The barriers to entry for start-ups are very low, with little initial outlay and no professional qualifications or association memberships required to begin trading. However, creating a successful event management company requires more than the ability to organise a night out.
"I have been working in hospitality for 11 years," says Turner. "I have an HND in hotel and catering management and previously worked for an events company. The contacts developed during this time have been absolutely invaluable." The experience gained and contacts developed from working in the industry have helped in talking to potential clients and knowing how to organise an event.
But turning prospects into customers and getting them to come back requires enthusiasm, dedication and the establishment of a rapport. "The only element that one has over the competition is personality," Turner explains.
Withers also had some industry experience, having worked for a public relations firm. She decided to start her own company when her former employer relocated from Swindon. She opened a business account with Barclays on her 18th birthday, but her age has been a mixed blessing. "I have had problems with firms, especially suppliers, not taking me seriously, but it has helped with other clients because of the novelty."
Setting up was not hard, says Withers, but to keep the business going you have to be motivated and maintain a positive attitude. She started by making lists of companies in the area from local directories and from sorties around the business parks and then began cold calling to get appointments.
Most of the jobs Aspect Event Management gets now are repeat business or recommendations from clients. "Keep a sales diary and call contacts every couple of months in order to get that repeat business," Withers advises.