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How-to guide: start a party and event planning business

How-to guide: start a party and event planning business

One of the most rewarding aspects of being in business is making customers happy – and what better way to make them happy than throwing a good party?

Event planning is a popular choice for startup entrepreneurs for a number of reasons: the work is varied and fun, you can run your business from home, and the demand for event and party planning is reasonably high.

However, it’s a competitive industry. The job involves a lot of hard work and attention to detail. As an event and party planner your challenge is to relieve other people of the stress of organising and coordinating all the big things as well as the little things, making sure everything goes without a hitch – meaning all that stress falls on your shoulders, so they need to be broad enough to take it.

To run a successful party and event planning business you’ll need good communication and marketing skills. The job involves negotiation and persuasion. You should be a natural organiser, of course, but event planning also requires more creative talents. And you’ll need the ability to stay calm under pressure.

It also helps if you’re a “people person”. You’ll be meeting clients face to face to discuss their needs and requirements, and in many cases you’ll be planning one of the biggest days of their life for them. So it’s important to put them at ease and convince them their special occasion is safe in your hands.

There are all kinds of events and parties organised by professionals. These include: private celebrations such as weddings, birthday parties, anniversary parties and other special occasions; corporate and educational events such as team-building days, conferences, seminars, workshops, training days, presentations and awards ceremonies; and public events such as fairs, gigs and charity fundraisers.

With such a wide variety of events, it’s probably a good idea to choose a specialist area for your business. You can then focus on your target market and build a list of reliable suppliers and contacts. You’ll need to do your homework on all your options and have suitable back-up contingencies in case things go awry.

Areas for research include: venues, designers, caterers, DJs, sound equipment, food and drink suppliers, bar staff, waiters and waitresses, printers, stationers, decoration suppliers, transport and accommodation.

You’ll need to put your business skills to use, budgeting carefully and getting the best deals without sacrificing quality. As a party and event planner, your reputation is everything. If any aspect of the event goes wrong, the buck stops with you. So you need suppliers and contacts you can rely on.

Health and safety is an important consideration – you need to check venues and equipment comply with regulations and all risk assessments have been carried out. For some events you might need special permission or licences from the local authority and police. Make sure you have all the bases covered.

You should also ensure you’re suitably protected in case things go wrong – research your business insurance options, such as public liability cover.

When it comes to growing your business, word of mouth and recommendations from customers will help, but you’ll need to market your firm effectively. Draw up a list of media relevant to your specialist area and allocate an advertising budget. Use social media to spread the word about your services and build a website and show off the events you have planned. Ask satisfied customers to provide testimonials and use them on your site and marketing materials.

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