If you’re looking to turn your event into a viable and profitable enterprise, you’ll need to devise a solid business plan. Whether your aim is making more money, securing investment and partners, or simply keeping up with your commercial goals, an event business plan is the launchpad of a successful business.

A well-written plan can be an invaluable resource for you, your team, and your event – but writing one need not be difficult. Our systematic and straightforward event business plan step-by-step guide will show you how to create one, while providing you with useful examples for budgeting and promotion that you can adapt for your particular market.

How do you write a business plan as an event planner?

From coming up with your blue-sky mission statement to the nitty-gritty details of hosting your event, there are several steps to creating a great event business plan. Read on to get our in-depth tips and examples and to find out exactly what should go into your plan.

In this article, our tips for writing an event business plan are broken down into eight sections. We’ll show you how to:

  • Begin your event business plan with a mission statement
  • Describe your greater vision with a vision statement
  • List the key objectives you want to track
  • Enhance your event business plan with storytelling
  • Detail an event marketing strategy
  • Outline your event’s operational requirements
  • Crunch the numbers for your event budget
  • Nail SWOT analysis with this business plan event example

1. Begin your event business plan with a mission statement

Your mission statement describes your event in a short sentence or two. It helps to sell your event to important stakeholders and forms the foundation of your marketing. In fact, it’ll also help to keep you focused since every decision you make will ultimately trace back to your mission.

Mercato Metropolitano (MM), a sprawling community market and event space with good food at its core, is just one example of how a simple mission statement turned into a successful real-life venture.

Andrea Rasca of MM has a simple philosophy based on food being a human right that’s part of an adequate standard of living according to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It sums up how MM operates as well as what it stands for:

“Adequate means food needs to be accessible to all people, at all times, and in any circumstances. It has to be nutritious – to enrich you – and it has to be locally or culturally compatible.”

This high-level mission statement sells the spirit of MM succinctly. Make yours equally inspiring, and keep it as short as possible to make it easy to keep your mission in mind. The Waste Not Supper Club, for example, summed up their mission statement – “Waste Not” – in just two words and integrated it into the name of their event.

Following a UN report urging a move to more sustainable diets, the Umbrella Cafe in Kent started running the Waste Not Supper Club to use up not only their leftover food but other people’s as well. Guests receive a three-course vegan or vegetarian evening meal at a pay-as-you-feel price. All the dishes are made from unwanted ingredients sourced by FareShare Kent, an organisation that teams up with supermarkets and local farmers to make use of their “wonky” veg and overstocked food.

2. Describe your greater vision with a vision statement

While a mission statement says what your event is about, a vision statement describes what you hope your event brand will become. It could also be known as your Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (your BHAG).

The Susan G. Komen Foundation uses the mission statement “Save lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer.”

But the foundation’s vision is even more aspirational:

A world without breast cancer.

What’s your blue-sky vision? You might not cure cancer, but perhaps you want to eventually turn your foodie pop-up into a nationwide series of “locavore” festivals. Perhaps you want to introduce attendees to a new style of dance? Or bring art into the homes of the nation?

Brevity and clarity are also key in this section of your business plan, so you should be able to sum up your vision statement in one short sentence. For example, a lot of businesses these days want their activities to produce no carbon emissions whatsoever, so they might use a vision statement like “net-zero by 2050”.

A good way to come up with your vision statement is to ask yourself what effect you eventually want your event to have more widely. Be as imaginative as you can and also think about why you created your event in the first place. This will help you to produce evocative language, which will have a greater effect on your audience.

3. List the key objectives you want to track

Your key objectives convert your mission statement into on-the-ground action. They are realistic goals that you can achieve in the short term and in the future. Examples might include:

  • Gaining a set number of followers on social media
  • Expanding your event to a different area
  • Pinning down a special guest to make an appearance
  • Selling a certain amount of tickets for each event

Make a list of the key tasks and deliverables integral to your event. In the foodie pop-up example above, a few key objectives might be to:

  • Host three foodie pop-ups in your local area this year
  • Find at least ten sponsors
  • – local food purveyors or restaurants
  • Acquire 10,000 followers on Instagram

Make your objectives aspirational but achievable – and definitely measurable. Make records of where you currently are in regard to achieving these goals and attach metrics to each one. Eventbrite offers useful analytic data, which can be used to help you track your return on investment (ROI) and more.

4. Enhance your event business plan with storytelling

Here’s the heart of your business plan: a tangible description of your event. This is important because not only does it tell potential investors what they’re being asked to buy into but it’s also often the first (and only) chance you’ll get to grab a potential attendee’s attention online.

The key here is to provide a text that’s as informative as it is readable. Strike a balance between providing the reader with all the essential details they need, without overwhelming them with information.

Define what makes your event unique and sell your audience on your vision with data that grounds it in reality. For example, if you’ve had a high demand for tickets in the past, let the reader know how many tickets you’ve sold for your events to date.

Craft a succinct event story with our event business plan checklist:

  1. Describe your target audience, with research into the market
  2. List potential or actual sponsors, investors, and partners who will support and influence your event
  3. Lay out the team structure you intend to build – who will get what done?

Your job here is to convince the reader that your event will be successful. Give proof that you can back up your ideas with business acumen.

5. Detail an event marketing strategy

Word of mouth is a timeless marketing channel, but most events don’t sell themselves right away. You’ve already described your mission, your vision, and the event itself, so now you can use this content in your marketing strategy and include additional information:

How will you price your event?

Will you use a flat rate or provide an early bird option at a discount? While the latter might prove a great idea for festivals and conferences, recurring events like workshops would benefit from a different marketing approach. For example, consider providing tiered ticketing options for regular events, giving guests a choice of a standard or VIP ticket with added extras. This can create a buzz of prestige around your event.

What’s your promotion budget?

Knowing what resources you have is integral to marketing your event effectively and securing a good ROI.

Which marketing channels will you use?

Your target audience will determine the direction of your marketing channels. This includes which social media platform you choose to market your event on. For example, if your arts event caters to twenty-somethings, the highly visual environment that Instagram provides will often be a better marketing match than LinkedIn, which is more suited for specialist industry lectures and business networking events.

Making the right choice of channel means that half your work is done because your event will get more exposure to people who are already interested in your sector, generating a higher lead-to-conversion rate.

6. Outline your event’s operational requirements

There are countless logistics that go into even the smallest event. Break your needs into categories: facilities, services, staffing, production, technology, legal, and insurance – just as a starting point!

Then start to anticipate what the real implications are for your event with reference to each of these categories. Depending on your specific event, facilities might include setting up a cloakroom or the hire of portaloos, shower cubicles, or charging points. Services might include anything from catering, rubbish disposal, cleaning, or the cost of basic utilities if they aren’t included in the venue hire. Production might cover contracting performers, printing tickets or wristbands, and transport of sound equipment.

Don’t leave anything out. This exercise will help you with the next step – assigning a cost to each aspect of your event.

7. Crunch the numbers for your event budget

Financial forecasts are essential to showing whether the event will be profitable – and to making your plan a business plan. It’s common to include both an overview of your numbers as well as a full budget spreadsheet, usually as part of an appendix.

Identify all potential income streams, like ticket sales, exhibition space sales, food, or merchandise. If you have funding secured or capital saved, include that as well.

You’ll also need to tally all expenditures, including your operational and promotional costs. These might include venue and equipment hire, paying staff working at the event, and the cost of targeted ads.

Your business plan might serve as a way to win over potential investors. For instance, if your idea for a national yoga teachers’ conference will require an initial cash infusion to get it off the ground, show how it will pay for itself in a matter of years in your budget. You should go into detail about cover prices, including any deals you’ve been able to get with suppliers or the venue.

Make sure to illustrate your event’s projected earnings in a simple graph, such as a bar or pie chart. This is an effective and simple of way communicating how you’re making your budget work for you.

8. Conduct a SWOT analysis for your event

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This assessment is important because every event carries inherent risks, and it’s a liability to ignore them. You’ll want to identify and acknowledge any risks, and then provide solutions. Let’s take a look at this concept using the example of a fundraising triathlon.

Strengths

You’ve sold many tickets so far.

You’ve planned the event for the mildest time of year.

You’ve got catastrophe insurance.

Weaknesses

There’s high competition from other similar events.

Opportunities

Extra funds can be raised with a cold drinks stall.

Threats

The triathlon may need to be called off in the event of bad weather, e.g. a thunderstorm.

Event business plan FAQs

How do I start an event organising business?

You could start by writing an event management business plan. See the above section, “Outline your event’s operational requirements,” to get an idea of what managing an event involves.

What is a business plan in event management?

A business plan is where you convince investors that your idea for turning your event into a business is not only viable but profitable. This will include presenting the necessary figures detailing why your business will offer a good ROI. Check out the sections “Enhance your event business plan with storytelling” and “Crunch the numbers for your event budget” for more tips on how to write an event planning business plan.

How do you write a business plan for an event?

The above steps in this article explain how, but try looking for an event business plan example online if you’d like to see how it’s done.

What is an event planning proposal?

A proposal is a resumé of how you plan to execute your event, written with key stakeholders as the audience.

Set your event business plan in motion

To dive deep into the details of creating an event business plan, and to learn how to compile these sections into an effective document, download our free Event Plan Template.

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