An events planner is a person who plans and coordinates various social events and corporate meetings. He or she works long and often nontraditional hours, and pays attention to all the small details that make any event run smoothly. Running a special events business isn't just one long party after another, but if you are gifted in hospitality and know how to organise, starting an events company may be a rewarding and profitable venture.
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Get education and training. There are several colleges in the United States that offer degrees in event and meeting planning. Other degree programs may also be worth pursuing. Since event planning often falls to the public relations or communications department of a company, many planners get their start with a public relations degree. A degree in hospitality management usually leads to a career in the hotel business, but it could also be a good jumping off place for event planners. Nonetheless, many successful owners of event planning companies got most of their training on the job. Some planners have opened a business after many years of volunteering to coordinate special events for their families, churches, schools, or non-profit organisations.
Write a detailed business plan before hanging out your shingle. If you need to borrow money to start the company, the bank will require a business plan. Include a budget for the first year, a marketing plan and a list of services you will offer. Most event planning companies start small. You can rent any needed equipment, such as tables, chairs and decorations. When you need extra help, you can hire friends or college students on a temporary basis. As the company gets established, you can slowly buy items and hire part-time help. This is a business that's easy to start from home. You can move to a professional location later. However, whatever your business's location or size, don't forget to obtain a local business license. It's necessary even if you're working from home.
Let everyone know you're in business, and realise word of mouth is the best advertisement in the special events world. Offer to coordinate a wedding for free, and then get the word out to everyone involved that you are starting a business. Let non-profit organisations know you are willing to help with events. Then put together a portfolio with written recommendations and plenty of pictures. Talk to caterers, who are often asked by clients to recommend party planners. Approach large companies about planning their meetings and other special events.
Join professional groups for event planners, and then take their courses to get certification. Meeting Planners International and the International Special Events Society both offer courses that lead to certification. Many large companies look for events planners who have this certification.
Choose a niche and make your company the best in it. Love weddings? Develop the reputation for unique weddings that wow the happy couple as well as the guests. Don't want to deal with hysterical brides and critical mothers? Become the number one company in coordinating charity galas that raise millions for non-profit organisations. Do you love the corporate world? Large companies have lots of meetings that need flawless execution. The opportunities are numerous and varied.
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