In-Person Event Planning: A Growing Industry Worth Exploring

In-Person Event Planning: A Growing Industry Worth Exploring

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Posted on May 22, 2023

For a while, in-person event planning seemed to be a dying business. COVID-19 regulations affected how we attended parties, business conferences, conventions, weddings, and gatherings we might have taken for granted over the years.

Instead of bars, convention centers, and wedding venues, we switched to webinars and video chats. Our screens became our venues, and in-person event planners had to adapt to the new normal. 

Even our work meetings were online, leaving us all asking–what is HRIS, anyway?

But in-person event planning is experiencing a steady comeback, recapturing some of its previous market shares. Now could be a great time to jump into the growing industry of in-person event solutions

What do I need to start an in-person event planning business?

That depends! To answer that question, we need to break it down.

What kind of events are you interested in planning?

Weddings? Parties? Fan conventions? Business expos? The types of events vary, and picking your niche earlier is essential. Everything from now on will depend on it.

What is your budget?

There are startup costs associated with any business, so ask yourself: 

  • How much money do I have? 
  • How much money will I need?
  • Will I need to get a business loan or recruit investors?

What is your starting position?

Are you starting from scratch, or is there an industry you already have ties to? 

If you have experience within an industry, that might help you choose your niche. For example: if you already work in the food industry, you might have vendor connections that could help you feed many hungry party guests. It’s an excellent place to begin.

If, on the other hand, you’re craving something different, start from scratch. This will require more research, planning, and networking.

Consider ways you gain more experience in the event planning industry. You could volunteer at events to get a peak behind the curtain and begin networking. Also, you could look into event planning and hospitality courses. You might even want to get certified as an event planner to give yourself a strong starting position. 

What are your ultimate goals?

With any budding business, it’s essential to consider where you want to end up in five, 10, or 20 years. Are you aiming for a local company that caters to a small community? Or are you aiming for nationwide domination?

Is it right for you?

Are you the person who can make connections, sell themselves, listen to clients, come up with creative ideas, juggle workloads, train employees, and put out unexpected fires? 

Being an event planner is like going on a new adventure every working day, and that kind of career is only for some. 

Answering these questions is the first step in starting your in-person event planning business. So what are the next steps? 

Do some research

Look into event planning companies in your area and research gaps in the market you can fill. This will help you narrow down your niche.

If you’re committed to an oversaturated niche in your area, figure out what you can do differently from all the others. Work on ways to stand out from the crowd. Utilizing a comprehensive event planning checklist is essential to stay organized, ensuring every detail is accounted for and your event runs smoothly.

Make a business plan.

Create a business plan once you’ve figured out your niche. A business plan can be as detailed as you need it to be. It should contain your mission, goals, cost projection, income projection, and other metrics you consider essential for growing your business.

A business plan is a roadmap you can check in with at every step. And if you need to apply for capital, a business plan is essential for banks and investors. While writing a business plan from scratch can be overwhelming, using tools for business plan writing can help you get the job done in no time.

Design your branding

Every modern business needs good branding, and there are a few things to consider when choosing yours.

Name

This will be your business name and your first impression, so it needs to sound good from spoken out loud to a website name. Make it relevant to your niche so clients understand what you’re offering at first glance. Also, avoid being too similar to other businesses in your area.

Logo

Once you have a name, you’ll need a logo. If you’re creative, you can design it yourself. If not, plenty of resources can help, from professional artists to websites like Canva. 

Aesthetic

 

Modern businesses must advertise in several ways, online being one of the most important. A unique aesthetic can help your brand stand out and be instantly recognizable. It can flow from your logo to your website to your social media presence, tying them together with consistent branding. 

Business card

Having an attractive and eye-catching business card is a great branding tool. Hand them out at networking events, leave them in stores, and give them to clients to refer their friends and family to you. You can also get an e-business card which you can use on any device, allowing clients and vendors to connect with you through a simple QR code. 

Mission

Your mission should be part of your branding. If you’re a customer-centric organization, make positive feedback part of your marketing. If you’re committed to being carbon neutral, make environmental friendliness part of your appeal. 

Let your branding reflect your personality; it will show clients what you stand for, which can help build stronger relationships.

Become official

Officially becoming a business requires a few steps:

  1. Register your business: research how to register your business in your specific area and ensure you have any permits and licenses required to operate. 
  2. Structure your business: do you plan to be a sole proprietor, a partnership, or a corporation? This will determine your legal liability should anything go wrong.
  3. Get insurance: as an events planner, you’ll need an insurance policy if disaster strikes. Shop around for the best deals.
  4. Open a business bank account: it’s a good idea to have a separate business account to better track your expenses and revenue.
  5. Set up accounting: you can do your own business accounts for a small business. But it’s always worth considering a professional accountant. You don’t want any nasty tax surprises. 
  6. Hire employees: if you choose to have employees, you’ll need to organize things like hiring, responsibilities, and payroll systems for small businesses

Secure your online presence.

As mentioned, having an online presence is vital to modern marketing. 

To start with, you’ll need a website. Here you can tell the world all about yourself and your business, upload pictures and videos, display testimonials, and even set up scheduling tools that allow clients to book appointments in a few clicks. 

You should secure your social media accounts across various platforms. Also, you can use social media to advertise and connect with your audience. You can also get verification to ensure nobody else can use your brand for nefarious purposes. 

Marketing

What is your marketing budget? 

With the right online presence, online marketing can be cheap and accessible. Managing a website and a few social media accounts by yourself is simple enough, and you can update blogs, upload pictures, and use hashtags to connect with clients. You can also employ social media managers as your business grows. 

Online advertising has costs, but there is something for every budget. Plenty of advertisers will have tiered services, and some offer pay-per-click options. Think about where your audience is and advertise appropriately. 

For big budgets, traditional advertising is still an option. TV, radio, and billboards can cost a lot, but the reach of conventional advertising is still vast.  

Build connections

To build an event planning business, you must connect with clients and vendors.

Clients 

Clients are your bread and butter, but where do you find them

An event planning company doesn’t just need customers–it needs relationships. Planning an event is about getting to know your clients and meeting their expectations. Marketing is great, but it’s only the start of these relationships.

To build strong connections, you can:

  • Find groups on social media, join them, and get to know your audience.
  • Offer free services to friends and family in exchange for feedback and recommendations.
  • Work hard to get to know your existing clients–put them first, listen, be available, build trust, and deliver a great event. This will build affinity, hopefully leading to them recommending you to others. 
  • Use positive feedback in your marketing.

Word-of-mouth advertising is one of the most powerful ways to grow your brand. Time and time, studies show that new clients trust personal recommendations more than traditional marketing. Aim to utilize both to grow your client base.

Vendors

Your vendors will depend on your niche. They might be catering companies, wedding venues, bars and restaurants, convention centers, decorating services, photographers, etc. Any assistance you will need to plan your events. 

Try to connect with them! Like you, vendors are looking for clients, too. 

Attend industry events to network with various professionals; volunteer and talk to people; find vendors on social media and reach out to them; and you can even call up companies in your area and offer collaboration. 

Is in-person event planning for you?

Starting an in-person event planning business might seem daunting, but it can be a lucrative and satisfying career if you’re determined. 

Despite the in-person event market suffering losses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it is rebounding. Weddings are back on, parties are in full swing, and conventions are all the rage again. 

Now might be an excellent time to start your in-person event planning business.

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