By Our Reporter
There are many business ideas for Nigerians which can bring great returns. One of such business ideas is starting an event center business. This kind of business involves the acquisition of a hall space for the purpose of renting. You can rent the event center to individuals and organizations for social gatherings such as wedding receptions, seminars, bachelorette parties, and much more.
Event center rental business is a rewarding venture if done correctly. A good example is the Landmark event center in Lagos state which plays host to several events every week for large sums of money.
Types of event centers
There are basically two types of event centers classified according to the type of ownership. These two event center types are:
- Individual or privately-owned event centers:
As the name implies, privately-owned event centers are owned and built by individuals. They can be run by the individual or contracted to staff for the business operation. Since you are reading this article to know how to go about starting an event center business, then this is the category for you.
- Government-owned event centers:
These are event centers that have been established by a tier of the government. Most of the government-owned event centers are infrastructural landmarks that play host to many events including international ones. An example of a government-owned event center is the International Convention Center in Abuja.
Challenges of starting an event center business in Nigeria
Like every other business, the event center business comes with its challenges. Some of the particular challenges in the event center industry are:
- Capital intensive.
Starting an event center business in Nigeria is not easy, sincerely speaking. For one, the costs of acquiring the land space is something you need to put into consideration. The architectural drawing, quantity surveying, structural design, and building facilities add to the cost of the land. Moreover, getting a land in a really good are such as in a high-brow location is can be very expensive.
- Strong competition.
Event center business is not a novel idea, and as such there are many event centers in the country; thriving and popular ones at that. So, you will need to brace up for the stiff competition which you will face in this business. Apart from this, trying to get your own business break into the big names in the industry can be a long and arduous task because of the already existing centers.
- Finding a great location.
Selecting a good location for your business is also a great factor that can make or break your business. As you’ll get to know later, the accessibility of your event center needs to be put into consideration when choosing a location. The challenge here lies in the fact that while event center business will thrive in urban and populated areas like Lagos and Abuja, there are already a ton of such centers in these cities, making it hard for new centers.
Steps to starting an event center business in Nigeria
Step 1: Conduct a feasibility study
Like all major businesses, it is very important that you carry out a feasibility study on the event center business in the intended area. This is because while some areas may need event centers other places may be saturated with these centers. Doing a feasibility study will help you to ascertain if the venture will be profitable or not, thus, saving you the stress and regret.
Step 2: Choose a niche
Yes, this is also important. While it may sound strange, identifying the particular type of customers that you want to attend will help you in drafting a good business plan. Event centers range from small halls that are focused on hosting wedding receptions or birthday parties to large multipurpose halls that can accommodate any type of social gathering. Moreover, doing so will help you to build a business relationship with related businesses such as linking up with a bridal shop for your wedding event center.
Step 3: Write a business plan
Like any business venture, it is important that you write a business plan for your event center business before actually starting anything concrete. A business plan is meant to assist in understanding what you want your business to be all about – i.e. the mission and visions, the business model, the means of generating funds, and so on.
While the thought of preparing a business plan may sound daunting, you can hire the services of a professional to help with that. If you don’t find it challenging but don’t know how to go about it, then you can check for business plan sample templates to guide you to ascertain the feasibility of the business.
Step 4: Register your business
Since you are about to start a business, it might be necessary for you to register it. This is however based on how large you want your business to be – the level of exposure of the business. You can register your business at the C.A.C (Corporate Affairs Commission). The registration process should involve a lawyer to help you know all the details.
Step 5: Choose a location
After carrying out the feasibility study, writing a solid business plan and registering your business, the next step is to choose a location for siting your event center. This step is very important as it goes a long way in determining whether or not your business will be successful. In choosing a location, you need to consider the accessibility of the place. You also need to ensure that the location is large enough to be able to accommodate a parking lot for vehicles and other important facilities.
Step 6: Acquire the land
When you have finally chosen a location, then you will have to pay for the land space. It is important that you involve a legal adviser in this process so that you are not scammed of your money by fraudulent agents. With the help of the lawyer, you will be able to get the necessary land ownership documents.
Step 7: Start building
After acquiring the land and accompanying documents for your event center, the next step is for you to begin the construction of the event hall. This is where most of your money will go into. So, you will need to be financially ready to be able to bear all the costs of construction.
Step 8: Decorate the event center
When construction of the hall is completed, you have to start getting the necessary equipment and fittings for the hall. This includes all the electrical fittings and appliances, furniture, floor tiles, and the other necessary stuff to beautify a building. While you can get some of these items on lease based on the type of event to be held, you will have to invest in some essentials like the electrical fittings. You can hire the services of a professional to assist with the interior design of the hall.
Step 9: Apply for the necessary permits
In urban areas like Lagos state, it may be important that most event centers apply to the appropriate authorities for business permits or licenses before they can be able to start their business. This is to ensure that your event center has the necessary facilities to cater the number of people that can be allowed at a time, as well as the preparedness of the center for emergency situations such as a fire outbreak.
Step 10: Hire your staff
Most event center owners don’t get themselves involved in the everyday operations of their businesses; they hire managers to help them with that. Apart from the manager, you will also have to hire other staff personnel such as kitchen staff, event coordinator, and others.
Step 11: Publicize your business
This step is a very important one that should not be neglected. Publicizing your event center business involves several promotion or marketing strategies including word of mouth, social media advertising, traditional media (TV and radio) advertising, among other methods.
The first method which is through the word of mouth is very necessary because it can help you to get the customer base you need to get started. This is because your close network of friends and family will help you to extend your business influence to places where you may not or cannot be able to go. The other advertising methods are also important, especially the use of social media, which is a cheap and influential method of marketing your business.
Step 12: Start small
What I mean by starting small is that you shouldn’t overprice your business when compared with other successful event center businesses. A good way to gain customers for any new business is by putting a competitive pricing for your services; this not only attracts new customers but can also lure customers who have been loyal to other event centers.
A word of caution though, you shouldn’t put the pricing at a very low rate to avoid making losses. That being said, there is a need for you to go out there and check how your already established competitors fix their pricing. This will help you to know how to fix your own price.