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    7 Replies Latest reply on May 13, 2008 12:10 PM by Lighthouse24

    Conducting a business workshop-Please help

    Activateyi Wayfarer
      Greetings. This is my first time posting, so please be patient with me. I work for a strategic business consulting company which has put me in charge of developing a workshop for people interested in starting a new business. This will be my first big assignment for the company. We will have experts in business plan writing, legal aspects of business, and finance. Has anyone out there ever had to complete a similar assignment? Do you have any suggestions that will help make this inviting and helpful to our target market? Your feedback is greatly appreciated.
        • Re: Conducting a business workshop-Please help
          Lighthouse24 Ranger

          One of my firms does a workshop series like this, and I've served as an advisor for business incubators sponsored by local universities. So I'd be glad to offer my insight if: (a) you can add some info to your profile (since your firm may be a competitor, I'd like to know who I'm helping!), and (b) you can be more specific about your project (will the workshop be held locally only or be a national/"roadshow" offering, live or web-based, one-time or repeating, a few hours long or a few days, free or fee-based, and if fee-based, does the company expect to profit from the workshop itself or from follow-up sales of the company's products/services?). A better idea of what you're trying to do would help me offer more useful input.

            • Re: Conducting a business workshop-Please help
              Activateyi Wayfarer
              Thanks for your response. I updated the profile. We are a small fairly new company located in Fayetteville, GA. We will repeat the workshop. The plan is to charge a small fee to cover the cost of materials. The profit we make will come from follow-up sales of our services. Our website is www.ayiconsulting.com

              Thanks for your consideration and response.
                • Re: Conducting a business workshop-Please help
                  Lighthouse24 Ranger

                  For the type of program you are describing, cost-effective marketing is the biggest challenge. The approach that has been most successful for me is to partner with local community colleges that have business continuing education courses. My firm provides a small business start-up workshop to them on contract, they promote and market it through their normal channels at their expense, and they enroll the people and collect the fees. They even provide the venue. If enough people sign up, the session is held and they pay us for the materials, plus a minimal instructor fee. If there aren't enough signed up, the class is canceled.

                  Essentially, we give away information and advice in the courses, but get qualified leads in return (new or prospective business owners). There are two caveats: (1) a college will check credentials and qualifications thoroughly (so you have to have them), and (2) some academic-focused college deans don't really understand the business world (so you have to make sure they know and agree that you will have a business relationship with attendees after the program).

                  As for course content, there is a lot of generic start-up information and assistance available on the web -- so we don't try to compete with any of that. We make our workshops very specific to the jurisdictions in which they are held (in my opinion, that is the ideal focus/niche for a smaller local provider like you). The attendees don't just hear about all the steps needed to plan, organize, register, and license a business in their state, county, and city -- nor do they pay someone to do it for them -- they go through the process themselves in the workshop (to the degree that they're ready to) with personal assistance from me and from an attorney who is licensed to practice business law in that locale. At the end of the course, they leave with a business plan, the appropriate registration forms and filings, an EIN, sales tax and use permits, local licenses/applications (and depending on who else we partner with in that city, they may have a business bank account, credit apps, a domain name and web host, etc.).

                  The workshop includes free follow-up assistance and access to our on-line libraries for a month. During that time, we try to build a good working relationship and add value -- so serious business owners generally either retain us and/or purchase additional services and materials from us down the road (which is where/how we actually make a profit on all this).

                  Hope this helps. If any of that triggers a specific follow-up question, feel free to post it. Best wishes.
              • Re: Conducting a business workshop-Please help
                LUCKIEST Guide
                Conducting a business workshop- Please help Welcome to this web site.

                Lighthouse always has great advice. Where are you located?? and how soon do you need this info??

                Be glad to help, FREE!! Do you know about SCORE?? SCORE is FREE.

                SCORE also has 26 online courses at " www.score.org " Some of them should be of help.

                LUCKIEST
                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • Re: Conducting a business workshop-Please help
                  bizconsultant Scout
                  Actually we have done pretty much the same thing but on a more comprehensive basis. Email me at ajones@abcsolutions.cjb.net if interested in talking about working together