Event management is not for illiterates

Planning an event, be it a small event or a big one, can be very stressful especially when you do not have the know how. Most people do not have the time or expertise to plan events themselves.

And that is where a good business opportunity comes in for people like Imelda Iyayi, the CEO of Cinnamon Event Management Company located in GRA, Ikeja in Lagos. According to Iyayi, the business of event management is an all encompassing one in the sense that it caters for everything that will enhance the party. This ranges from decoration, catering, venue, ushering, sound system through photography.

“We have professionals in these various fields and we introduce them to our clients to give them quality service at affordable prices. At Cinnamon, we ensure that nothing is overlooked. “It is very important for any wouldbe investor to be passionate about the business, because it is the drive that will keep you going when the tough times come.”

Why event management? How did Iyayi find herself in this business? “I discovered my flair for managing events from house parties. I later graduated to managing social functions for friends and family’ members.

I realised that a well managed event is always well appreciated, so I thought up the whole idea of a one stop shop event place, which I noticed is not common in Nigeria,” she explained. “Another major thing to have in mind in this business is time consciousness. If you are organising an event for somebody and you get there late, that means you are not competent enough to do it.

When you are an event organiser, you are more or less the host or co-host so to speak, and for you to get late to the event will be nothing but suicidal. ” What doesone need to put in place to start an event management business. According to Iyayi, “In the absence of enough funds when commencing the business, one can use a residential apartment rather than an office space to register the business.

“One will need a minimum of N100, 000 to start an event planning business. As a starter without an office and employees, one can make use of vendors and other hands to build the business.

Event planning includes budgeting, establishing dates and alternate dates, selecting and reserving the event venue, acquiring permits, and coordinating transportation and parking. “However, on a big scale, one may spend as much as N2 to N5 million to start the business and this will include the company registration, getting an office for space and perhaps getting some of the items that may be needed, such as interior decorating accessories, chairs for rentals and a few more others depending on the specific amount available.

“As an event planner, one is also in charge of developing a theme or motif for the event, arranging for speakers and alternate speakers, coordinating location support (such as electricity and other utilities), arranging decor, tables, chairs, tents, event support and security, catering, security, fire, portable toilets, parking, signage, emergency plans, health care professionals and cleanup.

“There is need to have creativity skills for event design and having a good accounting skill is also a vital requirement because as an event organiser, you will need to budget. In other words, the business of event management is not for illiterates. You need good education as well as management and computer skills to do well in the business and to also stand out in the crowd.”

In terms of training for the job, Iyayi says there is no actual school where event management is studied. What is required is residual knowledge, which one can get from the education one got in school, working experience and personal experiences with contacts. The natural flair must also be there. Another important aspect of event management business is a good team. Says Iyayi, “Getting a good team is not easy.

But once you do, it is very important to keep them well and keep training and retraining them on how to relate with customers.” Business is good, says the entrepreneur.

“The peak period for the business is usually during the festive periods. But the non festive periods also record good sales. If you have a lot of corporate contacts and you are opportuned to organise corporate events for organisations and firms, you may never run out of jobs all through the year.”

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