How to Start an Event Planning Business

start an event planning business

Starting an event planning business can be very profitable. With proper planning, execution and hard work, you can enjoy great success. Below you will learn the keys to launching a successful event planning business.

Importantly, a critical step in starting an event planning business is to complete your business plan. To help you out, you should download Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template here.

14 Steps To Start an Event Planning Business:

  1. Choose the Name for Your Event Planning Business
  2. Develop Your Event Planning Business Plan
  3. Choose the Legal Structure for Your Event Planning Business
  4. Secure Startup Funding for Your Event Planning Business (If Needed)
  5. Secure a Location for Your Business
  6. Register Your Event Planning Business with the IRS
  7. Open a Business Bank Account
  8. Get a Business Credit Card
  9. Get the Required Business Licenses and Permits
  10. Get Business Insurance for Your Event Planning Business
  11. Buy or Lease the Right Event Planning Business Equipment
  12. Develop Your Event Planning Business Marketing Materials
  13. Purchase and Setup the Software Needed to Run Your Event Planning Business
  14. Open for Business

 

1. Choose the Name for Your Event Planning Business

The first step to starting an event planning business is to choose your business’ name.  

This is a very important choice since your company name is your brand and will last for the lifetime of your business. Ideally you choose a name that is meaningful and memorable. Here are some tips for choosing a name for your own event planning business:

  1. Make sure the name is available. Check your desired name against trademark databases and your state’s list of registered business names to see if it’s available. Also check to see if a suitable domain name is available.
  2. Keep it simple. The best names are usually ones that are easy to remember, pronounce and spell.
  3. Think about marketing. Come up with a name that reflects the desired brand and/or focus of your event planning business.

2. Develop Your Event Planning Business Plan

One of the most important steps in starting an event planning business is to develop your business plan. The process of creating your plan ensures that you fully understand your market and your business strategy. The plan also provides you with a roadmap to follow and if needed, to present to funding sources to raise capital for your business.

Your business plan should include the following sections:

  1. Executive Summary – this section should summarize your entire business plan so readers can quickly understand the key details of your event planning business.
  2. Company Overview – this section tells the reader about the history of your event planning business and what type of event planning business you operate. For example, are you a corporate event planning business, social event planning business, or a wedding event planning business?
  3. Industry Analysis – here you will document key information about the event planning industry. Conduct market research and document how big the industry is and what trends are affecting it.
  4. Customer Analysis – in this section, you will document who your ideal or target market are and their demographics. For example, how old are they? Where do they live? What do they find important when purchasing services like the ones you will offer?
  5. Competitive Analysis – here you will document the key direct and indirect competitors you will face and how you will build competitive advantage.
  6. Marketing Plan – your marketing plan should address the 4Ps: Product, Price, Promotions and Place.
    • Product: Determine and document what products/services you will offer 
    • Prices: Document the prices of your products/services
    • Place: Where will your business be located and how will that location help you increase sales?
    • Promotions: What promotional methods will you use to attract prospective clients to your event planning business? For example, you might decide to use pay-per-click advertising, public relations, search engine optimization and/or social media marketing.
  1. Operations Plan – here you will determine the key processes you will need to run your day-to-day operations. You will also determine your staffing needs. Finally, in this section of your plan, you will create a projected growth timeline showing the milestones you hope to achieve in the coming years.
  2. Management Team – this section details the background of your company’s management team.
  3. Financial Plan – finally, the financial plan answers questions including the following:
    • What startup costs will you incur?
    • How will your event planning business make money?
    • What are your projected sales and expenses for the next five years?
    • Do you need to raise funding to launch your business?

 

3. Choose the Legal Structure for Your Event Planning Business

Next you need to choose a legal structure for your event management business and register it and your business name with the Secretary of State in each state where you operate your business.

Below are the five most common legal structures:

1) Sole proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is a business entity in which the business owner and the business are the same legal person. The owner of a sole proprietorship is responsible for all debts and obligations of the business. There are no formalities required to establish a sole proprietorship, and it is easy to set up and operate. The main advantage of a sole proprietorship is that it is simple and inexpensive to establish. The main disadvantage is that the owner is liable for all debts and obligations of the business.

2) Partnerships

A partnership is a legal structure that is popular among small business owners. It is an agreement between two or more people who want to start an event planning business together. The partners share in the profits and losses of the business. 

The advantages of a partnership are that it is easy to set up, and the partners share in the profits and losses of the business. The disadvantages of a partnership are that the partners are jointly liable for the debts of the business, and disagreements between partners can be difficult to resolve.

3) Limited Liability Company (LLC)

A limited liability company, or LLC, is a type of business entity that provides limited liability to its owners. This means that the owners of an LLC are not personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the business. The advantages of an LLC for an event planning business include flexibility in management, pass-through taxation (avoids double taxation as explained below), and limited personal liability. The disadvantages of an LLC include lack of availability in some states and self-employment taxes.

4) C Corporation

A C Corporation is a business entity that is separate from its owners. It has its own tax ID and can have shareholders. The main advantage of a C Corporation for an event planning business is that it offers limited liability to its owners. This means that the owners are not personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the business. The disadvantage is that C Corporations are subject to double taxation. This means that the corporation pays taxes on its profits, and the shareholders also pay taxes on their dividends.

5) S Corporation

An S Corporation is a type of corporation that provides its owners with limited liability protection and allows them to pass their business income through to their personal income tax returns, thus avoiding double taxation. There are several limitations on S Corporations including the number of shareholders they can have among others.

Once you register your event planning business, your state will send you your official “Articles of Incorporation.” You will need this among other documentation when establishing your banking account (see below). We recommend that you consult an attorney in determining which legal structure is best suited for your company.

 

4. Secure Startup Funding for Your Event Planning Business (If Needed)

In developing your event planning business plan, you might have determined that you need to raise funding to launch your business. 

If so, the main sources of funding for an event planning business to consider are personal savings, family and friends, credit card financing, bank loans, crowdfunding and angel investors. Angel investors are individuals who provide capital to early-stage businesses. Angel investors typically will invest in an event planning business that they believe has high potential for growth.

 

5. Secure a Location for Your Business

There are a few things to consider when finding a location for your event planning business. First, think about what type of environment you want. Do you want to be in a busy city center or in a more rural area? Also, consider the cost of rent and other business expenses. You’ll want to find a location that is affordable yet still offers plenty of potential clients. Finally, make sure the location is accessible and has enough space for your needs.

 

6. Register Your Event Planning Business with the IRS

Next, you need to register your business with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which will result in the IRS issuing you an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Most banks will require you to have an EIN in order to open up an account. In addition, in order to hire employees, you will need an EIN since that is how the IRS tracks your payroll tax payments.

Note that if you are a sole proprietor without employees, you generally do not need to get an EIN. Rather, you would use your social security number (instead of your EIN) as your taxpayer identification number.

 

7. Open a Business Bank Account

It is important to establish a bank account in your event planning business’ name. This process is fairly simple and involves the following steps:

  1. Identify and contact the bank you want to use
  2. Gather and present the required documents (generally include your company’s Articles of Incorporation, driver’s license or passport, and proof of address)
  3. Complete the bank’s application form and provide all relevant information
  4. Meet with a banker to discuss your business needs and establish a relationship with them
If you’d like to quickly and easily complete your business plan, download Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template and complete your business plan and financial model in hours.

8. Get a Business Credit Card

You should get a business credit card for your event planning business to help you separate personal and business expenses.

You can either apply for a business credit card through your bank or apply for one through a credit card company.

When you’re applying for a business credit card, you’ll need to provide some information about your business. This includes the name of your business, the address of your business, and the type of business you’re running. You’ll also need to provide some information about yourself, including your name, Social Security number, and date of birth.

Once you’ve been approved for a business credit card, you’ll be able to use it to make purchases for your business. You can also use it to build your credit history which could be very important in securing loans and getting credit lines for your business in the future.

 

9. Get the Required Business Licenses and Permits

To start an event planning business, you will need a business license and a permit to operate as a business in your state. You may also need a permit to sell food or alcohol at your social events, so be sure to check with your local government to see what is required.

 

10. Get Business Insurance for Your Event Planning Business

There are a few types of insurance that are important for an event planner.

The business insurance policies you should consider for your event planning business include:

  • General liability insurance: This covers accidents and injuries that occur on your property. It also covers damages caused by your employees or products.
  • Auto insurance: If a vehicle is used in your business, this type of insurance will cover if a vehicle is damaged or stolen.
  • Workers’ compensation insurance: If you have employees, this type of policy works with your general liability policy to protect against workplace injuries and accidents. It also covers medical expenses and lost wages.
  • Commercial property insurance: This covers damage to your property caused by fire, theft, or vandalism.
  • Business interruption insurance: This covers lost income and expenses if your business is forced to close due to a covered event.
  • Professional liability insurance: This protects your business against claims of professional negligence.

Find an insurance agent, tell them about your business and its needs, and they will recommend policies that fit those needs. 

 

11. Buy or Lease the Right Event Planning Business Equipment

In order to run your event planning business, you will need a phone, computer with a reliable internet connection, and event planning software. You might also need supplies such as business cards, event planning books, and a camera. Depending on the scale of your events, you will also need a printer and a small office space for hosting meetings with clients. If you have an office, you’ll need to get furniture and decor to create an inviting space for clients. 

 

12. Develop Your Event Planning Business Marketing Materials

Marketing materials will be required to attract and retain customers to your event business.

The key marketing materials you will need are as follows:

  1. Logo: Spend some time developing a good logo for your party planning business. Your logo will be printed on company stationery, business cards, marketing materials and so forth. The right logo can increase customer trust and awareness of your brand.
  2. Website: Likewise, a professional event planning business website provides potential customers with information about the services you offer, your company’s history, and contact information. Importantly, remember that the look and feel of your website will affect how customers perceive you.
  3. Social Media Accounts: establish social media accounts in your company’s name. Accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and/or other social media platforms will help customers and others find and interact with your event planning business.

 

13. Purchase and Setup the Software Needed to Run Your Event Planning Business

There are a few software programs that are necessary for event planning. The first is a program to create invitations, such as Microsoft Word or Pages. The second is a program to create budgets, such as Excel or Numbers. The third is a program to track RSVPs, such as Eventbrite or Paperless Post. Finally, you’ll need a program to manage your guest list, such as Contactually or Goldmine.

 

14. Open for Business

You are now ready to open your event planning business. If you followed the steps above, you should be in a great position to build a successful business. Below are answers to frequently asked questions that might further help you.
 

Additional Resources

Event Planning Mavericks

 

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How to Start an Event Planning Business FAQs

No, it's not hard to start an event planning company. In fact, there are a lot of great resources available online and through local organizations that can help you get started. All you need to do is take the time to research materials that will help you learn how to start a business, choose a niche industry or market, and develop a cost-effective marketing strategy.

One way to start an event planning business with no experience is to start out by volunteering with an organization that plans events. This will give you a chance to learn about the process and develop relationships with people in the industry. You can also attend corporate events and networking meetings to learn more about the industry.

The most profitable type of event planning business is a wedding planning business. This is because they have the highest average ticket price for weddings when compared to other kinds of events. Averages across the board in event planning range from $45,000-$55,000 per wedding.

Starting an event planning business can be expensive. There are many initial costs for starting your own business, such as marketing and advertising, office supplies, and event-related equipment. You may also need to hire staff or contract with outside professionals to help you plan and execute your events. In order to get started, you will likely need to invest at least several thousand dollars.

There are many ongoing expenses for an event planning business. Some of the most common expenses are event planners' salaries, advertising and marketing, office supplies, and event venue costs. This also includes additional costs such as travel and accommodation for event planners.

Event planning businesses make money by charging for their event planning services. They may charge a flat fee for planning a particular event, or they may charge a commission based on the cost of the event. Most businesses also charge for additional services, such as providing catering or renting out space.

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on a variety of factors, such as the size and location of the business, the services offered, and the competition in the area. However, generally speaking, event planning is a profitable business venture if done correctly.

Many event planners fail because they do not properly plan and execute their events. They may underestimate the amount of work that goes into planning an event, or they may not budget enough money for event costs. Additionally, many businesses fail to market their events effectively, which can lead to low attendance rates. Another common reason event planning businesses fail is poor customer service.


 

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