My Event Production Company Brings In $50K/Mo

Published: April 5th, 2024
Amana Feline
Founder, EMS Events
$50K
revenue/mo
1
Founders
25
Employees
EMS Events
from London, UK
started January 1997
$50,000
revenue/mo
1
Founders
25
Employees
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi guys! I am Amana Feline, the founder of EMS Events. I started the company in 1997 by offering event production services in London, which is now making $50K monthly. We provide staging, bespoke set designs, and audio visual hire services to businesses for live, hybrid, and virtual events.

Over the past thirty years, we’ve extended our services and now offer LED video walls, sound systems, and lighting hire. EMS Events also serves the corporate sector with branding and printing, event interpretation, and web streaming services.

We hope to increase our monthly revenue to $90k by the end of the year. To achieve this target, we are concentrating on live concerts, product launches, and trade shows. Right now, we are focusing on the exhibitions sector and providing custom exhibition stands, display boards, and shell scheme stands.

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I always had a thing for events, which started when I attended my prom. The experience of flamboyant lighting coupled with music and large screens hit me differently, and over time, it grew on me.

This is also why I started my professional career as an event company sales and marketing intern. There, I worked closely with event organizers and planners. As I grew professionally, I attended corporate events as an event sales executive on a daily basis. So, when I decided to start my own venture, I combined my expertise and passion to found EMS Events.

My “aha” moment came when I saw event organizers and corporate companies struggle with equipment rentals. Till today, most event vendors either don’t have full equipment or their team lacks technical insight. This is an opportunity gap that got me thinking and urged me to build a company of my own.

I was working as a business manager back then and had enough savings to cover expenses for the coming years. So, there were no financial risks involved, and I already knew what people wanted, which gave me the courage.

Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.

It did not take much to start EMS Events. I was aware of the industry and the needs of event planners, which was a bonus point for me. I formulated a business plan that involved contacting people in my network and buying the necessary AV equipment.

The idea was not to overburden myself financially, and I didn’t want to get funding or have a partner looking over my shoulder. So, I was willing to share profits with equipment suppliers as long as I could make ends meet.

I hired a local company formation solicitor to register my company and for necessary legal stuff. But before that, I tested my business plan by providing audio visual equipment, such as lighting, plasma screens, and staging. This gave me the courage to act on my plans without doubting my client acquisition skills.

If I were to start my business today, I would begin by understanding the industry and identifying opportunities. New entrepreneurs should leverage their expertise and passion to minimise financial risks while starting lean.

Describe the process of launching the business.

Since I was already working in the industry, I had a good idea of event equipment and rental packages. I lacked technical expertise as I couldn’t install and set up equipment by myself.

So, the first thing I did after registering my event production company was hire a seasoned AV technician. I contacted a few of my ex-colleagues and hired them as part-time freelancers to cut labor costs. In the meantime, I signed a contract with a commercial mover company for equipment delivery.

Within a year, I was making more than my last salary, and I started hiring full-time people. At the start of 2001, my Event production team had 6 members, including an operational manager and a technical manager.

By 2005, EMS Events had established its name in and across Central London. I was making a fortune, and that’s when I decided to invest in AV equipment and delivery vehicles. My first bet was on staging and lighting; after that, I purchased two vehicles for equipment delivery.

However, my biggest investment was in the warehouse to keep the equipment and vans for transport. It’s near our physical office and situated in Unit 16, Ruby Street, Southwark, London, SE15 1LR.

The same year, we bought a domain and established our digital footprint as “Event Management Systems.” A client of mine was also offering digital marketing services, and they pitched me the idea. We created a homepage and services page and put our contact details on it.

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First version of EMS-Events.co.uk

We did not go for online marketing as I was unsure whether we could get leads from the website. I consider it a mistake, which was rectified in 2015. I turned towards digital marketing after a decade and hired a team of freelancers through Upwork. I hired people on Upwork because it was also in the news for its merger and rebranding.

We decided to focus on digital marketing by the end of 2015. The traffic increased within a month, and in the next year, we started receiving online leads. To cut the long story short, the decision proved fruitful.

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As you can see, the website had minimal to no traffic until 2016. But the traffic increased gradually and drastically after that. We also did some website rebranding by adding visuals and client testimonials.

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Second version of EMS-Events.co.uk

My event production business suffered a lot during the pandemic. Since people were in isolation during lockdown, there were no events, sales, or revenue.

You can see the impact of Covid on sales and website traffic as well.

ems-events

This was a hard time; the slump that began at the start of 2020 continued till the end of 2021. Somehow, I survived the recession and managed to keep the team intact by paying them minimum wages.

As soon as the UK government lifted the lockdown, I started getting event contracts. I was also keen and eager to invest in digital marketing to grow my business and make quick sales. I did some research, and my team also came up with some marketing suggestions to regain online traffic.

The online competition had become fierce, so we decided to focus on Local SEO and Google Ads. We listed our business, and needless to say, local clients started calling us within a month.

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EMS Local Business Profile on Google

The next move, which I still think was one of the best decisions of my life, was focusing on paid marketing.

We brought in a PPC specialist in our digital marketing team to generate quick leads. The team ran a targeted campaign for staging, sound system, and audio-visual hire services. The results were great, and I felt thankful that I made this decision.

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We are now continuously running Google Ads in addition to focusing on SEO and content marketing. My team is running a targeted PPC campaign right now aimed at corporate CEOs who love participating in conferences.

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How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

When I started my company in 1997, there were only 8 to 10 events monthly. I thought I’d be lucky to have one event a day. Fortunately, things turned around in 2000, as too many people booked us for millennium celebrations.

Thanks to good word-of-mouth, our event production services just took off after that, and the businesses flourished gradually. EMS Events has been catering between 500 and 600 events annually for the past few years.

In 2023, we provided services and equipment to 651 events in London. We are handling 10 to 12 events weekly for corporate companies right now.

Since every event is unique, we charge based on the customer's AV equipment needs. The price may vary from a few hundred pounds to a thousand pounds depending on the number of equipment, rental time, additional services, and AV assistance.

For instance, we charge £8 for mic hire and £50 for speaker rental. The price will vary when you hire a mic and speakers for a day or a week. Similarly, hiring more equipment will add up to the total pricing. Usually, we make between £2,000 and £3,000 from an average event that involves AV equipment rental, lighting hire, staging, and AV technician support.

In 2024, I plan to grow EMS Events and have hired more people to the team. We have 25 members, including AV technicians, technical managers, accountants, and a delivery team.

Another addition is in our digital marketing team, where two social media specialists have joined us. I believe being present on different social media platforms will help us create brand awareness, connect with the target audience, and generate social leads.

We also changed the website design to improve the UX and showcase our expertise in the best way possible.

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Current Web Design of EMS-Events.co.uk

The competition is ferocious as new companies have entered the event production business. Still, EMS Events is getting good traffic and leads online, thanks to our SEO efforts. As a local business based in Central London, 1.29 million impressions and 10k clicks are an achievement in itself.

ems-events

We are now making efforts to expand our horizons and aim to increase our range of services. My main focus is to get in touch with exhibitors and exhibition organizers. At the same time, I’m trying to reach out to concert organizers, tech brands, and eCommerce companies to secure product launch event contracts.

That’s why we are concentrating on email marketing and social media channels, such as LinkedIn and Instagram. We already have a strong follower base, and we are keeping them engaged with our newsletters. The team chose Mailchimp to run campaigns because it’s easy to use and automate.

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In the meantime, the digital marketing team is retargeting our old clients and sending cold emails to new prospects. The results are not great, but I’m happy with the click rate that we are getting right now.

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Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

The entrepreneurial journey is a thrilling adventure filled with highs and lows. Mine has been full of learning curves, and I’m enjoying it.

Joining hands with remote freelancers instead of hiring full-time employees was a fruitful decision that kept expenses to a minimum. Investing in delivery vehicles and customer support was the best decision that helped me earn a good word on the market.

I was early to join the website marketing trend in 2005, but couldn’t capitalize fully on it. We started late; however, I’m glad I decided to go for digital marketing earlier than many.

My only regret is that I failed to understand the importance of virtual events, which hurt the business during the pandemic. It was a rough patch that hurt my ambitions and stalled business growth. On the bright side, investing in SEO and Google Ads after COVID-19 helped me improve sales and aced it up.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We use Teamup to manage event scheduling, plan and outline workload, and track statuses.

I chose to go with WordPress as a content management system, which has been working well until now. To further improve performance and strengthen data security, we are utilizing Cloudflare. For email marketing, Mailchimp was our first choice, and we are still using it.

My team suggested SEMrush for SEO analysis and keyword research.

To better optimize web content, we’ve installed the Yoast SEO plugin.

We are also using Hootsuite to market and manage content across different platforms.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I love listening to "How I Built This", where Guy Raz shares entrepreneurs' stories. "The Tim Ferriss Show" helps me uncover the business strategies of successful people as each episode offers actionable advice.

I stumbled upon "The E-Myth Revisited" by Gerber when I was looking to upscale my business. It got me thinking about systemizing and automating business operations. The book "Zero to One" taught me how to dominate new markets by creating unique products for long-term success.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

If I were to start my business today, I would begin by understanding the industry and identifying opportunities. New entrepreneurs should leverage their expertise and passion to minimise financial risks while starting lean.

I believe prioritizing customer needs, adapting to market changes, and embracing technology are crucial. However, the key to success is crafting a business plan that considers your financial situation and upcoming marketing budgets. For long-term success, entrepreneurs should carefully evaluate their mistakes and successes to improve business strategies.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

I’m always looking for local talent and smart AV technicians with a passion for excellence. Right now, we are headhunting a senior warehouse AV technician and a driver cum setup audio-visual technician in central London.

Where can we go to learn more?

We are active on LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter), and Instagram to assist businesses. You can read more about EMS Events on our blog, YouTube, and Facebook, or email us at [email protected].

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