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Many event planners start out running their business from their home. A home business can be a great way to start up an event planning business. In the early days, it can help you to keep your overheads down, when your business is in those critical first stages and needing to maximize profits. If you’re thinking about starting a business like this, but worrying about how to overcome the hurdles of a home business, here are some things to think about.
Get Events Experience
The more event planning experience that you can get, the better service you will be able to offer your clients. As well as event planning skills, you will need some business skills and experience that will help you too, and make you a more skilled business owner. If you can, take any opportunity to get work experience. Use this to learn the things that work in event management and the things that you would do differently with your own business. You can learn practical business tips, from managing your accounts to where to purchase an ATM machine for an event.
If you need to, teach yourself to use some tools that will help a small business. There are a lot of programs online, and a lot of video tutorials and written content to help you learn what you need to.
To be confident in what you have to offer as a new business:
- Make sure you have gained plenty of events and business experience before you start your business, and are confident in running events alone.
- Find the gaps in your skillset and work to strengthen them, or find help who can cover these gaps.
- Learn the core skills you will need, like email marketing, accounting, and website building, for yourself, so you can keep costs down and minimize the number of people that you need to hire.
Undertake Market and Competitor Research
Anyone planning to start a new business needs to first make sure that there is a demand for the services that you are planning to offer. Instead of just believing that you have a great idea, do some actual research to make sure you are correct.
It can be difficult to do this kind of research and you will need to turn to a variety of sources to get reliable information. Look at public data, reports, and analysis online, talk to people you think would be in your target audience, and try to arrange a focus group to find evidence of a need for your business.
Check out the market with research:
- Find out how many competitors are in your local area
- Look at the similarities and the differences in the services that these competitors offer, compared to what you plan to offer.
- Monitor how many tenders and opportunities there are for event planning services in your area
- Talk to the companies who need event planning services to find out what their frustrations are with their current services and what they feel those services are lacking.
- Find out how many businesses are operating within your target area and business sector.
- If you can, find national and local numbers for expenditure on events. You might be able to find this information online.
Be Honest About Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Are you going to offer a broad, full-service event management company, or are you going to offer a very specific type of event, or events for a specific market? It might be tempting to try to offer everything to everyone in order to get the most amount of business. This might actually have the opposite effect, and can reduce the amount of business you get. Doing too much can make you look like you’re not really an expert in anything.
Instead, focus on your strengths and tailor your marketing and business efforts to attract the kinds of businesses that you are best able to help from the beginning. You might decide to focus on party planning, or conferences, or exhibitions. Each of these areas of event management is likely to do better with a different style of brand and language to attract the right kind of client.
The important thing is to position yourself in a niche that is right for you, but not too small. Too small a niche is limiting but too large a niche can make you try to do too much and distract you from your real area of interest.
Work out your passions:
- Make a list of the core areas where you know have superior skills and an edge to offer. This list should include the types of events that you feel the most confident and passionate about planning, and any area where you have advanced knowledge of a particular industry or subject.
- Analyze whether your speciality is a broad enough area for you to earn enough money to make a living, or whether you will need to go a little wider.
- Be honest with yourself about where your weaknesses are. If you have gaps in your skill set or knowledge, or aren’t confident in managing a large event in a certain business sector, be honest with yourself about this. You need to think about what services you can’t and won’t offer. Just because you know how to put on a great music festival, doesn’t mean you’ll have the right contacts or skills to organise a trade show. Set your limits from the start so you don’t take on something you can’t deliver or that is too far out of your comfort zone.
Starting an event planning business, or any business of your own, can be very daunting and overwhelming. There is a lot to think about, a lot to learn, and a lot of decisions to make before you start a business. If after reading this guide to the first stages of opening a home events planning business, you are still passionate and determined, then you can begin to create your business plan for real.