Handling Competition in the Event Planning Business
Are you exploring the idea of starting your event planning business soon? You may have noticed that other businesses in your city are offering similar types of service. That's news that the industry is healthy and growing.
While an effective event planning business plan always considers competitors, many entrepreneurs fall into the quicksand that is worrying about how they fit in the industry in comparison to the perceived success of others.
Your Event Planning Competition
Almost all party planners feel frustrated and anxious about their competition at some point. But, to build the thriving event planning business of your dreams, it’s important to know when it’s appropriate to look at how your competition is operating, and when to focus on your resources, strengths, and business development. Here’s how you can design the event planning career of YOUR dreams and, at the same time, snap-out of unproductive emotions regarding your competition.
Before You Launch: Perform Basic Market Research
Market research is more than calling up your competitors to ask what they charge per event. When putting together your event planning business plan, try to clarify which target market your competitor is seeking to attract. Look at their website, for example: does it have a serious, matter-of-fact tone? Or is it fun, light and whimsical?
Make a portrait of their typical client, and then make a portrait of the client YOU wish to work with. What does he/she look like? What are they wearing? Where do they shop? What foods do they eat? The more precise you are, the better.
Event planners who do this research before they launch are in a better position to know where their own event planning business fits in the industry, and how they can differentiate themselves positively from their competitors.
The C-Word: Navigating the Cost Factor in Competition
Some well-intentioned party planners who have just launched their business begin by charging a much lower rate than their competitors in the hopes of using low prices to attract new clients. This is called price undercutting, and you should avoid this if you want your business to grow.
Of course, event planners with decades of experience and huge overhead will be able to command a higher price. But remember: your direct competitors also know what to charge to keep their business running.
You deserve to make a great income thanks to your thriving business, and by charging the going market rate for the type of service you offer, you show to the world the value of your services, talents, and skills. As party planners, why not appreciate your value and charge your clients accordingly?
Honey Attracts More Bees Than Vinegar
Other than performing basic market research when writing-up your event planning business plan, one of the most important tips on how to avoid negative emotions facing your competitors is to focus on developing your networking and event planning skills, rather than constantly biting your nails over what other party planners have achieved so far.
Of course, perfecting your skills means attending business luncheons and event planning conferences. You will meet your competitors at these events soo go ahead and introduce yourself. Being comfortable and civil with your competition can also come in handy. You see, as event planners, we sometimes come in contact with clients who are best described as unsympathetic and unreasonable.
Rather than attempt the impossible by trying to please this client’s every whim, you will be able to refer them to another event planning business that might be able to service their needs differently. This has the benefit of keeping you working with the type of client that is right for your own event planning business and can lead to reciprocal referrals on the part of your competitor as well.
One final word of advice: never bad-mouth your competition in front of clients, as many will take this as a sign of unprofessionalism. The event industry is growing, and event planners of all types are in high demand, so keep focused on being aware of who your competition is while keeping both your eyes on your event planning prize!