It’s high time your business ran a workshop.

This is particularly important if you are an expert professional in a service-based business, where establishing yourself as a thought leader is core to commanding robust fees and a healthy referral network. If the idea of running a workshop sends shivers up your spine (don’t worry, you’re not alone!), this blog will encourage you to think differently about running events in terms of their scale and purpose – helping you to get your show on the road come 2020, sharing your smarts with the right audience.

  • Look At Your Business Again

Here’s the wonderful thing about workshops; running a good one requires a whole lot of prep that forces you to look at your business offering with new eyes. This is a ball-buster initially, as it compels you towards deep thought around expertise – which can’t be achieved in a half hour break between coffee meetings. On the contrary, to design a workshop, you’ll probably need to take at least half a day out of working in your business to plan. Key workshop considerations should be:

  1. Who is my ideal audience, and why are they the best fit?
  2. What can I teach that will be of greatest value to this audience?
  3. What collateral will I need to present during my workshop? Will I need a printed workbook, prompt slides, video content, banners?
  4. Where will I hold my workshop? In the real world at a suitable venue, or online via live streaming?
  5. How can I maximise my workshop as an experience participants will share in the social media space?
  6. People are hungry when they’re learning. What catering should I supply?
  7. Given the knowledge I am sharing and my investment in preparation, what is a suitable amount to charge per ticket to my workshop?

This process alone will have you thinking about your core business offering in a new way. You may be surprised by those you identify as your ideal audience, and you might well be challenged by your own ideas around pricing.

  • Refine Your Skill as a Thought Leader

There’s nothing quite like having to create a workshop to expose both the strengths and the gaps in one’s knowledge. When I create my workshop course guides, I am often pleasantly surprised by just how deep and refined my knowledge of marketing and digital strategy runs. As thought-leaders, so much of what we do is par for the course – we fail to recognise how extraordinary our hard-won skills actually are. Workshops compel us to organise our expertise into distinct chapters of learning, to concentrate our wide knowledge into a series of accessible soundbites, and to consider our presentation. What can we do during our workshop to entertain and provoke further thought?

If establishing yourself as a thought-leader and guest-speaker is on your 2020 ‘to-do’ list, committing to running a workshop is one of the first practical steps you might take.

  • Win new clients and enhance your bottom line

I consider workshops part of my prospecting activities. Sure, there’s the workshop event itself – and I want it to be a good one that’s packed with smarts to keep attendees thinking in new ways. But there’s also considerable activity around the event that allows you to market yourself creatively. Workshops help you win new clients in a variety of ways. I’ve had long-term clients who have been introduced to my business via an Eventbrite workshop listing. Workshops can be a way of ‘lurkers’ who have been observing your business for some time to experience you and your brand before committing to using your services. Workshops will also introduce you to completely ‘cold’ prospective clients, who will hopefully have a good experience before becoming part of your digital ecosystem ’til they’re ready to appoint you.

Workshops win business. That should be a compelling enough reason to facilitate at least one!

  • Coursework forms the basis of a great eBook

If you’ve ever had a digital strategy planning session with me (book yours here!), you’ll know I wax lyrical about the power of a well-written eBook to build database lists. I’ve found that the coursework you create for workshop forms the basis of a solid eBook, answering 3 or 4 core questions your target client really want answered. You’re going to need an eBook to encourage subscription to your newsletter and to establish your credos; a workshop forces you to write at least half of one.

  • Potential of additional income stream

I personally do not consider workshops a huge contributor to Ruby Assembly’s income; they’re sometimes profitable, but overall are break-even. As I mentioned earlier, I see workshops as an extension of my prospecting activity. However, workshops can be a legitimate income stream depending on the approach you take to delivering them.

  • Gives you great content for social media marketing

I’d say half the value of running a workshop comes from the marketing one does in the lead-up to it. Running a workshop gives you a whole lot of potential content to share across your social media suite for at least six weeks prior to the big day. Facebook, Instagram and Instagram Stories, LinkedIn and newsletters – weekly updates on ticket availability, learning outcomes, venues and catering all make for great social media content. Even if you only have a handful of participants come along to your workshop, you’ll have exposed your position as a thought leader with something to say for a sustained period of time. This is excellent for brand recognition and awareness of your offering.

Running a workshop takes thought, preparation and performance. It’s a big effort. But any form of effective business prospecting is a big effort, and this is certainly one you should make in 2020.

Want to attend a Ruby Assembly workshop event? Keep an eye out on for our 2020 workshop dates here.