New business questions, advice needed

Discussion in 'Starting a Business' started by howdoi, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. howdoi

    howdoi
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    Hi folks! Just a few questions, and any advice would be really appreciated.

    I am trying to start a consulting/training business teaching public speaking.

    I could easily advertise on Craigslist and possibly get some interest generated, but how do you deal with things like:

    - taking deposits from clients. If you are hosting a seminar or a class, for example, how do you get them to put a downpayment so that you don't rent a boardroom, and then have nobody show up? Should i invest in a visa or other credit card device thus enabling me to take creditcards as a downpayment option?

    - is it okay to advertise for a class, but stipulate that the event will take place if and only if there are enough people who sign up?

    All i want to do is help people with public speaking, but I don't want to give myself a bad reputation by doing something stupid from the start.

    Thanks again for your help!
     
  2. Fergal

    Fergal
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    Welcome to Business Advice Forum and thanks for asking your business questions howdoi.

    Taking deposits is a good idea and people are much more likely to turn up on the day, if they have paid a deposit for the event. You could ask for deposits via cheque / check or via a PayPal payment. Starting out with a simple solution like that should be adequate, until your business is established and has grown to a good size.

    Yes that would be fine and I've seen many courses advertised in that way. However, when you are starting out, you may have to be content with smaller class sizes, until your reputation has been firmly established. Having smaller class sizes will allow you to give greater individual attention to every attendee. Hence, they should have a better learning experience and be more likely to tell their friends and colleagues about your courses.
     
  3. howdoi

    howdoi
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    thanks so very much! the paypal site offers services i never knew existed! appreciate the comments.

    cheers.
     
  4. Fergal

    Fergal
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    You're very welcome howdoi, we'd be delighted to see more of your questions or your replies to other members' questions.
     
  5. BizDoc

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    Be careful if you accept paypal. They have Draconian terms of service. You owe it to yourself to read about it on my blog next week when I expose some hidden yet critical pitfalls of doing business with Paypal and a way to work around them: bizmd.blogspot.com.

    Cheers!
     
  6. bistone

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    I think taking deposits from clients is a nice try.Avoiding losses resulted from fake credibility,deposits from clients help a lot.

    Nice job howdo!Good luck to your business.
     
  7. ProfitClinic

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    I've been in business training since 1984, and added training for the direct selling profession in 1987. By 1991, I'd developed the following pricing policy, which I find works online as well. This is taken directly from my main site:

    Our pricing policy for training is simple...

    • Seminars are FREE.
    • You pay to attend our Workshops and Master Classes.

    Here's why...

    1. We separate the principles — the KNOWLEDGE (what and why) — from the implementations — the SKILLS (who, when, where and how).

    2. At our seminars we give away the knowledge FREE — because it's effectively useless without the implementations.

    3. We sell our implementation workshops and Master Classes (advanced workshops), where the SKILLS are taught and STRATEGIES for implementation are developed, as well as value-added services and products to help clients implement those strategies.

    We've adopted the same formula for our web presence. Give away the knowledge and sell the implementations. We only discovered and articulated that knowledge. We didn't create it. It already existed, one way or another. We can't lay claim to natural principles and laws. (As Albert Einstein said, "all truth is revealed.")

    But we created those practical, useful implementation strategies, tools and methodologies and adapted others. They're our intellectual property. We're entitled to be compensated for sharing them.

    We give a written guarantee with our free seminars — you cannot pay for your own attendance, even though it costs money for us to present them. (Advertising, venues, equipment hire, catering, travel, accommodation and meals, workbooks and resource notes, administration, staffing, etc all have to be paid for.)

    So how can we afford to just give it away?

    The premise is simple. We don't. Someone else has already paid for you to attend. If you attend, and gain a worthwhile benefit, then you're welcome to pay for someone else, anonymously. But YOU decide if and when you'll pay — and how much!

    We've used this approach successfully since 1991. (It terrifies the National Speakers Association!)

    Here's an example...

    In one recent program, we invited 30 people, all opinion leaders in their particular industry, to a 2.5-hour seminar and invited them to refer and pay for others if they found it of value.

    Only twelve of them actually attended, but at the next session 32 attended (with no promotion by us), 186 booked for the third session, then nearly 400. Within five sessions we had booking requests from close to 8,000 people. About one third paid enough to allow the cost of two or three more people to be covered for each session.

    The seminars are a marketing strategy that recovers more than its cost. But the implementations — our workshops, Master Classes, books, multi-media programs, consulting, coaching, etc — are where the real usefulness lies, and for which seminar attendees willingly pay.

    Our knowledge give-away creates genuine excitement. People recognise the VALUE of the knowledge they gain. That, in turn, creates interest in, and desire for, the really USEFUL stuff — the implementations — because very few people can create their own.

    Many are too strapped for time, and prefer to have someone else do it for them. But they need to be educated to realise the true value of what's on offer, and that's where the freely-available knowledge comes into play. Knowledge really does want to be free because it's not really worth anything on its own.

    People who refuse to give away information and knowledge for fear of loss fail to understand the underlying principle that, in fact, they have nothing to lose. Knowledge is useless until it's applied. Owning a book does not make you smarter. Reading it doesn't, either. It just makes you more knowledgeable.

    Applying what you've learned is what makes you smarter.

    Don't get me wrong here. I'm not suggesting that knowledge has no value. But value and usefulness are not the same thing. And most people, in business at least, prefer to pay for usefulness.

    As I used to tell my students when I was an academic... "an education has value for its own sake. Just don't expect to make a living from it. It's what you DO with that education that will make you rich."

    Hope this helps.

    John
     
  8. hcted

    hcted
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    On the Payment part, I would do check. My main sources come from both PayPal and checks they send. If we do not receive the check 15 days after the expected delivery date, they are suspended meaning:
    Hosting is turned off
    Any current services are cancelled
    All files are backed up and moved to a Mourge Server where suspended cases go.
     
  9. justintyme

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    Useful

    Helpful and useful business promotion ideas shared with nice marketing information and tips.
     

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