Running your own event management company

Running an events company seems like a glamorous career, but do you know what it’s actually all about and what it entails?

Events management, also called events planning, can be described as project managing events like festivals, concerts, parties, and launches.

The services of event planners are required by a wide range of people and organisations; from private individuals, to corporations, government departments, and NGOs.

What skills do you need to become an event planner?

Thinking about career in event planning? Not everyone is suited to being an event planner. A good event manager has the following personality attributes:

  • A genuine passion for the hospitality and events industry
  • A bubbly, outgoing personality – not afraid of meeting and interacting with new people
  • Is creative
  • Is methodical and organised
  • Is a hard worker.

It’s no good just having a sparkling personality, though – you need to back it up with the appropriate hard and soft skills, including:

  • Good people skills
  • Good presentation and public speaking skills
  • Project management skills.

What qualifications does an events planner need?

Event planners come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including Public Relations, Marketing, and Hospitality. These days, you can even get a degree in Events Management! The International Hotel School’s Hospitality Management Programme offers students a thorough, all-round education, useful in a later career as an events manager.

How to start your own events company

Follow these steps to establishing your own events business:

Step 1: Get events experience

It’s best to gain some inside knowledge of the events industry first, before striking out on your own. By working for a large events planning company, or as an events co-ordinator at a hospitality venue (like a hotel), you will gain working experience, establish a name for yourself, and a network of contacts which you can leverage when you have your own events company.

Step 2: Brush up on the business skills

As the head of your own events planning business, you will not only be responsible for planning and project managing events, but for the strategic direction and day-to-day management of your own business. You will need to broaden your skills base, from events-specific knowledge to business-related skills and expertise, such as:

  • Administration skills
  • Marketing skills
  • Financial skills
  • Sales skills
  • Human Resources skills
  • People management skills
  • Leadership skills.

Step 3: Get focused

The events management industry is a highly competitive one; to stand out from the crowd and win loyal customers, you need to be focused. Zone in on a specific area, so that you can perfectly tailor your services to your target audience and build up a solid reputation in your niche area, and strive to be the best in that area.

You could specialise in:

  • Leisure events planning – focusing on lifestyle, sports or music events
  • Cultural events planning – focusing on ceremonial and religious events (like bar and bat mitzvahs, for example) or art and heritage events
  • Personal events planning – focusing on wedding planning or planning birthday and anniversary parties
  • Corporate events – focusing on brand and product launches, exhibitions and client functions.

Step 4: Consider your geographical area

Your area of operation can affect the success or failure of an events management business. No good running a wedding planning business, for example, in an area which isn’t a popular wedding destination, or offering corporate events management in a rural area with few corporate organisations.

You need to put yourself where the action is!

Step 5: Define your range of services and your pricing plan

Rather than offering everything under the sun, it’s often more profitable to narrow your services down to a select few, particularly if you’re a one-man band with finite resources.

As your events management company grows – and you take on people to help you – you can expand on your initial core services. Pay particular attention to pricing strategy – you may be tempted to knock down your prices to win business, but be wary of running an unprofitable business and getting into price wars with competitors – no one wins in this scenario.

Set a fair price, offer outstanding service, be confident in what you do, and stick with this strategy.