Manager - Human Resources, Robert Walters Hong Kong
When starting up in events management, use temporary staff to get your small business off the ground
I have been working in events management for the last six years, and am now keen to start my own business in the same industry — but with a focus on personalised events, such as weddings and high-profile birthdays. With few resources, I am unable to hire many people at first, but I know I can’t start up without help. I am unsure which kind of people to choose for an initial core team. How do I best select my first few employees?
The market for personalised events in Hong Kong has grown enormously in the past few years, so you are definitely picking up on a growing trend. Building up your core team could be a tricky process, depending on how much money you want to invest and the scale of business you are aiming for.
You may want to start a home-based business and use casual staff, or go bigger, renting office space and employing full-time staff. Unless budget is not a major concern, it’s always safer to start small and lean, because the event planning business can be quite seasonal and unstable. If you employ too many people at the start-up stage, it may be more costly than is necessary.
Once you have booked your first event, you can recruit temporary staff on a contract or casual basis. There are a few local recruitment agencies specialising in these areas that can ease the process. Alternatively, you can work with career centres at local universities to recruit students who are looking to gain work experience in return for a reference letter and some extra pocket money. This way, you can reduce the risks and operational costs.
As the business owner, you should expect to take up additional responsibilities, such as accounting and administrative duties, on top of the strategic and creative work. Then, if capital allows, you can consider hiring a junior coordinator or marketing assistant. Once your revenue flow is more stable, you can offload your clerical work and outsource your accounting work, which allows you to focus on networking and gaining new clients.
When selecting new full-time employees, you need to look for like-minded people with relevant experience. People who have worked in PR agencies and production houses would be a good option, as they are usually equipped with organisational skills, can multitask, and have a good sense of event flow and logistics. Graduates from similar disciplines are another good option, as they will add enthusiasm to the business. This option is easy on your budget, as graduates expect to earn an entry-level salary.
Starting a business is always stressful, but your initial hard work and resilience will lead to long-term success.
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Use temporary staff to jump-start your event business.