In an industry as competitive as event planning and services, it’s important to stay innovative. Several event service businesses make the mistake of sticking to what they know – whether it’s their clientele base, location, or even the events they cater to. Investing in new revenue streams and expanding your business can open new opportunities and keep you on top of the game and ahead of the increasing competition.
How Should You Expand?
Not all events service businesses are alike, and you should choose an expansion model that aligns with your business goals while keeping you relevant in the marketplace.
Agency Expansion Model
If your business has dominated the local area, you’re ready to expand to new markets. The agency expansion model is focused on expanding to a larger client base. You’ll need to decide whether there is a demand for the services you offer in a new location, and whether the market is large enough to support another event services business. Keep reading to see the requirements for this model.
Expanding to a new location and market isn’t easy. Consider the infrastructure options available for you, and one accessible to nearby vendors. A major advantage of physically moving is listing your business on Google My Business so your website shows up in local Google results. Additionally, you’ll also be able to meet clients in the new location personally, and establish a better relationship with them instead of connecting remotely. Another option is to acquire a smaller event planning business that’s already in the area, and take over their existing clients.
Hiring staff is an investment to your business, and even if you don’t have a dedicated HR team to help you out with it, you’ll need to loop in your accountant and lawyer. Decide whether you’ll need part-time or full-time staff, and put ads up online and in the local area. You can even reach out to local trade schools to find skilled staff for specific positions.
When you’re attracting clients in a new market (without acquiring another business), it’s almost like starting from scratch. Start with networking, and reach out to everyone you know. This is the best way to build a strong client base. Networking can help in two ways. Firstly, the people who already know you and your business can refer you to someone else who may need your services, or use you themselves.
Secondly, networking with vendors in the area will establish connections you can use later on for a event. Always keep a business card or brochure in hand, because despite the digital age, the two are still some of the most powerful marketing tools. You never know when you may meet a potential client or vendor, and ask if you can leave a business card at their place of work as well.
Personal Brand Model
If the agency model is narrow-to-broad in terms of clients, the personal brand model is broad-to-narrow. The personal brand model restricts the client base, preferring to offer more luxurious and extravagant services instead. This model targets the clients who prefer to have something personalized, and exclusive and are willing to pay more for it. Services that deal in personal events such as weddings or birthdays, may find this a lucrative revenue stream.
If you’re going to offer premium services, the products from your vendors must be premium as well. Attend trade shows and other upper end events to network yourself to a new clientele as well as establish connections with the best vendors. Look out for vendors who can personalize and customize products according to each customer requirement.
Brand Extension Model
The brand extension model is otherwise known as the diversification model. In the event services business, most of the vendors you connect with for decor, catering etc. can be used for other kinds of events as well, besides the ones you specialize in. Expand your event services to other events besides the ones you currently focus on.
When you’re diversifying your business to include new events, you’ll need to find new vendors who can cater to these. Luckily, sites like Punchbowl can help you find new vendors near you. Compile a list of vendors and don’t take the jump into the first one who seems to be a right fit. Check their reviews and recommendations. Fix a budget beforehand since the budget is always the point of negotiation between the vendors and business. Align your business values, and pay attention to the results.
Partner with or Acquire a Business
One of the best ways of diversification is to actually partner with or acquire another event services business that specializes in the event you wish to extend your business to. The major advantage of this is that you not only get all the clients of the other business, but also their staff who have proven to be capable. If acquiring a business isn’t a financial decision you wish to make at this point, a partnership is a great alternative.
Whichever the expansion model you choose, you’ll need a great advertising plan to support it. Promote your business on paid channels, and keep constant communication with your clients. Post pictures of the events you conduct across social media channels and provide excellent customer service to keep customers satisfied and coming back to you. Although expanding your business may seem like capital intensive, it’s an investment that promises great returns. You can always choose an event services financing option to get the funding your business needs for new opportunities.