A Guide to Launching an Event Planning Business

Updated on 27 February 2023

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Guide to Launching an Event Planning Business

Event planning is an exciting business idea that presents many opportunities for entrepreneurs with the organisational skills and network to succeed. While the industry has a relatively low barrier to entry, it’s important that budding business owners know what goes into starting a business in this potentially lucrative industry.

Read: A Guide to Starting a Business in South Africa

What does an event planning business do

An event planning business is a service-based business. Clients pay for you to coordinate and supervise planning duties such as choosing and securing a venue, catering services, and hiring the entertainment. Event planners also work with relevant vendors to set up the event.

This guide will cover some of the key steps, compliance and funding requirements that event planning business owners need to know.

Understand the market

South Africa boasts an active events calendar which makes it suited for a wide variety of event planning businesses.

As the event planning industry is diverse, there are various areas your business can specialise in including private, social and corporate events. Private events such as weddings, birthday parties, and family reunions, are tried-and-tested and continue to be popular. However, the boom in music and food festivals has also opened up the market for planning these kinds of events. Additionally, some event planning businesses have found a profitable niche in South Africa’s corporate sector, and plan events such as as conferences, exhibitions, product launches, galas, and award ceremonies.

Find a way to stand out

It’s important to stay ahead of the competition in what is an increasingly crowded market. To do this, identify a specific market (niches) to target your services towards. Ideas to try include virtual events, which in the wake of COVID-19, have become increasingly commonplace. Travel and tourism events also present new opportunities as borders continue to open up to help people create unforgettable memories. Other ways event planners can stand out is by meeting demand for more luxurious and exclusive offerings, including gourmet catering, and high-end service, décor and entertainment.

Get a business plan

It’s a good idea to put together a business plan for your new business. Your plan should outline the type of business you plan to launch, including the following details:

  • Company details
  • Industry and competitor analysis
  • Financial plan
  • Marketing plan

Your business plan won’t only provide a useful guide for where you want to go, but it can also help you evaluate the viability of the business, as well as help you secure investors.

Access funding

While event planning does not require much startup capital, you will still need some funds to get started.

There are a number of options available for raising capital for your startup from government grants, bank business loans or crowdfunding (if you are looking for alternative financing options). Business owners can also choose to bootstrap and use their personal income to fund the business.

Read: Find out the requirements for business loans in South Africa

Once your business is up and running, use accounting software to stay on top of your finances. Must-have features include record keeping, invoicing, sales tracking, cash flow management and tax management features.

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