Emily Noel September 1, 2021 at 12:00 PM 13 min read

Dos and Don’ts for Starting Your Own Event Planning Business

Have you ever dreamed of starting your own business? Being your own boss seems like a dream come true, but if you don’t prepare yourself for the work that lies ahead, you might be in trouble. Operating your own business can be extremely rewarding, especially an event planning company. Starting your own business is a whole other beast and we’re here to help. Let’s dive into a few dos and don’ts for starting your own event planning business. 

Do

Gain direct event experience 

Before diving into creating your own business, it is important to know what you’re getting yourself into. If you don’t have previous experience in the industry, look into event planning certifications. Certifications can help you become familiar with aspects of event planning you haven’t considered before. Certifications can also increase your value as an event planner. 

If you already have experience in the industry, but not specifically event planning, reach out to a contact and ask to shadow them for a short period of time. They say the best way to learn is by doing, so why not test the waters before you dive in.

Define your services 

Some event planning companies offer additional services such as event rentals. Before starting your event planning business, ask yourself questions like:

  • What is the full list of services we will offer?
  • Will clients rent directly from us? 
  • Will we create custom decor or will we outsource this? 

If you want to offer additional services, plan to manage them from the beginning. If your business is strictly event planning, be sure to find strong rental partners to work with. Your partnerships reflect your brand as much as you, so you want them to be high-quality and dependable. 

State you mission and goals

Just like you have a vision for your event planning company, your business should have a mission statement. A mission statement is a written account of your company’s values and how you uphold them. Mission statements are valuable to both you and your clients. Mission statements set the foundation for how you want to operate your business. They also send a clear message to potential clients what the purpose of your business is.

Next, set clear, attainable goals. Using the SMART framework, set goals that are:

  • Specific 
  • Measurable 
  • Achievable 
  • Relevant 
  • Time bound 

Using these parameters, you can set realistic goals that you can refer back to as you start your event planning company.

Nurture relationships

If there was ever a time to utilize your network, it’s when starting a business. Use your current network of industry professionals to create business relationships to set you up for success. Reach out to your friends and family to spread the word about your business. According to small business owners, 85% of their business comes from word-of-mouth referrals. 

In addition to your current network, begin to build relationships with others in your industry. Industry organizations provide a multitude of resources to connect you with other event planning business owners. Another resource to take advantage of are industry Facebook and Linkedin groups. These public forums are free spaces where professionals converse about the industry.

Differentiate yourself from competitors

Before you start your business, identify what makes you different from other event planning companies. Why would a client choose you over another company? From here, you can develop a unique value proposition. This is a statement describing the benefits you offer, how you bring value to your clients, and what sets you apart from competitors. This can be used publicly, displayed on social media or your website, but it can also be used privately as a foundation of what you offer as your business grows.

Don’t

Sell to everyone

You’ll get more business if your target audience is bigger, right? Not quite. Providing your services to everyone, prevents you from specializing in one area of event planning. It is better to provide high quality service, for say wedding planning, than to spread yourself too thin and plan corporate events, child parties, casino nights, and more. 

Before starting your event planning business identify your target market. This will allow you to market your business towards a specific group of people. This makes it easier to sell your services and allows you to master your craft at the same time.

Underestimate the costs 

As an event planning company, you may think there aren't many overhead costs. Costs will vary by the size of your staff, office space, and the various services you offer. But there are some hidden costs, you may not have considered. Be sure to obtain business insurance to protect your own interests. This is required to start a business and is best to speak to a professional about your options. Additional costs include: a business license, website development, marketing and advertising, employee benefits, and more. 

Choose just anyone to start your business with 

If you’re entering the event planning business with a business partner, make sure they are the right fit. Of course, you want a partner who can bring their skills and expertise to your company. However, the way you work together can make or break your business. A partnership with mutual respect and shared values is a great place to start. Business partnerships are legally bonding, so ensure that before starting your business, all agreements are in writing. 

Be afraid to invest in quality software 

As a new business owner, you might find yourself pressed for time. Investing in a high quality software to manage your business can save you time and money in the long-run. For event planners, an event management software like Goodshuffle Pro, manages all your business in one place. With features like proposal building, automated payments, and business insights, you can stay on top of your game while saving time. 

Although starting an event planning business can be daunting, don’t be discouraged! With the right tools and partners, you can leverage your resources to become a successful event planning business owner. Use your networking skills to create new business opportunities and learn from others. Be sure to lay out what services and values you’re bringing to what clients. With a clear vision, you can take the next steps for starting your own event planning company. Once your business concept is finalized, finding helpful tools to manage your business can propel your event planning company on the path to success.

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Emily Noel

Emily Noel is a Marketing Intern for Goodshuffle Pro, powerful event software for event companies.