How to start a party and event planning business

A step-by-step guide to setting up a business in the events management industry

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What is event planning and party planning?

A killer venue, fantastic music and the best of food: party and events planning is a popular business. Not surprising really. Who doesn’t love a great party? As a start-up, you’ll have to work hard to organise a myriad of elements. You’ll juggle post-its, phone numbers and endless lists to make the most spectacular of shindigs, booking the perfect entertainment; contacting the most sought after caterers; getting deals on dream venues with the perfect décor; and sorting everything from the waiting staff to the balloons. Put simply, you’ll apply top notch project management skills to the creation, and development, of sparkling parties and events.

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But all that project management is a doddle when you consider how hard you’ll need to work to differentiate yourself in what is a very saturated market. Events can be classified into four broad categories based on their purpose and objective: Leisure events e.g. leisure sport, music, recreation; Cultural events e.g. ceremonial, religious, art, heritage; Personal events e.g. weddings, birthdays, anniversaries; and Organisational events e.g. commercial, political, charitable, sales, product launches and expositions. There are companies that specialise in exhibitions, conferences, festivals, cultural activities; and then there are the private events: kids’ parties, weddings, 21sts and Bar Mitzvahs. You’ll be hard pressed to come up with a new angle.

With universities in the UK producing between 200-500 events management graduates per year, you can bet on ever more competition coming your way, too: there are a lot of people who want to get into this creative industry. This can have a serious impact on your business from the outset, as David Jamilly of Theme Traders explains: “With a popular industry, what happens is the salary levels drop and the competition tends to be very intense.”

You are pitted against an awful lot of people who will work in events for free, because they want to be involved in what is considered a ‘fun’ industry. Be prepared to watch your price point.

Action point:
See if you can get a Start Up Loan to help you start a business idea
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