Historically, to become an event management professional, you would obtain a degree in hospitality, event planning, project management or tourism. For late bloomers who develop this interest later in life, you would join a certification program and become a Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP), a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) or Project Management Professional (PMP). But these days if you want to launch your own event management business, a specialised degree or certification is not needed. However, just because you don’t need formal credentials to run a business, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t learn as much as you can about the industry.
Select a Niche
There are many different types of events your business can potentially focus on. Figuring out what niche you want to focus on can be a challenge, but if you match your ability, interests, experience, and knowledge, you can narrow it down relatively easy. We ideally recommend that you have experience in the event management sector in Dubai before you decide to take the plunge and start your business.
Choose those services in which you have the majority of your experience and expertise. If the majority of your experience is in wedding photography, then photography should be the niche where you start. Don’t try to get into corporate event management straight away, just because the market is better. Corporate events are different from weddings in terms of implementation, planning and resources. Every event is planned, executed and evaluated differently, and therefore, you can’t organise all type of events.
A Solid Plan
It’s worth mentioning that event management works a little differently from most businesses. Ideally, you’re not going to need as much funding to start your firm up as you might for a typical type of business. While you’re going to need to cover organisational expenses like a business license, event management tools, marketing, most of the money you actually use to run your events is going to be provided by your clients – meaning event management firms are actually pretty light as far as start-ups are concerned which makes them a popular business with entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, you need to create a plan which delves into detail how you plan to make your business sustainable.
After drafting a solid business plan, your next job is to start marketing your firm. You need to design a professional website for your business. It would be ideal if you can create an online portfolio highlighting previous work that you have done in Dubai. Creating social media accounts on popular networks will allow you to connect with potential clients, posting updates about your events, photos of your successes and general information about your business. Depending on your client base, you may need to consider alternative marketing avenues – email campaigns, newspapers, local publications catering to the business sector, etc.
Getting the Right License
If you are strictly providing the organisational planning for an event and let other subcontractors take care of the finer details of an event, then a free zone license is the most affordable route to go with. Various jurisdictions offer licenses that are a few thousand dirhams and give you the flexibility to operate via a flexi-desk or business centre. Even if you require a physical site for your business, jurisdictions such as the DMCC free zone in JLT are ideal for your event management business.
Many event management companies start as free zone companies and after a few years transition over to a local Dubai license via the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED). The local license gives you more flexibility in terms of the location of your office and the ability to take on some of the work beyond planning. You could provide additional services such as custom printing, hire temporary staff for events, contract international performance artists and request permits from Dubai Municipality.
The Perfect Time
Thanks to Expo2020, its never been a better time to launch an event management company. If you focus on the corporate side, companies will be hosting hundreds of events to leverage the fact that millions of people will be coming from all over the world. If you focus on birthday parties, weddings and other personal events, then the population surge leading up and beyond Expo2020 provides with a steadily growing customer base. Either way, it’s never been a better time to start your event management company. Don’t delay, speak to a consultant as soon as possible.