Running a business comes with risks, and an events company is no exception. How you handle shifts such as the market, natural disasters, variations in seasons, and pandemics, among many others, determines the success or downfall of your business. You must constantly find innovative and creative ways to run your business to ensure it sustains itself through the bad days because they will surely come.
So, how prepared are you? There are factors to consider if you intend to run a long-lasting event-planning business, such as exceptional execution, adaptability, strategic planning and management, and strong interpersonal skills. However, the list isn’t only limited to the above. There’s more that goes into ensuring your business can weather any storm. Below is a detailed guide on how you can better run your event planning business for the long haul.
1. Have a Solid Business Plan
Have a comprehensive business plan that includes the type of services you wish to provide, target clientele, budget, pricing, and income streams. Write down short-term and long-term goals, and set logical timelines focused on your company’s growth and success. Note that you’ll need to keep revising your business plan because your business needs to evolve with trends, times, and the current market.
Once done with your business plan, visit a business law attorney for help with legal matters. These may include legal compliance, liability protection, intellectual property protection, contract drafting and reviews, guidance on employment law, conflict resolution, and risk management. A lawyer aids with the acquisition of contracts for venues and event spaces, which may require legal agreements to help protect your interest, avoid legal pitfalls, and mitigate potential challenges, ensuring you have a long-lasting event planning business. You want to cover every legal angle necessary to mitigate expenses on legal matters.
Research before starting your business or expanding into a different venture. Talk to other event organizers and let them help guide and mentor you. You can shadow them to see what happens on the ground. Have a clear picture of what it entails to run a long-lasting event planning company by taking the initiative to learn from predecessors.
2. Diversify Your Services
You can also look for venues or rent out your spaces for various functions. This is a good way to generate extra income for your event’s business. Think about it. People will always need a graduation party venue, birthday party venue, or wedding venue.
You can either help your client outsource a venue at a cost or, if you have your own space, hire it out. Curate a package that includes the venue, decor, and even food if needed. In line with diversifying your services, you can rent event furniture and props to other organizers.
These may include attachments for skid steers, seats, tables, décor items, pillows, and tablecloths. This is also a way of generating extra income for your event company. This way, your items generate extra revenue even when you don’t have events. This is a great strategy for ensuring a long-lasting event planning company.
Upgrade, renovate, and regularly maintain your event spaces, furniture, and equipment. This means ensuring your spaces are properly lawned and watered. For your furniture and equipment, ensure everything is clean, do an audit to know what is needed, and ensure they’re always in optimal condition. These practices are good for business as more people will rent your venues or event furniture and props frequently, given the high quality of maintenance.
3. Build a Strong Brand Identity
A strong brand identity is one important aspect of ensuring you create a long-lasting event planning company. Ensure you consistently brand almost everything you own, such as event trucks, staff members, bags, and even banners, if an event allows. Choose a memorable and unique logo, color scheme, and name that stands out at any event. Talk to sign companies and ensure they provide you with quality branding for your business, as this is a good way to market your business without spending on advertising.
You can create an event portfolio that captures photos, invitations, and flyers of the events you’ve planned for past clients. This is a great way to present your past work to potential clients, as it will give them an idea of the look and feel of your type of work, painting a visual picture for them! You can also curate a customized portfolio for clients depending on their wants and needs for their events, giving the whole event journey a personal touch and showing your willingness to go the extra mile for your client.
Understand your clients and give them what they want within budget. However, remember your values and vision for your company, as not all events align with the standard you’ve set for yourself. As an event planner, you must ensure you don’t do substandard work because ‘the client is always right’! Respectfully offer guidance as your brand reputation and identity are on the line with every event you organize.
4. Update Your Event Planning Skills
To ensure you run a long-lasting event planning company, you must keep learning and growing. The events industry is evolving, and you must catch up on the latest industry trends, fashions, furniture, and technologies being used. This helps you grow your business and improve your services in the long run.
Join and network with the right people through workshops, taking up various courses, and attending networking events. These skills and connections help you build your network and find new partners to grow your business with. Learn from those already in the business, travel, and see what other organizers in various countries are doing. Expand your horizon beyond the local scene.
Keep track of the events you’ve been doing and look out for new ideas to inspire your creativity and innovation. Create a portfolio that showcases your work and the diverse range of events you’ve managed to successfully planned. Refer back and start inputting what you’ve learned with time and grow out of old ways to run a long-lasting event planning company.
5. Be Adaptable and Resilient
The events industry can be very unpredictable. There are seasons when business may be booming to the point where you can’t satisfy the demand, and in others, there may be little to no business. You need to be adaptable to such situations and find ways of mitigating losses in case of change in circumstances and unexpected challenges such as the recent global pandemic. Finding new ways of saving and making money even during low season is paramount to having a long-lasting event planning company.
For example, you could repurpose secondhand storage containers instead of hiring storage space or building a structure from scratch. These are usually extremely durable and require minimal maintenance. In the long run, you’ll find that you’ll save a lot of money that will help improve your cash flow.
You need to maintain a positive outlook for your business and keep learning from each positive or negative experience. This way, you’ll be able to face any future challenges with better knowledge. Running a business always has its wins and losses, but giving up shouldn’t be an option.
6. Plan Your Finances
You must understand every legal aspect of running a business, including taxation. Understand what your tax implications and responsibilities are before jumping in head first! Sit down with a business lawyer and financial advisor. Let them explain in detail the expenses you have to make for your business, learn to do invoices, and even hire an accountant, if need be, to help with financial matters. This helps you plan better even for the future in case you wish to expand and build a long-lasting event planning business.
Maintain your company’s expenditure within budget and set realistic financial goals for each event to ensure you generate profits. Clients may have huge expectations, yet their budget doesn’t allow it. Don’t fear losing clients at the expense of making losses for your business. Ensure the profits make sense with each event you set out to organize from the onset.
A great approach is curating packages catering to various clients’ budgets. For example, a bronze, silver, and gold package with different pricing can help you navigate such issues. Be open to negotiating some items on the package, as some clients may want a customized one instead of a fixed one. Consider each item’s cost before sharing it with the client. Protecting the interest of your business always comes first.
7. Invest in Marketing and Promotions
Marketing is one area you shouldn’t underestimate. The digital space gives you access to millions of people at once. You can reach almost every corner of the globe through social media platforms such as TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Use strategies like geo-tagging posts, paid ads, and regular posting. Hire a social media manager to help improve your brand visibility.
Maintain a functional, user-friendly website. Have all the information a client needs on the first go, including contact information, the type of services offered, a portfolio of your work, and any additional info. You could also add testimonials to your website and go the extra mile by making videos of the testimonials. Encourage your clients to leave reviews and referrals to attract more customers.
Email campaigns and content marketing like branded t-shirts, bags, and business tracks may also be beneficial. Through blog posts and emails, offer advice on event planning and tips for your target client base like brides-to-be. Write for the local newspaper a small section giving wedding tips and advice for ‘planning for the big day.’ This will help market your business in the long run.
8. Be open to Innovation and Creativity
Being unique and creative is the only way to stand out from other event organizers. From your branding to the quality of service you offer your guests, ensure it is not similar to any other event business around you. Offer services that other businesses may not offer, such as catering services, which are often outsourced.
Another great tip is to sell whatever you don’t need. The events industry is always evolving, and you must grow with it. Get rid of old banquet tables and invest in newer, better furniture.
Visit other events to understand new trends emerging in the market. Keep an eye out for anything trendy you can bring in first and ensure you dominate that market. Doing this will help you run a long-lasting event planning business.
Incorporate mobile storage units in your events business. These will help keep your items safe in case you’re in an open space. Also, your drivers can get much-needed rest instead of driving long distances when an event is out of town; these units can keep your items safe at the venue, so your drivers can start the journey when it’s day. This protects both your items and staff from any mishap.
10. Build Networks and Form Meaningful Collaborations
You must build meaningful connections with your vendors and event supplies. Such is critical to the success of your business as it gives you a better negotiating position, discounts, and even payment plans. Be responsive to any queries and communicate regularly with the clients, vendors, and suppliers, such as the audio visual company, throughout the planning process.
Set clear, realistic deadlines and keep each party in the loop. This creates a seamless planning process and ensures you manage client expectations and a long-lasting event planning business. Be transparent about all expenses, challenges, timelines, and successes with every party involved.
The key to a successful event is proper planning. Use various project planning tools to ensure you track budgets, timelines, and tasks accordingly. Delegate tasks if necessary and ensure each participating person understands their role. Always have a backup plan in case of any unexpected mishaps.
11. Always have exceptional Customer Service
Quality customer service is something you need to give at all times. Make sure your clients feel welcome in your offices, and by the time they leave, they know you have their best interests at heart. If they want to purchase groceries at a wholesale Mexican food store, find a way to make it happen! Being an event planner can be hard if you don’t listen to your clients’ needs.
Remember that becoming a long-lasting event planning company requires commitment, patience, resilience, and continuous effort. Keep your mind focused on your goals, deliver exemplary services, and always ensure you exceed a client’s expectations. Be present in your business by showing up, meeting your clients, listening to your clients, and always aiming to give that exemplary personal touch in every service you provide.