We love a successful workshop. It’s the reason we set up a dedicated workshop space and we get a real buzz from seeing the enthusiastic participants filing in and happy customers emerging at the end of the day.
But getting bums on seats is tough. There’s loads of competition out there and it’s easy to get disillusioned.
For some, the workshop or seminar is a adjunct to their key business, a way to find new clients, or inform an existing client base. Think accountants and other ‘professional services’ and health service providers such as psychologists.
For others, ‘the workshop’ is the product so getting a sell out event is key. Whatever the reason you are hosting a workshop here are our Little Space ‘top tips’ to a successful event.
- Build your business profile. The greatest mistake we see here at The Little Space is the ‘build it and they will come’ approach. Optimism is good but it’s not always a sensible business plan. The most successful business spend a long time building a profile and a following. They often have a carefully crafted business ‘image’ that strikes a cord with their target audience and by the time the workshop dates are announced, they have a ready pool of followers to tap into and they know that the workshop they are offering is something their customers want to buy.
- Start small. Help your customers to decide if your workshop will suit them. Host an information evening or stream a session live. Provide a free or low cost half hour to an hour of content that is genuinely beneficial to your customers. Feed them, give them a glass of champagne and get ready to sign them up for the full day session.
- Be creative. Make your event a genuine ‘event’. For most people the day to day is fairly dull and repetitive. They need to have a reason to spend money on your workshop and they need a reason to make the effort to give up their day at work, or on the beach if it’s a summertime weekday event. Think of the best events you have been to? What was great about them? You are in the business of delivering valuable information to them but think outside the box in how you will deliver this. And don’t forget the value of great food and an appealing space. (That’s easy of course…The Little Space and our amazing catering providers!).
- Think the long game. Start small but plan for the long haul. If I am starting a business (any business) I am not expecting to make money for at least 12 months. There is set up cost, building my business, reaching break even and then heading into profit. This takes time. And building a workshop based business is the same. Be realistic and don’t give up just because your very first event doesn’t take off.
- Sell, sell, sell. Your workshop is your product so get out there and sell it. Make the most of the plethora of free event platforms out there – they need events to list so provide it to them. Contact your local paper to get a listing in the ‘what’s on’ section. Collaborate with other business to pool your client lists and deliver a combined event. Facebook, Insta, website SEO. Work that keyboard until your fingers bleed, have a coffee break, then start again.