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How to grow an events business

Published on 14th October 2019

Great parties, weddings, product launches and conferences don’t just happen. Successful events - for communities, businesses and families - have to be very carefully planned, organised and run on the day.

This means that there is always a need for good events planners - and plenty of scope for you to grow your events planning business. In fact, once you have established your niche - the type of event you specialise in - growth should be a big priority. If you are not the go-to business for your sector - somebody else will be!

So what are the key growth tools you need?

Networking 

Networking is at the top of your list when you are looking at growth. Events planning is a people business - the more people know you, the more chances you will have of securing their next event.

“It's not what you know, its who you know. That's certainly true in this business. People want to do business with people they feel they know and can trust - so the more people that know you and your business the better off you can be.”

So be gregarious. Always carry your business cards - you never know when you will run into a potential client - and always make sure you meet as many people as possible.  When people at events you have arranged have met you and know what services you offer, they may refer business to you or use your services themselves.

“My business is mainly children’s parties. Mums talk to other mums, and if you arrange a great kids party for one, all her friends can be on the phone to you.”

But there is another side to networking. Networking with hotels, caterers and all the other suppliers in the market will give you more chances to meet the people whose services you will need. Having alternative suppliers can solve problems when one is busy and can’t help - and when you want to negotiate to get the best price. 

“I landed a big society wedding party just because I left my card with the receptionist of a stately home hotel near where we are based. Their usual people were busy that weekend, so they called us in instead.”

Plus, those suppliers can be ambassadors for your business. Ask suppliers such as florists, caterers and photographers if you can leave a stack of business cards - or even leaflets - in their places of business.

Advertising

Most planners agree that print advertising still makes sense - if you are careful where you place your advertising. There is no point in spending money advertising in your local paper if your business is aimed at the corporate market, for example. In this case, a regional business magazine might well be a better choice.

“Advertising is expensive, but you can’t afford not to do it - it brings in customers, and without them, you don’t have a business.”

If your focus is on weddings, a specialist bridal magazine might be the answer - although you might want to look at one of the county magazines, which might give you the geographical coverage you need. 

Events such as children’s parties might benefit from local advertising, and your local paid title or freesheet should be able to give you a discount if you take a regular advertisement in every issue. 

It might also be a good idea to have leaflets made which you can leave at venues. Many people will approach a venue first when they are thinking about an event. If the owners can give out your details, you could both be looking forward to extra business.

Looking to grow your events business and bring in more clients but unsure how to cover the additional expense? Find out what funding solutions are available for Events Management businesses, or apply today 

Online advertising

The rules of advertising and marketing have been turned upside down by the internet.

Most people spend more time on their screen and mobiles than they do reading papers and magazines.

You can’t not be online these days. If they can’t find you online, people think you have gone out of business.”

Despite what you might think, it is relatively simple, not only to advertise online but to do so in a way that only reaches people likely to be your target market. You may need some specialist help from an online marketing agency, but you should be able to look forward to a steady stream of enquiries from online contacts.

You may also be able to use email marketing to go direct to the inboxes of decision-makers in business who may be in need of your services. It is also possible to buy in the lists of people you need, complete with names and email addresses but, again, getting the help of specialist online marketers may be essential. 

Your website

Both online advertising and email contacts will need the support of a website. Having a website for your events business is now essential - potential customers will check out your website and make a decision about whether or not to do business with you before they even think about calling you.

“You need a good website because it represents your business online. It has to look professional, and look right for the kind of clients you want - and make it easy for them to call you.”

This means your website must be professionally designed and built if it is to give the right impression of your business. Include pictures of events you have run in the past, list your services and ensure that your content appeals to the people you want to work with. A fun site might be ideal if you are doing hen parties - but it will put off corporate clients who want a businesslike approach. 

Look at what your competitors are doing on their websites. See what they are doing that is right - and how you could do it better. 

Also, make it easy to contact you via your website. Include your phone, mobile and email - and your photograph. It can be a big help in persuading people to contact you as they feel they already have an idea of who they will be dealing with. 

What about the costs?

The costs of business cards - even business cards with extra features like fold-outs that ensure they stand out and get remembered - is trivial, and even full colour leaflets can be provided at a low cost by your local printer.

However, the cost of building a website, supporting it with social media and creating email campaigns and paid advertising could be substantial. Even a basic website will cost around £5000 in the first year, and online advertising will probably cost as much again to bring in the level of response you need to start moving your business forward. 

“You probably need to keep your costs down, especially in the early years of your business. But you can’t grow unless you spend. If you don’t have the spare cash you need to invest in your marketing, you need to borrow it.”

This may be a substantial ongoing expense, but if your events business has been trading for a year or so and has some successful accounts to show, getting the funding you need to cover it may not be too difficult. It may simply be a matter of approaching the right lenders, and presenting them with a sound business case as to why you need the money.

Something like a Small Business Loan can be arranged quickly, and the repayments kept in line with your cash flow.

At Rangewell, we can help you find the most appropriate lenders, and even support you through the application process, ensuring that getting the funds you need can be straightforward - and that you can have them at a rate that suits your business. 

Getting a Rangewell Finance Expert on the side of your events business could prove to be the simplest way to grow it! 


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