Live Small Business Workshop

1. Dynamic Content

When I attend a well-organized workshop or seminar, I am astonished at the amount of content the speakers give in their talks. Last weekend, I came home with a notebook full of ideas and notes that I could implement immediately.

Many speakers freely share their online marketing strategy at business seminars. Since the speakers are entrepreneurs themselves, they know what the attendees need to start a small business or take their small business to the next level.

2. Contacts You Won’t Make With E-Mail or the Phone

It is amazing to me how a weekend conference allows small business owners to network and find others to make joint ventures. When I eat lunch with other entrepreneurs, I usually always walk away with a new tip or a partner for a new project.

Just last weekend at lunch, I found a new way to promote a conference I am hosting and my husband found a partner for his new project. Networking is definitely a bonus when you attend business conferences.

When you rub shoulders with other entrepreneurs and small business owners, you make friends and contacts with people that “get it”. Too often, those in the 9-5 job arena just don’t understand the benefits you receive when you have your own business and they surely don’t understand the freedom and control you gain when you are your own boss. Attending a small business workshop allows you time with others that do “get it”.

3. Incredible Access to World-Renowned Speakers

Think about how difficult it would be to call a nationally known speaker and visit with him about your small business. These speakers freely share the strategy that made them successful in the first place.

Most speakers spend the break time in the hallway so you have full access to them and their knowledge. No more waiting for a returned phone call or e-mail. Just walk on up to them and ask your questions.

Client Attraction Secret

Tip #1 – Content – what do I talk about or teach them?

The best way to determine the content for your workshop is to simply ASK! Ask during your presentations, ask during your networking events, ask current clients, past clients and prospects. Simply ask:

– What would you like to learn more about?
– What would you be willing to pay to learn more about?
– What is it that no one is telling you that would make a huge difference?

Oftentimes you’re being asked the same question or for more details on something specific and that gives you great topics to teach or to “ask” if they would attend a workshop to learn more. Content is easy when you ask those whom you would like to help AND when you listen to what people say they most want to learn from you!

Tip #2 – Communicate – how do you tell everyone about your workshop?

There are so any options when marketing your workshop. But here are some that I’ve used and that you should consider:

– Social networking sites: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter to promote your event

– Local calendars: Google “event calendars” for your state or county

– (new to me!) – a low cost ad will let you see what people are saying about your event!

– discussion boards – promote your event

– Blog – Post it on yours and others where appropriate and approved

– Newsletter – Announce it in yours and others where you can

– Talk about your upcoming event while networking or when making a presentation

– Tell your current clients and ask them to share it with the people they know

This is just a “short-list” but enough to get your started!

Tip #3 – Conversion – how do I convert prospects to clients in a workshop?

To help your prospects become your clients as a result of attending your workshop you MUST deliver great content that they can use, immediately. If they feel like it’s more theory than something they can implement and see results, they won’t see an immediate need to become your client.

Also, you should give them a clear path to working with you next. If you give them great content and they know how to use it, they may want more. They need to know to make that happen. So make an offer during the workshop that gives them a way to work with you afterwards. It makes it an easier transition since they know what you deliver, like it AND now have a way to get more!

Hosting workshops as a part of your client attraction system is an important tool to help you grow your business. Not only do you benefit from sharing your knowledge and expertise in a leveraged way (and perhaps create a new information product from it!) but your current clients learn more and your prospects have a clear path to becoming one of your newest clients.

Repeat Business

The best franchise opportunities to get into are the ones that can possibly serve each customer every day. Fast food vendors top the lists every time. Subway, McDonalds and the like actually have repeat customers on a daily basis. Janitorial services are also rather regular repeat business transactions. An office might require your services once a week and you might have ten offices a week. My art workshops are great for regular repeat business because my students come back weekly for a workshop and they go from workshop to workshop. This provides me with the chance of getting to know them on a more personal level.

Construction and real estate top the lists for one stop customers. A big time tycoon might need more than one house a year. But, the individual home owner might average a house per every seven years. Construction and real estate are great businesses to be in when the market is good, but you will rarely work with the same customer on a monthly or even yearly basis. Tax consultation is another great business to be in, but you will only work with your customers once a year. These types of businesses can be very lucrative if you position yourself in the right place at the right time and are on top of your game.

So, when you are looking for that perfect entrepreneurial opportunity, I suggest you narrow your search down to the type of business that pulls customers back in your doors more regularly. Low overhead, minimum inventory business opportunities get you into business with little start up capital. And there are great opportunities in place that meet that criterion.

What is actually required to start an art workshop center? You need a location. I’ve seen plenty of art workshops run out of the home until enough money was generated to move the location. Actually, it helped promote and attract my students. Starting one in your home is a more welcome atmosphere to get to know your initial students. Plus, they feel more at ease about taking your workshop.

Students can easily be required to bring their own art supplies unless you actually want to add a small supply shop so that students have supplies readily available to them just in case they need something during the workshop. You can also add bonus supplies that come with signup to any of your workshops. It’s easy to cover if you just add the cost to tuition. You can get the supplies fairly cheap when you order in bulk and you can require students to pay in advance so that you are not coming out of pocket for anything.

Now, all you need are the students. My art workshop franchise has everything in place for you to get started from marketing to training. It’s a step by step process that comes with constant support. I’ve even personally walked several of my students through the process of starting their own workshop. But, we have so many more resources in place since those beginning days.

Types of Workshop Heaters

Heating a workshop is only as easy as your understanding of its size. For instance, you must do everything in your power to properly measure out the dimensions and size of your workshop because failing to do so will result in either too much, or not enough heat; furthermore this kind of failed calculation can result in you also spending more then you need to on your heating expenses. Every workshop heater that you come across has very specific ratings as to how large of an area it can heat and getting this right is the most important part of finding the best types of workshop heaters for you.

The next most important thing to consider when looking for workshop heaters is the type of fuel they burn. The main types of models you come across will either burn wood, gas, coal, oil or use electricity to accomplish their goals. The most efficient type of fuel is always going to vary based on where you live and there is never one type of fuel that is more economical or practical for everybody equally. If you are unsure about what type of fuel is going to be the most economical decision for you in the long run, the best advice to you would be to check the fuel consumption rating on the workshop heater that you are interested in and then begin to estimate your fuel costs from there.

For some people, having the ease of using something as simple as electricity is enough to sell them on that one aspect alone based on convenience; for other people, being environmentally friendly is a big part of not only them, but their businesses so they take other appropriate measures to meet those high standards and goals they have set into motion. It all comes down to analyzing which workshop heater is going to work best given the amount of space you have. Heating workshops can be as simple or difficult as you want it to be, however, you have complete control and ability to determine your costs up front by matching the best workshop heaters to the amount of space you will be working in and this is one estimate you should never take lightly and even seek professional help for if need be.

Business Workshops in Area

Making a success of a business is not that easy, as many of you know, which is why attending business workshops can be of great benefit. You can learn so much and prepare yourself for the business world, by learning what actually happens in the real world within a business, not by learning from books. In every area you will find business workshops and these can cover all different aspects of a business from how to start your business, and other beginners advice, to the complicated advanced business workshops that offer financial and tax coaching.

You can easily learn about these business classes by applying at local colleges and schools where seminars and events like this are usually held. You can also use magazines and newspapers pertaining to business to learn about any business coaching events that are advertised. Business workshops are usually promoted through various education facilities and by getting details from business schools you can find the best events in the area.

Many of these workshops will be open to students only, but you can also find them by signing up on different business websites. Your local city council or town council will also normally be informed of these types of seminars being held in your area, so get hold of a representative and ask for any updates or where you can learn more. Hotels and conference centers are the usual place where business workshops are held, so contact ones in your area to see what they have coming up.

Once you have signed up on business websites and approached all the people that you can in your area regarding business workshops, it only remains to wait and see what comes up. If you are impatient then another way to attend a business workshop would be to find the most appropriate ones online. These so called webinars are perfect as you can learn all you need while staying at home – in your pajamas if you like. Some are interactive and some are just there for you to listen and get all the advice and information that you need.

It is very rare that you will not find a business workshop to attend, so if you cannot find one, then another idea is to communicate directly with companies that you know offer these kinds of workshops. They could be recruiting agencies, companies that you are particularly interested in, or business coaching facilities.

Market Your Business With Community Workshop

The list of possibilities is pretty much endless. If your business does graphic design, consider holding a short workshop on how to use colors for emotional impact or how to choose the best fonts for print or online use.

If you run a home remodeling business, you could hold a class on planning a kitchen update, demonstrate how to draw a basic blueprint to scale for a contractor, or discuss how to evaluate new fixtures for durability or energy efficiency. If you run an investment business, hold a session on how to plan for retirement or college expenses. Develop websites? List and discuss all the elements people should consider when creating a website, and compare and contrast existing websites for their effectiveness. Are you an accountant? You might give a class on basic bookkeeping, or on how to set up a spreadsheet you keep track of expenses. Are you in the catering business? Teach how to make a healthy vegetarian dish, or talk about how to use spices in recipes. Do you sell clothing and accessories? Give a class on choosing appropriate styles for all body shapes or 10 ways to tie a scarf, and the audience will come.

There’s no need to give away all your secrets. The idea is to share a little bit of your knowledge with the audience. They’ll come away with appreciation for your expertise, and remember your name as the one to turn to for help in that area. For example, an editor giving a class on basic proofreading is not creating competition that will take business away, but will more likely create new clients because her audience will come to realize how challenging and time-consuming editing can be, learn new appreciation for her skills, and be more willing to pay for an expert to take on the task.

Many businesses have also found that running workshops is a profitable endeavor in itself. Many photographers run paid workshops teaching amateur shooters as well as other professionals. General contractors can teach paid workshops to do-it-yourselfers.

Target your workshop to the group that would most likely contain new customers for your business. For example, people contemplating starting their own businesses need to educate themselves about how to get funding, how to advertise, how to keep their books and pay their taxes, about the regulations they must obey, and so forth–so wannabe entrepreneurs are a big group for banks, marketing firms, accountants, and attorneys to market to. So are new and prospective homeowners, new parents, and many other groups.

Don’t be afraid to partner up with another complimentary business to offer a workshop, too. For example, a landscape designer might partner with a nursery owner to talk about how to create a perfect shade garden; a hairdresser could team up with a cosmetics expert to offer makeover tips; a personal trainer with a nutritionist to present a class on how to get in shape for summer.

How should you go about offering a workshop? You could always lease a space, hire caterers, and do all the advertising yourself, but that’s usually not the best route to take, unless you are marketing to rich clientele who expect elegant presentations. Ideally, you want to offer a workshop at a venue that will help you advertise and present your class. Many community organizations are eager to partner with good presenters to create an event that will benefit the audience, the presenters, and the event hosts.

Community colleges and local clubs are always looking for ideas for continuing education classes. So are all kinds of business conferences. (Keep in mind that well established conferences often finalize their speaker schedules more than a year in advance.) Even libraries and local retail businesses are often looking for ideas for events. It’s fine to first casually discuss an idea with the local head of the organization to judge their willingness to participate. However, chances are that if you want the organization to host your class, advertise the event, and encourage their clientele to come, you’ll probably need to write a proposal to explain what you have in mind.

A workshop proposal needs to be only as sophisticated as the organization you are pitching your ideas to, but every proposal needs to contain some necessary information.

Here are the basic elements:

A catchy title (e.g., “When Can You Afford to Retire?” or “Update Your Home Decor without Breaking the Bank”) and brief description of your proposed class

A description of the audience you’re targeting and why they would be interested

An explanation of how holding the event can benefit the organization providing space and advertising

A list of all the topics you plan to present and activities you plan to do

The duration of the class (most likely two to three hours)

A recommendation for the best dates, days, or times to hold the event

A list of requirements (if any) for the class, such as desks, notebooks, laptops, work smocks, gloves, etc.; whatever the attendees need to bring to the class to participate

A description of fees for participation, such as class fees or supply fees

A description of any items the audience will take away from the class (handouts, a piece of jewelry created in class, etc.)

An explanation of why you are the perfect person to teach this class

About Marketing To Off Line Businesses

My partner Jim and I have been in this arena now for more than a year and we have been seeing first hand how much we have been able to help our own clients. And with our system, we launched Easy Local SEM to help OTHER people market similar services to businesses all over the U.S. and Canada.

I have discovered though, that many people who want to market in this arena have one fatal short coming. They really don’t have any idea how to approach potential clients and get them to listen to what they have to say. My partner and I had this same issue when starting out. Jim used to drive around visiting local businesses for a few hours every day – saying hello, dropping off fliers and business cards, etc. And the people he spoke to were always nice.

However, we made exactly ZERO sales doing this. I learned the hard way that they simply saw us as nothing more than another salesman hawking some product or service. Not what they wanted to deal with, and who can blame them? They have a business to run.

There are a lot of ways to properly approach prospects, get them to listen and perhaps hire your services, but I am going to talk about just 2 things here…there’s a lot more to this, but I don’t want this post to be too incredibly long:)

  • “You’re an internet guy?”

The first thing you need to do is very simple. Don’t bill yourself as an “internet marketer”. For one thing you don’t do yourself any favors. If you talk to business owners in a casual environment and ask what they think about internet marketing, many won’t really even understand exactly what that is… and many others think “just some other fly-by-night company selling me a bill of goods about SEO or something.”

Bottom line is, you are looking to help a business increase their revenue. And you are educating them about the power of advertising on the internet. And giving them new ideas on how to get more people to look at their products and services.

In other words, you are a Business Consultant.

Say that to yourself until it is second nature. Because (if you are doing this right) that’s exactly what you are. You just happen to specialize in the many ways the internet can help.

  • Show them how they can do it themselves!

Business owners like nothing better than to find other ways to increase their revenue while saving money at the same time. Well, who doesn’t?

So, why not show them how they can use the internet themselves? Show them the power of capturing emails, proper S.E.M., a well-optimized website, the power of social media…you get the idea.

What I am talking about are workshops. Very simple.

Hold a workshop in the area you market to. It’s easy to get the word out (how about the Chamber of Commerce, or local paper – even Craig’s List). And you can actually make money holding them. But there’s an even bigger benefit…

Structure a workshop environment, schedule it for 6 – 8 hours on a Saturday. Charge for attending (anywhere from $97 to $997 – or more if the market will bear it). You need to at LEAST cover the cost of the workshop – most likely for a room at a local hotel to hold the workshop in, perhaps coffee and doughnuts…that kind of thing.

Understand the power here…you will now have business owners coming to you. You are now NOT a sale person, but a potential solution to a problem. They will be MUCH more willing to listen.

The workshop itself MUST be good stuff. Real usable, actionable things these people can do. Focus on just a few things they can do. You want them to have their “light bulb moment”, seeing the potential of what you’re teaching them. But at the same time, you want them to understand just how much time and effort it will take if they take it on themselves.

That’s where the “selling without selling” takes place. They will start asking YOU if you can do this for them. Which of course, you can.

Once you break it down for them in terms they can understand (cost benefits, etc.) the will see that it is simply another advertising avenue. Something they already spend money on – and something they can also write off at the end of the year.

All of this can lead to new clients. Many of them. Hiring you to do everything from website design (or redesign) to SEO to reputation management to social media marketing, to customer database management – and much more.

So now I hear you saying – “A workshop? I never held one of those. I have no content, etc. for this. What do I do?”

Man I hear that. I said the same thing over a year ago when this idea was first presented to me. The answer can only be one of two things: 1) Create the content or 2) BUY the content.

I did number two. And I can tell you it’s the best thing I could have done. Who has the time to write up all this content for the business owners to learn from and keep after the workshop is over?