Running an event business is risky. Diversifying your offered services can give you extra revenue and be a safety net in lean times.
Revenue diversification is adding new services to your business portfolio to create new sources of income. This is done using all or part of the business’s equity, assets, production, and service capabilities.
Relying on one source of income has been identified as a risky way of running a social business. Authors of Diversification Reconsidered, Peter Frumkin and Elizabeth Keating observe that:
“Business and non-profit researchers have argued that by establishing and maintaining multiple streams of funding… organizations are able to avoid excessive dependence on any single revenue source, stabilize their financial positions, and thereby reduce the risk of financial crises.”(Frumkin & Keating 2011:151)
Diversifying your event business revenue streams also gives you the freedom to be more selective with the clients and budgets you take on. However, the most critical thing to ensure before you add to your business is that your primary source of income is secure. The service that your business is known for must always take precedence over expansion plans. Therefore, when it comes to expansion, make sure you are as lean as possible, do intensive research, and make sure it will become profitable quickly.
Let us briefly look at prominent event vendor services and how they can be diversified to have more revenue streams.
A brief note
We share many ideas below about diversifying your event business and have organized them by which vendor type the concept is related to — photo booths and photography. But with your contacts in the event industry, you needn’t feel limited. Any one of these ideas could work regardless of your core business.
Expanding Services Is Key To Diversifying Your Event Business
While most of the article is about extending your existing skillset to other revenue streams, there’s one crucial point to consider first. ThymeBase is event planning software, and we’ve spoken to hundreds of event businesses because of it and work with hundreds more. We know that many event businesses offer multiple services under an umbrella. You can, too, when diversifying your event business.
In other words, many venues offer event planning & coordination. So do many florists and caterers. Wedding planners provide DJ services, rentals, or officiating, while DJs offer lighting and videography. While we touch on this idea below, we tried to find creative ideas to leverage your existing skillset to add new revenue streams that might be less obvious.
Because inspiring your innate creativity is way cooler. We want to show you what’s possible, get your ideas flowing and hopefully inspire you to something new we haven’t even thought of.
1. Diversifying A Promotional Products Distributor Business
Whether the event is a wedding, conference, or product launch – event planners are always looking to give attendees something to take home. Expanding as a products distributor boils down to adding more variety to the products you supply. And the keyword is “customization.” The more individualized you make your products, the more value you add to your clients.
You can add the following services to your business:
Stationery and product design:
Offering customized stationery like notepads, name badges, apparel, and even miniature awards for team-building events. This is a growing market that can be a secure stream of revenue. This can also translate to creating invitations. Printing might have taken a step back due to invitations becoming digital; however, it can still be lucrative with specialized printing. We’ve spoken to Double Trip Press about being in the stationery business.
Unique gifts for bridal parties:
Gifting within bridal parties has exploded in recent years. From brides giving their bridesmaids customized jewelry to bridesmaids giving hampers to the bride, personalized packages that suit different personalities are trendy. As a products distributor, you can offer one-off, unique gifts customized for each bridal party. A business like Vowed Box Co. is an excellent example of a company that creates gifts for different bridal personalities.
Regional hand-made gifts:
Another opportunity for expansion is honing in on a particular region and crafting products interesting specifically to them. You could offer handmade gift packages for any event, with the underlying tone being regional specificity. Your gift packages can include products popular in that area, from edible components to toiletries or stationery.
You could also offer these packages for everyday use and make them available on your business’s website. Batch, for example, creates customized handmade gifts for the Southern States of America and is both a gift and retail company. Or perhaps a partnership with a company like Mana Up which specializes in Hawaiian companies.
2. Diversifying A Wedding Photography Business
A photographer is one of the first event vendors that any event planner seeks. The photographer is sensitive to the event theme and captures memorable moments. But other additional services fall under the banner of capturing memories.
The following can be easily added to an event pro’s services:
Photo booths have gained significant popularity in the last two decades. In fact, they have become one of the most sought-after things in events alongside DJs and performers. So,, adding a photo booth to your offering could be a great way to generate more income from your gigs. We’ve seen photo booths be offered by DJs, photographers, event planners, and event rental pros.
Videography is a job in its own right, and you may have to look at a few online resources before you get comfortable with it. And this is probably best suited to photographers looking to expand. As a photographer, you are likely to have many tools to become a videographer and a comfort level with advanced editing software. It might be better to partner with a videographer rather than doing it yourself.
And if you already do some videography, adding a simple consumer drone will also enable you to shoot brilliant 4K videos, leading to more revenue.
Personalized creative performances:
Event planners and brand specialists are always looking for creative ways to connect guests to their brand messaging. As an event professional, you probably have artists and performers in your network. You can use this to form partnerships that will make your business offering more robust. You can provide clients with artistic performances such as contemporary dancing, ballet, or live poetry readings as entertainment alongside your photography. The Haiku Guys & Gals create personalized haikus for guests at events. This creative and intimate experience connects guests to the event.
3. Diversifying A Catering Business
Event catering is one of the anchors of any event. Food can easily make or break an event. So while it is essential to perfect your skills as a caterer, once you are seasoned (get it?), look at alternative ways of generating income.
You can add the following services to diversify your business:
A wine expert is a feature some event planners choose to forego, leaving the wine selections to the chef. This is why it is a great skill set to add to a catering business. You can make this service easier to access for your clients and earn more from all your events than you would just as a caterer. You can supply wine for consumption and even add customized labels with the guests’ names or put the wine in customized packaging.
You can also mitigate the gaps between events by appearing regularly at local events. You can have food stalls at weekly markets or bazaars where locals gather. In these settings, you will not only generate revenue, but you will also attract prospective clients. You can hand out your business card and, through that, increase the locals’ knowledge of your catering business.
While the conventional choice of entertainment at events is a DJ or a live performance, you could provide clients with something different – a mobile karaoke truck or trailer. This service would be appealing to brand strategists looking to stage creative activations. It also works just as well in corporate events or personal gatherings like birthdays and weddings. The AirScream, for example, is a business that uses a vintage Airstream as a mobile karaoke lounge for corporate events.
4. Diversifying A Event Baking Business
As a baker, you supply many different cakes for many occasions. Accommodating varying dietary requirements and sharing your skills with people can be simple yet effective ways to diversify your revenue streams.
The following options can be easily incorporated into an event-focused baking business:
Offering health-conscious confectionery will undoubtedly set you apart as a baker. People who cannot have gluten in their diet have become more vocal and expect to enjoy the same treats as everyone else at events, just gluten-free. Adding this service to your business will make you attractive to event planners. They will not have the excess stress of soliciting gluten-free confectionery for some of their guests.
You can also add baking and cake decorating classes to your services. There are many creative ways that you can make your classes an event in and of themselves. You can have different themes for each workshop, use them as team-building or bonding events and even have tournaments and competitions. The opportunities are plenty here; you can teach children as well as adults. Paying close attention to your students and providing refreshments will quickly make you a household name and increase your reach for future events.
It’s worth mentioning, one caterer I know pivoted during covid to online classes. They hosted virtual team-building sushi-making classes until they could get back to live events.
A dessert food truck:
You can also invest in a fully-furbished dessert truck, perhaps with an ice cream machine, and bring it to your vents. These have become increasingly popular, especially in personal gatherings like birthday parties. It can also be a great way to generate revenue between events as you could go out on any sunny day and sell to locals in your town.
5. Diversifying A Florist Business
As a florist, you create flower arrangements to fit an event’s theme and color palette to make the venue livelier. To diversify your income, you can look at more services that involve style and arrangement in the event industry.
Services such as the following:
Custom balloon installations:
Balloons are certainly no longer just fun for children. Event planners now incorporate balloons as colorful installations to brighten up venues or even streets and driveways leading up to the venue. Businesses like BalloonWorks, for example, have grown to celebrity status with their creative and extravagant installations.
Balloons lend themselves to many creative uses. There is a tutorial on how to blow and fold just about any shape on YouTube. You can also bring your balloon pump to events and create shapes on guests’ requests depending on the type of audience they are, i.e., at a children’s party.
Handmade resin flowers:
As a florist, fresh flowers are your area of expertise. However, if you are looking to expand the services you offer, resin-preserved flowers or artificial flowers might be worth considering. You can use products like resin to simulate real flowers. This could be an easy segue into an online business that will keep generating income when you are not doing events. For example, Miami-based sisters Ann + Joy create handmade flowers with resin and have established a booming shop on Etsy.
Making flower arrangements solely for events means that your services are once-off, making your income also once-off. You can mitigate this by offering ongoing services like subscriptions where you deliver flowers to customers regularly. You can have different arrangements every day or once a week. Either way, you will have a continuous revenue stream that will help you stay afloat until your next big event.
You could even use the flowers leftover from weddings to avoid waste.
6. Diversifying An Event Rental Business
The business of event rental supply is inherently diverse. You may be hiring out tents and marquees, chairs and tables, crockery and cutlery, tablecloths and mobile toilets, or all the above all at once. What may increase your revenue streams is hiring out specific products to make life easier for your clients.
You can consider the following services:
You can offer clients convenience by creating destination wedding-themed packages for hire. Instead of just offering Wimbledon chairs and pallets, you can create a “Beach Wedding” rental option, and you supply them with all of the paraphernalia required for a beach wedding.
Ethnic wedding dresses:
Contemporary weddings across the world are incorporating different cultural elements into traditional western weddings. This is a new and viable way to generate more income. You can look at the ethnic groups in your region and acquire wedding dresses that can be hired by brides looking to hybridize their western wedding. A great example is East Meets Dress, a rental business specializing in Chinese wedding dresses for Asian-American brides.
Bridal party accessories rental:
Wedding accessories can often be expensive, and some brides do not want to spend large amounts of money on accessories for one day. By hiring out accessories, you will be giving brides an ample choice for reasonable prices. You could potentially be the business that brides rely on for everything except the dress, like the luxury e-boutique Happily Ever Borrowed.
7. Diversifying An Event Planning Business
As an event planner or coordinator, you are responsible for fitting all the pieces of an event together. From scouting locations to choosing the event vendors needed to make the strategy behind the event come to life.
While you are in-between events, you can use your skills in other ways to generate an income:
Romance concierge services
You can use your knowledge of getaway locations to coordinate romantic dates. Your services could include dates like a candle-lit dinner at the beach or a destination engagement party. You can even take this further by incorporating suites for unique client budgets. A business like Romance on the Go is a great inspiration for creating affordable romantic atmospheres for clients.
Engagement Ring Advice
Most people want to get their proposal just right and will readily take reliable advice. You could team up with local jewelers and designers and become a bridge for your clients to get guidance on engagement rings. You can recommend the best jeweler and/ or designer based on the client’s budget and personality. This is a solid business idea, and businesses like Agent Engagement are thriving off of giving advice on engagement rings.
You could also expand your business to sourcing customized items for grooms to gift the groomsmen. Small gifts like customized socks or bowties are likely to be adopted by grooms or even brides who want to do something special for their partner. No Cold Feet is an excellent example of a business catering to unique groomsmen gifting.
Do What You Love When Diversifying Your Event Business
The most efficient way to diversify is to add a service that is as close as possible to your current services. This way, there is minimal risk and not a large amount of capital required to start. Partnering with other businesses is also a necessity to safely diversify your business. Ultimately, you always want to be on the lookout for more ways to increase your revenue streams.