Low cost and the short lead-in time it takes to get going make starting up an event management company an attractive proposition. Essentially, you need a telephone, a car, some stationery and a PC. Most of the time will be spent on the phone, talking to prospects for new business or organising arrangements for events.
However, transport is essential for getting out to client and supplier meetings and to be at the events when required. If you don't already own one, this could be your biggest initial investment.
Letterheads, business cards and confirmation slips are necessary outlays. You should budget for about £500. You also need adequate equipment, such as a PC, printer and fax. But don't get caught in the trap of shelling out for the latest state-of-the-art equipment. "Don't waste money," warns Brewster. "Fancy equipment isn't always a necessity. A second-hand PC is just as likely to meet your needs."
One of the great advantages of starting up an event management business is that office space - the biggest expense for many firms - need not be a factor. Because the work can be done on the phone, in face-to-face meetings over lunch or at the clients' and suppliers' premises, there is no need for a prestigious, and expensive, office. Withers started out from a spare room in her parents' house. "There was no point paying out for an office I didn't need and that was crucial in allowing me to minimise overheads," she says.
Marketing is another important consideration, as event management is a service industry that depends on promotional literature - such as mailshots, brochures and web sites - to attract business, says Fred Pettit, who runs Small Firms Services Ltd, an advisory company.
As most people use the internet for research, having a web presence is increasingly important in raising your profile. It allows you to showcase the types of services available and take information requests 24 hours a day, with little maintenance. Paying a designer to set up the site can require a significant outlay, though, running to several thousand pounds.
Similarly, a brochure will be a good, if expensive, investment, although you will need to have already organised some events - and have the photos to prove it - before you can put one together. Heirs & Graces had been operating for about two months before it invested in a brochure, to the tune of £2000.