2018 Ultimate Guide on How To Start an Event Planning Business in Nigeria

E-BOOK on Starting an Event Planning Business

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Starting an event planning business in Port Harcourt isn’t a walk in the park. It requires certain skills and information. And this is what I will be sharing with in this post.

I had intended to sell it as an e-book, but I have decided to give it to you guys for free. I could however change my mind later and pull down the post.

So in this post you will learn the following:

- What is Event Planning
- Segment of Event Planning Business
- What skills you need to acquire (Certification)
- Why you need a business plan
- Why you need to do networking and how
- The importance of partnership and cross promotion
- And the need to build your portfolio

So to get started lets define event planning

What is Event Planning?

According to the International Institute of Event Management, event planning is the process of managing a project such as a meeting, convention, trade-show, ceremony, team building activity, party or convention. It includes budgeting, establishing timelines, selecting and reserving event sites, acquiring permits, planning food, coordinating transportation, developing a theme, arranging for activities, selecting speakers and keynotes, arranging for equipment and facilities, managing risk and developing contingency plans.

The second definition which is the official definition of the US Department of Labour goes like this: Event planning consist of coordinating every details of meeting and conventions from the speakers and meeting location to arranging for printed materials and audio visual equipment

From the above definitions, you can see that event planning is a huge task and is not for the feeble minded. For this reason, you require requires passion, dedication and training to be a successful event planner.

This requirement is a must if you hope to succeed in event planning.

However, despite how tasking event planning and management is – it is very rewarding.
It gives you the opportunity to meet the high and mighty, and put smiles on people every day. Not only that, it also puts moolah into your pocket.

What is the Size of the Industry?

The industry market size (world-wide) has been estimated to have grossed revenue of $4b with an annual growth of about 2.5 %

The annual growth rate of 2.5% is a positive trend and shows that event planning is very much a lucrative venture.

Segment of the Event Planning Business

Before diving into event planning it’s important you analyse the segment you will most likely do well in. what I mean is that you have to carve a niche in industry where you want to focus on.
The reason you need to focus on a niche is so that you can easily stand out from the crowd.
If you fail to find a niche, you will end up being a Jack of All Trades and Mater of None.

Some of the other disadvantages of failing to create a niche include:
- Low income revenue
- Low income Clients

In order to appreciate the importance of specializing, let’s consider the salary of a GOP and a Neurologist: the difference in amount is staggering.
By specializing in a specific niche you are able to charge higher and you will be able to fine tune specific skills that will increase your earning.

There are several ways you can classify the event planning niche you want to specialize in.

You can classify event planning into:

1. Corporate
2. Social

The corporate niche can be further subdivided into:

i. Companies
ii. Charities/non-profit

When you look at the non-profit segment you should be looking at planning events that involve gala fundraisers, receptions, athletics, and other competitions which are geared towards raising funds or to increase public support.

However, if you intend to take a plunge into planning events for companies, you should be aware that some of the events which you’ll be planning include tradeshows, conventions, company picnics, holiday parties, and meetings for staff members, board members or stockholders.

For the Social Niche, you can decide to focus on weddings, birthdays, anniversary parties, sweet 16 parties or children parties.

The above niche as explained can be classified as the big niche.
This is why I advise further specialization.

Before I share with you further segments you can specialize in, I want you to understand the benefits of specialization
I know I have already shared some: but I want to give you more.

Why You Should Specialize in Event Management.

1. It helps reduce the cost of setting up your firm since you only need to buy equipment that are relevant to your specialization
2. It makes it easy for your customers to find you both online and offline
3. You require less staff that you will have to pay.

Another way you can segment an event company is to classify them into

1. Private organization
2. Public organization
3. Age breakdown

As I mentioned in the earlier classification, this classification is still broad and as such, it should be niched down.
This is what I will do below.

Another way to classify the event niche is to break them into simpler unit.
Below are segments you can specialize in:

- Wedding
- Birthday parties
- Conventions
- Fundraisers
- Milestone birthday
- Tours
- Picnics
- Meeting and Conference
n/b: the above niche can be further broken down:

For example, the wedding niche can be further broken down into traditional and white wedding.
The Birthday Niche can be broken into children, adult parties
Tours niche can be broken into local and international tours.

N/B: In determining the segment to get into, make sure you consider the environment or you may end up expending money in the wrong niche.

Skills You Need To Succeed in Event Planning

In order to succeed as an Event planner in Port Harcourt or Lagos there are certain skills you need to have:

1. Excellent Time Management

An event manager who possesses this skill has the ability to stay focused on the task at hand. This in turn leads to higher efficiency and happy customers. It also enables you to become more successful. This is because if you are capable of managing your time, you will also be able to allocate more time to learning new skills that will set you apart from your peers.

2. Creative Skills

Creativity enables you to be able to twist yourself out of difficult situation. I don’t mean this in a negative sense.
What I mean is that when you are in a fix- your creative imagination allows you to use items that you normally would not use to solve the situation.

3. Strong Interpersonal Skills

According to Skillsyouneed, Interpersonal skills are the life skills we use every day to communicate and interact with other people both individually and in a group.

This skill set include verbal communication, non-verbal communication, listening negotiation, problem solving, decision making and assertiveness.
With the above skillset an event manager can easily manage staff and clients while giving them the wow factor.

4. Passionate:

Event Planning is energy draining and in order to succeed as an event manager you should be passionate about it or you will burn out easily

5. Analytical Mind

An event manager should be able to look at several decision and identify the best possible solution.

6. Leadership Skills

As an event manager you’ll be managing people and this requires you to be assertive without being rude. You should be able to communicate your conviction and concerns to your staff and client.

7. Be Tech Savvy

This enables you deploy the latest gadget that can help reduce time wastage and deliver optimal performance.

With these skill set you can dominate your niche.

However, if you don’t have these skills it isn’t the end of the road. All you need to succeed is to enroll for training. If you reside in Port Harcourt you can visit Ashford and Gray Events for your training. Once you have possessed the requisite skills the next step is to determine how profitable your niche is.

How to Validate Your Event Niche Idea

There are several ways to determine if your niche is profitable.
They include:

1. Check Google Search Volume Traffic

To do this use the Google Keyword Planner tool to find out how many people are searching for your niche idea every month.

Select the (exact match option) when typing in your keyword. A monthly search of 50 people shows great potential especially if the keyword typed is location based.

If you’ve never used it before you’ll have to read this detailed guide on Keyword planner. The guide explains a step by step method on how to deploy Google Keyword Planner tool.

Once you’ve been able to determine that you have sufficient people searching for your service the next step is for you to set up a website. If you have a challenge setting up one you can read this post or contact a designer to do it for you.

2. Determine if there is any Training Opportunity

Another way to find out if a niche is profitable is to find out if there are training opportunities. For example when I keyed in decoration training in Google I was able to see the following result.

The availability of training opportunities shows that people are interested in working in that niche.

3. Are People Advertising in Google?

When you search for your niche in Google, do you find location based ads?
If yes, then its likely money is to be made in that niche

4. Research Engagement on Location Specific Facebook FanPage

Type in a location specific keyword on facebook search bar and see the pages that facebook reveals to you.

Look out for pages that have great engagement –not just likes- and find out the typical questions people ask.

Are people asking buying questions? If yes, are they targeted to the particular segment you can cater for? If yes, then it is likely a viable opportunity.

5. Take Note of the Kind of Events that Takes Place in Your Location

One key to successful event planning segment is to determine the kind of event that holds in your location. If you reside in countryside or village -diving into corporate events – is not going to sell. So location is very important in determining if the business will be profitable.

Once you’ve been able to determine the niche you are going to specialize in, the next step is for you to create a business plan.

What to Set Out In Your Business Plan

1. The Executive Summary

According to Tim Berry of B Plan your executive summary is the doorway to your business plan. I certainly agree because poor a poor executive summary can kill your business plan. This is why you must make your summary exceptional. Your executive summary should grab your readers’ attention and pull them into your business plan. It should tell the readers what you do and why it’s important they read the rest of the plan.

In order to write an amazing executive summary Tim advocates that there are certain components that you should include:

Components of an Event Executive Summary

- Problem
- Solution
- Target market
- Competition (here emphasize your strength over the competition)
- Team (explain why your team is the right team)
- Financial summary (This is not absolute must)
- Milestones (Key goals already met should be stated)

2. Mission/Vision Statement

Crafting an articulate mission statement is very important. It should offer insight into what you consider to be the primary purpose of being in business. It could be either customer centric or profit centric – ours is customer focused.

Grafting a powerful mission statement makes it easy for your staffs to imbibe the values of your company. And it makes it easy for investors to understand what values they will like to invest in.

The mission statement should underline the goals of your event firm. This goal is also called objectives. In listing your goals in a mission statement, also ensure you include how you hope to achieve them.

The vision statement on the other hand is a futuristic statement. It should help provide direction for your event company for the next five to ten years. It could even be longer.

3. Description of Your Company Product or Service

4. Description of How the Product or Service is Different.

5. Market Analysis – this discusses the competition, what differentiates you from them and what slice of the market you’ve captured or believe you can secure.

6. Description of Your Management Team

In this section you should state who the key members of your company are or will be. Their years of experience in that niche should also be included.

7. How You Plan to Market Your Product or Services.

In this section you should state the strategies you intend to implement: some of which could include fairs, radio and tv adverts, use of coupons, discount codes and social media.

8. Do a SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis states your event planning business strength, weakness, opportunities and threat.

Your SWOT analysis should state how you will address, exploit or withstand each of these eventualities

9. Projected Cash Flow Statement

In this section you should develop a cash flow projection. As part of a business plan, a cash flow projection gives you a better idea of how much capital investment your business needs while it offers evidence to an investor that your business is a good credit risk.
Source: Writing the Business Plan section 8

10. Projected Balance Sheet

A projected Balance Sheet shows an estimation of total asset and total liability

How To Choose/Select the Right Wedding Vendors/Suppliers in Rivers State to Save Cost

Do good suppliers/vendors always or nearly always perform beyond expectation?

The obvious answer is a yes

But the question on your lips is this: How do I determine who’s a good supplier/vendor?
Another question may be: How do I select or choose a good supplier/vendor who can enable me save cost without sacrificing quality?

The answer to the above question involves taking a series of steps that may require time commitment.
You can however, do away with the stress if you hire us as your event planner.

However, if you want to do it yourself, it is important you select the best vendors and suppliers.

To accomplish this task, you need to be patient so that you’ll be able to find a vendor who isn’t only good, but cost –effective. So below are steps to take.
Steps To Find the Right Event Vendor or Supplier

1. Ask Your Colleagues

I am sure you’ve visited weddings of friends and professional colleagues.
Did you discover any service rendered by a vendor that impressed you beyond measure?
If you did-it is time to do the following:

- Take down the contacts of your friends or colleagues whose event or wedding were awesome
- Place a call across to them and inquire who provided them the service
- Schedule a time to visit them.

If however you are unable to remember any outstanding service provider- then you need to take it a step further.

2. Inquire from Social Media

Post a status update or pm your friends who have been married or hosted an occasion.
Once you’re able to get some suggestion; the next step is for you to meet them personally.

3. Meet Them Personally

The essence of meeting them personally is so that you can interview them and find out who is the best while also cost effective.

N/b: Do not sacrifice quality on the altar of cost cutting.

To ensure you are selecting the best, ask the suggested vendor/suppliers case study interview questions.
What do I mean by case study interview questions?

By case study interview questions I mean that you should ask the vendors to formulate a response to a hypothetical situation or challenge.

For example, you can ask the vendors who is to handle the delivery of your drinks: “what will you do if your vehicle breaks down on the day of the event”?

4. Examine their responses and make your selection.

Once you’ve streamlined your potential vendors, the next step is to check out their portfolios and samples.

5. Sample their Products

For the caterer you’ll need to visit their facilities to ensure the food you will be served on that day is properly prepared. For the photographer, ask to see his or her previous portfolio or you can ask him to give you a trial shot. You could also ask to attend one of his or her upcoming events. This way you’ll be able to get the best price for money.

6. Draw up a Contract

You can draw a contract or ask your legal personnel to do so.
The essence of the contract is save your butt on the D-day. The contract should spell out the penalties the vendor is liable to receive if s/he fails to deliver. It should also include the compensation you’ll receive if the quality of service is not up to expectation.

If the vendor refuses to sign up, you should look out for another who will be able to sign up the contract. This is to ensure you get the best on your D-day.

N/b: don’t construe this as legal advice as I am not a legal practitioner. Contact your legal personnel to seek his advice.

In conclusion, to get the best vendors at a cost effective price, get suggestions from your colleagues and social media. Then go out of you way to interview them. Once you’re done with the interview make sure you sample their products. However don’t forget to consider drawing up a contract.

So what other steps do you think one can take to get the best wedding suppliers/vendors?

What Is a Cross-Promotion?

In event management cross promotion refers to marketing strategy where a target buyer is given an opportunity to tap into a complementary offer. For example a cake designer can introduce her client who wants to get wedded to a wedding gown designer.

The cake designer makes a commission on any referral while the wedding designer gains a new business.
In order to make it effective, a discount deal alongside the commission structure can be included.
So cross promotion can be said to be a form of networking as two complementary business come together to offer value to each other.

It’s therefore important that event mangers should explore this option if they hope to see fast growth opportunities.

Other Examples of Cross-Promotion include:

Joint newsletter:

Several complementary companies can come together to create a newsletter. This will help reduce the expense required in hiring requisite writers. Since, there are several companies on board, contribution of content will not be as tasking compared to a situation where a single company has to provide the whole content.

Joint advertisements: 

Advertisement can be expensive. To cut down cost the different event planning firm can come together to create an AD that highlights all the companies involved.

• Joint contest: 

A cake designer together with an event manager can come together to hold a contest. They may also offer joint price, by so doing, the cost of the contest reduces. If it’s a social media contest greater reach can be attained. Since it’s a joint contest equipment cost would be shared between both parties and hence the situation is a win –win one.

• AD Excahange
Two firms can exchange ads on their website or even in their office.

Tips For a Successful Event Cross promotion

• Ensure Good Communication

Ensure you reach out to non-competing firm frequently so that you can reason together and deploy marketing strategies that are effective.

• Make Information Easily Accessible

Marketing materials should be easily accessible. If you want them to promote your business endeavour to provide the required material in the various form needed.

• Arrange for Staff to Experience Programs

Offer to train the complementary firm on how to go about marketing your business.

• Create Incentives

Offer incentives such as discount and coupons as well as commission to motivate your partner to do well in marketing your product

Why You Need a Portfolio

Your event portfolio is important as it enables you showcase your talents. The portfolio can be inform of a brochure or a website. It's helps you sell your services with confidence and should be properly done.

What To Include in Your Portfolio

- Client Testimonials

The testimonial should should state how impressed your clients are with your service. Allow your clients voice to shine through. So don't go about re writing the testimonials of your client. You can however do simple editing to allow for clarity.

- Photos and Images of Events You've planned.

Pictures they say is worth a thousand words. To get the best images, hire a decent photographer.

- Include Press Clips or Images

Where you interviewed on TV on a Blog or a Newspaper? Include this information as it will make people consider you to be an authority.

- Include Your Photo and Profile

Include a gorgeous photo of yourself. Your profile should tell a bit of your professional life and your backstory. However, endeavour to weave the story in a way that accentuates the benefit of hiring you.

Post a Comment


  1. Hi Peter,

    well done. You have a nice post here. It's funny I recently published similar content on my blog.

    Thus,one of the things that really caught my attention is where you said
    "The reason you need to focus on a niche is so that you can easily stand out from the crowd".

    So I know when you talk about niche in that context it means someone's area of specialty.

    There's a good point there. But to me every niche has its own level of competition.

    The only thing that can make you standout is the angle of your approach to that business for example, what can you do better than your competition?

    And again if you can not name your competitors that means you don't understand your business.