My time management training company is a fairly new startup - less than 2 years, and only now full time. At this time I am planning to take a signature talk about my time management success journey with an invitation for others to sign up for private weekend retreat workshops or host them for company groups, this is what I'm developing as the cornerstone of my brand for sustainable time management. I have multiple areas of expertise from work-life balance issues to creating individualized business systems, so I can work on personal or professional issues. I don't have any direct connections with the corporate world in any particular industry, so I'd be interested in hearing what industries you think might be interested in hosting a free or affordable lunch and learn with real content where I can invite individuals to join me for a retreat, or the company to book a retreat for their management/employees. Any tips on who to talk to and how to approach a company with an offer of this kind? If you have a company of 15-50, would this be interesting to you? What about leaders in companies up to 1000 employees? Thank you for your help!
Doing lunch and learns is a great way to get the word out about your business.
Here's the catch; who are you selling to?
Employees may be very interested in what you have to say but do they get to make decisions on how training budgets are spent? It's a real question. In some businesses maybe yes, maybe no.
People who are independent sales reps or commission-based may be more amenable to what you're offering. Think of real estate agents, independent sales reps, etc. They have the mindset of running their own business and may be interested in making an investment if you can demonstrate a return on their investment.
If you're chasing corporate business, maybe a lunch and learn in a neutral locale is the answer and invite training managers or HR types from many different businesses to attend.
Also, you need to question whether people will want a weekend retreat. In my experience, entrepreneurs and the self-employed like weekend events because it doesn't cut into business time. Employees prefer weekday events because they view the weekend time as their personal time.
I hope this helps a little.
Great question - one that I have a bit of experience with. Eleven years of growing the Mims Morning Meeting LLC organically has taught me numerous lessons. Some of the lessons learned have certainly generated growth and revenue increase, others were just an exercise with little to no benefit and still others a great waste of my time. So the advice I share with you comes from a bought knowledge. Your question" Should I offer FREE or affordable lunch and learns for companies to fill my training retreats"? To the first element of your question addressing the word FREE my answer is an emphatic “NO" don't do anything for free. To the second element affordable “Yes” but, it must generate revenue in the form of money in your pocket directly following the event ends that day.
Having done lunch and learns to generate interest in my products and services both on a paid and free, the events that yielded the most were the paid events. ($45.00 person the most costly lunch from 11:15am to 1:00pm on a Wednesday event entitled “Closing Business in the 4th Quarter TIPS”). http://www.slideshare.net/frankmimsv/closing-business-4th-quarter-2013-edition
It is important to have a great foundation to support you in your efforts. For this I choose three, The Greater Houston Partnership one of the largest Chambers of Commerce in the US, Houston Business Journal and LinkedIn. These three opened a different door on a different level to find new treasures, resources and opportunities.
People don’t sustain people they cannot identify. The Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) became that sponsor after five years of cultivation and active volunteer work. The contacts were plentiful and there for the asking. From all walks of life and any vertical market you could name from Aerospace to the city Zoo. All markets participated and focused on the same mission; to bring on new bodies to the GHP. Each person is seeking new information, deeper clarification, redefined recognition and ways to build their work life and family existence empire on a quest of a greater dollar. The GHP is a cure for all.
Please call if you desire information on the remaining two avenues.
Thank you from Frank Mims V of the Mims Morning Meeting, LLC.
Absolutely! When you make offers like this- you are showing other companies that your are confident and stand by your expertise. So much so, you're going to show them and have the confidence that they will walk away wanting to do business with you.
The reality of business is that you need to do things like this to create connections- you need to market yourself but also create these opportunities for connection and networking. Honestly, it sounds like you have a good idea of how much of a benefit this would be to you.
I've actually done this exact thing to grow my personal training business from a one-man operation, to now, 14 trainers working for me.
I MUCH prefer doing free speaking engagements at corporations, for one main reason: bureaucracy.
As soon as you start asking for money from a corporation, even a small amount, you've now involved multiple decision makers, and your success rates will plummet. In my experience, with free speaking engagements, success rates (at least for me) are already 1 in 50. Imagine asking for money. If you do a free speaking engagement, it's really just 1-2 decision makers (some folks in HR).
When you're first starting out, I wouldn't focus on any particular industry. I'd do a "shotgun approach", and talk at as many industries as possible.
After each speaking engagement, track your stats - how many people in the audience, and of those, how many signed up for the retreat. Over time, patterns will start to emerge, and you can narrow your focus to just the most profitable industries.
The way I'd start getting speaking engagements is by asking people you already know who have corporate jobs. Look through your phone contacts, your Facebook profile, your LinkedIn profile, etc., and see who works in a corporation. Call them (it's better than email), explain what you're trying to do, and ask them if they'd be comfortable introducing you to either HR or someone in a management position. Don't expect 100% of people to say "yes" though.
After they agree to make the intro, about 50-80% of people will forget, so just gently remind them after a few days or a week.
Once the intro is made, talk to the decision maker, and explain what's in it for them. How do they benefit by bringing you in for a speaking engagement.
There's definitely way more to this, but this is where I would start.
I like that idea of giving a free lunch. It gives you a chance to know about the company you are targeting. More important it gets them to know about you and your company. They get a chance to see what you are offering and how you can help them and benefit from using you. Now you also get the chance to see what they are looking for and then see how you can help them as well. It is a win-win situation. It gets you in the door of companies that may not have seen you otherwise. Your goal is to get companies and people to know you. I would be happy to talk with you about this. Feel free to e-mail or setup a call with me.