It seems like everyone is running their own business these days. In fact, there are about 27 million entrepreneurs in the US alone.
If you are an experienced organizer with an impressive portfolio of success stories, you may be ready to break out on your own. This can be a freelance sole proprietorship or a whole company – with employees and even a stationary location.
But the leap from employment to entrepreneurship is big. And many event planners don’t know where to start.
1. Register the business of your event management company and apply for permits or licenses
Although you don’t need an official certification or license to become an event planner, you may want to register your event management company and the name of your company. Then be sure to open a separate accounting for your company and track all your expenses and income for tax purposes.
Don’t know where to start with your expenses? Take a look at this budget template.
The details of registration depend on where you live and the size of your business. Also, make sure that you are applying for the right licenses and permits so that you don’t get any lawful problems when building your brand.
For example, if your event planning business involves serving alcohol, different lawful requirements apply than if this is not part of your events.
2. Create your business plan for event planning
Creating a business plan will help you get organized and attract partners, investors and customers. It is also a document that will serve you as an important touchstone for the growth of your business.
If you are thinking about how to start an event planning business, here are two things that your business plan should definitely include:
- Budget. There are many small business expenses that you may not be aware of, from taxes to insurance to licenses. Make sure you do your research so you know exactly what you have to pay for. Knowing how much money you need, you can determine how much you need to charge for your services.
- A list of your potential customers. The event industry is huge and there is definitely a place for your event planning business. According to a recent study, spending on special events worldwide amounts to billion annually. But which customers can you actually rely on? Create a list of potential customers, including local businesses, people you’ve worked with before as an event manager, and dream accounts. Then make a plan to approach them.
- Once you have a business plan, you can take tactical steps to start your event planning business. Would you like more detailed instructions? Take a look at this sample event business plan.
3. Plan your marketing approach
Marketing is one of the most important components of starting your own event planning company. If you are already an event manager, you know very well how important it is to market your events.
But as a small business owner, you also need to market your own brand so people know you can hire them. This adds an extra layer to your marketing mandates. Download this template to plan your marketing activities so that you can organize yourself around your brand and event marketing.
4. Streamline your tasks
Each organizer is familiar with juggling several tasks. But if you start your own event planning business, these tasks will multiply quickly.
Use technology to automate the tasks you can. Today, there are many apps for startups that can automate a surprisingly large number of tasks. Example:
- HelloSign can help you send and receive lawful signatures for contracts and disclaimers.
- Email marketing programs such as MailChimp allow you to schedule the sending of invitations, announcements and promotions to your entire mailing list or target segments thereof.
- With apps like Zapier, you can get creative by linking your various technologies and automating repetitive custom tasks.
- Finally, online ticketing platforms like Eventbrite help you quickly create event pages and make it easier for users to buy tickets for your events online. Integrations with Discovery and distribution partners like Facebook and Spotify allow people to find your events and buy tickets from other places on the internet.
- Of course, there is more to organizing than just automating tasks.
5. Track your progress
If you use technology to automate tasks, sell tickets and organize your business, then this technology will collect data for you. And data is crucial to track your progress as a new business owner.
With every tool you use, take the time to review your metrics so you can gauge how your planning is evolving. Return to your business plan regularly to make sure you stay on track with your vision and achieve your goals.
6. Manage your time
No matter how many tasks you automate and how organized you are, you always have a lot on your to-do list. Good time management is crucial for an organizer who dreams of starting an event planning company.
Meetings, for example, are at the same time a great way to get in touch with people and save our time. While you need to keep in touch with customers on a regular basis, you can make your meetings more efficient.
Create a solid agenda and stick to it, with just enough chit-chat to build a relationship with customers and vendors. When building your employees, resist the temptation to include unnecessary meetings in everyone’s calendar.
7. Manage the stress of starting an event planning business
Most importantly, with all this, keep calm. Being an entrepreneur can be stressful. The more you can keep a cool head, the higher your chances of success. Another great way to improve your management skills and ensure the trust of your customers is to take courses for event planning.
For more in-depth productivity tips to help you figure out how to start an event planning business, check out the Organizer’s Guide to Productivity.