How to Start an Event Planning Service

Marketing and Resources

Some new event planners spend hundreds of dollars on big ads in business magazines or in the Yellow Pages and wait for the calls to roll in. Dr. Jeff Goldblatt, CSEP, founding director of the Event Management Program at George Washington University in Washington, DC, says this is a mistake: "When was the last time you spent $10,000 on someone in the Yellow Pages?"

Goldblatt advises new entrepreneurs in this industry to "stay away from the mass market." While a listing in the Yellow Pages may help potential clients find you, spending large amounts of precious advertising dollars targeting the general public is usually not effective.

New business owner David G. agrees. The problem, he notes, is that customers need to see what you do, and a word ad won't accomplish that. He recommends networking and making friends in the industry. That way, he says, "People know you, trust you. They want honesty and integrity."

Networking can help your business in two ways. If people have met you and know what services you offer, they may refer business to you or use your service themselves. Furthermore, networking with hotels, caterers and so on will give you a chance to meet some of the people whose services you may need as you plan events.

Although networking and word-of-mouth are the most common industry strategies for acquiring clients, traditional forms of advertising do have their uses. A distinctive card or brochure sent to a mailing list or to local businesses may attract new clients. A small ad in a local business magazine can help build name recognition. A Web site on the Internet may allow you to attract customers unresponsive to other forms of media.

Resources

Associations

Magazines and Publications

Books

Educational Opportunities

Event Planning Software

How to Start an Event Planning Service

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