Leveraging Your Event Planning Skills into a Business

Bookings are coming in and clients are singing the praises of your event planning skills.

What’s the most important next step?

Right now, before you dive into planning those upcoming events, take the time to take stock of your event planning business.

Consider the following ways a great event planners can also become a great business owner.

I.Plan for the long-term. Keeping all the details about your business on a legal pad? That’s a sure-fire recipe for disaster. Set up systems that will allow your business to continue running smoothly during your busiest season. Consider using an event management system like Planning Pod to track the status of catering, equipment rentals, entertainment, guest responses and a hundred other details that go into special events. Using an event spreadsheet or some type of cost calculator will also streamline the preparation of customer quotes. Even if you’re flying solo right now, having systems like this in place will allow rapid growth when the business takes off.

II.Create a marketing schedule that reaches out at least into the next season. This prevents last-minute panic and missed booking opportunities. Take time to plan your advertising so that you meet publication deadlines. Learn which online event planner directories allow advertising and schedule when you want your ads to appear. Research upcoming opportunities such as bridal fairs and other vendor expos catering to your target market and reserve prime booth space early. Create a separate category in your event management system for marketing so that all future campaigns are kept on track.

III.Take care of business. This simply means making sure things like taxes, business bank accounts and vendor payments are handled professionally. This one may seem obvious, but it is simply non-negotiable. If you aren’t sure what’s required, hire an accountant to set up quarterly tax payments, pay and track monthly bills and do end of year filing. Not ready to take that step? Then at the very least purchase small business accounting software and set up categories and reminders for each area of business finance. Checks that bounce and broken relationships with vendors aren’t just inconveniences, they’re business-killers. Don’t let your event planning business dreams go up in smoke because you failed to take care of business essentials.

IV.Pay attention to your branding. If you haven’t already created a logo, website and other branding necessities, make it a priority. Creating a professional image that evokes trust in potential clients is essential for the great event planners who want to build a great business. Unprofessional marketing materials may leave prospective customers wondering whether you’ll still be in business by the time their event occurs.

V.Hire people with complementary skills. When it’s time to expand by hiring employees or contractors, don’t duplicate your own strengths. Hire people with complementary skill sets that will strengthen your business. For example, if you’re great at meeting with clients and getting those special events contracts signed, but are often late and forget to return emails, you may need to start with a Virtual Assistant to keep track of your inbox and business calendar. The more your business grows the more potential there is to drop the ball if you’re spread too thin. Another way to think of it is to hire people to do the things you don’t enjoy doing in order to actually run your business.

You’ve done the hard work to become an event planner and have proven you have the skills to keep all the details of special events under control. Give your event planning business the same attention you give your customers. Take the time to put in place strong systems, wise hiring practices and effective branding. When you do, you have the potential to become not only a great event planner but a great business owner, as well. Now I’d love to hear from you. Which of these steps can you take right now to ensure the growth of your event planning business? Thanks for your comments and sharing with your friends. I truly appreciate it!

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