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starting an event planning business in texas in 6 easy steps

kokou adzo

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The event planning business is an ideal field for those who are creative, organized and love putting on a show.

Event planning in Texas is a chance to leverage your planning and management skills in a state with lots of large corporations, small businesses and even families looking for an event planner. Events can run the gamut, from large sales meetings with thousands of participants to product launches to weddings and family reunions.

If you’re looking to start an event planning business in Texas, there are several important factors to consider. Here’s a look at 6 steps for you to take.

  1. Choose a Business Structure

One of the most important steps you need to take is determining how you will structure your business. While small businesses have a wide range of options to choose from, most choose to either form as a sole proprietorship or limited liability company (LLC).

Sole Proprietorship

This structure is the simplest and most common. However, it also leaves the business owner open to liability risk.

In a sole proprietorship, there is a single business owner. The owner does not need to file any formal paperwork to start or maintain the business.

Revenue, profits and losses are passed through onto the owner’s individual income tax returns. This process simplifies tax filing but can result in a higher tax burden for owners.

However, from a liability standpoint, a sole proprietorship is risky. The owner is personally liable for any court judgements or bankruptcy proceedings and cannot protect personal assets, such as a home, car or savings, from being seized.

LLC

An LLC is a popular version for many small-business owners. It provides legal coverage and tax flexibility.

LLC structure shields owners (called “members”) from individual liability, except in the case of gross misconduct. That means personal assets are protected from court judgements.

The tax rules are the same as with a sole proprietorship. An LLC is a pass-through structure, with profits or losses for the company moving onto the owners’ tax returns. Forming an LLC in Texas requires some basic paperwork to form and provide flexibility in how the company is managed.

  1. Obtain Licenses and Certification

For event planning businesses in Texas, there may be a need to acquire licenses and certificates to run the company.

Fortunately, in Texas, unlike in other states, there is no need to acquire a formal state business license. However, counties and cities may require business licenses for some types of businesses. In Dallas, for example, home-based businesses require a license.

Certification is also not required. However, in event planning, like in other businesses, being certified by an industry organization can lend credibility and help earn customers for your company.

There are several options for certification in event planning. You can obtain a Certified Special Events Professional designation from several organizations. If you plan to manage corporate conventions or meetings, the Certified Meeting Professional designation is a good option.

Many colleges and universities also offer degrees and certificate programs in professional event planning.

  1. Do Your Research

Understanding your business means knowing your customers, your market and your competition. That requires doing extensive business research into each. This research can help shape your business plan and determine whether your business is viable.

Here are some of the questions to explore when conducting your research.

Customers

Understanding your customers is essential. Knowing what they need and want and what motivates them to purchase event planning services is crucial information. Here are some of the questions to consider:

  • What do customers need from an event planning company?
  • What products and services can our company provide that will meet those needs?
  • What is the typical customer like?
  • What characteristics do they share?
  • What types of individuals or companies seek an event planning company and for what?

Market

It’s important to understand the competitive landscape, both the geography, available subcontractors and venues, and how far you’re willing to travel for customers and events. Here are some core questions:

  • How competitive is the marketplace for event planning services?
  • How far afield will the company offer event planning services?
  • What venues are in the vicinity and what types of events and capacity can they accommodate?
  • Where will you find subcontractors for your business?

Competition

Knowing your competitors helps you position your business, including its services you offer and how you price your offerings. Consider the following:

  • Who are the main competitors for the products or services you plan to offer?
  • Who are their customers?
  • What prices do they charge for the services they offer?
  • How can you differentiate from the competition? What value can you add to customers to attract their business?

Understanding these core considerations will help you plan for and position your event planning company effectively.

  1. Build a Business Plan

A business plan helps you formulate key elements of your company and think strategically about core components. Creating a business plan helps you organize your thoughts and frame how your business will operate.

Having a business plan is important if you are going to seek financial support, either from a bank or investors. Here are the main elements of a business plan:

  • Executive Summary: An overview of the business plan, your company’s mission and vision statements, and why you are forming the company
  • Description: A detailed explanation of what the business is and why it exists, listing the goals, products and services to be offered and target customers. May also include industry details, key competitors, your and your team’s expertise and what differentiates your company
  • Market Analysis: Your research on the market and target audience goes here
  • Marketing and Sales Plans: How you plan to reach your target audiences, such as the pricing strategy, sales approach, marketing strategies and unique selling proposal. This section shows how you will get your products and services in front of your audience
  • Management Structure. How your company will be managed. Also includes details and biographies of you and your senior management team. This section also includes the business structure you’ve chosen for the company
  • Products and Services: What you will offer to your customers in more detail than the executive summary, including how you will source products and materials, what needs you will meet and how much it will cost to generate the products and services you offer
  • Competitive Analysis. How your company compares to the competition, including what each offers, pricing and strengths and weaknesses. Includes advantages you have over the competition or how you will distinguish yourself within the competitive landscape
  • Operating Plan: How you will run your company, including systems for payments, websites, logistics, hiring personnel and stocking resources
  • Financial Plans: Your revenue and cost projections, cash flow projections and historical financial statements, along with narrative about needs and revenue sources

The business plan is a powerful tool and gives you the details you need for success while answering core questions.

  1. Select Business Insurance

Having business insurance protects you, your customers and your company. In the event planning business, there are many chances for your business to incur risk, including from attendees to your events, problems with the facilities and the physicality that comes from planning major events.

Here are some of the key insurance policies you should consider:

  • Liability: Often referred to as general liability insurance, covers expenses or damages if someone is injured on your property or damages property, including if you injure someone on someone else’s property
  • Property: Protects your physical space, whether owned or rented, along with equipment, tools, inventory, furniture and personal items
  • Business Interruption. Covers you if natural disasters disrupt business operations. This policy does not cover the physical items but the loss of business income
  • Event Planner: Some carriers provide specific policies for event planners and their companies
  • Professional Liability. Also called errors and omission insurance, covers losses due to negligence, whether damage is alleged or actual
  • Cyber: If your company loses data or functionality due to a cyberattack, data breach, malware assault or hardware failure
  1. Create Your Brand

Your brand identity is important, conveying who you are and what you do. Your brand includes many core elements, including:

  • Company name
  • Logo and visuals
  • Signage and business cards
  • Website
  • Social media presence

Building an events planning business in Texas is an exciting proposition, helping companies and individuals celebrate and connect. Events are a powerful way to bring people together for learning, entertainment or reflection.

With careful planning, your Texas event planning business will be primed for success.

Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of Stri.us. He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at Stri.us.

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