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  MOTHERHOOD

Event Planning

An Exciting & Professionally Satisfying Business

In the last issue we discussed the wedding planning business, which is a part of event planning. In this issue we will discuss event planning, which in itself is a much wider field. It deals with corporate events and as such targets institutional customers rather than individuals, as is the case in wedding planning. Therefore, it needs different strategy, set of skills and much more precision and professionalism than wedding planning.

An event planner organizes events such as shareholders’ meetings, sales conferences, product launches, award presentation ceremonies, annual staff retreats, fundraising galas, conventions, exhibitions, trade shows and other special events for companies, professional & trade associations and other non-profit organizations.

Each one of the above events itself is a separate field of specialty. It depends on you whether you want to be a specialist in one area or want to cover all types of events, to have a wider market.

In today’s competitive business environment, companies treat events and meetings as a marketing opportunity to improve customer relations or to motivate their employees and thus spend generously on events out of their marketing budget. But at the same time, most companies do not have all the resources in-house to organize these events and often have to outsource these functions.

With ever increasing volume of business in all sectors of economy and the resulting increase in competition, together with the fact that event planning is a function that normally gets outsourced, the demand for event planners is ever growing.


One can charge for his/her services in four ways:

  1. Hourly rate
  2. Daily rate
  3. Flat fee or
  4. As a percentage of total budgets.

The selection of a particular fee method will depend on the size & type of event, client relationship and event planner’s level of expertise.

Required Skills
The most important skills that one would require to run this business are creativity, excellent organizational skills and an eye for detail. Other skills that are required for success as an event planner are: a good financial sense to develop budgets for customers and to provide analysis and reports on the return of investments, good presentation, communication, negotiation and trouble shooting skills.

An event planner must also have thorough knowledge of many related fields such as catering and travel. She must have contacts with all types of vendors whose services may be required for an event like venue managers, hotels and restaurants, caterers, airlines and travel agents, transporters, florists, musicians, photographers and decorators etc.

The first and foremost advantage of an event planning business is the flexibility in choosing the kind of event one would like to work on. Events are important and often are upbeat occasions and thus are not only enjoyable experiences, but successful events are also satisfying and exciting.

The biggest disadvantage is that this is the first area where companies cut down expenses in periods of economic downturn and thus affecting the business of event planners. Furthermore, with all the demands, complications, attention to details and deadlines, it is a stressful job and requires long days and hard work when the event happens.

Getting Started
To start with, you would need a computer, a multi function printer, event planning software, cell phone, and office furniture. You must also keep a reasonable budget for marketing expenses including web site development. Like any other business, the first step in your marketing efforts should be to establish your web site.

Personal contacts will be the single most important source for acquiring business. So network extensively in your community, participate in social events and trade shows. Stay in contact with other providers of event planning services such as caterers, venue managers, florists, and photographers etc. to keep yourself updated about upcoming events. Use direct mail to send your brochures to prospective clients especially to large corporations, advertising agencies & public relation firms who hold events for their clients and professional and trade associations and other non-profit organizations who hold special events for the benefit of their members, other event planning companies who may be willing to sub contract whole or part of their event planning contracts. Launch your newsletter, list in directories and advertise in specialized magazines.

Before you start your business, spend some time with another event planning company on voluntary basis to learn the intricacies of the business. Attend trade shows and courses if available in your area. Establish contacts with vendors. Once you are ready to take your first project, organize a few charity or civic events in your area free of cost to gain further experience. However, you must collect and include the pictures of these events in your portfolio for the promotion of your business. Good luck.

 


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