According to recent research, the amount spent on event organization every year is over $500 billion. This means that if you are thinking of joining the event planning industry, a lucrative market lies in wait for you to tap into. However, before you start your event planning business, you need to be armed with necessary information to help you succeed.
First, let’s discuss who an event planner is and what they do. As an event planner, you would be expected to perform a range of tasks including but not limited to:
10 Basic Duties of an Event Planner
- Obtain information on what your client’s needs and expectations are.
- Conduct necessary research to find out the best ways to meet up with these expectations.
- Come up with a brilliant theme and design for the event.
- Recommend or choose a good location for the event.
- Set timelines and schedules for all activities.
- Make arrangement with vendors for all services like food, music, decoration, drinks etc.
- Arrange for transportation and accommodation for people who would be attending the event.
- Co-ordination of all vendors and staff that would be involved in the event.
- Ensure excellent event execution.
- Supervise the event and then conduct necessary evaluations and make adjustments after the event.
- Oh! Did I forget to add, get paid for a job well done?
These are the basic duties of every event planner although the duties you would be required to perform depends on the type of event planning business you decide to open.
Why People Need Event Planners
Well, it is simple. Planning an event takes time and a lot of energy goes into it and very few people have that much time and energy to spare. Also, event planners can help to cut costs and manage resources better so that organizing an event doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
Who Can Start an Event Planning Business?
Well, I’ll say anyone who has time on their hands. Okay, I take that back; not just anyone who has time on their hands but someone who has a knack for planning, a person who is attentive to details, has strong co-ordination and management skills and a person who can work well under pressure. If you are sure that you have these skills and you have been dreaming of becoming an event planner, why not? Go for it, the world is your oyster.
How to Become a Certified Event Planner
It is not compulsory to have certifications as an event planner but it sure helps you stand out from the crowd and boosts your professional profile. People would be more willing to work with you if they see you as an experienced professional.
To become a certified event planner, you should consider taking a management course first or obtaining a degree in event management. Then after gaining some experience, you can register to become a Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) or a Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP).
Where to Offer your Event Planning Services
Well, you can either go for the corporate market or the social event planning market and if you can handle it, you can joggle both but it is better to be a professional in one field than being a generalist. Nevertheless, some event planners handle both and they do very well at it.
Corporate event planning, just as the name implies involves planning events like meetings, seminars, workshops, product launching and branding and similar other events on behalf of corporate organizations while social event planning involves organizing birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and other social events for their clients.
What Resources Do You Need to Setup an Event Planning Business?
First, you would need to obtain the necessary licenses and permits. Then you would need to rent an office space although you may choose to work from home in order to cut costs. You would also need to spend on advertising, purchase of equipment, legal fees and miscellaneous expenses. Amount needed to start an event planning business can be anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000.
6 Steps to Take to Start your Event Planning Business
1. Decide on a Niche-: I already mentioned that there are two major niches in event planning; it is now left for you to choose the one that you feel you would be perfect at.
2. Gain some experience-: You should consider working for an event planner to be able to gain the experience that you need.
3. Build your portfolio-: You would need to convince clients that you are experienced on the job through your portfolio. Your portfolio would contain a list as well as photographic evidence of all the jobs you have handled successfully in the past. In the beginning, you might not have enough experience to show off but you can build your portfolio by offering some free services to your friends and family.
4. Build a network of suppliers-: Every event planner must have a list of suitable suppliers and vendors that he can work with. For instance, you would need good caterers, decorators, florists, photo and videographers, Master of Ceremonies, DJ’s to mention few. Be informed, that your potential clients would be interested in your vendors list, so, you should ensure that you have the best service providers on your team.
5. Determine your fee structure-: Next, you have to determine how you want to get paid for your services. You can either choose to be paid a flat fee, an hourly rate, a percentage of the event budget or a commission. The most important thing however, is that you should go for a price that compensates you adequately for your efforts and also covers all the expenses you would undertake.
6. Promote and develop your business-: To promote your event planning business, you need to be versed in the art of networking. Networking helps you to meet more people and gain new customers.
Another effective way to promote your event planning business is to liaise with other vendors and service providers and offer them a kind of bonus or commission for referrals. This would encourage them to drive customers to your business so that they can earn rewards. Don’t forget to create a website and also, advertise your business.
To succeed in the event planning business you would need to-:
- Have a strong team spirit.
- Offer competitive prices.
- Offer excellent services.
- Control costs.
- Minimize costs to maximize profit.
- Work to fulfill your client’s vision and meet up with their expectations.
Despite the fact that loads of people make good money as event planners, it still does not mean that this career path / business opportunity is open to everybody. As a matter fact you would need some set of soft skills to be able to do pretty well as an event planner. No doubt some people that jumped into event planning business without proper skill auditing ends up being frustrated with the business simply because they are not cut out for such business.
10 Skills You Need to Become a Successful Event Planner
Although some people are born with the gifts of effectively and successfully organizing events with little or no stress, but if they intend to start or grow an event planning company, then it is advisable that such people go for a refresher course or training. There loads of stuffs you would need to learn as an event planner if you intend taking your event planning company to the next level.
Here are 10 skills you would need if you intend becoming a successful and professional event planner;
a. Organizing Skill
One of the skills set that you would need in order to become successful as an event planner is organizing skill. As a matter of fact, this skill is rated top amongst the skills needed in order to be able to open shop as an event planner. The truth is that event planning is all about organizing successful events for your clients and organizing skill is at the center of it all.
b. Communication Skill
Another skill that you would need in order to launch your business as an event planner is communication skills. Good communication skill is needed in all aspect of life if you intend to make a success out of your life or career. If you cannot communicate effectively to your clients and your staff, you will struggle to achieve your aim or goal.
c. Listening Skill
Listening skill is another skill that is needed in order to become a successful event planner. You should be able to effectively listen to your clients in order to get a clearer picture of their expectations. If you don’t have effective listening skills, you are likely going to land yourself in trouble with some clients because you might end up doing what they didn’t ask you to do.
d. Interpersonal Skill
In handling an event project, you are expected to work with a team, the team could be a mix team (your staff and representatives of the organization / person you are working for) working together to achiever a common goal. So you would need interpersonal skills to be able to carry everybody along in the course of planning for an event.
e. Paying Attention to Details
Another important skill that you would need if you intend to become a successful event planner is the ability to pay attention to details even if you are working under extreme pressure. The success of an event could mean being able to dot all the ‘I’ and all the ‘T’ and it is your attention to details that will help you achieve this. In case you don’t have it, then you need to develop your capacity to pay attention to details; it will take you far as an event planner.
f. Computer Skill (Excel, Word, Power Point Skills et al)
You would also need computer skills if you intend to make a successful career as an event planner. As a matter of fact you would need to work with Microsoft Excel, Word, and Power Point at various stages in planning for an event; it will make it easier for you to sort things out and to make powerful presentations when bidding for contracts et al.
g. Bargaining Skills
As an entrepreneur, one of the skills that you would need to make a success out of your business career is bargaining skills. If you don’t have this skill, you likely going to be underpaid when you handle an event for a client and also you are likely going to overpay vendors. So ensure that you upgrade your bargaining skill before starting your event planning company; it will help you to maximized profits.
Another skill that you would need as an event planner is marketing skills. In order to secure contracts, you must go out there to market your services to potential clients. So ensure that you equip yourself with marketing skills if you intend to do pretty well as an event planner. If you don’t have this skill, you can attend some marketing training and you will sure acquire the skill.