One particular method that we believe in for growing a business is to offer free workshops. You can usually advertise these workshops at no cost in your local newspaper. (We can help you learn to set-up your workshops if this idea appeals to you. Just let us know.)
The free workshops can accomplish several things:
- You attract people who are specifically interested in your particular service.
- They are quite willing to attend your workshop because they are free.
- You establish credibility with them by demonstrating your knowledge and trustworthiness through a quality presentation.
- You are able to establish a mailing/potential client list from the attendee list.
- With the attendee’s permission, you can send them a newsletter offering tips and future promotions you may be offering.
- You are able to discover your attendees’ greatest needs by the use of questionnaires and comments, which may help you determine the best direction for your business.
- You can discover the interest level for attending more formal, paid classes.
- You may have workshop attendees who are ready to hire you after they attend your workshop.
- You improve your speaking ability. (Groups and organizations in the community are always looking for speakers.)
- By doing workshops, you learn your strengths and weaknesses.
- You have the opportunity to develop your materials. These have the potential to become a sale-able product, such as an e-book.
- You will establish yourself in the business community.
You may be asking “Well, where do I put on these workshops?” A good question. We have found several places available in our small town. The Quality Inn and Suites here has a room that will hold 50 people (there is a rental charge that includes set-up and clean up). Our local library has a meeting room for 40 people and is less expensive, however, you must set-up and take down the seating. Our Chamber of Commerce also has a small meeting room that is free of charge to Chamber members. So you can see that you can probably find an appropriate meeting room in your area if you look at all the possibilities.
If you are like most people, the idea of doing a presentation in front of people may scare the daylights out of you. This is an understandable reaction wherein a root canal appears to be a more pleasant experience. (In fact, columnist Roscoe Drummond said, “The mind is a wonderful thing—it starts working the minute you’re born and never stops until you get up to speak in public.”)
Assuming that your audience is unarmed, there is really nothing to fear except “fear itself” as FDR once said. West Side Toastmasters has some excellent reference material that may help get you started.
If you are frustrated with your lack of progress, it just may be time to step outside your comfort zone for the sake of your business. Come on, you can do it!!