Planning and Promoting: 6 Essentials for Holding a Business Workshop

March 27, 2015

One of the best ways to gain visibility in the marketplace is to hold your own workshop. Many businesses have tinkered with the idea for a while, but few jump on it. It’s too bad. Holding your own workshop can help you do amazing things, like:


· Gain instant credibility


· Build valuable relationships with other businesses


· Help you get to know people


· Help you make money immediately


If you’re stuck in the idea-creation phase of holding your own workshop, here are six ways to get you out of the rut and moving.


How To Hold A Workshop


Choose Your Topic


The first thing you want to do is figure out why you’re holding a workshop. Choose a topic that’s relevant to your area of expertise, but where there’s room for growth and improvement. You should be an expert, but you don’t necessarily have to hold a monopoly on the information. In fact, by using guest speakers, you can become a sort of “MC” – the “go to” person when someone needs resources for topics discussed at your event.


Set The Time and Duration


Set a time and duration for the event. Weekends are usually the best, since it allows people to attend without seriously disrupting a workweek. But, some workshops necessarily go on for half a week or a full week. Make a decision about how much time you really need for these events and then book venues at least 6 months in advance so that there are no conflicts.


The longer the event, the longer in advance you must book the event. Determining the length of your event will also help you figure out the outline you need to get any necessary governmental approval. For example, if it’s a trade organization event, you may need special licensing for any demonstrations or to screen people for signups. You may also need insurance coverage for the event.


Charge a Fee


How much will you charge? This is a question that, ultimately, only you can answer. But, the duration, the regulatory and insurance costs, food and catering, speaker fees, administration costs, educational materials, and the number of expected attendees will all drive the cost for the event. The more attendees, the more you can discount the fees.


Conversely, the fewer the attendees, the higher the fees need to be to cover the speaker fees and all of the other costs.


Select Your Location



Location can be an important consideration if you’re in a professional industry. For example, if you’re hosting a financial planning workshop, you might want meeting rooms Cardiff as a professional location. If you’re hosting a farm workshop, a more laid back atmosphere might suffice.


Passing Regulatory And Liability Issues


The biggest challenge might be regulatory and liability issues. Not all industries require regulatory approval for events, but sometimes it makes sense to cover your bases by being proactive about additional licensing and permits.


If you’re holding a large event, make sure the venue can support the number of attendees. So, for example, if the venue can only hold 400, and 450 people show up, what will you do with the spill over?


You can’t rightly let them in. These types of issues can be solved by overbooking venues. Choose a venue that can accommodate 30 to 50 per cent more than you expect. Unless you’ve held previous, similar, events, you’re not sure how well your advertising efforts will be.


You can also tentatively book more than one venue – the primary and a fallback if responses start to swell at the last minute.


Market Your Workshop


Now it’s time to market your workshop. This can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. One of the best ways to market is through referrals and word of mouth. If you know someone who has already put on a successful workshop, try to partner with them for a “co-branding” of the event.


This makes your job of marketing much easier. Word of mouth is the least expensive option and it usually yields the highest and most dramatic results. Email can also work, but only if you already have a well-established list of faithful and loyal subscribers.


Press releases do work, but more and more people are not as trusting of them anymore unless you’re an established brand in your industry. Finally, traditional advertising can be used to boost other methods.


Direct mail, and direct response, will allow you to gauge interest in your event immediately. It can also be combined with email outreach and word-of-mouth initiatives to spread the word farther than if you used any one method alone.


Elizabeth Reed is a small business marketer. She likes to share her business insights online. Look for her articles on many small business and marketing sites.

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