If you operate your own business and want to boost your profile in the community, consider putting together a free public seminar on a topic closely related to your product or service. There are many ways to approach this strategy, but the most successful seminars have a few things in common. They focus on what you already know well, deliver valuable, actionable information to audience members, are offered in person, and include hard copy handouts. There’s more to the formula than that, but those are the central elements of a business presentation that will build your customer base and make your name a well-known one in the community.
There’s a bonus if you’re a mid-career professional who’s thinking about going back to school, which it’s possible to obtain an online degree and continue with your entrepreneurial efforts. You won’t have to quit your job in order to finish college. Before you begin assembling your seminar, check into student loans that can help you complete your degree. Education loans are easy to apply for, offer competitive terms, and come with some of the best interest rates around. Company owners who hold university diplomas in relevant business subjects like marketing, finance, or accounting are viewed as experts by the buying public. While one of your long-term goals should include getting a college degree, your short-term is putting together a stellar presentation to bring in new customers.
Use Your Knowledge Base
Pick one or two subjects within your product or service area that you know better than just about anyone. For example, if you own a locksmith company, offer tips for extracting jammed keys from vehicle ignitions, ways to make cars more secure, strategies for making offices safer from break-ins. The point is to hone in on your unique specialty, whatever it is, and pretend you’re telling someone how to use that knowledge to make their life easier, better, safer, or happier.
Include Worthwhile Information
Avoid philosophizing and giving the history of your industry, regardless of how much the subject interest you. Remember, the presentation is for others, many of whom only have a casual understanding of what you do. For instance, if your company teaches self-defense courses, consider demonstrating one or two essential moves that anyone can use to defend from an attacker. People who attend free classes want to walk away with something that they didn’t know before.
Offer Additional Resources
Without giving away trade secrets, offer a written handout to attendees that includes a list of websites where they can find out more about the topic. Of course, the list should include your own site in a prominent location, but avoid putting it at the top of the list.
Outline and Rehearse
Make a detailed outline of the talk and rehearse it, using note cards to prompt you along the way. Finally, memorize the outline, not the speech. You’ll appear more professional if you work without notes on paper or your phone, while delivering the talk.
Call your local libraries, public and academic, and tell them you have a free presentation for anyone who is interested. They’ll usually put you on their schedule within the month but will probably want an outline and your contact information first.