The event planning or event management industry in Zimbabwe branches off into two main markets: the corporate events market and the social events market. ‘Corporate’ here doesn’t only refer to companies and businesses, but also to government, NGOs, charities and other fund raising
Opportunities for business
There’s potentially a lot of opportunity for business out there, think about it – shareholder events, board member events and management events, and client events and golf days, and product and service launch events and anniversary celebrations and Christmas dinners and so on. And how many sponsored events and gala fundraising events and how many public interest events run every year?
More than enough to keep you in business all year!
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Social events management services concern themselves with birthdays, weddings, anniversary parties, reunions and so on. Some affluent families may host massive annual family events. Social events are only on the rise which makes social event planning a lucrative pursuit especially if you’re into families and heritage and legacies and the like.
Let’s talk pricing
As in other industries, in Events Management, pricing is an important part of your business strategy and finding the perfect balance (whilst increasing profits) between cheap and expensive is key. If you’re too cheap, your service
is considered amateurish or somehow lacking. If you’re too expensive, you lose prospects to competitors, scare away clients. To avoid Events management pricing mistakes let’s discuss three key factors you should consider when pricing your service.
Which Events Planning Segment are you dealing with?
Social events often have a different fee structure than corporate events. In the social events industry, planners typically receive a fee for their services, plus a percentage of some or all vendor fees. The two income streams produce enough revenue for a profit.
In this instance corporate event planners will normally invoice their clients for their services and will also include a handling fee for every item contracted. So, for example, the consultant buys table ornaments for an event from a crafts shop, he marks them up fairly and then bills his client
for them on the invoice. Alternatively the consultant may propose a project fee/flat especially for much larger events and where the client has a closed-ceiling budget.
2. location. The invoice for planning an event in the leafy suburbs, say maybe Borrowdale, Harare is always going to be pricier than an invoice for planning an event in a much less affluent suburb like say Highfields, Harare. And this is not always reflective of the variance in the standard of living of both places, sometimes it’s just the perception that there is a difference.
3. Reputation/ brand power. Clearly anyone with more experience and a fantastic reputation will charge more than everyone else with less by virtue of the fact that people would much sooner trust someone who already has a reputation for delivering the excellence that experience affords. Not to say
though that new comers don’t stand a chance. Organizations are always looking for something fresh.
So for as long as you’re still breaking in, whenever you meet clients that seem very price/ risk conscious, you’ll probably want to bill the client at entry-level rates using what’s commonly known as the “cost-plus” method. And how this works is that the consultant will outsource supplies, materials, labor and everything else necessary to host the event and then calculate and charge a ‘client services’ fee equal to roughly 15, maybe 20% of the invoice grand total.
A day in the life of an event planner
Event planners never really have regular jobs, because of the nature of the event planning business and how it affects your personal schedule. Events happen during the day, they happen during the evenings, over weekends and holidays and seasons and what you specialize in may demand more or less of your time. Within business hours though is when the bulk of the planning of your events will take place.
Generally, social event planners will be busier more weekends and holidays than corporate event planners will. Whichever you choose, working evening is certain.
6 primary tasks an event planner must complete
1. Do your homework. Here’s how to save yourself unnecessary stress, do your homework! If you’re still young to the industry you’ll want find out everything you can about venues, suppliers
and vendors and so on. In another instance it might mean building anticipation event. In yet another instance it may mean making sure your custom and etiquette conversant especially you’re unfamiliar with a certain kind of event. You might even want to talk to other planners who’ve successfully produced work similar to the event you’re working on.
Here’s what you should always remember when it comes to your research work, the information you get from interviews with your client should form the cornerstone on which the event mantled. Ask your client questions (too many rather than too few) and writing down the answers. Let this information guide you into delivering a successful and memorable event.
2. Get creative. This is where your creativity goes to work. As you’re brainstorming and referencing your ideas file (every event planner MUST have one) sketch out the overall “feel” and “look” of the event. Also reference your notebook for what the client said in your interview with them, especially what they said about the event budget. Scrutinize each idea for feasibility before pitching your idea to the client.
3. Present your big idea. So, you’ve done your homework and carefully and creatively thought out a concept, the next step is presenting your idea to the client. A word of advice, don’t break your back piecing together a free expensive presentation. It’s really only the massive event planning firms that can afford to do that for free. Charge a consultation fee and use it for the proposal when they agree to hire you.
4. Organization. Then they tell you that you’re hired and immediately you get work booking venues, vendors, ordering supplies, going to see this thing and taste that and supervise this
and the other thing and so on and so on. This is a very decision intensive period of time and communication and relationships need to be handled with sensitivity. Always speaking with the
client or a delegated representative who has authority to decide and act is a great way to keep thing running along smoothly. You definitely want to do this with social events which tend to be infamous for their over involvement syndrome. Having one, maybe two contacts per function will definitely keep you out of the cross fire of the many participants involved.
And you want to be careful to make adequate provision for the planning time leading up to any event. Think months before you think weeks. The more time you have to plan the less there is that can go wrong.
5. Coordination. Once all the preliminary plans have been made, your next task is getting everyone on to the same bus. This just means everyone’s thinking with one mind concerning the event.
Good communication skills will make all the difference. Make sure everyone has general idea of the program and that everyone knows their rolls and that everybody is clear about what’s expected of them, and when. Check and check again even if they say they already know, check!
6. Evaluate. The proof of the pudding is in the eating and if they that eat are glad, it was a indeed a worthy desert. Client satisfaction is the most important indicators of a successful event. It was a good event which made them look good, which makes you look good and leaving everyone singing your praises word-of-mouthing you all about the city.
Other ways you could use to evaluate the success of your event might involve getting industry professionals you respect and trust to observe your event. You might also want to get together with your team and get feedback maybe even from vendors working at the event or from guests attending the event.
Give it some thought. If you’re the creative, but organized type whose great at putting together Events at your current work place or at social functions, you might make a very successful business out of it.