Recently Yellow Door was given the opportunity to host a social media workshop for 20 established local entrepreneurs. The workshop was arranged for them by government arm SEDA (Small Enterprise Development Agency) and we were selected as the service provider.
As project manager, I was responsible for putting together a schedule for the day. Each of us was given a topic to research and talk about – yes, even if we were not the in-house pro! – and we set off researching and compiling our presentations. The only person who did not have to speak was our designer Ant – he had enough of a job having to make all of our key points neat and presentable!
We practiced and polished off our presentations and the workshop, held at the Bantry Bay Suite Hotel, was a resounding success! We all had great fun, learned a lot, and have realised that hosting a workshop is potentially a complementary service offering for many types of businesses – even if this is not their primary offering.
Here are three key motivations for you as a business owner or professional to run your own workshops:
- Position yourself as the industry expert
It’s all good and well to offer a product or service, but are you willing to stand up in front of a crowd of people and teach them, in real time, on what you claim to provide? Hosting a workshop is a sure-fire way to show that you are confident enough in your offering to put your money where your mouth is and are available to be questioned and challenged about what it is that you do.
A common misconception is that only service providers can host workshops – but producers of products and goods are just as well-positioned to equip the general public with the skills that go into creating what you do best.
Wouldn’t you love to attend a day out at a beautiful wine farm and see what goes into your favourite glass of vino? Or have a hands-on session in the kitchen of Cape Town’s best burger joint – enabling you to replicate these in the comfort of your own home – not to mention taste every step of the way!
By bringing interested people into your work space, be it service- or goods-related, you will:
- give a real face to your brand
- enable people to learn from the master
- add credibility to what you expect people to pay you for.
Hosting a workshop is a fantastic way to meet and get to know potential clients. We didn’t host our social media workshop with the sole purpose of converting leads. However, we had a room full of attendees who were interested in learning more about marketing and we would be very happy to assist many of the businesses we got to know a little better at the event – be it now or only years into the future.
Standing in a room filled with entrepreneurs is also awesome simply to get to know some of the brilliant minds in your area. All these people have created fantastic and thriving businesses, and we can no doubt learn from or make use of many of their products and services.
As an ice-breaker, our copywriter Dan ran a speed networking session – attendees stood in two lines, facing each other, and each had 20 seconds to pitch their business to the person standing across from them. Then one line shifted one person down, and repeat. Within five minutes each attendee had heard a handful of incredible business stories.
Think about the business you own and what sort of niche tools you can impart to people from other industries or those who are simply interested in you/ your business. You never know – your next employee or client could be sitting in the crowd…
There are several opportunities to learn throughout the process of putting together and hosting a workshop. If you are dividing topics between yourself and your employees, and your levels of knowledge vary between 7/10 – 10/10 on certain topics you specialise in, intentionally assign each person the topic they are least knowledgeable in. This is the surest way to ensure that this is an internal growth opportunity too – not to mention perfecting those public speaking skills!
Another way in which we learned was during the workshop itself. It was fantastic to have attendees that spanned a range of ages and backgrounds, thus ensuring a room full of diverse perspectives.
We anticipated – in fact, we hoped – to be put on the spot and asked a question we did not know a full answer to. Ironically, we do believe that the first step to be an industry expert is to acknowledge that you will never truly know everything, so it is fantastic when questions come up that we had not necessarily covered or considered.
In our case, we learned that we need to learn more about the future of chatbots, as well as the legislature regarding taking photos at events and using these without requesting the featured persons’ permissions.
We encourage you to acknowledge you won’t ever know everything, but take advantage of the fact that hosting a workshop will get you a little closer, as attendees bring diverse perspectives and queries that you might not have considered.
We were also reminded how much we enjoy planning and hosting marketing workshops – and that we would love to do it again! For any inquiries please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help you.