Seminars and workshops are today's main mode of learning for
adults who are beyond the formal educational system. These
short-term formats serve information quickly and efficiently. You
can run seminars on any subject you care to.
With seminar fees ranging from $5 to over $500 a day per person,
you can generate thousands of dollars a day in revenues, with net
margins of twenty percent or more. All you need is a telephone,
typewriter, filing cabinet, and some forms and supplies.
If you capture people's interest, you can sell a $500 seminar
more easily than a $49.95 one. Fees for seminars vary widely, but
two thirds of them fall between $100 and $500. Your concern,
however, is profitability more than total revenues. Set your
seminar price as high as you can without participation tailing
off dramatically. And don't pass the point where more
participants cause your costs to rise so much that profitability
Your major advertising will be by direct mail. Direct response
advertising, which includes direct mail, motivates the reader
quickly. A good example of direct mail packaging is the Reader's
Your meeting space should convey a sense of intimacy. You neither
want a huge room that looks empty even with a good crowd in it,
nor a too-small room that can't accommodate the crowd. The site
doesn't have to be fancy, but it must be easy to find,
comfortable and safe.
The length of your meeting should be based on the amount of solid
content you can provide. Don't try to puff up the length of the
seminar, particularly if it means an overnight stay for the
To evaluate the best length, calculate your costs for half-day
and full-day programs. You may find you can deliver the message
effectively in a half a day, cutting costs and improving
One risk in the seminar business is that you must commit to room
space long before you know your revenues. Be sure if you reserve
a room that you know the final date for backing out of the
You want your attendees to leave feeling they have gotten some
valuable information and been at least mildly entertained in the
process. Will it be cost-effective to hire a speaker? At the
beginning of your career in putting on seminars you may want to
deliver the seminar yourself, not only to cut expenses, but to
get a feel for what works and what doesn't. A good presenter has
a solid grasp of the information being covered, a touch of
showmanship, and is reliable and prompt.
For a topic, you can show people how to present their own
seminar. You can spice up the delivery with examples from your
own experience, giving them a firsthand look at the field.
Determine if your attendees want networking time. For many
participants, the contact with other people of similar interests
is the primary reason for attending.
Finally, the seminar provides a great environment for generating
other revenues. You can make money from back-of-the-room sales of
computer disks, books, tapes, videos or other materials related
to your seminar. Such sales can add thirty percent or more to
your total receipts.