Workshops – a must for any service business
Every dollar counts when you’re running a small business! You’re probably already selling packages or memberships to ensure a steady income for your business. Smart one! Put your thinking cap on again: How else could you make more money? You could sell merchandise or gift certificates. You could add private instruction or training for customers who crave individual attention. Or you could offer periodic workshops!
What exactly IS a workshop?
A workshop is a short and intensive program dedicated to educating a small group of people about techniques and skills in a particular field. Think of it as a deep dive on specific topics, something you’ll offer to customers who love your business and are looking for more.
Attendees are required to take all sessions in sequential order to gradually build up their skill set.
The many goals of workshops
Workshops enable businesses to make substantial extra income. Payment for workshops is normally due up front, which helps with cash flow.
Workshops are also a great way of attracting new customers, particularly if you offer free or low-cost sessions.
Finally, workshops can also help keep your customers coming back:
- Regularly introduce new workshops to keep your loyal customers interested and engaged with your business.
- Reserve complimentary workshop seats as a loyalty perk.
- Offer discounted workshops to drive sales.
The possibilities are endless, so be sure to decide what the goal for your workshop should be before you start evaluating topic ideas.
Workshops aren’t rocket science
Here are a few simple but important ideas that will help you create successful workshops:
1. Listen to your customers
Offer deep dives into particularly popular techniques your customers love and want to know more about. This will ensure your workshop fills up quickly.
2. Stay in your niche
To make your workshop unique and memorable, pick a topic you’re deeply familiar with and passionate about so you can offer attendees your personal perspective and expertise.
3. Keep it small
Workshops require a certain amount of individual attention from the instructor, so keep your workshop small enough to ensure that everyone gets some individual coaching.
4. Don’t dazzle the audience
Feeling the urge to impress your audience with your subject matter expertise? The focus of a workshop should actually be on your students. They are supposed to do the “work”. Briefly show them the focus techniques, then move on to exercises. Help them if they get stuck, but otherwise stay out of the spotlight.
5. Don’t compete with your existing business
Structure and schedule your workshops correctly so they won’t conflict or compete with your regular classes. Avoid offering “crash courses” that may be interpreted as a shortcut to the goals outlined for regular classes. Instead, teach specific techniques that complement your regular service catalogue. And move your workshops to the weekend or into empty time-slots during the week, so that loyal customers can book them as an add-on to their routine schedule.
Basic steps towards workshop success
We’ll walk you through all you need to know to start your first workshop:
1. Define your audience
Who are your ideal workshop attendees? What topics are they interested in? What schedule would suit them?
2. Define the topic and duration of your workshop
Pick a topic. Which aspects or techniques of the chosen topic do you want to cover? How many sessions will attendees need to digest everything?
3. Prepare an agenda
List everything you’re planning to cover in the workshop. Include some icebreakers at the beginning of the sessions to get people relaxed. Prepare plenty of hands-on activities and exercises. Reserve some time towards the end of the workshop to get feedback from all attendees. Did they enjoy the sessions? What would they like to see next?
4. Nail down the logistics
Pick a time, date and a location for your workshop. Vagaro allows you to assign a room and resources to your workshop.
5. Set up your workshop
Vagaro allows your customers to book a workshop like any regular class or service either from a mobile device or from a desktop. That means you can get booked from Vagaro.com, your booking page, on Facebook, on Yelp and on your website or blog with our booking widget. Just add your workshop to your service and class menu and you’re all set!
6. Promote, promote, promote
Once you’ve set up your workshop in Vagaro, make sure you promote it on all your social media channels. Email your existing customers as well so they can reserve their spot. Did we mention that Vagaro allows you to send up to 1,000 free emails per month. Now you know!
Workshops as an integral part of your Business
Your first workshop is just the starting point. From there consider creating a series of workshops to keep your customers engaged all year round. Build a workshop and event calendar to prepare and manage your workshops and pull in guest instructors to teach specialized techniques and skills.
Collecting feedback from your attendees at the end of each workshop will help you gradually improve your content and gather ideas for future workshops. Before you know it, your customers will come to you and ask what workshop you’ll be teaching next. That’s when you know you’ve got a captive audience!
Do what you love and let Vagaro do the rest.
Header Photo by MARK ADRIANE on Unsplash