Table of Contents
Types of corporate events, 5 examples of goals for corporate events, the ultimate corporate event planning checklist, tips for corporate event planning success, get started: make your next corporate event the best yet, corporate event planning: checklist and guide.
Every event professional has the same goal for corporate event planning: to orchestrate an engaging experience that delivers favorable business outcomes.
Corporate event planning checklists can significantly increase your chances of achieving your event goals. Plus, checklists help you stay organized, ensure everything is accounted for, and make it easier to scale your event strategy.
In this post, we’ll examine different types of corporate events, common goals event professionals aim for, what your corporate event planning checklist should include, and tips to remember as you start the corporate evening planning process.
As you begin planning your next corporate event, your approach may vary depending on the type of event, the size and scope, and what you hope to accomplish. Some of the more common types of corporate events include the following:
- Trade shows are larger events that unite people who want to experience products, exchange ideas, learn new skills, gather leads, and meet other folks in the industry.
- Team-building events foster camaraderie by bringing coworkers together to learn new things and get to know each other on a deeper level.
- Product launches highlight new products and services an organization brings to market to generate buzz and excitement.
- Conferences and seminars , like HubSpot’s INBOUND , are typically the largest events and feature keynote addresses, seminars, breakout sessions, networking opportunities, workshops, and more.
- Networking events are designed to help folks meet other people in their industry and learn new things.
According to a report from Allied Market Research , the U.S. corporate event market — which brought in $95.3 billion in 2020 — is expected to reach $510.9 billion in revenue by 2030, growing 17.3% annually. This impressive growth can be attributed to the fact that corporate events deliver several benefits to organizations, like the following opportunities:
- Celebrate your wins. You can increase employee happiness, engagement, and productivity by using events to recognize your team’s hard work.
- Motivate employees. Events are a great way to motivate your team. Not only will employees feed off the energy of the event, they will also learn new things, meet new people, and develop new skills.
- Generate leads. Hosting a corporate event creates the perfect atmosphere for meeting new business prospects and capturing leads. Since most attendees will likely head to your event because they’re interested in what you offer, you won’t have to pitch them cold.
- Promote your brand. Events enable you to bolster brand awareness and get people talking about your company on social media, enabling you to leverage word-of-mouth recommendations.
- Improve employee retention. Since events make employees happier and help them develop in their careers, they serve as a vehicle for reducing employee turnover — a nice bonus in today’s difficult job market.
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Having a checklist when planning a corporate event is paramount because it ensures a systematic and organized approach to the entire process. A checklist serves as a comprehensive guide to the essential tasks and details that need to be addressed, helping you stay on track and minimizing the chance you overlook crucial elements. It also enables better time management and coordination among team members while enabling progress tracking.
But the best part of a checklist is that you can use it repeatedly from event to event, updating as you go for what worked best and what missed the mark. As you begin creating your event planning checklist, here are some things you’ll want to include:
☐ Goals: Decide What Success Looks Like
Clearly define what you want to achieve with your corporate event and outline what success looks like. Ensure your event goals align with your business goals.
☐ Logistics: Set a Date, Format, and Location
Pick a date and an event type, considering availability, attendee preferences, event objectives, and potential scheduling conflicts (e.g., holidays or seasonality). Consider second-tier cities and outside-the-box locations to save on event costs and make it easier for attendees to justify coming.
☐ Theme: Choose a Memorable Concept
Select an event theme that aligns with your objectives to create a cohesive, memorable experience for attendees. Not sure where to start? Check out these “ 27 Unforgettable Corporate Event Themes .”
☐ Budget: Assess Costs and Source Vendors
Figure out how big your event budget should be and identify vendors that can provide the services you need at price points you can afford.
☐ Venue: Choose the Perfect Location
Select a venue that suits your event’s size, location, and requirements, ensuring it aligns with the theme and atmosphere you want to create. Not sure where to start in choosing the right venue? Read our article, “ 10 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Conference Venue .”
☐ Speakers: Decide on Keynotes, Sessions, and Entertainment
Figure out which speakers will impact your event most by engaging and captivating attendees. Don’t forget to cast a wide net for diverse and lesser-known speakers to ensure your event meets attendee expectations and that attendees feel represented.
☐ Marketing: Craft a Promotional Plan
Develop a comprehensive event marketing strategy to promote your event and attract attendees. Be sure to include assets and promotional materials for your partners, vendors, speakers, and others to share on their social channels to boost attendance.
☐ Run of Show: Create Meaningful Experiences
Map out the schedule and activities for your event, including breakout sessions, fireside chats, workshops, and networking opportunities. Be sure to spend plenty of time on independent activities like self-care, 1:1 meetings, and much-needed downtime.
☐ Event Tech: Lock in Your Event Management Software
If you haven’t already, vet the right corporate event management software to power your event. The ideal solution will include a mobile event app , event networking tools , and plenty of options for webinars and virtual events.
☐ Registration: Invite Attendees and Promote Your Event
Send out invitations to your target audience and actively promote your event on social media, relevant media outlets, email, paid ads, and other key channels. Start promoting your event early so you can send follow-ups and last-chance communications.
☐ Food and Beverage: Plan the Menu
Hire a caterer or local business and plan the food and beverage offerings to meet the needs and preferences of your attendees. Be sure to consider sustainable materials for your event, including compostables or reusable items instead of plastic. Choose vendors that use locally sourced and processed ingredients to ensure a low carbon footprint.
☐ Contingency Planning: Consider All Potentialities
Prepare for unforeseen circumstances by developing an event contingency plan to address any issues or emergencies that may arise during the event. Ensure your plan includes options for speakers backing out, vendors backing out, inclement weather, and every other possibility.
☐ Rehearse: Do Final Walkthroughs
Do a dry run of your event to address any logistical or technical concerns ahead of time and ensure a smooth experience when the big day arrives. Be sure speakers have all the information and prep they need to succeed.
☐ Event Follow-up: Survey Participants To Measure Success
Collect feedback from attendees, speakers, and vendors by distributing surveys post-show. Consider offering incentives to encourage participation, such as gift cards, sustainable swag, or a virtual meet-and-greet with one of your keynote speakers.
☐ Post-mortem: Gather Stakeholders To Evaluate Success
Conduct a thorough evaluation of the event’s outcomes, discussing what worked well and areas for improvement to inform future events. Be sure you take plenty of notes and add them to your event documentation so you can pivot at your next event.
To increase the chances your corporate event delivers the results you’re aiming for, keep these tips in mind as you finalize your plans:
- Start the planning process earlier to allow ample time for all necessary preparations.
- Build an engaging agenda, but leave room for networking and decompressing.
- Ask attendees what they want to see at the event.
- Look at historical data and surveys to ensure you’re not repeating sessions that fell flat.
- Build your list of must-haves and nice-to-haves and communicate to stakeholders when you have to compromise for budget, time, or event goals.
- Embrace technology and invest in a purpose-built event management solution you can rely on to plan, execute, and analyze your event.
Survey attendees, employees, and speakers afterward to gather event feedback and learn what you can do better next time.
Making your next corporate event one for the ages starts with meticulous planning. By creating a corporate event planning checklist and using it to guide the event planning process, you can ensure no details are overlooked as you prepare for your next event.
To help you tackle planning your corporate event, we’ve built several kits fully loaded with run-of-show templates, budgeting guidance, and much more. Whether your corporate event is in-person, virtual, or hybrid, we have a kit to maximize your efforts and help you spend more time on building experiences and less time on the nitty-gritty:
- The In-person Event Production Kit
- The Virtual Event Production Kit
- The Hybrid Event Production Kit
- The Webinar Production Kit
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Event Planning Business Plan
Creativity and organization are a formidable combination. And not many of us have it. And to top it off, having good social skills, and the ability to fix problems that usually occur in every event, big or small.
If you have these skills you are a gifted individual indeed and might have thought of having an event-planning business at least once.’
But even after having the right skills many of us find the prospect of owning a business overwhelming at the very least. But worry no more! Before you start planning the most happening events in the town, all you need is an event planning business plan .
The event planning industry stood at a market value of 3.03 billion dollars in 2021 in the US and is going through a period of rapid recovery after being hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Theme parties, lesser time to organize and plan for events as well as the demand for professional services have been major growth-driving factors for the event planning industry.
Event planners also help make events smoother, more memorable, and out of the box. And with the increasing want to stand out in everything you do is going to help the event planning industry flourish for years to come.
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Things to Consider Before Writing an Event Planning Business Plan
Get skills and experience.
Although starting a business is an exciting prospect as it gives you freedom it also comes with a lot of responsibilities. Hence, you should go prepared with event planning skills and experience before getting started.
Develop your communication skills
Bad communication in event management is a recipe for disaster. Develop your communication and listening skills. It goes way beyond talking. You have to explain to and understand your team and clients correctly to do a good job and get good results.
Find a market for your services
Knowing your market saves you from wasting your resources, efforts, and time on mass marketing. Hence, before you decide on your niche, make a marketing plan and get started, find a market for your services.
Have a good team
How can an event planning business plan help you.
We all know that an event planning company’s success depends highly upon an organization. Be it while planning events or while carrying out other activities like budgeting and marketing.
A business plan can help you achieve just that. It can improve your efficiency, give you well-defined goals to follow, and improve your overall management.
Apart from that, planning your business gives you a good knowledge of the market structure and functioning.
Also, planning your business in its initial stages takes the tedious tasks of running a business out of the way, and lets you focus on what you are passionate about.
How to Write an Event Planning Business Plan?
This segment brings us to the main point of this article. How can you, as an event planner, write a business plan ? And what to include in a good event planning business plan?
Well, you can either seek professional help for writing a business plan, write it through a premade template, or through an online business plan software .
We have created this sample Eventel – Event Planning Business Plan template for you to get a good idea about how a perfect event planning business plan should look like and what details you will need to include in your stunning business plan.
Chalking out Your Business Plan
If you’ve organized a few events in the past and feel that organizing is your forte, and you can come up with ideas that are both creative and functional, event planning might be the right career for you.
And although most people start out by working under someone, everyone dreams of owning an event planning company. Also if you are about to go ahead and start yours, wait a moment.
Because although you might have sufficient knowledge for planning events, you need one more thing to turn it into a business. A business plan.
Yes, you read it right. A business plan can be of great help while starting your event planning business. It can take your business to lengths and depths, and solve all of your business problems.
Before we understand how you can write your event planning business plan, let’s understand the importance of the business plan .
Event Planning Business Plan Outline
This is the standard event planning business plan outline, which will cover all important sections that you should include in your business plan.
- Business Overview
- Keys to Success
- Net Income & Gross Margin
- About Business
- Business Ownership
- Startup Expense
- Startup Assets
- Office Design
- Step-by-Step Guides
- Event Planning Software
- Resources Manual
- Event Planners Training Institute
- Competitive Comparison
- Private Organizations and Businesses
- Public Organizations
- Age Breakdowns
- Customer Segmentation
- Target Market Segment Strategy
- Hotels and Conference Centers
- Other Event Planners
- Employees or Persons wishing to do it themselves
- Marketing and Competition
- Private and Public Organizations
- Management Summary
- Organizational Structure
- Personnel Plan
- Financial Plan
- General Assumptions
- Break-even Analysis
- Income Statement (5-Year Projections)
- Balance Sheet (5-Year Projections)
- Cash Flow Statement (5-Year Projections)
An event planning business plan consists of several key aspects. You can include the following sections to write a business plan that works:
1. Executive Summary
This is the first and foremost section of your business plan. It consists of a clear and precise summary of all your business stands for.
It is mainly written for summing up your business idea and for acquiring funding.
For example, as an event management company, you can include your business idea, a summary of your past projects, your marketing strategy, and your financial history.
2. Products and services
In this product and services section, you can include details about your services. Write down everything from your target market to the solutions your services offer and the market gap it fulfills.
For example, as an event management company, you can note the size and type of events you cater to. Also, about the variety of services you offer.
3. Market Analysis
The market analysis section will include everything you know and can find about the market you are trying to get into.
Write down everything from market trends, segmentation, and ways of reaching out to your customers to everything about your competitors like competitive analysis, your USP, etc.
For example, you can note down the strategies your direct and indirect competitors are using, branding strategies like customer reviews and website plans, etc.
4. Management and operational structure
In this segment, you can include everything about your team. And also about your daily business activities and long-term goals.
Planning this aspect removes chaos and hassles from your firm’s functioning.
For example, you can include who is responsible for onboarding clients, who are responsible for overlooking the preparations of the event, who is responsible for budgeting, and who is responsible for marketing in the first half of this section.
You can include a progress tracking system as well as an operational strategy and milestones in the second half of this section.
5. Financial Plan
A financial plan is very important for any organization or firm. Planning your finances in the initial stages can save you from a lot of struggles later on. A financial plan includes the past and the present state of your finances. Also, include the projected cash flow and profits.
For example, you can include the expenses you would incur while starting your firm and organizing your first event. And the sources you have for funding are the same.
You can also include the profit forecast as well as what amount of profits your company needs to make to survive and thrive in the market.
Download a sample event planning business plan
Need help writing your business plan from scratch? Here you go; download our free event planning business plan pdf to start.
It’s a modern business plan template specifically designed for your event planning business. Use the example business plan as a guide for writing your own.
The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan
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Event Planning Business Plan Summary
In conclusion, an event planning business can thrive if you work according to a proper business plan.
Also, a well-written plan would take care of everything, ranging from the daily activities of your firm to its finances. Hence, you can channel all of your energies toward your passion.
It is crucial for an event management company to be well managed internally, for it to manage all of its events well.
So, go ahead and plan all the events you want to, but before that don’t forget to write your business plan.
After getting started with Upmetrics , you can copy this sample event planning business plan template into your business plan and modify the required information and download your event planning business plan pdf or doc file.
It’s the fastest and easiest way to start writing your business plan.
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About the Author
Vinay Kevadiya is the founder and CEO of Upmetrics, the #1 business planning software. His ultimate goal with Upmetrics is to revolutionize how entrepreneurs create, manage, and execute their business plans. He enjoys sharing his insights on business planning and other relevant topics through his articles and blog posts. Read more
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Event Planning Business Plan Template
Written by Dave Lavinsky
Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 5,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their event planning businesses. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through an event planning business plan step-by-step so you can create your plan today.
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What Is a Business Plan?
A business plan provides a snapshot of your own event planning business as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes research to support your plans.
Why You Need a Business Plan
Source of Funding for Event Planning Businesses
With regards to funding, the main sources of secure funding for an event planning business are bank loans, personal funding, credit cards, and angel investors. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable. But they will want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business.
Another common form of secure funding for an event planning business is angel investors. Angel investors are wealthy individuals who will write you a check. They will either take equity in return for their funding or, like a bank, they will give you a loan. Venture capitalists will not fund an event planning business.
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How to write a business plan for event planning.
When you write a business plan, you should include the following 10 key aspects:
The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of event planning business you are operating and the status; for example, are you a startup, do you have an event planning business that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of businesses.
Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan. For example, give a brief overview of the event planning business industry. Discuss the type of business you are operating. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target audience. Provide a snapshot of your marketing strategy and plan. Identify the key members of your team. And offer an overview of your financial plan.
In your company analysis, you will detail the type of business you are operating.
For example, you might operate one of the following types:
- Corporate Events : this type of event planning business caters to businesses, charities, nonprofit organizations, and the like to plan fundraisers, receptions, conventions, trade shows, competitions, award ceremonies, product launches, and other types of meetings.
- Social Events : this type of event planning business targets middle- to upper-income individuals and families to plan events such as weddings, birthdays, reunions, and other types of celebrations.
- Niche Events : some event planners specialize in just one of the above event types.
In addition to explaining the type of event planning business you operate, the Company Analysis section of your business plan needs to provide background on the business.
Include answers to questions such as:
- When and why did you start the business?
- What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include sales goals you’ve reached, new contracts, etc.
- Your legal structure. Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your business structure here.
While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.
First, researching the industry educates you. It helps you understand the target market in which you are operating.
Secondly, market research can improve your strategy particularly if your research identifies market trends. For example, if there was a trend towards events that adhere to social distancing guidelines, it would be helpful to ensure your plan details what approach you would take (suggested venues, creative solutions for inclusion, etc.).
The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.
The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section:
- How big is the event planning industry (in dollars)?
- Is the market declining or increasing?
- Who are the key competitors in the market?
- Who are the key suppliers in the market?
- What trends are affecting the industry?
- What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
- What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential market for your business. You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.
The customer analysis section must detail the clientele you serve and/or expect to serve.
The following are examples of customer segments: private and corporate clients, high-income households, medium-income households, engaged couples, etc.
As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of event planning company you operate and the event services you offer. Clearly, businesses would want a different atmosphere, pricing, and product options, and would respond to different marketing promotions than engaged couples.
Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, including a discussion of the age groups, genders, locations, and income levels of the customers you seek to serve. Because most event planning companies primarily serve customers living in the same city or town, such demographic information is easy to find on government websites.
Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target market. The more you can understand and define these needs, the better you will do to attract customers and retain your existing customers.
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Direct competitors are other planners and businesses that offer event planning services.
Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from you that aren’t direct competitors. This includes caterers, venues, and customers planning events on their own. You need to mention such competition to show you understand that not everyone who throws a party hires an event planner each time.
With regards to direct competition, you want to detail the other businesses with which you compete. Most likely, your direct competitors will be other businesses that offer event planning services very close to your site.
For each such competitor, provide an overview of their businesses and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as:
- What types of customers do they serve?
- What planning services do they offer (wedding planning, baby showers, birthday parties, social events, etc.)?
- What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
- What are they good at?
- What are their weaknesses?
With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective.
The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:
- Will you provide superior event management options (e.g., more cuisine types, better venue options, etc.)?
- Will you provide event options that your competitors don’t offer?
- Will you make it easier or faster for customers to book your services (e.g., utilizing event planning software, etc.)?
- Will you provide better customer service?
- Will you offer better pricing?
Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.
In the product section, you should reiterate the type of business that you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific products/services you will be offering. For example, in addition to designing the event, locating the venue, arranging vendors, coordinating personnel, and supervising the event, will you offer services such as catering, decor, and entertainment?
In this section, document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections, you are presenting the services you offer and their prices.
Place refers to the location of your event management business, conference centers, and/or venues in which you own and/or have a relationship. Document your location and mention how the location will impact your success.
The final part of your event planning business marketing plan is the promotions section. Here you will document how you will drive customers to your site. The following are some promotional methods you might consider:
- Social media marketing
- Advertising in local papers and magazines
- Reaching out to local bloggers and websites
- Partnerships with local organizations (e.g., getting on the list of recommended vendors with local venues)
- Local radio advertising
- Banner ads at local venues
While the earlier sections of your event planner business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.
Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your event planning business such as interviewing clients, making arrangements, keeping the store/studio clean, etc.
Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to serve your 100th customer, or when you hope to reach $X in total sales. It could also be when you expect to hire your Xth employee or launch in a new market.
Ideally, you and/or your team members have direct experience as event planners or in the industry. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.
If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act as mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in event planning and/or successfully running small businesses.
Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements.
Income Statement : an income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenues and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.
In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you plan one event per week or several events? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.
Balance Sheets : While balance sheets include much information, to simplify them to the key items you need to know about, balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. For instance, if you spend $100,000 on building out your business, that will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $100.000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.
Cash Flow Statement : Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt. For example, let’s say a company approached you with a massive $100,000 event contract, that would cost you $50,000 to fulfill. Well, in most cases, you would have to pay that $50,000 now for supplies, equipment rentals, employee salaries, etc. But let’s say the company didn’t pay you for 180 days. During those 180 days, you could run out of money.
In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key startup costs needed in starting or growing your business:
- Location build-out including design fees, construction, etc.
- The total cost of equipment and furnishings like decor, sound systems, etc.
- Cost of maintaining an adequate amount of supplies
- Payroll or salaries paid to staff
- Business insurance
- Taxes and permits
- Legal expenses
Event Planning Summary
Putting together your own event planner business plan is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the event planning sample template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will really understand the business, your competition, and your customers. You will have developed a marketing plan and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful event planning business.
Event Planning Business Plan FAQs
What is the easiest way to complete my event planning business plan.
Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your Event Planning Business Plan.
What is the Goal of a Business Plan's Executive Summary?
The goal is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of event planning business you are operating and the status; for example, are you a startup, do you have an event planning business that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of event planning businesses.
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How to Plan an Event: Event Planning Steps, Tips & Checklist
Need to know how to plan an event? If you’re planning a big event like a conference, we can help you successfully create, structure and lay out your event plan. This blog will cover everything you need to consider when planning an event, including event planning steps, tips and an easy-to-use event checklist.
What Is Event Planning?
Event planning is the process of putting on and managing a variety of events, from something as small as a meeting to as big as a convention and everything in between. When event planning you’ll be taking into account every aspect of that event, whether it’s a birthday party or a networking event.
That means you’ll be estimating budgets, creating timelines to schedule the event, reserving the site and any panels or speakers involved, getting necessary permits, food, transportation and more. If the event has a theme, you’ll develop that, too. Plus, you’ll be in charge of securing the needed resources to make the event a success.
Organizing all those disparate parts, especially for larger events, requires powerful project management software. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that lets you plan, manage and track your event to ensure it’s a success. Our powerful Gantt charts help you list all your tasks and the associated resources and costs, assign them to your team and set milestones to track your progress. The whole plan is visible on a project timeline and can be saved by setting a baseline. Now you can track the planned progress against your actual progress to make sure you’re on schedule. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.
What Is an Event Plan?
An event plan defines how an event will be executed. It addresses all the components of an event such as the start and end dates, budget , venue, marketing, attendees and more. The scope and complexity of the event plan vary depending on the size of the event, but the fundamental challenges remain the same.
Event Plan Example
Most of us have some experience planning an event, be it at home, work or in our community. For this article, let’s focus on large events.
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Event Plan Template
Use this free Event Plan Template for Excel to manage your projects better.
A conference is a common type of large event, so for our event management purposes, let’s talk about a TEDx conference that we were involved in to illustrate how to plan an event. This example is a good scenario to explain the structure and challenges of planning a big event, along with the benefits of planning an event with project management software .
Let’s break down the other components of setting up an event. They’re summarized below:
- Event timeline: First, establish a timeline for your event. This timeline should include pre-event planning, event execution and post-event activities.
- Budget: Estimate your event costs and create a budget. Your available budget will influence many event management decisions such as your venue, the marketing and advertising methods, etc.
- Venue: The event has to take place somewhere, and that involves logistics management , food and beverages as well as the décor.
- Marketing: Once you’ve selected a venue, you need to start drawing people to it through a marketing program that can include a website, social campaign, email and print work.
- Advertising: Hand in glove with marketing is advertising. That can include radio, TV, newspaper and magazine advertisements.
- Volunteers: A big event needs a big crew of people to get it off the ground and run smoothly. That means volunteers, which means writing contracts, defining their roles, setting up meetings and determining schedules.
- Speakers: You must have a keynote speaker or a group of speakers to attract an audience. This involves contracts, curators to select the talent, a program, bios and rehearsals.
- Sponsors: All of this costs money, and a big event’s budget is supplied by its sponsors. This again involves contracts, marketing and logistics.
- Production: The production involves creating contracts as you work on creating an audio-visual recording of the proceedings, as well as a sound and video broadcast during the event.
- Stage: The event takes place at a specific venue and on that venue is a stage on which the event proper will be presented. That usually incorporates a projector, screen, microphones, internet connection, batteries, cables and more.
- Attendees: Don’t forget about the people attending the event! You’ll need communications to inform them of event information, payment processes to collect fees, emails to stay in touch, directions, badges and access points.
Related: 10 Free Event Planning Templates for Excel & Word
The Event Planning Process: Event Planning Steps
We covered a lot on event planning, so let’s break down those tips into concrete steps. These event planning steps will guide you toward success. Let’s continue with our conference example.
- Step 1. Determine your event goals and objectives
- Step 2. Assemble your team
- Step 3. Establish an event budget
- Step 4. Choose a date & venue
- Step 5. Select the speakers
- Step 6. Event marketing & advertising
- Step 7. Execute your event
When you break down the scope of your event plan into manageable steps, the process seems a lot less daunting. However, there are a few more things to keep in mind when making your event plan.
This free event plan template for Excel is a great tool to start assembling the information you need to create an event plan. It can be customized to add your event details.
Event Planning Roles
As you might expect, there are many different roles that work together to bring an event to life. It’s easy to get confused. Are you an event manager or an event planner? Is there any difference between the two? Let’s take a look at some of the more common event-planning roles and define them.
The event manager is often mistaken for the event planner, but they are two distinct roles. Most simply, the event manager is responsible for event management activities, which involve coordinating and implementing the event. They take care of setting up the event, including its design, and make sure the vision of the event planner is realized.
An event planner organizes, coordinates and executes the event. They’re in charge of coming up with the idea, overseeing the setup and breakdown of the event. They’ll select the venue, create the budget and ensure everything is taken care of. What sets them apart is they design the strategy for the event to the smallest detail.
Related: Free Event Budget Template for Excel
The event producer fleshes out the strategic plan of the event planner. They are the one who takes the idea and turns it into a living event. They will take charge of the technical aspects of the event, such as audio/visual, stage design, etc. They work with the event planner to schedule the event , but the event producer uses their skills and expertise in producing events to deliver the event that’ll impress both attendees and the client.
Event Planning Tips
Unfortunately, there are always going to be variables out of your control that’ll affect the event planning process, such as the weather, delivery delays, technical difficulties and other potential mix-ups. As stated earlier, you can’t change the date of your event, so you’ll want to be as prepared as possible for any risks or issues that may pop up on the day of your event.
Do a Post-Event Review
A post-event review or a post-mortem as they’re often called, is very valuable. By looking back at the past event and seeing what worked and what didn’t work, you can better plan your next event. There are always lessons to be learned and applying them to the next project will avoid previous mistakes and increase your chances of a better outcome.
Use Event Planning Templates
Having an event planning template is a great way to make sure you’re not missing any important pieces of the larger event. It’ll help you organize your tasks and resources, costs and more. Use our free event plan template to get started on the right foot.
Use Event Planning Tools
A template is fine, but limited. You have to manually update everything and it’s not very collaborative. Event planning tools, such as Gantt charts , kanban boards, task lists and calendars, help you plan and implement the event plan. They also allow you to track the work to make sure it’s following the plan, which leads to a more successful event.
Prepare a Plan B
As important as your plan is, there can be issues with it. There might be acts of god, such as weather, which negatively impact the event. Whatever the cause, you’ll need a backup. That’s why developing a plan B is so critical to the success of the event. You might never have to use it, but in case you do, you’re prepared.
Use an Event Planning Checklist
Another tip is to have a checklist made up. That way you can collect all the things you have to do and why you’re doing it in one place. Using a checklist for event planning can be done in conjunction with project planning tools . The more safeguards, the better. Also, there are few things more satisfying than crossing something off your list.
Event Planning Checklist
There’s a lot to manage when planning an event, so it’s important to have a list of everything you need to include in your event management plan. The following is a general event planning checklist to help you get started. The more questions you ask, the better your event checklist. Feel free to add your own unique responsibilities and tasks.
Goals and Objectives
- What’s your event’s reason for existing?
- What are the goals this event is expected to achieve?
- What are the revenue objectives?
- What is your target audience?
- How many people will attend?
- Is there a cost associated with ticketing and what is it?
- Where is the event being held?
- Create an event schedule.
- Figure out what the costs will be
- If you held similar events, use and adjust an old budget for a baseline
- What ticketing and registration software will be used?
- Finalize sponsor contributions
- Set ticket price
Date & Venue
- When will the event take place?
- Have a backup date in case issues arise
- Is there the best location for the event?
- Is the venue appropriate for your expected number of attendees?
- Decide on needed infrastructure: wifi, capacity, bathrooms, near shopping & restaurants, etc.
- Hire a caterer
- Secure what equipment you’ll need
- What are your security needs?
- Do you need permits, licenses or insurance?
- Create event signage and communication plans for attendees
- Research potential speakers
- Create a list of relevant speakers
- Create a pitch for speakers
- Pitch speakers
- Finalize speaker selection, get bios and headshots and arrange travel and accommodations
- Develop a list of sponsors and what you can offer them.
- See if there are sponsors who have partnered with similar events.
- Reach out to potential sponsors.
- Design signoff.
- Update the site or build a unique one.
- Make sure the site can handle expected traffic.
- Have a mobile-friendly site.
Event Marketing & Advertising
- What’s your messaging?
- Coordinate with digital tools and social platforms
- Add the event to online calendars
- Market the event with blog posts and other promotions like videos and online ads
- Send reminders to all parties a month or two before the event date
Finalizing the Last Steps
- Speakers and scripts
Pro tip: That’s a lot to coordinate and plan, which is why there’s a need for project management software that has the right features for event management. It provides a common portal, where you can track costs and tasks with automated alerts. It also offers both a communication and a collaborative platform that reduces the need for unnecessary emails. Software collects all your files in one place and makes team reporting simpler by adding efficiencies and reducing stress.
ProjectManager Offers Robust Event Planning Tools
ProjectManager is online software that’s suited for event planning. We have event project management tools to keep all the parts of your events, from managing vendors to promotions, organized. Our planning software helps you keep track of all the elements that make up your event plan.
Keep Stakeholders Updated With Event Calendars
Our multiple project views mean that event planners and managers can use project calendars , Gantt charts and there are task lists and kanban boards for teams. While reports can keep stakeholders informed, they might want to have access to the project. Share the calendar view with your stakeholders, which allows them to see start and end dates for all the tasks as well as milestones. This manages their expectations.
Zoom Into Event Activities With Kanban Boards
Use ProjectManager’s kanban board to manage the daily activities that need to be executed to plan, schedule and track your event plan. Move tasks from column to column as you collaborate on work with your team, and it’s easy to spot bottlenecks and get everything over the line in time for the event.
Track Event Labor Costs With Timesheets & Real-Time Dashboards
Plus, timesheets make invoicing easy for all your events. They can be submitted and approved with a keystroke. Our software also offers a variety of views, from a list to a calendar and even a kanban board that helps you visualize the workflow to keep on task.
More About Planning an Event
Event planning can be complex. There’s a lot of balls to keep in the air. If the above is too much to digest immediately, you could start with our event plan template and watch one of our planning experts. Jennifer Bridges, PMP, has years of experience and uses it to teach you the fundamentals of event planning in this short video.
- Free Event Proposal Template
- Event Management: A Quick Guide
- How to Plan a Virtual Event: Virtual Event Planning Checklist
- Event Project Management Software
ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that helps you plan and monitor your event details. From powerful planning tools to real-time reports and dashboards that capture all of your event details, you can use our software to stay on schedule and stick to your planned budget. Try our software today with a free 30-day trial.
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Your Guide on How to Plan a Corporate Event
Table of contents.
Any business that wants to build lasting relationships , which is crucial for your company’s growth, needs to know how to produce professional events. Hosting a corporate affair allows you to strengthen bonds with current clients and partners, while developing genuine connections and attracting future ones.
“Events provide businesses a personal way to build relationships with their target audiences [as well as] build brand recognition and loyalty,” said Myke Nahorniak, co-founder and CEO of Localist. “LinkedIn messages, Facebook status updates and tweets cannot replace the meaningful connections made through in-person communication.”
Whether you’re hosting a product launch for 300 people or an employee training for 15, it’s key to approach each gathering with an understanding of the basic elements of event management: research, design, planning, coordination and evaluation. Once an event is broken up into these manageable stages, it is much easier to conceptualize it and pull together the many moving pieces needed to bring it to life. Here are 10 tips on how to plan an event that your attendees won’t soon forget.
1. Understand the purpose of your event.
Once you decide you want to host an event, your first step is to define what you hope to accomplish.
“It is important to know the goals and objectives of the event you are trying to produce before you can do anything else,” said Brian Worley, creative director and owner of B. Worley Productions.
Start by asking yourself why you are hosting the event and what you expect from it. Once you’ve identified your goals and expectations, you can then determine what kind of event will resonate with your intended audience.
“Rather than thinking of it as just a corporate event, think about it like you’re delivering an interactive brand experience,” said Serena Holmes, CEO of Tigris Events. “You want it to be meaningful and engaging.”
2. Decide on your audience.
An important part of the planning process is defining your target audience. Is it your company’s executives and upper management, business partners, or community members? Is it for longtime clients or potential clients? Maybe it’s a combination of some or all the above. Figuring out your target audience and understanding how to reach them is essential to a successful event. Once you can name your audience, you can cater the program to their needs and interests.
It’s always stressful to determine how many guests to invite to these events. However, according to Julian Jost, CEO and co-founder of Spacebase, it’s better to invite too many people than too few.
“For small businesses, empty seats and uneaten snacks look bad and are a waste of money,” he said. “In most situations, having too many people show up isn’t really going to spoil an event – with some exceptions, like venues with very limited space or where a three-course meal is planned. If too many people turn up, it’s also great marketing. You’re sure to create a buzz the next day, and it will add to anticipation about your next event.”
Regardless of how small or large the guest list is, what people will remember is how they were treated. “Every person attending the event is a potential brand ambassador or word-of-mouth spokesperson for … your business,” said Valerie Gernhauser, owner and principal planner of Sapphire Events. “It is important to make a significant impact on the guest experience by not overlooking the finer details that each attendee will appreciate firsthand.”
3. Set a realistic budget.
You need to know how much money you have to work with to determine what sort of event you can produce. According to Worley, decide early on how much you want to spend, and then plan on spending at least 10% more.
“Things are always changing, and you should have a cushion for added and unexpected expenses that pop up,” he said.
Once you have a budget, knowing where to allocate most of your resources is essential. For example, if you spend more on fancy decorations than you do on a skilled tech crew or personable speakers, your event might be lacking in substance.
Additionally, don’t skimp on food or beverages, and take into account attendees with dietary restrictions. Though this may not seem as important as other aspects of your event planning, audiences are more forgiving of missteps when they aren’t hungry or thirsty.
4. Choose a theme and format.
Once you have set your objectives and defined the audience, it’s time to choose a theme or topic for the event and determine the best format for presenting it to your guests.
For example, coordinating a client event with an industry expert, such as a guest speaker, can position your company as a trusted advisor, instead of just a vendor. Peer-to-peer learning with client panels, keynotes, roundtables and breakout session speakers are other popular options.
“Always offer opportunities for attendees to do something fun, memorable and entertaining that they wouldn’t typically do anywhere or anytime else,” said J.J. Barnes, chief marketing officer at enVista. “This might include hearing from a famous speaker, comedian or band; playing on an incredible golf course; or trying something new, thrilling or exclusive for the first time.”
A successful corporate event is both immersive and educational, according to Worley.
“The ones that are interactive – rather than sitting in a ballroom watching a speaker all day – are more successful, informative and fun,” he said. “We really try to create experiences these days that go beyond theater-style seating, and put the attendees in situations and in front of the right people for networking and learning.
“Determine what you are going to do to make this an ‘out of the box’ event,” Worley added. “Spend the time now to figure out what will differentiate your event from similar ones in your industry or even ones you’ve previously produced.”
5. Establish a project timeline.
Designing the event requires you to keep track of a broad range of tasks. This can be facilitated by creating a master detailed checklist. Online project management software can streamline all of the tiny details and help you stay organized.
“The overall planning checklist serves as a tool for the duration of the planning process,” Gernhauser said. She said her team starts with a list for 12 months out and works in checklist increments at nine months out, six months out, four months out, two months out, the month of, two weeks out, the week of and the day of the event. “Breaking down the task list like this helps our team foresee the schedule of milestones we need to target.”
Even without dedicated software, you can keep track of your checklist by creating a spreadsheet and using individual tabs for each event category, such as venue, speakers, schedule, agenda and travel. This way, you can list each activity or task, the people responsible for each part of the process, and all the relevant deadlines. Though Microsoft Excel is usually the go-to spreadsheet program, there are other options. We compiled a list of free alternatives to Microsoft Office for you.
Your project timeline is linked to your budget. If you are working with a tight budget, giving yourself more time to put together the event will help with costs and services. If you have a bigger budget, you can have a truncated project timeline.
6. Select an appropriate location.
Once you’ve determined the type of event you’d like to create and outlined a budget, it’s time to find a venue that allows you to bring your vision to life. It’s tempting, at times, to jump ahead and book a venue you’ve heard good things about or that you know is an up-and-coming hot spot, even if you haven’t quite honed in on the mission of your event. This is a mistake, according to Worley.
“It is always hard to fit a round peg in a square hole, so the same goes for an event,” he said. “Build the event architecture first, and then find the venue that fits all the specs you need to have for success.”
According to Barnes, “location is key to attendance.” She recommends booking a venue in a convenient area with a vibrant atmosphere so that attendees feel comfortable and willing to make the commute.
If you have a tight budget, Jost suggests reducing your costs by holding the event at a less popular time when the venue is more likely to be available, such as hosting a media breakfast on a Monday morning.
“Be sure to involve the local community as much as possible,” said Gina Argento, president and CEO of Broadway Stages. “We always use local vendors for catering needs, various rentals and many other crucial aspects. By doing this, we are supporting the local community and giving them the opportunity to network and expand their businesses.”
7. Plan the logistics of the day.
To have a successful event, you will have to identify, vet and contract all the necessary event specialists. This may include caterers, audiovisual technicians, printers, decorators, photographers, florists and security personnel, to name just a few. Of course, you must also book speakers and presenters, including prominent figures, experts or influencers, who can best communicate the ideas you’d like to circulate throughout the gathering.
To assure everything goes according to your plan, determine an agenda for the event, and make sure everyone on your team knows what aspects of the day they are responsible for managing.
You have to work intentionally to create a balance between keeping attendees engaged and giving them some freedom in their schedule. “People get bored easily,” said Jonathan Chan, former head of marketing at Insane Growth. “If there isn’t enough variety to keep them interested, then you’ve basically spent a lot of money on a vanity event.”
However, you don’t want to jam-pack the schedule either. There needs to be leeway in the itinerary to deal with unexpected occurrences that may arise. Additionally, your attendees need time to themselves to process what they are learning, recharge and connect with other attendees.
When deciding how to wrap up your day, skip the typical promotional giveaways with the company logo, and think of gifts that have a big impact with a small footprint. A much better idea is a digital take-home, according to Jost.
“That could be a promotional code, which gives guests a discount, or it could give access to online content from the event, like photos and videos,” he said. “It could also include the chance to register in advance for the next event. Give guests an incentive to stay in contact.”
8. Make use of technology.
Gone are the days of cumbersome mile-long lists to track all the moving parts of an event. Today, there are tons of event management software platforms and apps (some of which offer a free base product) that do everything from providing seamless on-site check-in of attendees to enhancing the appeal of workshops and presentations with simulations and virtual reality games.
The use of event apps can help you significantly streamline planning and increase engagement among attendees, according to Nick Jackson, Digital Marketing Manager at BrandX Agency.
“Event details can be populated quickly via spreadsheet templates and published instantly into an existing event container app, or event teams can create their own custom-branded event app to use for multiple events and conferences throughout the year,” said Jackson. “Most event apps have features that keep attendees up to date with all the info they need leading up to the event and during it, and it allows them to provide feedback to the speakers and organizers.”
Interactive features, such as live polling and session Q&A, can be easily displayed on large screens in the venue, and some apps have gamification features, such as scavenger hunts. You can make speaker slides available to attendees, as long as they are in the correct format, by simply uploading them to the event app.
Event management software keeps your affair on track, but it also makes it easier to work collaboratively with vendors and other creative partners.
“Streamlining communication among all the parties by using a project management system we can all collaborate on has been tremendously helpful in cutting down the frustrations of relying on email communication alone,” said Gernhauser, who uses Basecamp, a popular cloud-based project management system, and Social Tables, another web-based event planning platform known for its event-diagramming and seating capabilities.
In the planning and execution of your corporate event, you can use a plethora of software, apps and services to streamline the whole process.
9. Promote your event.
If people don’t know about your event, no one will show up, so it’s imperative to find creative ways to get the word out. For a small event with a limited guest list, you can simply send out invitations, but you need to be bolder for larger events.
“In today’s digital age, a variety of promotional methods are required to generate attendance,” Barnes said. “We typically start by emailing our database, placing ads in industry newsletters, adding our event to industry listings and directories, and encouraging our sales teams to promote [our conference] when visiting clients or partners on-site.”
For your event and its timeline, you want to treat the promotion of your corporate event as if you are making a marketing plan. Granted, marketing plans are typically done on a more general/macro scale to help drive your resources to bring awareness. Applying this to your specific event can be beneficial to its success. We laid out tips on how to create a great business marketing plan to give you a reference on how to translate these skills on a more micro level.
From there, you can promote on social media and have your team spread the word. Create an event website or, at a minimum, a new landing page on your current site. Your social media marketing can also include promo videos, guest blog posts, and Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter updates. Maintain uniformity by using the same handle and hashtag across platforms and consistent messaging so it’s always clear that the buzz is about one particular event.
You can also explore possible sponsorship opportunities for your event. Sponsors can fund a portion of the event, which helps you defray the costs. More importantly, sponsors have a vested interest in promoting your affair. Brainstorm a list of ideal sponsors whose brand, mission or services complement your event in some way. You can develop a range of sponsorship packages and reach out to them about potential partnership opportunities. This works best if you focus your pitch to highlight the value of attendees to potential sponsors.
“We partner with media sponsors to speak at our events,” Barnes said. “It’s a win-win situation, as they receive ‘free’ publicity and mindshare in return for publicizing our event.”
10. Celebrate and evaluate your event planning success.
If your event went off without a hitch, congratulations! You aren’t done yet, though. Now is the time to wrap up any loose ends, such as sending final payments to vendors, reconciling your finances and conducting a post-event debrief with your team.
Most importantly, you want to gather feedback from guests. If you used an event-planning app with a feedback option, you can use it to ask attendees questions. This information will help you determine if the event met your original goals and what impact, if any, it had on the attendees. You can then share this information with all the relevant stakeholders so an appropriate follow-up can be planned. The lessons you learn will help you refine your planning for the next event.
If you are managing or are a part of a team in the process of making these events, some of the feedback you get may not be positive. It’s important to understand how to give or take this type of feedback, and we broke down how important giving and accepting constructive criticism is .
Bassam Kaado, Sammi Caramela and Nicole Fallon contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.
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Create an Outstanding Experience with Free Event Planning Templates
By Joe Weller | October 4, 2017 (updated September 28, 2023)
In this article, we’ve sorted through all event planning templates and checklists to provide you with the best, most comprehensive listing, so you can effectively plan a product launch, conference , wedding, or other milestone event.
Included on this page, you’ll find an event planner template , event budget template , event venue checklist template , and more.
Event Planning Templates
Event planner template.
Download Event Planner Template
Excel | PDF | Smartsheet
This event plan template includes areas where you can list strategic elements such as objectives, target audience, and messaging as well as logistical details such as catering, programming, and audio-visual requirements. For each task, identify who is responsible, required actions, and deadlines. This thorough template can guide your planning process and provide a summary of tasks to accomplish during an event.
Event Schedule Template
Download Event Schedule Template
Excel | Smartsheet
Create an event itinerary that includes dates, locations, programming start and end times, and scheduled breaks. This simple spreadsheet is a useful tool for creating an organized event schedule that you can share with staff and attendees. You can also use this template for a single- or multi-day event, or for a conference featuring multiple speakers who will be presenting in various venue rooms.
Event Marketing Timeline Template - Excel
Download Event Marketing Timeline Template
Excel | Smartsheet
Marketing efforts for larger events may include national advertising, online content, public relations, and market research. This template provides a place for individual marketing campaigns along with a timeline for weekly planning. By creating a timeline for each task within a campaign, you can gauge how actions overlap, plan for significant dates, and see a visual representation of the time required for each item.
Event To-Do List Template
Download Event To-Do List Template
Excel | PDF
Use this to-do list template to plan, prioritize, and carry out all the necessary tasks for your event. You can track the progress of each item toward completion by choosing a predetermined due date. The template includes room for additional notes or comments, which is particularly useful when sharing a to-do list.
Event Proposal Template - Word
Download Event Proposal Template - Word
If you’re an events planner, having a top-notch proposal to offer potential clients could give you an edge against the competition. This template provides an outline for you to work from as you craft a personalized event management proposal. You’ll find sections for listing client needs and expenses, detailing the services you will provide, and more.
Event Planner Contract Template
Download Event Planner Contract Template
Word | PDF
An event planner contract should clearly outline the expectations of the client, the responsibilities of the event planner, the terms of the agreement, and any pertinent project details. You may also want to include a contract with your event proposal - in this case, use this template as a model for creating your own event planner contract where you can list services, terms, and other important business details. Depending on the scope of the event and the management services you’re providing, you can keep the contents of the contract brief or expand the template to include more details.
Wedding Checklist Template - Excel
Download Wedding Checklist Template
Professional wedding planners and individuals getting married can benefit from an event checklist template. Wedding planning involves many moving pieces, from decorations to food and photography, so a simple checklist can make planning easier, and help identify expenses and ensure that nothing important is forgotten. Get more wedding planning tips from the pros and discover additional useful templates by reading Expert Tips on How To Create A Wedding Timeline .
Event Evaluation Form
Download Event Evaluation Form
A post-conference evaluation can provide critical data about which elements of your event were successful and help identify areas for improvement. You can use this event evaluation for any type of event, and can customize it for internal team members or event attendees. Once you determine the information you want to collect, including which aspects of the event or planning process you want to review, simply customize the form to meet your needs.
Calendar of Events Template
Download Calendar of Events 2023 Template
This template provides a calendar format with an adjacent column for listing events. The calendar displays all 12 months of the year on a single Excel sheet, making it easy to scan through months, plan ahead, and quickly view the events listed in the corresponding column. Each month is also color-coded with alternating hues for easy viewing.
Event Budget Templates
Conference budget template - excel.
Download Conference Budget Template
A budget is an important conference management tool that planners use to identify expenses and resource requirements, inform event decisions, and support an overall plan. Use this template to estimate projected costs and track actual expenses. Comparing your projections with actual costs can help to create more accurate estimations for future conferences.
Event Budget Template - Excel
Download Event Budget Template
This event budget template itemizes expenses in a spreadsheet format and also represents data as visual charts. You can use this format to quickly identify which costs are using the largest percentage of the budget. For example, you might discover that certain costs, such as event programming, food service, advertising, and venue rentals are the biggest expenses. The template includes a section for comments where you can jot down brainstorming notes or share messages with your event team.
Party Budget Template - Excel
Download Party Budget Template - Excel
Organize your party planning and track your budget with this template. It includes a summary of expenses and total costs, and a pie chart that both divides costs into categories and provides a detailed breakdown of expenses for each. Cells are pre-populated with common costs, such as equipment rentals or security and cleaning services; however, you can easily edit the fields to suit your requirements.
Wedding Budget Template - Excel
Download Wedding Budget Template - Excel
This budget planner separates wedding costs into categories including apparel, decorations, reception, and photography. On the template, these categories are broken down into more detailed lists of expenses - this allows you to account for both large and small items, determine which categories are most costly, and ensure that the wedding stays within budget.
Event Venue and Vendor Templates
Food vendor application template.
Download Food Vendor Application Template
Excel | PDF
If you’re planning a conference or an event with food vendors, this template can help streamline the application process. Collect information from each vendor, including contact details, goods or services they offer, and permits. You can also add rules and regulations that each vendor must agree to in order to participate in the event.
Event Venue Checklist
Download Event Venue Checklist
Use this checklist template to inspect venues and determine whether they meet the requirements for your event. Items to check include fees, venue capacity, parking, audiovisual options, and more. Following a checklist can help you identify potential issues and provide a quick comparison between venue options.
Catering Vendor Checklist
Download Catering Vendor Checklist
This catering checklist template offers an easy way to interview caterers. Catering fees can add up quickly, so it’s important to request detailed estimates for accurate budgeting. While some venues may include catering with their services, you will still need to provide the vendor with event details and make sure you understand their policies.
Event Speaker Checklist
Download Event Speaker Checklist
Organize all of the details about your speakers or event entertainment, including audiovisual and other equipment requirements for presentations or performances. Speaker selection is an integral part of event management, so it behooves you to ensure that each presentation is successful. Advance planning may include arranging transportation, collecting speaker bios, and locating and securing necessary equipment.
Wedding Vendor List Template
Download Wedding Vendor List Template
Excel | PDF | Word
Wedding planners can use this template to keep track of all the vendors they plan to work with or are supplying bids. There are sections to include contact information, contract status, costs, and services provided. You can also include a rating score based on your experience of working with a vendor, professional reviews, or comparison with their competitors.
Sign-Up and Attendance Templates
Event sign-up sheet template.
Download Event Sign-Up Sheet Template
If you’re recruiting volunteers for an event, you may find a printable sign-up sheet, such as this one, instrumental in gathering info. Simply post this template at the event to quickly collect names, contact information, and any other details you might need (such as affiliation with the event), or add a space where volunteers can sign up for specific tasks. Simply adjust the column labels to include the information you are seeking.
Conference Sign-In Sheet Template
Download Conference Sign-In Sheet Template
To ensure that all attendees are present at a conference or training event, have them add their signatures to this sign-in sheet. At the top of the template there is room for conference details so that the sheet can tracked and filed easily. You can modify this basic form and use it to collect attendance details at any type of event.
Party Sign-Up Sheet Template
Download Party Sign-Up Sheet Template
Whether you’re planning a company party or team building outing , a sign-up sheet can give you an idea of how many people will attend. This template includes columns for setup and cleanup so that volunteers can plan ahead for these duties.
What to Include in a Strategic Event Plan
The planning process may begin with a brainstorming session as you consider the purpose of your event, what you hope to accomplish, and what resources are available. Keep in mind that, while it’s important to cover all your bases and not overlook important details, there is something to be said for brevity. Being concise - perhaps even limiting your event plan to one page - can encourage clarity and make you more likely to follow it. Keeping a plan short may be especially useful if you are creating an event template that other members of your organization will use to arrange future events. Having a clear protocol to follow will make it easier to maintain standards and requirements as team members and event details fluctuate.
As you think about how to craft an event that will meet your objectives, here are a few things to keep in mind and include in your plan:
- Purpose of Event: In addition to vital event details like dates, times, location, and other logistics, it’s important to know what you hope to achieve. Do you want to accomplish a specific goal such as fundraising or education? Maybe you want your event to meet several objectives, such as launching a product, increasing brand awareness, and boosting sales. Keeping the purpose of the event in mind can help you develop an effective strategy for meeting those objectives.
- Target Audience: Identifying your target audience and their needs can guide your marketing efforts as well as your event planning. How will you meet their needs? How will your event stand out from the competition?
- Event Benefits and Value: Once you determine what your audience needs, you can identify the speakers, entertainment, activities, and messaging that will be most effective. Does your event offer a unique value proposition that potential attendees won’t want to miss?
- Event Marketing and Metrics: Outline all of the marketing channels you will utilize to promote your event, and create a timeline for each phase of marketing. In addition to metrics for tracking the effectiveness of your campaigns, identify any other key metrics that you’ll use to evaluate the event as a whole.
- Budget: Consider both costs and revenue as you plan your event.
Once an event ends, the purpose of event management is to collect and evaluate key metrics. Whether you measure ticket sales and attendance, solicit feedback from participants, or conduct a performance review of the entire planning and event process, performing an evaluation can help you understand what was successful and what needs improvement. This type of information is critical data that you can use to inform decisions about future events.
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How to start an event planning business
If you’re looking to snag one of the 116,700+ (on average) jobs available to meeting, convention, and event managers out there, here’s what you’ll need to get started.
Step 1: Determine if it’s a good fit.
Like most jobs, your skill set and personality will largely determine your success in this field. And while you don’t need to check off all the qualities on this list, here are some things to consider before you start an event management business :
- You can keep the big picture in mind while still taking care of all the little details.
- Whether it’s Sunday brunch or the company holiday party, you’re everyone’s go-to person for all group events.
- Working within a budget and strict timeline makes you feel creatively stimulated, not stunted.
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Step 2: Research certifications.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that demand for event managers will grow an additional 11% by the time we reach 2026. With such a positive industry outlook, it’s good to find new ways to stand out amongst the competition as new event planners enter the market in coming years.
Certifications are fantastic ways to add credibility to your business , regardless of your experience level. Besides proving you’re dedicated to further your education in the field, these credentials show that respected institutions can vouch for your abilities (and your business).
Some of the top certifications event managers pursue include:
- Certified Special Events Professional
- Certified Event Planning Specialist
- Certified Quality Event Planner
There are lots more options to choose from, but these serve as a great jumping off point. However, if you aren’t able to acquire one right now, you can still get your business off the ground without it.
It’s worth noting that beyond certifications, there are no strict college degree requirements (although it seems most event planners do have some sort of bachelor’s education under their belts when starting out).
Step 3: Fill out an event management business plan.
Any cursory Google search for the phrase event management business plan will inevitably lead you to some free wedding and event planning business plan templates .
However, you’ll find that the one we’ve created (below) provides a not too much, not too little approach you won’t find in any other guides.
Each point has been carefully selected so that you can create the event management business plan of your dreams without getting overwhelmed or missing out on details you definitely need to include. As long as you check off the items we listed, you’ll have a solid business plan ready to go in no time.
Step 4: Handle all the necessary paperwork.
To start an event management business, you’ll need each of the following:
- An event management business plan (use the free template we made below)
- Approval for a tax business structure that suits your financial needs
- General business liability insurance
These documents cover all the basics. But as you gain more experience, you might want to add on things like home-based insurance or upgrade to a new tax entity once you enter into the appropriate bracket.
We won’t get into these more advanced concepts for this beginner guide, but make sure to revisit these categories before you’re officially open for business.
Step 5: Figure out finances.
To be clear, you definitely can start an event management business with no money ! However, whether your funding is from your own bank account or someone else’s, small businesses in the events industry should consider starting out with these budget line items:
- Office space and essentials. You can use the computer, printer, and supplies you already have, assuming you do have (or can at least borrow) those things now. But keep in mind: if you’d like to write off your in-home office space on your federal taxes, your room must be secluded and have its own door.
- Advertising. At the very least make sure you have a small batch of business cards and a portfolio website ready to go. If you have some cash to spare, consider getting into paid social media ads or printed marketing materials like mailers.
- Software. The good news is there are plenty of great free event management software programs available these days, so you might not even have to budget for this one!
And that’s basically it! Depending on your niche or preferences, it would be good to also use this startup costs guide created by the Small Business Association to see if there’s anything else specific to you that might be missing.
Step 6: Choose a team.
Vendors, chefs, marketing agencies, software providers, event staff, and personal or office assistants all make wonderful additions to your event management business.
You can start out on your own (which, according to small business statistics , most people do) or you can go through the process of finding, interviewing, and hiring employees.
Depending on the amount of new business you plan to take on, you may or may not need to ever hire someone to help you part-time. At the very least though, you should start compiling a list of people who fit into this network so you can collaborate, get referrals, and perhaps even sub-contract them in the future.
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What is your vision for an event planning business?
Once you’ve completed all of these steps, it’s time to review the big picture. As you figure out your plan, budget, and staffing options, your idea of what you want for your business might change. And that’s totally okay!
Learning how to be flexible is a skill all small business owners must learn. Just make sure you adjust now so you can carry your vision with you for future decision making.
How to write a personal event planning business plan
1. create an executive summary.
- Objectives. Write down your realistic and measurable business goals .
- Mission. Check out these inspiring company mission statements for ideas.
- Keys to Success. Also known as why you think your business will succeed and how you will make sure it does.
2. Make a company summary
- Company Ownership. If it’s just you, consider doing a sole proprietorship .
- Start-up Summary . Think of it like a company overview . Include your business’s back story, location, and anything else you’d basically put on your website’s About section.
- Company Locations and Facilities. Include the address you’ll put on your taxes and any long term rentals like kitchen prep spaces or coworking offices.
3. Identify your products and services
- Services. Event management services can really vary so use this section to outline what you do and what you don’t do.
- Prices. The average yearly event planner’s salary comes out to about $50,000 so plan accordingly.
- Competitive Comparison. Who are your immediate competitors? What do they have that you don’t? Record this research and look for imaginative ways to stand out. Be very honest with your assessment of how your business stacks up against them and what you should do to improve your chances of success.
Try the most popular event management software in the world
4. create a marketing analysis summary.
- Marketing Segmentation. Targeting means finding what area, demographic, or behavioral patterns your high ROI prospects all have in common, just like you’d do for any customer-focused corporate event.
- Target Market Segmentation Strategy. Now that you know who you audience it is, it’s time to research and define all the ways you plan to gain their business.
5. Do a strategy and implementation summary
- Sales Strategy. Here are the two best advanced event business pricing strategies to choose from.
- Sales Forecast. It’s a bit complicated, but figuring out how much money you think your business will make over the next six months to a year (or more) makes studying a sales forecasting guide well worth the effort.
- Milestones . Whether your goal is the total number of sales or income from sales (or something else entirely), you’ll want to formally establish what milestones you’d like to hit by when. Just leave wiggle room for the unexpected and adjust expectations as you go.
6. Write a management summary
- Organizational Structure. For event management teams, clearly defined roles are more important for teamwork than pretty much anything else.
- Personnel Plan. Here are some things to know about hiring staff for an event specifically that will also apply to your company as a whole.
7. Create your financial plan
- Important Assumptions. Business plan assumptions can be fairly complex. For now, just focus on listing your anticipated fixed and variable event planning expenses , marketing costs, and what taxes you’ll have to pay on your earned income.
- Break-Even Analysis . How much did you invest? And how much will you need to earn (after taxes, equipment costs, etc. are subtracted) in order to equal your initial investment? Keep this number handy – it’ll help you decide whether or not to take on more projects, motivate you to upsell whenever possible, and give you a realistic for success.
- Projected Profit and Loss. The IRS might want to see your profit and loss statements at some point, so make a point to regularly record your expenses and sales in one organized document.
- Projected Cash Flow. This free (and very helpful) small business book says to calculate it one month at a time for more accurate figures.
- Projected Balance Sheet. If you’ll be acting as your own bookkeeper, check out this balance sheet template to speed up the process.
- Business Ratios. Even if you’re not a math person, you can definitely handle this last (but very important) event management business plan step. There are lots of business ratios to choose from, but if you want the quickstart version go with these 3 most important balance sheet ratios for professional services firms .
Now you know how to start an event management business!
How do you become an event planner? You plan. Plan your business, plan your client’s events, and plan for a successful future.
There are lots of details involved but if you follow the ideas laid out in this guide, you’ll have yourself a healthy event management business plan along with some great strategies for reaching your goals!
For more on starting your own company , check out these tips for financing your event business , current event statistics worth considering, and event trends you should know for 2019.
How To Write a Successful Event Planning Business Plan + Template
Creating a business plan is essential for any business, but it can be especially helpful for event planning businesses that want to improve their strategy and/or raise funding.
A well-crafted business plan not only outlines the vision for your company, but also documents a step-by-step roadmap of how you are going to accomplish it. In order to create an effective business plan, you must first understand the components that are essential to its success.
This article provides an overview of the key elements that every event planning business owner should include in their business plan.
Download the Ultimate Business Plan Template
What is an Event Planning Business Plan?
An event planning business plan is a formal written document that describes your company’s business strategy and its feasibility. It documents the reasons you will be successful, your areas of competitive advantage, and it includes information about your team members. Your business plan is a key document that will convince investors and lenders (if needed) that you are positioned to become a successful venture.
Why Write an Event Planning Business Plan?
An event planning business plan is required for banks and investors. The document is a clear and concise guide of your business idea and the steps you will take to make it profitable.
Entrepreneurs can also use this as a roadmap when starting their new company or venture, especially if they are inexperienced in starting a business.
Writing an Effective Event Planning Business Plan
The following are the key components of a successful event planning business plan:
The executive summary of an event planning business plan is a one to two page overview of your entire business plan. It should summarize the main points, which will be presented in full in the rest of your business plan.
- Start with a one-line description of your event planning company
- Provide a short summary of the key points in each section of your business plan, which includes information about your company’s management team, industry analysis, competitive analysis, and financial forecast among others.
This section should include a brief history of your company. Include a short description of how your company started, and provide a timeline of milestones your company has achieved.
If you are just starting your event planning business, you may not have a long company history. Instead, you can include information about your professional experience in this industry and how and why you conceived your new venture. If you have worked for a similar company before or have been involved in an entrepreneurial venture before starting your event planning firm, mention this.
You will also include information about your chosen event planning business model and how, if applicable, it is different from other companies in your industry.
The industry or market analysis is an important component of an event planning business plan. Conduct thorough market research to determine industry trends and document the size of your market.
Questions to answer include:
- What part of the event planning industry are you targeting?
- How big is the market?
- What trends are happening in the industry right now (and if applicable, how do these trends support the success of your company)?
You should also include sources for the information you provide, such as published research reports and expert opinions.
This section should include a list of your target audience(s) with demographic and psychographic profiles (e.g., age, gender, income level, profession, job titles, interests). You will need to provide a profile of each customer segment separately, including their needs and wants.
For example, the customers of an event planning business may include:
- Wedding planners needing help with transportation logistics
- Conference organizers wanting assistance with on-site registration
- Caterers in need of assistance to manage the timing of service delivery
You can include information about how your customers make the decision to buy from you as well as what keeps them buying from you.
Develop a strategy for targeting those customers who are most likely to buy from you, as well as those that might be influenced to buy your products or event planning services with the right marketing.
The competitive analysis helps you determine how your product or service will be different from competitors, and what your unique selling proposition (USP) might be that will set you apart in this industry.
For each competitor, list their strengths and weaknesses. Next, determine your areas of competitive differentiation and/or advantage; that is, in what ways are you different from and ideally better than your competitors.
Below are sample competitive advantages your event planning business may have:
- You are the only event planner in your city with an events app that allows customers to book and manage their event logistics in one place.
- You have a team of experienced event planners who specialize in military funerals, which is a niche market.
- Your company is the go-to choice for conference organizers looking for assistance with on-site registration and event management.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea of the types of competitive advantages you may have.
This part of the business plan is where you determine and document your marketing plan. . Your plan should be clearly laid out, including the following 4 Ps.
- Product/Service : Detail your product/service offerings here. Document their features and benefits.
- Price : Document your pricing strategy here. In addition to stating the prices for your products/services, mention how your pricing compares to your competition.
- Place : Where will your customers find you? What channels of distribution (e.g., partnerships) will you use to reach them if applicable?
- Promotion : How will you reach your target customers? For example, you may use social media, write blog posts, create an email marketing campaign, use pay-per-click advertising, launch a direct mail campaign. Or, you may promote your event planning business via a combination of these channels.
This part of your event planning business plan should include the following information:
- How will you deliver your product/service to customers? For example, will you do it in person or over the phone only?
- What infrastructure, equipment, and resources are needed to operate successfully? How can you meet those requirements within budget constraints?
The operations plan is where you also need to include your company’s business policies. You will want to establish policies related to everything from customer service to pricing, to the overall brand image you are trying to present.
Finally, and most importantly, in your Operations Plan, you will lay out the milestones your company hopes to achieve within the next five years. Create a chart that shows the key milestone(s) you hope to achieve each quarter for the next four quarters, and then each year for the following four years. Examples of milestones for an event planning business include reaching $X in sales. Other examples include launching a new product/service, expanding to a new market, or hiring key personnel.
List your team members here including their names and titles, as well as their expertise and experience relevant to your specific event planning industry. Include brief biography sketches for each team member.
Particularly if you are seeking funding, the goal of this section is to convince investors and lenders that your team has the expertise and experience to execute on your plan. If you are missing key team members, document the roles and responsibilities you plan to hire for in the future.
Here you will include a summary of your complete and detailed financial plan (your full financial projections go in the Appendix).
This includes the following three financial statements:
Your income statement should include:
- Revenue : how much revenue you generate.
- Cost of Goods Sold : These are your direct costs associated with generating revenue. This includes labor costs, as well as the cost of any equipment and supplies used to deliver the product/service offering.
- Net Income (or loss) : Once expenses and revenue are totaled and deducted from each other, this is the net income or loss.
Sample Income Statement for a Startup Event Planning Business
Include a balance sheet that shows your assets, liabilities, and equity. Your balance sheet should include:
- Assets : All of the things you own (including cash).
- Liabilities : This is what you owe against your company’s assets, such as accounts payable or loans.
- Equity : The worth of your business after all liabilities and assets are totaled and deducted from each other.
Sample Balance Sheet for a Startup Event Planning Business
Cash flow statement.
Include a cash flow statement showing how much cash comes in, how much cash goes out and a net cash flow for each year. The cash flow statement should include:
- Cash Flow From Operations
- Cash Flow From Investments
- Cash Flow From Financing
Below is a sample of a projected cash flow statement for a startup event planning business.
Sample Cash Flow Statement for a Startup Event Planning Business
You will also want to include an appendix section which will include:
- Your complete financial projections
- A complete list of your company’s business policies and procedures related to the rest of the business plan (marketing, operations, etc.)
- Any other documentation which supports what you included in the body of your business plan.
Writing a good business plan gives you the advantage of being fully prepared to launch and/or grow your event planning company. It not only outlines your business vision but also provides a step-by-step process of how you are going to accomplish it.
A well-written business plan is an essential tool for any event planning company. If you are seeking funding from investors or lenders, it’s important to have a polished and professional business plan. Use the outline above as a guide as you write your own event planning business plan.
Finish Your Event Planning Business Plan in 1 Day!
Other helpful articles.
How To Write a Successful Party Planner Business Plan + Template
How To Write a Successful Wedding Planner Business Plan + Template
How To Develop a Financial Plan For An Event Planning Business
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How to Start an Event Planning Service Want to be an event planner but not sure how to start your own event planning service? Discover how to start this business in our step-by-step guide.
Feb 22, 2001
Some people get a lot of personal and professional joy out of making big events and special days even better for their attendees. If you have the hosting itch, and if you love to tackle complex problems and make big days go smoothly, you might have a future as a professional event planner.
But whether you choose to work alone or with a small team, starting an event planning service is no small task. Today, let's break down how to start an event planning service step-by-step.
What are the basics of event planning?
Event planning is the art (and sometimes science) of event ideation, planning, coordination and operation. When a big, important event needs to go smoothly, it's time to call an event planning service or coordinator.
Event planners are key service providers who can ensure event production and execution happens smoothly. They perform these duties for trade shows, senior events, nonprofit galas and much more.
Related: Find Your Event-Planning Niche
Event planning is most often used for purposes like:
- Big educational meetings, like graduations or conferences.
- Major promotions, like marketing events, product launches and fashion shows.
- Corporate events, like after-work cocktail hours, galas, etc.
- Celebrations and social events like parades, weddings, birthdays, reunions, etc.
Event planning is highly important to make sure the above and other major events go off without a hitch, especially so that the most important guests can enjoy themselves.
The primary duties of full-time or part-time, on-site event planner jobs include:
- Doing research prior to the big event.
- Event design and team-building for project management.
- Finding the appropriate site for the event.
- Creating event budgets and running fundraisers if necessary.
- Arranging for decor, entertainment and food for the event.
- Sending invitations to potential attendees.
- Planning transportation for attendees to and from the event.
- Arranging any other necessary accommodations, like seating.
- Coordinating activities for event personnel, like caterers or entertainers.
- Supervising activities at the event site.
The events industry, both for wedding planning and other events, requires good communication skills. Additionally, obtaining a bachelor's degree in public relations or related areas can be helpful but is not absolutely required. Let's look closer at this job type and business.
Why do people hire event planning services?
People primarily hire event planning services for two reasons:
- So that event-goers and guests of honor can enjoy themselves without focusing on the event.
- So that the event in question goes smoothly.
Imagine a typical example of a wedding. Many engaged couples hire event planners or event planning services to coordinate, organize and carry out their wedding plans. In this way, the couples can enjoy their special days and focus on getting married rather than worrying about things like catering, parking and kicking out rowdy guests. Instead, the wedding planner takes care of that stuff.
Furthermore, some events are so complex – particularly those with hundreds of guests or more – that it's almost impossible to properly plan and organize them without the help of a specialist. Knowledgeable, experienced event planners know how to organize groups of people, how much food to provide and other details that can make or break an important event.
Related: The Price Is Right: Turning a Profit in the Event Planning Business
Who should become an event planner?
You might consider becoming an event planner if you love hosting parties and the thrill of organizing a complex event and running it without an issue. Planners often have to handle many moving parts at once. Many event planners have histories as managers or coordinators in other industries. You should become an event planner or start your own event planning service if you feel that you would enjoy this kind of work.
It's also worth noting that event planning often requires you to work on weekends or holidays (since these are the days when people have free time to schedule and hold events), as well as handle chaotic, sometimes confusing work and competing agendas. You should also consider acquiring certification for your event planning service, as it can help you acquire relevant professional skills and attract more job opportunities . Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is an association that offers a list of degrees and certificates from colleges and universities. The right degree or certification can lead to more job opportunities and even pave the way to a higher salary.
Alternatively, try to become a CSEP or Certified Special Events Professional or CMP or Certified Meeting Planner. Both of these are given out by the MPI or the ISES (International Special Events Society), which also highlight your skills and designate you as an expert event coordinator.
Now that we've covered the basics, let's get into the steps you need to take to start an event planning service:
Step 1: Make your company
Your first step involves making your company and filing the right paperwork. You should first draw up a business plan, which will include details like:
- The business's name.
- The business's tax structure (like a sole proprietorship, LLC, etc.).
- How you'll make a profit.
Related: Check out these business plan templates to get started.
You'll also want to get an EIN, or employer identification number. This will allow you to hire employees for your event planning service if you desire later down the road.
Step 2: Choose your target market
Next, do market research and pick the target market you want to work for. For instance, if you want to primarily work with weddings, you need to research that target market to know how much to charge for your services, what's involved and what you need to be experienced in.
By doing some research ahead of time, you won't find running your first events to be too overwhelming. You'll also know how much to advertise your event planning service to be competitive relative to other services in the area.
Step 3: Consider startup costs
When you start an event planning business, you'll have to consider startup costs. Working from home or primarily by yourself will keep costs low as opposed to hiring employees (who will require salaries).
However, if you want to expand your event planning business, you'll eventually need extra equipment, business premises like an office or warehouse and more. All of these things can add up, impacting the kind of business you begin.
Note that you can always scale your business after acquiring steady work. For instance, you can start off as a one-man event planning service that only provides services to small events you can tackle by yourself. After you save up some money from some successful jobs, you can hire a few more employees and rent out a warehouse for your equipment, like cameras, chairs and more.
Step 4: Understand the work involved and hire employees (optional)
For your event planning service to be successful , you need to fully grasp the nature of the work involved and understand whether you should hire employees.
Planning and executing an excellent event generally involves:
- Designing the event, which means sketching out the feel or look of the event in question. Some clients will have very specific ideas you'll need to incorporate into the design.
- Putting together a proposal for your clients so they can improve your plans.
- Organizing the event, which involves almost everything else, like renting the site for the event, hiring vendors, hiring entertainers, organizing caterers and much more.
There's a ton of work that goes into planning even the smallest event. Fortunately, as you acquire experience, you'll be more adept at anticipating and completing this work.
Related: The Event Planning Recipe for Success
Generally, the larger the events you want to manage and coordinate, the more employees you need to hire. At a certain point, you can't be everywhere at once! Consider hiring employees when you have the cash to do so; this will allow you to plan events for larger groups of people and make more of a profit.
Step 5: Settle on a price structure and fee basis
How you price your event planning business will impact how often you get requests. You can determine your pricing structure and fee basis by things like:
- The market segment you serve: For instance, social events usually have different fee structures than corporate events.
- Your geographic location: If you have a higher cost of living, you are justified in charging your clients more to plan their events.
- Your experience and reputation: As your business gets a reputation for success, you'll be able to charge a higher premium for your services.
Step 6: Start marketing your event planning service
Once you have all of your ducks in a row and you know how to charge your clients, you can start marketing your event planning service. Do this online through Google PPC (pay-per-click) ads, social media marketing and other efforts. Don't hesitate to use in-person marketing materials, like posters or TV ads, as well.
Related: 8 Savvy Ways to Promote Your Event Planning Business
As you can see, starting an event planning service is a matter of preparation and deep consideration. If you plan everything properly, your event planning service will launch smoothly, and you'll get your first batch of clients in no time.
Check out Entrepreneur's other guides and resources today!
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Event Planning Company Business Plan
Event planning business plan.
You’ve come to the right place to create your event planning business plan.
We have helped over 10,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans and many have used them to start or grow their event planning companies
Below is an event planning business plan sample to help you create each section of your Event Planning business plan.
Special Occasions Event Planning is a startup event planning business located in Des Moines, Iowa. The Company is founded by Jennifer Brown, an experienced event planner who has been planning themed weddings and birthday parties as the manager of a local event venue for the past ten years. Now that Jennifer has gained valuable experience managing an event venue and planning special events of various sizes and styles, she is ready to start her own event planning company, Special Occasions Event Planning. Jennifer is confident that her event planning skills, combined with her understanding of business management, will enable her to run a profitable event planning company of her own. Jennifer is recruiting a team of highly qualified professionals to help manage the day-to-day complexities of running an event planning business – sales and marketing, supply sourcing and procurement, customer relationship management, budgeting, financial reporting, and vendor relationship management.
Special Occasions Event Planning will provide customized event planning services for special occasions big and small. Special Occasions will specialize in themed birthday parties, but will provide planning services for other types of events such as weddings, parties, and corporate gatherings upon request. The Company will be the ultimate choice for unique and memorable themed birthday parties for clients of all ages.
The following are the event planning products and services that Special Occasions Event Planning will provide:
- Venue Sourcing
- Tables & Chairs
- Dinnerware & Utensils
- Caterer Coordination
- Party Favors
- Set-up/Clean up
Special Occasions Event Planning will target individuals, families, and social groups in Des Moines, Iowa. The Company will target people looking to plan a one-of-a-kind birthday party for their child, significant other, friend, or other relative. No matter the customer, Special Occasions Event Planning will deliver the best communication, service, and attention to detail.
Special Occasions Event Planning will be owned and operated by Jennifer Brown. Jennifer is a graduate of Iowa University with a degree in Business Management. She has over ten years of experience working as an event planner for another local venue. Jennifer will be the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and the Head Event Planner. She will lead the more complex events and oversee the event planning staff.
Jennifer has recruited an experienced administrative assistant, Patricia Smith, to help manage the day-to-day business operations. Patricia has been an administrative assistant in the event planning industry for more than 15 years. Jennifer relies on Patricia’s organization, attention to detail, and punctuality when organizing her schedule, managing clients, and maintaining her files.
Jennifer and Patricia have recruited an experienced marketing director, John Jones, to become a member of the Special Occasions Event Planning management team. John is a graduate of the University of Iowa with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing. Jennifer and Patricia rely on John’s expertise to execute the Company’s marketing plan and advertising strategies.
Special Occasions Event Planning will be able to achieve success by offering the following competitive advantages:
- Skilled team of event planners who will ensure every client receives exceptional customer service and that all reasonable requests are met.
- Special Occasions Event Planning’s leadership team has established relationships with local venues, vendors, and entertainers, thus providing customers with a wide selection of options to choose from when planning their special event.
- The Company specializes in the themed birthday party niche and is well-versed in the latest trends in the industry.
Special Occasions Event Planning is seeking $200,000 in debt financing to launch its event planning business. The funding will be dedicated towards securing an office space and purchasing equipment and supplies. Funding will also be dedicated towards three months of overhead costs to include payroll of the staff and marketing expenses. The breakout of the funding is below:
- Office lease and renovation: $80,000
- Office equipment, supplies, and materials: $20,000
- Three months of overhead expenses (payroll, utilities): $90,000
- Marketing costs: $10,000
- Working capital: $10,000
The following graph below outlines the pro forma financial projections for Special Occasions Event Planning.
Who is special occasions event planning .
Special Occasions Event Planning is a newly established event planning company based in Des Moines, Iowa. Special Occasions will be the first choice for unique themed birthday parties for people of all ages in Des Moines and the surrounding communities. The company will provide customized event planning services for parties large and small.
Special Occasions Event Planning will be able to provide all the essentials for any special event from highly rated caterers to the hottest entertainment due to the Company’s existing relationships with industry professionals and vendors. The Company’s team of highly qualified event planning professionals will manage the entire planning process from ideation to execution. Special Occasions even provides clean-up services. Clients can opt for full-service event planning services or purchase specific aspects (such as decor or catering) a la carte.
Special Occasions Event Planning History
Special Occasions Event Planning is owned and operated by Jennifer Brown, an experienced event planner who has been planning themed weddings and birthday parties as the manager of a local event venue for the past ten years. Now that Jennifer has experienced managing an event venue and planning special events of various sizes and styles, she is ready to start her own event planning company. Jennifer is confident that her event planning skills, combined with her understanding of business management, will enable her to run a profitable event planning company of her own. Jennifer is recruiting a team of highly qualified professionals to help manage the day-to-day complexities of running an event planning business – sales and marketing, supply sourcing and procurement, customer relationship management, budgeting, financial reporting, and vendor relationship management.
Since incorporation, Special Occasions Event Planning has achieved the following milestones:
- Registered Special Occasions Event Planning, LLC to transact business in the state of Iowa.
- Has signed a contract to lease the office space.
- Reached out to numerous contacts to include local venues, catering companies, entertainers, and decor suppliers to spread the word about her new business opportunities.
- Began recruiting a staff of accountants, event planners, sales and marketing associates, and office staff to work at Special Occasions Event Planning Services.
Special Occasions Event Planning Services
The Party and Event Planning industry in the United States is valued at approximately $4B, with 70,000 businesses in operation, and over 82,000 employees. The market for event planning services is expected to grow over the next several years due to an aging baby boomer population, many of whom have children and grandchildren who will have weddings, birthday parties, graduations, anniversaries, and other special events in the coming years. Additionally, the corporate event planning segment is expected to grow due to more companies pursuing team building opportunities and hosting events that can serve as marketing for the business.
The event planning market is split into two broad segments: corporate and social. Corporate events such as holiday parties, meetings, trade shows, conventions, fundraisers, and receptions are just some of the events included in this segment. Corporate customers include companies, non-profit organizations, and charities. The social segment includes a wide range of special occasions such as weddings, bridal showers, birthday parties, anniversary parties, reunions, and more. The largest and most lucrative category in the social event planning segment is wedding planning.
Industry operators can specialize in one or two niches such as wedding planners or corporate planners. Alternatively, industry operators can provide planning services for a wide range of events. Industry operators that specialize in a specific niche and even narrow their niche to a specific type of event, such as “kids’ parties” or “fashion shows” may have more success because they can become an expert in one area and target a highly specific customer segment. Industry operators who provide a broad range of services to a variety of customers can be successful if they provide high levels of organization, customer service, and unique or highly customized services.
Demographic profile of target market.
Special Occasions Event Planning will target individuals, families, and social groups in Des Moines, Iowa. The Company will target people looking to plan a one-of-a-kind birthday party for their child, significant other, friend, or other relative. Special Occasions Event Planning will also target young adults looking to plan a memorable, themed 21st birthday party. No matter the customer, Special Occasions Event Planning will deliver the best communication, service, and attention to detail.
The precise demographics for Des Moines, Iowa are:
Special Occasions will primarily target the following customer profiles:
- Individuals with disposable income
- Families with children and disposable income
Direct and indirect competitors.
Special Occasions Event Planning will face competition from other companies with similar business profiles. A description of each competitor company is below.
Emily’s Event Planning
Established in 2017, Emily’s Event Planning is now a well-known event planner in the Des Moines, Iowa area. The company provides event planning services for large corporate events, weddings, and birthday parties. Emily’s Event Planning is most well-known for its picturesque venue choices. The company has relationships with some of the most in-demand venues in the area. Emily’s Event Planning provides an all-inclusive event planning and management service with packages that include venue rental, decor, entertainment, food, and clean-up services.
While Emily’s Event Planning has an established reputation in the market for quality event planning services, it has a list of predefined event packages and does not customize its services or take unique requests from customers.
Fancy Event Planner
Fancy Event Planner has been operating in the state of Iowa since 1982. This company is a small business run by a husband and wife team that specializes in event planning and catering services for weddings, birthday parties, and other special occasions. Fancy Event Planner provides decor, venue coordination, and food service for events of up to 100 guests. The company specializes in providing gourmet dinners, desserts, and appetizers. Additionally, Fancy Event Planner provides hand crafted decor and floral arrangements for weddings and parties. Fancy Event Planner is for customers looking for an elegant presentation in a traditional setting.
Fancy Event Planner has a limited selection of services and does not offer entertainment, set-up/clean-up, lighting/sound, or liquor accommodations.
Wonderfully Perfect Event Planning Services
Wonderfully Perfect Event Planning Services is a new Des Moines, Iowa-based event planner that provides superior service to its customers. The company is managed by an experienced entrepreneur who has been working in the hospitality industry for over 20 years. She opened Wonderfully Perfect Event Planning Services in 2019 when she discovered a lack of options for themed party planning in the area. The company provides customized planning services for any event and will strive to ensure all customer requests are met to ensure a perfect event experience every time.
The company does not have established relationships with vendors, venues, or entertainment in the area and as such, trails behind Special Occasions Event Planning in this area.
Special Occasions Event Planning will be able to offer the following advantages over the competition:
- Skilled team of experienced event planners who are able to provide customized planning services and fulfill any reasonable request.
- Special Occasions Event Planning’s management team has long-standing relationships with industry professionals and is able to provide customers with a wide selection of options when it comes to venues, entertainment, and catering.
- The Company specializes in themed birthday parties and keeps up on the latest trends in the industry.
Brand & value proposition.
Special Occasions Event Planning will offer the unique value proposition to its clientele:
- Special Occasions Event Planning provides full-services event planning from ideation to execution.
- The Company’s wide selection of options allows each customer to create their dream event.
The promotions strategy for Special Occasions Event Planning is as follows:
Social Media Marketing
The Company’s marketing director will create accounts on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube. He will ensure Special Occasions maintains an active social media presence with regular daily updates and fun content to get customers excited about using the Company’s event planning services.
Professional Associations and Networking
Special Occasions Event Planning will become a member of professional associations such as the Event Planners’ Association, American Party Planning Society, and the Iowa Special Event Association. The leadership team will focus their networking efforts on expanding the Company’s vendor and client network.
Special Occasions Event Planning will invest in professionally designed print ads to display in programs or flyers at industry networking events. The Company will also send direct mailers to local businesses with employees who are in the target market.
Special Occasions Event Planning will utilize its in-house marketing director that designed the print ads to also design the Company’s website. The website will be well organized, informative, and list all the services that Special Occasions is able to provide. The website will also list information on the Company’s events and promotions.
The marketing director will also manage the Company’s website presence with SEO marketing tactics so that when someone types in a search engine “Des Moines Event Planner” or “Event Planner near me”, Special Occasions Event Planning will be listed at the top of the search results.
The pricing of Special Occasions Event Planning will be premium due to the high level of customization and hands-on planning services involved. Customers will feel they receive great value when purchasing the Company’s services.
The following will be the operations plan for Special Occasions Event Planning.
- Jennifer Brown will be the CEO and Head Event Planner. She will lead the more complex events and oversee the event planning staff. Jennifer has spent the past year recruiting the following staff:
- Patricia Smith – Administrative Assistant who will manage the budgeting, vendor relationships, and logistics.
- Sam Johnson – Accountant/Bookkeeper who will provide all accounting, tax payments, and monthly financial reporting.
- John Jones – Marketing Director who will oversee all marketing strategies for the Company and manage the website, social media, and outreach.
- Michelle Garcia – Customer Success Officer who will oversee customer relationships.
Special Occasions Event Planning will have the following milestones complete in the next six months.
11/1/2022 – Finalize contract to lease the office space.
11/15/2022 – Finalize employment contracts for the Special Occasions Event Planning management team.
12/1/2022 – Begin renovations on the office and purchase office equipment and supplies.
12/15/2022 – Begin networking at industry events and implement the marketing plan.
1/15/2023 – Begin recruiting and training office staff and event planners.
2/15/2023 – Special Occasions Event Planning officially opens for business.
Key revenue & costs.
The revenue drivers for Special Occasions Event Planning are the fees charged to customers in exchange for the Company’s event planning services. Customers will be able to purchase full-service, customizable packages or select specific aspects (such as entertainment or catering) a la carte.
The cost drivers will be the overhead costs required in order to staff an event planning business. The expenses will be the payroll cost, utilities, party supplies, and marketing materials.
Funding Requirements and Use of Funds
The following outlines the key assumptions required in order to achieve the revenue and cost numbers in the financials and in order to pay off the startup business loan.
- Average number of events per month: 4
- Average fees per month: $20,000
- Overhead costs per year: $360,000
Income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, event planning company business plan faqs, what is an event planning company business plan.
An e vent planning company business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your event planning company business. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing plan and details your financial projections.
You can easily complete your event planning company business plan using our Event Planning Company Business Plan Template here .
What are the Main Types of Event Planning Companies?
There are a number of different kinds of event planning companies , some examples include: Corporate Events, Social Events, and Niche Events Planning.
How Do You Get Funding for Your Event Planning Company Business Plan?
Event planning companies are often funded through small business loans. Personal savings, credit card financing and angel investors are also popular forms of funding. This is true for an event business plan or an event management business plan.
What are the Steps To Start an Event Planning Business?
Starting an event planning business can be an exciting endeavor. Having a clear roadmap of the steps to start a business will help you stay focused on your goals and get started faster.
1. Develop An Event Planning Company Business Plan - The first step in starting a business is to create a detailed event planning company business plan that outlines all aspects of the venture. This should include potential market size and target customers, the services or products you will offer, pricing strategies and a detailed financial forecast.
2. Choose Your Legal Structure - It's important to select an appropriate legal entity for your event planning business. This could be a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks so it’s important to do research and choose wisely so that your event planning business is in compliance with local laws.
3. Register Your Event Planning Business - Once you have chosen a legal structure, the next step is to register your event planning business with the government or state where you’re operating from. This includes obtaining licenses and permits as required by federal, state, and local laws.
4. Identify Financing Options - It’s likely that you’ll need some capital to start your event planning business, so take some time to identify what financing options are available such as bank loans, investor funding, grants, or crowdfunding platforms.
5. Choose a Location - Whether you plan on operating out of a physical location or not, you should always have an idea of where you’ll be based should it become necessary in the future as well as what kind of space would be suitable for your operations.
6. Hire Employees - There are several ways to find qualified employees including job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed as well as hiring agencies if needed – depending on what type of employees you need it might also be more effective to reach out directly through networking events.
7. Acquire Necessary Event Planning Company Equipment & Supplies - In order to start your event planning business, you'll need to purchase all of the necessary equipment and supplies to run a successful operation.
8. Market & Promote Your Business - Once you have all the necessary pieces in place, it’s time to start promoting and marketing your event planning business. This includes creating a website, utilizing social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, and having an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. You should also consider traditional marketing techniques such as radio or print advertising.
Learn more about how to start a successful event planning business:
- How to Start an Event Planning Business
Other Helpful Business Plan Templates
Photography Business Plan Template Event Venue Business Plan Template Catering Business Plan Template
Start Your Event Planning Business in Minutes
How to Start a Event Planning Business [11+ Steps]
Ever dreamt of throwing epic parties or organizing unforgettable events and actually making a living from it? Buckle up, because we're about to dive into the thrilling world of event planning, showing you how to turn your passion into a profitable business.
Our Shortlist Steps to Start a Profitable Event Planning Business:
- Draft a event planning business plan.
- Pick a business name & business entity that works best for you.
- Find ways to finance your event planning startup.
- Open a professional business bank account.
- Set up your accounting & tax reporting.
- Obatin the necessary licenses & permits for your event planning business.
- Purchase the equipment, software, & tools needed.
Startup Costs for a Event Planning Business:
Initiating a event planning business can involve substantial financial commitment, the scale of which is significantly influenced by factors such as geographical location, market dynamics, and operational expenses, among others. Nonetheless, our extensive research and hands-on experience have revealed an estimated starting cost of approximately $11200 for launching such an business. Please note, not all of these costs may be necessary to start up your event planning business.
- Event Planning Startup Expenses
Table of Contents: (Page Navigation)
11 steps to start a profitable event planning business with little to no money:, 1. event planning business plan..
Starting an event planning business can be an exciting and lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs looking for a flexible yet rewarding career. But it’s important to take the time to develop a plan that will help you succeed. By putting together a solid plan, you can ensure that your event planning business is built on a strong foundation from the start.First, decide what type of events you’ll be planning. This could range from intimate birthday parties and corporate events to large-scale weddings and conferences. Make sure you’re familiar with the types of services expected for each type of event so that you can shape your business accordingly.Second, research the competition and create a unique selling point. Consider policies, pricing structures and general services offered by other companies in your area and develop a strategy that distinguishes your company from them while also setting yourself up as an expert in the field. Finally, have a clear understanding of any supplies or personnel you’ll need in order to operate your business at an optimal level. This could include items such as computers, printers, catering supplies and even employees who can help with the behind-the-scenes work involved in event planning. Once you have an idea of the resources available to you, create goals and objectives revolving around cost savings, customer satisfaction and growth opportunities so that your event planning business can flourish for years to come.
- Check out our entire small business plan directory
2. Form the Legal Business Entity.
If you're thinking of starting a event planning business, one of the first things you'll need to do is decide on the type of business entity to register. The four most common types are sole proprietorship, corporate organization, limited liability company (LLC), and partnership.
Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to carefully consider your options before making a decision.
- A sole proprietorship is the simplest type of business to set up, but it offers no personal liability protection.
- A corporate organization involves shareholders electing board members to run the business, and requires an annual meeting with stockholders' meetings every three months.
- An LLC provides extra protection for investors by limiting their liability exposure and allows flexibility in operating the business.
- A partnership involves business owners and partners, and can offer personal liability protection.
When deciding on the right type of entity for your event planning business , it's important to consider your liability exposure and your goals for the business. If you're just starting out and selling to family and friends, a sole proprietorship may be enough. But if you're looking for more protection or to grow your event planning business, a corporate organization or LLC may be a better choice. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each type and seek professional advice if necessary.
After you've chosen your business entity, you'll need to register it with the state in which you'll be doing business. This will give you the legal protections you need to operate your business and protect your personal assets. To register, you'll need to file the appropriate paperwork with your state's Secretary of State office . Be sure to research the legal and financial requirements for your chosen entity and comply with all necessary regulations.
Starting a event planning business can be a rewarding and profitable venture, but it requires careful planning and preparation. By choosing the right business entity, registering properly, and taking other necessary steps, you can set yourself up for success. Don't hesitate to seek advice from professionals or other business owners if you have questions or concerns.
- Check out our U.S. Registered Agent Directory
- Check out our U.S. LLC Directory
Form an LLC in your state!
3. Source Financing for Your Event Planning Business.
When starting a event planning business, it's essential to have a solid financing plan in place. While there are several financing options available, it's important to carefully evaluate each one, as each decision may have long-term financial implications for both you and your business.
If you're just starting out, you may only need a few hundred dollars to cover initial costs, but it's still worth considering the following financing options:
1. Raising money from friends and family:
- Pros: Access to capital without giving up equity; potential for low interest rates.
- Cons: May strain personal relationships if things don't go as planned; lack of expertise and experience from investors.
2. Bootstrapping by tapping into your own savings:
- Pros: Complete control over your business; potential for greater profits in the long run.
- Cons: Limited initial funding; potential for greater personal risk.
3. Sourcing investment from outside investors:
- Pros: Access to a larger pool of capital and expertise; potential for valuable partnerships and connections.
- Cons: May require giving up equity or control of your business; potential for high interest rates or strict repayment terms.
4. Obtaining a bank loan:
- Pros: Typically low interest rates; predictable repayment terms.
- Cons: Requires good credit history and collateral; may be difficult to obtain for a new business.
5. Getting funding from a hard money lender:
- Pros: Quick access to capital; flexible repayment terms.
- Cons: High interest rates; potential for strict repayment terms and penalties for default.
Remember that these are just a few of the many options available to you. The key is to make informed decisions that work best for your current situation. Consult with your accountant before making any final decisions.
Keep in mind that there's no right answer when it comes to determining how much money to invest in your event planning business. However, the above options can provide some guidance on which financing options may be the best fit for you and your event planning business.
By carefully considering your financing options and seeking professional advice, you can set your event planning business up for success.
4. Open a Business Bank Account.
Opening a business bank account for your event planning company may seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. Choosing the right type of account depends on your specific needs and the amount of money you'll be depositing.
There are three common types of business bank accounts:
- Business Checking account : The most common type of business bank account is a checking account. Checking accounts are easy to open and offer a variety of features and benefits that can be helpful for businesses. One of the biggest advantages of a checking account is that it allows you to easily deposit and withdraw money as you need it. You can also write checks from your checking account, which can be helpful for paying bills or suppliers.
- Business Savings account : Another popular type of business bank account is a savings account. Savings accounts earn interest on the money that you deposit, so they can be a great way to grow your event planning company's cash reserve. However, savings accounts typically have lower interest rates than checking accounts and may have withdrawal limits.
- Business credit card : If you're looking for a more robust bank account for your business, you may want to consider opening a business credit card. Business credit cards can be very helpful for businesses that need to make large purchases or need to build up their credit history. However, business credit cards typically have high-interest rates and may have annual fees.
It's important to shop around and compare features and fees before making a decision. Some banks offer specialized accounts and services for small businesses that may be a better fit for your specific needs.
As always, consult with a certified professional accountant before making any final financial decisions. Once you've found the right bank account for your event planning company, you'll be one step closer to building your business.
5. Set up Your Accounting and Taxes.
As a new event planning business owner, it's important to prioritize setting up a proper accounting system to effectively manage your finances. Doing so will allow you to track expenses, revenue, receipts, taxes owed, and more.
There are a few different ways to establish an accounting system for your business, including using online accounting software such as QuickBooks or Xero, or hiring an accountant to handle it for you.
If you decide to manage the accounting on your own, it's crucial to choose a user-friendly system that you can easily navigate. As you begin tracking your income and expenses, you'll gain valuable insights into where your money is going and where you can make cuts or budget for future expenses. Be sure to regularly reconcile your accounts and update your records , ideally on a monthly basis, to stay on top of your finances and avoid headaches down the road.
Don't hesitate to reach out to your accountant or financial advisor for guidance on choosing and using an accounting system that's right for your business. Their expertise and support can help you navigate the accounting process with confidence.
- Find account software for your business
6. Obtain Event Planning Business Permits and Licenses.
Starting a new event planning business can be an exciting adventure, but it's important to remember that obtaining the proper licenses and permits is a critical step in the process. Without the right licenses and permits, you could face fines, penalties, or even legal trouble down the line.
The types of licenses and permits you need may vary depending on the location of your business, the services you offer, and the products you sell. It's important to research the requirements for your specific business and location.
To make sure you have all the necessary licenses and permits for your event planning business, start by contacting your local business licensing office or chamber of commerce. They can help guide you through the process and provide you with the appropriate forms and applications to fill out.
Once you've obtained all the necessary licenses and permits, you can officially open your event planning business and start operating with confidence. Don't forget to renew your licenses and permits regularly to stay compliant with local regulations.
By taking the time to obtain the proper licenses and permits , you'll be setting your event planning business up for success and avoiding any potential legal issues in the future. Good luck on your new venture!
7. Purchase Equipment, Software, Supplies & Tools Needed.
Starting a event planning business can be a challenging task, and acquiring the proper equipment, tools, and supplies is crucial for success.
To help you get started, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Identify your equipment, tools, and supply needs: Determine the necessary equipment, tools, and supplies you will need to run your business effectively. Create a list of both big and small items that you'll require.
- Conduct supplier research: Research various suppliers and compare prices, quality, and customer reviews to get the best deal.
- Consider leasing or renting: If you're on a tight budget, consider leasing or renting equipment instead of buying it outright. This option can help save you money, especially for expensive equipment that you won't use frequently.
- Get everything in writing: Before making any purchases, make sure to get all the details in writing, including price, warranty, and delivery date.
- Stay organized and manage inventory: Keeping track of your equipment, tools, and supplies is essential for smooth business operations. Implement an inventory management system to track inventory levels and reorder supplies in advance.
By following these steps, you'll be well-equipped to run your event planning business efficiently and successfully.
- Check out our small business software & tools review directory
8. Create a Brand Identity for Your Event Planning Company.
Creating a brand identity for your event planning company can be very difficult. There are so many factors to consider, from the logo design to the colors you use.
But if you take the time to plan and focus on what you want your customers to feel, you can create a brand identity that will set your business apart from the rest.
Here's how to get started:
1. Define your event planning company's purpose and values.
What do you want to achieve with your business? What kind of feeling do you want your customers to have when they think of your event planning brand? These are important questions to answer before you start creating any visuals for your brand.
2. Choose a color scheme that reflects your company's personality.
Colors can communicate a lot about a brand, so it's important to choose wisely. If you're not sure where to start, try looking at other brands in your industry and see what colors they use.
3. Develop a unique logo that represents your event planning brand.
This is often the first thing people will think of when they hear your company name, so it's important to make it memorable. Work with a professional designer to create a logo that's both visually appealing and reflective of your brand values.
4. Create consistent branding across all channels.
Once you have your logo and color scheme, make sure you use them consistently across all of your marketing materials, from your website to your business cards. This will help reinforce your brand identity and make it easier for customers to recognize your company.
Creating a strong brand identity is essential for any event planning business, but it doesn't have to be complicated. By focusing on your company's purpose and values, you can develop a brand that will resonate with your target audience. With a little planning and some creativity, you can create a brand identity that will make your event planning company stand out from the rest.
9. Build a Beautiful Website.
In today's digital age, having a well-designed website is essential for any business to succeed, including your event planning business.
A beautifully crafted website will attract and engage your customers, provide a professional image of your brand, and showcase your products and services.
To create an exceptional website for your event planning business, consider the following steps:
- Define your website goals and target audience. This will help you determine what type of website design and content will resonate with your customers.
- Hire a professional website designer or work with a freelancer. Look at their portfolio and ask for recommendations from other business owners to find someone who has experience designing websites for your industry.
- Plan your website structure and hierarchy. Decide what pages and content will be included on your website and how they will be organized. This will ensure that your customers can find what they're looking for quickly and easily.
- Create stunning visuals and graphics that are aligned with your brand. Use high-quality images, videos, and other visual elements to showcase your products and services.
- Write compelling website copy. Your website's text should be well-written, informative, and persuasive, highlighting the benefits of your products and services.
- Test your website before launch to ensure that all the features and functionality work correctly.
By following these steps, you can create a website that is visually appealing and effective in promoting your event planning business. Don't hesitate to seek professional assistance if you need help getting started or have any questions along the way. We're always here to help!
10. Create a Company Email Address & Phone Number.
Having a professional business phone number and email address is an important aspect of running a successful event planning business. Not only does it give your business a more professional appearance, but it also makes it easier to stay in touch with customers and manage business communications.
To set up a professional phone number for your business, you can purchase a number from a telecom provider like Twilio or Grasshopper. You will need to create an account with the provider and register your new business phone number. This will give you access to features like voicemail, call forwarding, and more.
In addition to a business phone number, you should also set up a professional email address using a service like Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 . This will give you access to features like spam filtering, calendar integration, and more. You can configure your email account to forward messages to your business phone number so that you never miss an important message from a customer.
While you can definitely use your personal phone number and email address when you're first starting out your event planning business, as it grows, it's important to look into other communication options to ensure that you're able to manage your business communications in a professional and efficient manner.
By following these steps and setting up a professional phone number and email address for your business, you'll be able to communicate with customers more easily and give your business a more professional appearance. This will help you to build trust with your customers and grow your event planning business over time.
11. Make a Go-To Market Launch Strategy.
Launching a new business is an exciting time, and marketing is a crucial part of getting your event planning business off the ground. Here are some additional tips to improve your marketing strategy:
- Define your target audience: Before you start marketing your business, it's essential to determine who your target audience is. Knowing your ideal customer will help you tailor your marketing efforts and make them more effective.
- Build a strong brand: Your brand is the foundation of your marketing strategy. Make sure you have a clear brand identity, including a logo, brand colors, and messaging that aligns with your target audience.
- Create a content strategy: Developing a content strategy can help you create a consistent message across your social media, website, and blog. This can include creating blog posts, social media posts, and other types of content that align with your brand and target audience.
- Leverage social media: Social media is a powerful tool for marketing your event planning business. Identify the social media channels that your target audience is most active on, and create a presence there. Engage with your audience, share high-quality images of your products, and run social media campaigns to increase brand awareness.
- Collaborate with influencers: Partnering with influencers in your industry can help you reach a wider audience. Look for influencers who align with your brand and target audience and offer to collaborate with them on social media campaigns or product launches.
- Attend trade shows: Trade shows can be a great way to promote your event planning business, network with other professionals in the industry, and get your products in front of potential customers.
Remember, marketing is an ongoing process, so be sure to track your results and adjust your strategy as needed. With a clear marketing plan and consistent effort, you'll be able to generate buzz and grow your customer base over time.
- Check out all of our small business marketing ideas
You have questions, we have answers.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Below, based on our research are some of the most common questions entrepreneurs have when thinking about starting a business.
What does it cost to start a event planning business?
Are event planning businesses profitable, how to come up with a name for your event planning business, what do you need to do to define your target audience for your event planning business, how does a event planning business make money, list of software, tools and supplies needed to start a event planning business:, what licenses and permits are needed to run a event planning business.
More business resources to help you get started:
- Eventbrite: Event planning software and ticketing platform
- Hootsuite: Social media management for event promotion
- Google My Business: Free business listing to help people find your event
- Trello: Project management software for organizing tasks and keeping teams informed
- Zoom: Video conferencing and webinar platform for online events
- MailChimp: Email marketing solution for reaching attendees and sending follow-ups
- Eventbrite Analytics: Tracking and measuring the performance of your events
- Flock: Collaboration software to communicate better with teams and customers
- Slack: Instant messaging app for distributing important information quickly
- Event Planning Business Names
- Event Planning Business Plan Template & Guidebook
- Best Event Planning Business Ideas & Examples in 2023
- Our List of 10+ Best Event Planning Business Ideas:
- 75+ Unique, Creative & Funny Event Planning Business Slogans
- Do I Need an LLC for My Event Planning Business?
I'm Nick, co-founder of newfoundr.com, dedicated to helping aspiring entrepreneurs succeed. As a small business owner with over five years of experience, I have garnered valuable knowledge and insights across a diverse range of industries. My passion for entrepreneurship drives me to share my expertise with aspiring entrepreneurs, empowering them to turn their business dreams into reality.
Through meticulous research and firsthand experience, I uncover the essential steps, software, tools, and costs associated with launching and maintaining a successful business. By demystifying the complexities of entrepreneurship, I provide the guidance and support needed for others to embark on their journey with confidence.
From assessing market viability and formulating business plans to selecting the right technology and navigating the financial landscape, I am dedicated to helping fellow entrepreneurs overcome challenges and unlock their full potential. As a steadfast advocate for small business success, my mission is to pave the way for a new generation of innovative and driven entrepreneurs who are ready to make their mark on the world.
Get worry-free services and support to launch your business starting at $0 plus state fees.
Home > Business > Business Startup
How to Start an Event Venue Business: A Comprehensive Guide
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From weddings and corporate events to reunions and birthday parties, event spaces are always in demand.
But opening your own event venue is hard work. You’ll need to secure a location, obtain permits and licenses, buy equipment, hire staff and market your space - all before opening day.
With so many factors to consider, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.
Don't worry, though - we’re here to guide you through the process step by step.
How to start an event venue
1. do your research.
Before you start scouting properties or buying equipment, sit down and do some research.
Start by focusing on the type of event venue you want to create. Are you interested in weddings, corporate events, or something else?
By specializing in a specific niche, you can tailor your business to meet the needs of your target audience.
For example, if you want to cater to corporate events, you may want to focus on offering services like audiovisual equipment and conference rooms.
Once you have a general idea of what you want to offer, research the market to see what’s already out there.
Look at other event venues in your area and find out what they offer, how they market themselves, and what their prices look like. This will help you figure out what your event venue can provide that’s unique and competitive.
It can also be helpful to list out all the pros and cons of starting an event venue business. Consider factors such as the time, money, and resources it will take to get your space up and running.
2. Create a business plan
It's important to have a solid business plan in place before you start sinking money into your venue.
A business plan outlines your goals, target market, products, pricing, marketing strategy, and financial projections. You’ll need one if you plan to apply for any business loans .
Here are the basic parts of a business plan.
- Executive summary: Provides a brief overview of the venue, including its name, location, and unique selling proposition.
- Market analysis: Look at your competitors' prices and target audience to identify gaps in the local market your event venue could fill.
- Product and services: Will you offer catering? What other add-on services do you plan to offer?
- Marketing and sales plan: This section details how you plan to advertise your venue, grow your sales, and reach customers.
- Financial plan and projections: Determine the startup costs, including equipment, leasing or buying the property, renovations, and any employee wages. You'll also need to consider ongoing expenses like insurance and maintenance. Then map out your projected sales for the next one to five years. This will help you determine how much funding you'll need to start your business and how long it will take to break even.
3. Find the perfect location
Location is everything when it comes to event venues. You want a spot that’s accessible with the right vibe for your niche. Look for areas with easy access to transportation, parking and nearby hotels.
You’ll also want to make sure the space is zoned for the type of events you want to host.
When it comes to the venue itself, you'll need to consider the size of the space, the layout and any necessary amenities. For example, if you're targeting weddings, you'll need space for a dance floor, a bridal suite, and a ceremony area.
Look for spaces with high ceilings, plenty of natural light and an easily customizable open floor plan.
Maybe you already own a location and are interested in turning it into an event venue. You’ll still need to assess the property and determine if it’s missing certain amenities or if it needs any renovations.
4. Obtain the necessary permits and licenses
Before you can open your doors, you'll need to get the proper permits and licenses.
Requirements will vary depending on your state and the type of events you plan to host, but in general, you'll need to get a business license and liability insurance. Additional permits and licenses may also be required if you plan to serve alcohol and food or play music at night.
You may also need to hire contractors and inspectors to ensure that your space is up to code and ready to pass any safety and fire inspections.
Check with your local government to find out what’s required in your area.
5. Take care of business
Certain elements of starting a business remain the same, whether you’re starting a bakery or opening an event venue.
Here are the legal and financial steps to take before you can open.
Pick a business structure
There are four major legal business entities you can register as: a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company (LLC), or a corporation.
An LLC is usually the best legal structure for a new event venue business because it offers liability protection for its owners. Sole proprietors and partnerships don't, which means If someone is injured on your property or if you're sued for another reason, you could be held personally responsible for any damages.
Of course, it's important to consult with a legal and tax professional to determine the best legal structure for your business.
Figure out your taxes
As a business owner, you’ll need to pay a host of new taxes, including federal taxes, sales taxes and payroll taxes .
Consulting with an accountant is a smart move. A tax professional can advise you on how to structure your business to minimize your tax bill and help you file your tax returns.
You’ll also need an employer identification number (EIN) , a unique identifier assigned by the Internal Revenue Service.
You can apply on the IRS website for free, and the EIN is usually issued immediately.
Best small business tax software
Taxes can be complicated. Here’s everything you need to know about how to file small business taxes .
Open a business bank account
You may be required by law to open a separate business bank account for tax purposes, depending on which state you live in. Either way, it’s a good idea to have dedicated accounts in your business’ name. Many banks and credit unions offer business checking and savings accounts .
You may want to consider opening a small business credit card , too. It can help you rack up points and cash back on business expenses, while keeping your personal and business finances separate.
Top banks for small businesses
Pro tip: Need to pay for start-up costs? Here are the best high-limit business credit cards .
6. Figure out your pricing
Pricing your venue may seem tricky, especially when you're just starting out.
Researching your competitors’ rates is the best place to start. As a new business, you’ll want to offer a lower price initially to help get clients in the door.
Something else to consider: Different types of events come with different budgets. You can usually charge more for a wedding than a corporate meeting, for example. Consider the type of events you plan to host and adjust your pricing accordingly.
Offering different packages or tiers can also help you appeal to a wider range of clients. You could offer a basic four-hour package that only includes the space rental for $800 and a premium six-hour wedding package that includes catering and linens for $5,000.
7. Secure funding
Starting an event venue business involves significant upfront costs. Unless you’re sitting on gobs of cash, you’ll likely need to obtain some kind of funding.
Here are a few of your options. Keep in mind that a lending marketplace, like Nav , can offer access to more than one product.
Business line of credit
A business line of credit works similarly to a credit card, where the borrower is approved for a maximum amount of credit that they can draw upon as needed.
Interest rates for business lines of credit are usually higher than those for commercial loans, but they can be a good option for businesses that need quick access to cash.
Compare the best business lines of credit
Data as of 3/21/23. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Small business microloans
The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers microloans worth up to $50,000 to help small businesses start and expand. Big caveat: These loans cannot be used to purchase real estate.
Traditional commercial loans
To qualify for traditional commercial loans , which are available at banks and credit unions, you'll need to have a solid business plan and a good credit score. You’ll also need collateral, such as a home or car, and time in business or revenue thresholds for some loans.
Be prepared to provide financial statements, tax returns, and other documents to support your loan application.
Pro tip: About 75% of small businesses get turned down for loans by big banks. Here’s a list of the best alternative business loans from online lenders.
8. Hire a sales manager - and the rest of your staff
As the owner, you’ll be busy managing the overall operations of your business. You’ll need someone to focus on attracting clients so your new event venue can turn a profit.
A good sales manager can help increase revenue by booking events, building relationships with clients and generating leads.
A sales manager should arguably be the first employee you hire. After all, you don’t need wait staff if your venue can’t land contracts.
Eventually, you’ll need to hire other staff, including:
- A venue coordinator
- Kitchen staff
- Set-up and clean-up crew
Hiring your own employees can be expensive and time-consuming. An employment agency or partnering with a caterer might be an alternative when you’re starting out. They can provide you with pre-screened and qualified candidates — without the administrative hassle of hiring your own full-time staff.
Creating a clear written communication plan for your staff is also key.
Jackie Espinosa is a small business owner in Kissimmee, Florida, who opened her venue, Chandeliers Ballroom and Event Center , several years ago. Her space fits up to 80 people and hosts everything from intimate weddings to bar mitzvahs and baby showers.
“Getting a reliable and happy team behind you will make it so much easier to create fun memories for families,” Espinosa said.
She added: “Checklists are a must. Detail is everything and will keep people coming back.”
9. Start buying stuff
An event venue is more than a big, open space. To host great parties, you’ll need lots of equipment and supplies, including tables, chairs, plates, silverware, audiovisual equipment, table linens, and glasses.
“We knew our capacity was 80 people, so we purchased 100 of everything,” Espinosa said. “Just in case something breaks.”
Buying all these items upfront can set you back thousands of dollars.
To keep costs low, consider renting or leasing some of your supplies from an outside vendor until you can afford to buy it outright.
You can also look for second-hand tables, chairs and lighting equipment from other event venues, liquidation sales, or online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.
However, don’t scrimp on quality just to save a few bucks.
“My advice to new venue owners is to purchase high quality tables and chairs,” Espinosa said. “It’s a great investment because they get plenty of wear and tear. Also, good linens will save you time and energy.”
Don’t forget about the decor either. You’ll need to create a stellar ambience, and that might require a sizable investment.
“Decorating the venue was a large expense,” Espinosa said. “We spent a lot of money on collections of centerpieces and decided to bring on two decorators.”
10. Market your event venue
Once your event venue is up and running, it’s time to get the word out.
Here are a few ways to market your business without breaking the bank.
- Leverage social media: Use platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook to showcase your space, share photos of past events and connect with potential clients. You can also run targeted ads on these platforms to reach a larger audience.
- Feedback and referrals: Encourage satisfied clients to leave reviews on sites like Yelp or Google, and offer referral discounts to help pull in new clients.
- Attend networking events: Local networking events and trade shows are a great way to meet other business owners. Bring business cards and be prepared to talk about what sets your venue apart from others in the area.
- List your business on directories: Websites like WeddingWire and The Knot offer a database couples can use to search for wedding venues in their area. Make sure yours is listed and keep your profile up-to-date.
- Partner with local vendors: Building relationships with local vendors like caterers, florists, and photographers can be a win-win for both parties. Offer to feature their services on your website or social media and, in exchange, ask them to promote your venue to their clients.
- Make a website: A website is a must-have for any business. Make sure yours includes high-quality photos of your space, contact information, and pricing details.
Compare the top website builders for small businesses
How much does it cost to start an event venue business.
The cost of opening an event venue varies widely, but expect to spend anywhere from $50,000 to $1 million.
Why such a huge range?
Your overall costs largely depend on the location you choose. If you already own the space, your startup costs will be significantly lower than someone who plans to purchase a historical concert hall near downtown Boston.
You’ll also need to factor in the cost of renovations and all the equipment you’ll need to buy. The cost will vary depending on the size of your venue. For example, a small event venue may require around 100 chairs and tables, which may cost around $5,000, while a larger venue may require 1,000 chairs and tables, which could run upwards of $50,000.
At the end of the day, opening an event venue is a costly endeavor. But it can be extremely rewarding, too.
“We get to help capture and create a moment in time for people,” Espinosa said. “It’s a fun and memorable experience.”
With the right funding sources and business plan in place, you can transform your hard work into steady profits.
Rachel Christian is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance and a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She focuses on small businesses, retirement, investing and taxes.
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Planning the business plan takes strategy and a good outline | Guest Opinion
Patrick Burke // December 1, 2023 //
I was having lunch with a friend, an accomplished businessperson, and asked what he thought was the critical difference between new ventures succeeding or failing? He responded, “A good business plan.” We agreed a good business plan provides lots of information in the fewest words possible. We went on to discuss what a good business plan covers.
Let me suggest an outline and approach when preparing a business plan.
Purpose : State the purpose of the company in one positive and declarative statement.
Problem: Indicate the problem the company will solve, and how this problem is dealt with today.
Solution: Demonstrate how your idea solves the problem dramatically better and makes the user’s life better.
Timing: What is happening in the world today, trends, that makes the timing of your idea perfect.
The market: How big is the total market potential, identifying the typical customer, and what percent of the typical with likely purchase your idea.
Competitors: Who is competition currently selling into the target market and what advantages will you provide to get the customer to switch.
Product Development: What is involved in protecting your product/idea against pirating.
The business model: Marketing, sales process, pricing, distribution, pricing, account size, and revenue growth.
Team: Who is the Founder and Management team responsible for executing the plan? Who are the Board of Directors protecting any outside investors? Who is the Board of Advisors supporting and lending expertise to management?
Financial Model: A minimum of three years’ projections of (a) profit and loss, (b) balance sheet, and (c) cash flow. If attracting outside investors you will need a term sheet including ownership structure and how much each individual will own.
This process may seem a bit overwhelming but I can assure you that it will be well worth it once you launch. If you are looking to buy an existing business the process is largely the same. I’ve seen many businesses that use the “if I build it they will come” strategy, perish the thought; it doesn’t work. Another common mistake I’ve seen is “short cutting” by ignoring anyone of the steps outlined above, it usually leaves to a “short life.”
Finding and engaging seasoned and successful financial and legal advisors as you start your journey is critical.
I wrote my first business plan in 1989 for a business I launched that year. It wasn’t nearly as robust as it should have been, which led to many early struggles. I wish I knew then what I know now.
Patrick Burke is the managing principal of Burke Group, a Rochester-based retirement plan consulting & administration, actuarial services and compensation consulting firm. Contact him at [email protected] .
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Event Planning Business Plan
Ready to start your own event planning business? Set yourself up for success by creating a solid business plan. Download this business plan template, with pre-filled examples, to inspire your own plan.
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What you'll get with this template:
- A complete business plan Unlike other blank templates, our business plan examples are complete business plans with all of the text and financial forecasts already filled out. Edit the text to make the plan your own and save hundreds of hours.
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- Instructions and help at every step Get help with clear, simple instructions for each section of the business plan. No business experience necessary.
- A Word doc you can edit We don't just have PDF documents that make editing a challenge. Each plan is available in Word format so you can start editing your business plan example right away.
Key sections in this event planning business plan:
All of our sample business plans are complete and include all of the sections that bankers and investors expect to see. Every plan includes the following sections:
- Executive Summary : A quick overview of your plan and entices investors to read more of your plan.
- Company : Describes the ownership and history of your business.
- Products and Services : Reviews what you sell and what you're offering your customers.
- Market Analysis : Describes your customers and the size of your target market.
- Strategy and Implementation : Provides the details of how you plan on building the business.
- Management Team : An overview of the people behind the business and why they're the right team to make the business a success.
- Financial Plan : A complete set of forecasts including a Profit and Loss Statement, Cash Flow Statement, and Balance Sheet.
If you're interested in learning how to write a business plan, read our free in-depth guide to writing a business plan , download our free Business Plan Template , and check out LivePlan —our award-winning business planning software.
Looking for a sample business plan PDF? You can download a few PDF examples below:
- Accounting and Bookkeeping Sample Business Plan PDF
- Agriculture Farm Sample Business Plan PDF
- Cleaning Service Sample Business Plan PDF
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