Running a business workshop is the perfect way to collaborate with peers, build your brand and connect with fresh faces. If you’re looking to become a leader in your business niche, hosting your first workshop is an amazing first step.
But if you’ve never hosted a workshop event before, the thought of running your first one is quite intimidating. What will you do if no one shows up? What do you do about your fear of speaking in public? What if your content is a flop?
If it’s fear that keeps you from hosting a workshop, it’s time for you to start taking action. This article is a challenge for you to start the planning process for your first workshop right now.
To set you on the path toward success, we’ll share every step to take along your journey. We’ll also tell you about everything we wished we had known when we were planning our first events.
There’s no better time than now to dive into the world of business workshops. Get your notebook out and let’s get into it.
Let’s Use an Example
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus on the niche business of a local wellness spa. If you happen to own a wellness spa, you’ve definitely landed in the right place!
If you are the owner of a different type of business, consider your specific niche and how these principles apply to it. Running a business workshop will vary based upon your niche, but the same principles always apply.
Carefully Choose Your Venue
You can’t host a workshop without first securing a venue. While a lot of business owners get stuck on this first step, it doesn’t need to be as daunting as your fears tell you. In fact, it can be the simplest part of your process.
Let’s say our wellness spa owner wants to host a free workshop about the benefits of Reiki therapy. Her spa doesn’t have the space to host a workshop and she doesn’t want to pay for a rental space.
The best thing she can do is reach out to other local business owners in the wellness category. There’s a good chance that at least one of these business owners would be happy to host the event for free. After all, it could potentially attract new customers while offering additional value to existing customers.
If you’re charging an admission fee for your workshop, it could still be possible to find a free venue. If you can’t, you’ll need to find a space that charges a small rental fee. If this is your very first workshop, it’s best to rent a smaller space. If you have a small turnout, the space will still feel full and active.
For free venue options, our wellness spa owner would want to reach out to businesses such as:
- Healthy cafes
- Juice bars
- Local fitness-related studios
- Health-conscious restaurants
- Wellness clinics and centres
- Natural beauty retailers
- Massage studios
Now it’s time for you to take action. Start out by crafting an email that will be targeted at five local businesses in your niche. In the email, briefly introduce who you are and what you do. Explain the kind of workshop you want to host and how it will benefit their business.
When you’re happy with the content of your email, locate the five business owners you want to contact and send out each email individually.
You don’t need to wait until you’ve created all of the content for your workshop before you take this crucial step. Doing this helps you gauge overall interest and lock down your venue, which is your first step toward a successful workshop.
Taking this step will finally end your procrastination and get the ball rolling.
Depending on the venue you have managed to acquire, there may not be tables and chairs that are suitable to your event attendees.
BE Event Furniture Hire offer a huge selection of tables and chairs to hire for every occasion. We can supply as little as one single chair up to 30,000 folding chairs and as little as one table up to 5000 tables. BE Event Hire is Midlands based and we deliver UK-wide 7 days a week.
Creating Content for Your Workshop
When you think about planning a workshop, you’re probably under the assumption that you need to plan out every detail of the content that’s discussed. But this isn’t true.
To plan your content, chose what your main topic will be but don’t over-structure it. Focus on presenting between three to five actionable pieces of information that attendees and take with them and start doing immediately. More than that can overwhelm your audience.
Instead of putting too much structure into the content, use your workshops as a tool to connect with individuals you wouldn’t have met in another environment. Leave plenty of time for ad-lip moments and stories. Allot for enough time that allows people to connect, laugh and enjoy the moment in a genuine way.
Too much structure on your part can ruin spontaneous moments. In fact, spontaneous moments are what make your workshop engaging and authentic. Spontaneity should take up more time during your workshop than content presentation.
After all, we’re all looking for more genuine connections that lead to personal growth.
It’s important to develop an overall outline for what you want to cover in your workshop. But don’t budget too much time on presentation. Instead, open things up to questions.
Be extremely flexible with your attendees. If they’re looking for additional information on one particular point you discussed, then dive into it deeper.
It’s also important that you don’t over-rehearse your presentation. When you present, do it from the heart instead of your head. Even if you practised eight hours per day, you’re still going to make mistakes. It’s important to roll with your mistakes and keep speaking from your heart.
Now it’s time for you to take some action. Start by jotting down the title of your first workshop. Then brainstorm and write down between three and five of the most important points you need to make on the subject.
Decide on the order you’d like to present your points. Then think about how you want to present the info (product demonstrations, slide shows, etc.). After this, start fleshing out additional details.
Time to Market Your Workshop
So much time can go into organising a workshop that has value to people. But if you don’t market your workshop, all of those efforts are wasted.
It’s important to spend at least as much time promoting and marketing your first workshop as spend putting the event together.
Don’t feel like you need to have a huge blog following or 100,000 followers on Instagram to market your workshop in an impactful way. Instead, leverage your personal network, no matter how small, to start getting the message out.
Think about all of the different ways you get the workshop in front of the faces of the people that matter most. Don’t forget about healthy long-term relationships you have with family, friends and other acquaintances throughout your neighbourhood. Ask them to invite people who may be interested in your message.
After all, this is your first workshop. Any way for you to build an audience is a step in the right direction.
Create a professionally-designed poster-sized image and share it with everyone you know. Ask them to share it as well. Share it on your social media accounts. Print it off and post it around your local area.
Next, you’ll want to create a Facebook and Eventbright event. Put all the details into the About section, including FAQs and what they should bring. Encourage attendees to share the event with their friends.
It’s also a great idea to reach out directly to other business owners in your specific niche. Ask them if they’d be willing to share your workshop with their physical and virtual audiences. Let them know that you’re willing to return the favour at any time in the future.
Now it’s time for you to take more action. Create a list of every person you can think of what supports you and might be willing and able to assist in workshop promotion. After you have your venue date and time set, create your Facebook event and ask those specific people to share it.
Send Them Home With Something Valuable
Attendees should always go home with powerful resources in-hand that they can implement in their lives right away. These resources can be printed and given to workshop guests, or can be sent in an email after the workshop is over. Just make sure they get the email as soon as possible.
All of the resource materials must include your business logo and contact info in case attendees share the content with other people.
When you send your attendees home with specific resources, it also gives you the perfect reason to follow-up a few days after the workshop. Find out what they think about the info or tools you’ve provided.
To take action on this important tip, start planning out your take-home resources and getting them together. It’s important that you don’t over-complicate when you send them home with. Small, easy-to-implement changes typically work out the best.
Know How to Upsell
If the main purpose of this workshop is for signing up group program participants or selling a one-on-one service, consider how you can use incentives. Inform your guests right at the beginning that you’ll have a workshop-only bonus available for all attendees at the end of the event.
When you’re just starting out, selling yourself can be a difficult thing to do. But you can upsell yourself and your services in many different ways, without sounding like you’re giving a sales pitch.
Throughout your workshop, showcase your unique personality and knowledge. Mention how much you enjoy working with clients in a one-on-one setting, so they understand it’s an option for them.
Don’t be afraid to be honest if you don’t know the answer to a question. Tell them that you need to dive further into it, and will follow up after the workshop. For the moment, just give the best answer you can, so that they know you’re knowledgeable and dependable.
During your presentation, use several examples from past clients and specific case studies. If you ever find the room getting too far off-subject, redirect politely by saying that you need to move on to your next point. Let attendees know that if there’s something they want to discuss further that isn’t on the current topic, you’re more than happy to sit down one-on-one.
It’s also important that you send out personal emails post-workshop to continue relationship building with your group. Make sure they are added to your list of newsletter recipients so you can stay at the forefront of their minds.
Don’t be too shy to ask for the email addresses of your attendees. Let them know that you’ll use it to add them to your newsletter distribution list, and for personal follow-up. Even if it feels a little bit slimy at first, it’s really not. Keep in mind that your attendees are already interested in what you offer. It’s highly likely that they’ll want to hear from you after the event is over.
To make it as easy for them to sign up as possible, set up a laptop or iPad so they can enter their information on their own. Or, have some simple sign-up sheets on tables so they can jot down their contact information.
Make a few mentions of your sign-up options during your presentation. Don’t be afraid to mix in a little humour or a joke when you ask them to sign up.
To take action on this, decide on what you plan on up-selling during your workshop. Brainstorm different sales tactics you can use that don’t sound too self-promoting. Have these ideas ready to say at a moment’s notice so that don’t you don’t freeze up during your self-promotion.
The first time doing anything is typically the most difficult. One of the biggest benefits of doing your first workshop is that you’ll get that initial fear out of the way. You’ll prove to yourself that you’re capable of pulling it off.
It’s normal to feel stressed out about your first workshop. But it’s time for you to take a leap and go for it.
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