need a space to meet and your home office isn’t large enough/suitable enough there are plenty of coffee shops, hotels and meeting places which offer a convenient place to meet face to face - so this need never be a concern.
One of the biggest perks of working from home is the productivity element. As event deadlines get close hours are often long for an event planner and it is great to feel safe in your own home and able to carry on working for as long as you need to. Likewise, if you have international conference calls across time zones it is convenient to be able to do this from the luxury of your home office.
Home Working Perks
Don’t forget to update and take out the relevant insurance policies as you should with any business working from a home or office base.
There are however many other perks to working at home too – for example paying no or reduced business rates, tax relief and off-setting a percentage of your household running expenditure through the business. These elements will, of course, vary from country to country so do look into the realities of this before you take the plunge.
There are a million and one things to think about if you are considering starting your own event planning business. Whether it is a distant dream or almost a reality, here are 22 steps you need to take to set up a successful event management company.
Starting up an event planning business is not a decision to take lightly. It is a major decision which impacts not only on your life but also on your family and others around you. At the same time, if you are passionate and determined that this is the right direction to take you shouldn’t take no for an answer - go for it!
Although 80% of businesses survive the first year, almost half no longer exist after five years and only one-third make it past their tenth anniversary (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics). Interestingly, major economic downturns don’t seem to impact the survival rates for new businesses and these stats have remained remarkably consistent over the last two decades.
As one of the one-third of businesses that have survived past the ten-year mark (my event management company was established in 2004), we wanted to create the ultimate useful reference guide to help others take those important first steps to being their own boss.
Starting a new business is definitely not the easy option or a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. It is a high risk, but potentially high reward strategy over the long term.
Here are the details and the process you will need to follow before officially launching your event planning company. There are lots of things to think seriously about and we have flagged essential action to take for each step. Read, digest and bookmark this article for a blueprint of how to prepare to launch your business and ensure the best chance of survival.
Gain Varied Event Planning Experience
The more event planning experience you have the better the service you are going to be able to offer your clients. This isn’t just limited to event planning skills either, any business skills and experience will make you a more rounded business owner. Jump at any opportunity to get paid or unpaid work experience. Use this to learn the things that work and the things you would do differently.
If necessary teach yourself how to use tools that will benefit you as a small business. Today, many of these programs are available online and there is a wealth of video tutorials and written content to help you learn how to use them.
Be confident in what you have to offer:
- Before taking the plunge, make sure you have gained lots of event and administration experience and are confident with planning events independently.
- Identify any gaps in your skillset and work hard to strengthen these areas through paid work or volunteering.
- If you need to keep costs down, teach yourself core skills that you will need, such as email marketing platforms, survey tools, accounting programs, design systems and website building.
Undertake Market and Competitor Research
The first thing you need to establish is if there is a definite requirement for the services that you want to offer. Instead of just believing it is a good idea you need to do some actual research to confirm this.
This information can be difficult to find and you will need to refer to lots of different sources to try to get a reliable picture. Look into public data, reports and analysis on the web, talk to people and try to undertake a focus group and individual phone calls with those that you are looking to develop relationships with, to determine evidence of a need.
Scope out the market through researching:
- Log the number of competitors there are in your area.
- Note the similarities and differences in the services they offer, compared to your business idea.
- Analyze and monitor the number of tenders and opportunities issued for event planning services over a certain time period.
- Speak to companies who issue these types of opportunities to determine what their frustrations are with the current offering and what is lacking?
- Calculate how many businesses operate within your target geographical area and business sector.
- If you can track it down, find national and local figures in terms of expenditure on events. Your local university is often the best opportunity to find out such data if it is not available online.
Identify Your Strengths (and Weaknesses)
Consider whether you are looking to offer a broad, full-service event management company or focus specifically on producing a specific type of event or a specific target market. Although it is tempting to try to offer everything to everyone in order to secure the maximum amount of business it may be that this is actually reducing the amount of business you secure by appearing like a “jack of all trades, master of none”.
If you can, focus on your strengths so you can tailor your marketing and all efforts to attract the right type of business from the start. For example, you may decide to specialize in conferences or exhibitions or party planning. Each of these areas is likely to require a different brand and language to attract the right clientele. The key is not to position yourself in too small a niche it is limiting but not trying to do so much that it detracts you from your real passion and focus and puts you outside of your comfort zone.
Work out your passion and superpowers:
- List the core areas where you know you have an edge. This should include the types of events you are most confident and passionate about planning or expert knowledge of an industry or subject.
- Analyze whether your specialty is broad enough to make a living from or whether you need to go wider.
- Also, be honest and consider what your weaknesses are. If you have gaps in your skill set and are not confident managing large-scale events in specific areas, be honest with yourself. It is important to consider what you won’t do. Running a music festival requires very different knowledge, contacts and skills than organizing a trade show. If there is a specific genre or size of event that would push you outside of your comfort zone or take you too far away from your true passion you are best to set your limits now.
Understand the Realities of Starting a Business
Think about how you are going to survive as it may take some time before money starts coming into the business and you still need to be able to pay your bills during this period. Many people start their business “on the side” during their free time, evening and weekends, whilst working for somebody else. This will obviously depend on the role you have currently to ensure that you are not in breach of contract – make sure you act ethically and fairly to your current employer.
Discuss your aims with your partner and family to try to prepare everyone for the change of lifestyle and circumstances. Working for yourself isn’t the same as working for an employer. The buck stops with you. You are likely to work the longest hours of your life, working 80 plus hours a week is not unheard of for business owners. Also, no work = no pay. Your salary is directly linked to the amount of profit you can generate.
Take decisive steps to work out a plan:
- Calculate how much you really need to survive each month and pay your bills.
- Save as much as possible to sustain you for the short term after you launch your business.
- Look into alternative income options, such as a part-time job, support from your partner/family or a loan.
What Type of Business is Right for You?
There are many different types of organizations and you need to learn about the different entities to determine which is the right one for you. You might want to be a freelance event planner or to set up a company. The legalities will vary depending on the country you will be operating in too. We recommend that you take advice from experts if you are unsure.
Work out which business entity is right for you:
- Know your personal liability in terms of different business options in case the business fails
- Find out the setup costs, process, ongoing administrative commitments and growth potential of different business entities
- Compare and contrast the tax implications of being a freelancer, compared to running a company
Decide on the Business Name
Think carefully and research your business name as this isn’t something you would want to change after launching. Look for any conflicts, which prevents you from using names already in use. Also, think about abbreviations to avoid any unfortunate shortenings.
Decide on a killer business name:
- Brainstorm ideas
- Share the best ideas with people you respect, including family and potential clients to see their reaction
- Check whether the website and social media profiles are available for your shortlisted names
Within this post, there is a section dedicated to choosing event planning business names and offering further guidance on this.
Create a Business Plan
Creating a business plan is highly recommended to crystallize your aims and intentions for your company. It is a document describing your business objectives, financial forecasts and strategies for sales and marketing.
Opinions on business plans differ in terms of how detailed this should be. Whether you create a lengthy document of 60 pages, a couple of A4 sheets or write it on the back of a beer mat, it will be a good use of your time and enable you to speak more confidently about your plans and identify problems. Certain banks and investors would also need to see this document. It includes financial and marketing planning information, as well as the vision and mission statements for the company.
Information you should include in your business plan:
- Your Vision for the Company
- Mission Statement
- SWOT Analysis
- Financial Plan
- Marketing Plan
Keep reading this post as we have a free business plan template for you to download and complete.
Think Seriously About Investment and Funding
Is any funding available to you? Certain geographical locations may offer incentives or grants for new businesses, to help them start out, or your college or university may be able to offer support. The traditional route for business investment was always through banks or through an angel or investor, although there are many more opportunities and non-conventional routes available today, such as crowdfunding. You may even be eligible for competitions looking for the best startup idea to secure investment and TV programs such as Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den which give you the chance to pitch your business idea, or at least get some great marketing coverage to tell the world about your product.
Steps to take:
- If you can you start your business without financial help this is always recommended as loan repayments are one less thing to worry about. Create a cash flow forecast to identify when the shortfalls may occur and if there are alternative ways of handling it, rather than a loan (overdraft, different payment terms with clients, negotiating credit terms, etc).
- If you do need investment, make a list of all of the options open to you, interest rates, repayment terms, set up time and the pros and cons of each. Include less conventional options, such as crowd funding and pitching your idea on TV
- Calculate exactly how much you need, what you need it for and when.
Incorporate/Register Your Business
Find out the process for formally registering your company and what information and format are required. This varies from country to country. In the UK, for instance, the government is keen to encourage people to go into business and so they make the process easy to reduce the barriers to starting up. You can complete a simple online form to create a company in less than 20 minutes.
Be prepared to formally start your business:
- Complete, sign and return the necessary forms
- Partners, Directors and the Company Secretary will also need to sign and complete the forms, if relevant to the type of business entity you are creating
Design Your Logo and Develop Your Company Brand Identity
When your company name is decided and registered you can start creating your company logo and branding. You might have to live with this for a long time, so make sure you are happy with your corporate identity. Tools and design packages are available if you have the skills to create this yourself, otherwise, a graphic designer should be able to create your company identity for you for a reasonable price. They can also design your stationery and business cards, which can be printed for a small outlay.
Develop your corporate identity:
- Brand guidelines should be created, detailing the correct use of your logo, font, colors, placement and so forth
- Consider how your logo will reproduce in different situations, such as reversed and on social media, badges, business cards, websites.
- You will need your logo in different formats such as .eps, .jpeg and .png.
Set Up Your Website and Social Media Accounts
Check your website domain is available and purchase it when your company name is agreed. It is also worth reserving the handles on social media channels too, even if you don’t yet want to start completing your profile details actively posting from the accounts. Aim for the same handles across all networks for consistency.
Sort out your online presence:
- Populate your web page and social media channels as soon as you can. Even if it is just a holding page and ’coming soon’ message it lets people know plans are afoot
- Get friends and family to follow you initially to boost your follower numbers on social
- Start sharing useful content to start building more organic followers
Protect Your Business Intellectual Property
Protect your brand via trademarks, patents, copyrights, whichever route is relevant to your product or service. Take specialist advice on these matters to ensure that you are protected against theft and plagiarism. Don’t think that it wouldn’t happen to you.
Don’t get caught out:
- Take legal advice to protect your IP
- Don’t be afraid of asking people to sign a non-disclosure to protect your IP whenever sharing information and ideas
- Trust no one
Set Up a Company Bank Account
When your company is registered you will be able to apply for your company bank account. This will need to be done face to face at your bank to verify your identity documents and to sign the relevant paperwork. Choose a bank account that matches your needs, for instance, do you need to deposit cash or take payments by card. If so they will be able to advise the best solutions available to you.
Choose a bank to support your vision:
- Shortlist banks by thinking about your needs now and in the future. For instance, if you have ambitious growth plans you may want to choose a bank that approves a lot of business loans
- If you need to visit your bank in person to pay in cash and checks, look at location and opening times
- Check out the online banking process and if an app is available
- Ask if you are allocated to a local bank manager or if all contact needs be via a call center
Confirm Your Pricing Strategy and Fee Structure
Thought needs to be given to your pricing and fees so you know how to answer questions about your costs. Although you need to know the specific details of an event project to quote accurately you still need to know your hourly and daily rates and to share them confidently. Consider whether you will quote on a fee basis or a time-charge basis. Other pricing methods you might consider are taking a fee as a percentage of the total event budget and taking a commission on any items booked related to the event. You may also want to offer set packages or have an introductory offer to entice people.
Get your price right:
- Research your competitors to find out how they charge and an idea of pricing. It can be very difficult to gain this information but if you can get an understanding of how your closest rivals price their services it will be very revealing indeed
- When you get an inquiry, make sure you ask lots of questions and get all the details you need to understand the project before quoting. Every event is different
- Create a list of questions to prompt you to ask anyone interested in your services. Take down all the details to enable you to calculate and create a proposal to share with them
Market Your Business Like Crazy to Secure Clients
Try to work on securing some clients and projects before officially launching the business. Having one client already signed up was a great confidence boost when I launched my company and definitely a deciding factor to take the plunge.
Tell as many people as you can about your intentions, including friends and family. Although they may not directly need your services they may know someone else who does.
Perfect Your Elevator Speech
If you answer the question of what you do with “I’m an event planner,” you’re hitting a line drive to first when you could be going for home. Instead answer with something like, “I help medium-sized businesses make indelible impressions on clients and increase revenue through user’s conferences.” Now, I’m listening.
People Buy People
It is easy, in business, to overlook the fact that we deal with real human beings. Real people can get lost between numbers, projections, ROI and profit margins, when really they are the most important thing keeping all of us afloat.
The importance of retaining a human connection externally with customers and clients and internally with staff and stakeholders, cannot be overstated. Successful connection is all about conversation, mutual understanding, and appreciation. If you don’t connect with the potential customer you are less likely to win the bid. We need to get personal, get real, and start an authentic dialogue to gain genuine trust.
That’s precisely what makes events so important. Events create the emotional energy behind the sale, the human experience element. And no-one at all, including those in procurement, really choose a logical sales choice. They make emotional ones – buying ideas. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it, and the only way to truly engage people with that why, is to offer them a direct, human experience of your brand in real life.
Arguably, the value of connection has decreased. Online, no real thought or effort has to go into communicating anymore, and it’s the same with the way brands operate online. With an increase in the ease of communication, there’s a decrease in what it actually means – making the individual feel important. Keep this in mind whenever you are creating a proposal, networking or pitching for new business and work hard to develop genuine relationships with your client.
Win favour and get clients before you launch:
- Start networking, online and offline, and talking to people about your plans ahead of time to see their reaction
- Create business cards even before it is “official” and connect with useful contacts via LinkedIn
- Keep a list of potential prospects and be sure to let them know when you have officially launched
- Perfect and practice your elevator pitch
- Keep in touch and follow up with warm leads often; share an interesting article, send them a Christmas card. Don’t let them forget that you are ready and waiting
Take Out Relevant Insurances
Make sure that you are covered by the relevant insurances as soon as you start out in business. In the UK, for example, this may include public liability, employers’ liability, and business insurances such as professional indemnity, business and contents insurance. You may also need specific event insurance for different event projects. An insurance broker will be able to advise the specifics you need to consider within the country you operate in.
- Take professional advice on the type of cover that you need
- Get several quotes
- Know the estimated costs and process for additional event-specific insurances you/your client may need
Decide on Your Office Location
Think about where you will work from. Do you really need the overheads of an office? Can you start out working from home? As we have already mentioned, there are a lot of benefits from starting out using a home office. Often meetings can take place at the client’s office or in a local coffee shop or hotel anyway so having a plush office is not essential. If you feel that it is really important to have an office consider hot-desking, a shared workspace or incubator unit where you will get to meet other business owners too.
Give it some thought:
- If you can keep costs down and work from home then this is a wise decision, at least at first
- If you think you will feel isolated or struggle to focus when working from a home office, look at flexible options for hot-desking and shared spaces which keep costs and contracts to a minimum
- Compile a list of potential places to meet so you can always suggest a suitable location to a client
Purchase Business Equipment and Tools You Need
Starting an event management company has low barriers to entry as generally, it is a service based role, which relies primarily on your skills as an individual. As long as you have access to a phone, computer and WiFi you should be ready to begin! Notice will be required to install a phone line and WiFi to your chosen location though, so plan ahead for this before your launch date if you need any changes to your home set up.
Make a list:
- List the essentials you need to start out. Cross off things you would like to have and focus on what you actually need
- Identify milestones and rewards, such as, when we are paid by our tenth client we will open a bottle of champagne. Little incentives help you to be more aware of your achievements
Later in the post, we talk in more detail about what to do if you are looking to start a business with no money. For an industry like event planning, having little money is not necessarily a roadblock to starting your own business.
Identify People That Can Help You
For the foreseeable future you will probably be working alone, or perhaps working with freelancers on a project by project basis. You won’t have a large team around you, which you may have had in previous employment. Keep lean while you can – paying other people’s salaries is a big responsibility, especially when you are first starting out.
Sites like Upwork are great as they allow you to find temporary staff that have the skills you need and agree a set fee on a project by project basis. You can outsource legal contracts, copywriting, web design, video editing and any task you can think of. You can even hire a virtual assistant to help with administration or handle phone calls.
Locally, try to develop a network of suppliers that you know and trust so you know where to turn to for quotes whenever opportunities arise. Let them know that you are going solo and they may also be able to recommend you for projects they hear about.
Think about ways you could work with others for mutual satisfaction and benefit. For instance, a nutritionist might partner with a gym to give her clients a discount, and the gym might have a reciprocal agreement for referrals with the nutritionist. Together they’re getting more clients by offering their clients more value.
Grow your support network:
- Get to know local vendors so you know who to call on when you need quotes turning around quickly
- Make a list of freelancers that you can contact and that you may need to work with on larger projects and when you get too busy
- Get a feel for the type of skills and services you can access online through freelancer sites and the rates charged
- Identify ways you can work with others to offer your clients more value
Officially Launch Your Business
When all these elements are in place the time has come to officially launch your business. People need to know that you are now open for business. Plan well ahead for this day and try to have clients on board even before your official launch.
The hardest step is getting your first client. With every client that you work with you are building a portfolio of achievements which can help you to gain further business.
Launch with a bang:
- Re-contact everyone and anyone that you have spoken to during this process and let people know you are now officially open for business.
- Get on Facebook, target your geographic area, start an ad campaign with $20.
- Plan the best launch party you will ever plan and invite along potential clients. Show them what they are going to get if they work with you.
Stay on Top of Paperwork and Accounting
Any business creates a number of administrative duties, such as tax, accounting and legal reporting and requirements. There are a lot of things that need your attention when running a small business, which takes you away from doing what you actually love and are good at - event planning. Take care to stay on top of all paperwork and declarations relevant to your business and the country you operate in. Submit paperwork and accounts in a timely manner before deadlines otherwise you could be subject to fines.
Always cover yourself by having written contracts with all suppliers and vendors and freelancers so that there can be no misunderstandings or liabilities.
Get systems in place:
- Note key deadlines
- Create sample contracts
- Find a simple accounting package to record all financial transactions - and a good accountant
- Create invoice templates
Develop Your Business Opportunities
Be sure to dedicate plenty of time to developing and growing your business, otherwise, you will find that you complete your first projects and then have no more work on the horizon. Managing cash flow and the peaks and troughs can be difficult as you get to grips with being your own boss.
Think about the next steps for your event planning business:
- Set up alerts or systematically check websites for relevant opportunities and tenders and get out there to network and meet people
- Develop template marketing content and wording for proposals so you are ready to respond quickly as you find out about opportunities
- Refine your pricing structure, fees and charges as you go along
- It can be very lonely starting out in business so make sure that you have the opportunity to talk to other business owners, compare notes, solve problems and share inspiration
- Get a business mentor to help guide you through this tricky beginning period
When I was considering starting my own event management company I enrolled in a night class which helped me to create my own business plan. The tutors shared a business plan sample layout, as well as general advice and support about taking that important first step into being your own boss. I know how much this helped to focus my efforts on starting up the company and my aims for the future and so I wanted to share with you my own event planning business plan sample.
What Makes a Good Business Plan?
There is no right or wrong answers for your business plan, it is unique. You can adapt the layout specific to your requirements. There may be additional information that you want to add in or questions that are not relevant to your business model. Regardless of the specifics you include and how many pages the completed document is, your business plan is what turns your idea into reality.
The most important questions that your business plan needs to address is:
What will make my event management company stand out?
How will my event planning business succeed when so many others fail?
The strongest business plans:
- keyboard_arrow_right Sell a Solution, Not Just a Service
If you don’t have a problem you are solving, you are a minnow in a very large sea. As an event planner you could be rallying against “ho-hum events” or ensure “more revenue, less hassle” for annual conferences. People hire planners because they don’t want to deal with the details. They want the headache to be someone else’s. Demonstrate through your business plan how you will demonstrate this and take those things on so they can get back to business.
- keyboard_arrow_right Explain What Makes You Different
What is your value? What do you do differently from other event planners? Know your unique value to a specific type of client and explain it at every chance you get.
- keyboard_arrow_right Get to the Point
Communicate what you want to achieve so that any potential investors can see at a glance what your business idea is, without using any complicated jargon. Your plan doesn’t have to be long but it should establish the vision for your idea, your objectives, how you will deliver the plan and how it will make money.
Know Their Market and Do Market Research
If you understand your market and the competition, you have a better chance of understanding the business need out there and how your business can position itself. Be clear about your target market Who will you be selling to? Why are you different to your competitors?
Are Realistic with Figures
It is difficult to be accurate and the numbers in the finance section can be scary but it is important to try to be realistic. If your business isn’t going to make money it is best to know now so you can refine your ideas into a viable business proposition. Likewise you need to identify how you will make a profit and the anticipated timescales for this. A strong financial business plan will be essential if you need to secure loans and investment, as well as a tool to keep you focused.
Revisit the Business Plan and Goals Regularly
Your business plan should be a working document, particularly in the important first stages of starting out in business. The process of thinking about and creating your plan is what will give you a competitive edge. Check back and revisit your plan regularly. Let the plan grow with you and your business to keep you on the right path.
Download the event management business plan PDF below and create your own bespoke action plan for your startup.
Do you want to add this PDF business plan template to your own website? If so email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picking a name for your new business venture is highly important, as you want to get it right and select an epic company name that encapsulates your vision for the business. Deciding on event planning business names may be one of the final decisions you make, as working through your business plan will help you to define the vision of your new entity and therefore impact on the name.
Choose the right company name and ensure that your message and ethos are successfully catchy and well marketed and memorable for the right reasons.
It’s ok to be different. Look at what your competitors are called and make sure that you don’t come up with a variation that could be confusing. Being outlandish or weird can actually benefit you when choosing a company name because they are more memorable, attendees will start talking about it and they will want to know the story behind it!
On the other hand, don’t push the boundaries too far if you want people to get your name right. I have lost count of the number of times we get referred to as Northern Events, as Events Northern is not the natural way of saying it.
Make It Snappy
Not only is a short and snappy name easier to remember and recall but it can make branding, marketing and signage a lot easier to accommodate as well. Shorter names that stick in people’s head are some of the best options that you can choose. Shorter names pack more of a punch.
Be Laser Focused
Are there gaps in your current event niche that aren’t being catered for that you can get across with your company name? Do some market research just for naming, as this can help you with marketing and focusing your demographic further down the line.
Embody Your Ethos
Know and understand what you want to get across to potential clients before you start and try to embody that in the name. Also, remember that it is your message and style that makes your business unique, and that will help to put a creative spin on your business name.
Although it is hard, try to think long-term in terms of your name as you never know where your company will take you. This is something I have learned from experience as, at the start, Events Northern was always focused on events in the North of the UK, so the business name was ideal for our core focus. Over the years though, our business opportunities have become more varied and we do more national and international work, which isn’t just focused on the geographical North. Although this hasn’t held us back, it is also difficult to quantify the number of clients that have not picked up the phone and contacted us because of our name.
Seek the Truth
It can be very easy to be blinkered when you are deciding on something you are so passionate and invested in so asking for other’s opinions can be an asset, especially if you can’t narrow down your options to confirm the definitive name. Crowdsourcing allows you to get a view from real people; whether it is your family and friends or a focus group you can pick up on things you wouldn’t have even thought of and get a different viewpoint. Gathering impartial data and suggestions can also give you inspiration to evolve your ideas further. It is also a way to check for abbreviations or potential initial errors in the name that you can fix now rather than not noticing until further down the line.
The name is important, but telling yourself that over and over again will usually only lead to one thing, writer’s block and then you aren’t getting anywhere. For many people, it is not easy to come up with something creative and original within 5 minutes so these things take time, and most often you will have an “ah ha” moment when you least expect it. If you are struggling to get any ideas out, get a piece of paper and a pen (old school style) and free write for 5 minutes, write whatever comes into your head, literally everything; chicken, ghost, house, rain, whatever pops into your head and it can help to free up your creativity to get through writer’s block.
Expand Your Vocab
Creating a play on words is effective but you need the knowledge to do this, so pick up a dictionary or thesaurus and help to expand your vocabulary. You can use it to find synonyms of other words or expand your adjectives.
Triple Check Availability
This is the techy bit, check that the URLs and legal rights are available, nothing worse than coming up with the best name ever to find it is actually an obscure blog or failing company that you can’t use the domain name for. In some countries, there will also be restrictions on using certain names together which could lead to infringing copyright or naming patents.
If you are dead set on a name but have found someone else has the domain that you want, you can always contact them and ask them to sell it to you because while big brands and names won’t, there could be older websites or retired bloggers that would be happy to sell up and make a little money on the website they had 10 years ago, plus it can’t hurt to ask.
When you are set on a name also check the social media platforms to aim for consistency across the board.
Google can be a useful marketing tool to spread the word about your business but it is much harder to use if you have a lot of competition. Choose names that aren’t as popular, that don’t have common words in them or that make them specific to certain locations such as; Bonnaroo or The Kentucky Derby as these are more unique and you’ll find yourself higher on the search engine pages from the get-go.
A common question that we get asked is “how much money do you need to start an event management company?” The good news is that the answer in most cases is not much!
Starting an event management company generally has low set up costs compared to many other types of business. The essential equipment/elements you will need are:
- A computer or laptop
- WiFi access
- Desk (or table) and chair
Things that will help but are not essential include:
- Website (recommended)
- Access to a printer
- Answerphone/answer service
- A vehicle (it is difficult to use public transport when you have event equipment to transport and need to be on site at 5.30 am)
- Business cards
You may already even own/have access to these items. If not, all of these things should be easily within reach.