From software to industrial design, seminars are often used as an opportunity to bring together many experts in one location. They often have a theme and everyone focuses on developing solutions to particular problems that are related by that theme. As a landscaper or nursery owner, you host a seminar at a local level by bringing together a group of well-respected professionals to solve problems in your region or community. Hosting such a seminar is a great way to get your name out to the community (both to other professionals and potential clients) and allows you to learn about industry trends and new innovations. Here is an overview of how to set up a seminar.
Pick a Theme
Most seminars revolve around a theme like sustainable landscape design or native gardening. Your theme should relate to the needs of your particular region, city, or town and should attempt to address a specific concern. Once you have a theme, you can begin to flesh out topics as they relate to that theme. For example, if your theme is sustainable landscape design, you may want think about topics like water conservation, permitting, solar energy, sustainable plant installations, and more. Knowing your theme allows you to develop topics and knowing topics is necessary for picking experts to attend your seminar.
Once you know what topics you are going to cover at your seminar, you can start looking for experts to offer insight and learning. Experts can include other landscape contractors, nursery owners, local business people, political leaders, administrative personnel from local government, and advocates from non-profits and other interest groups. Don’t just ask these people to put on lectures, but look to them to provide hands-on demonstrations, workshops, and other in-depth activities. If they can bring their own resources, that’s great, but plan on providing resources too.
Set a Date
Once you have most of your experts lined up, you can pick a date that works for everyone. Make sure you set the date far enough in the future that you can prepare adequately and so that attendees can plan ahead. As soon as you have a date set, start advertising your seminar to your target audience. You may plan on charging for the event or you may simply offer it for free (at your cost). If you invite vendors to the event, they may help to cover all or part of the costs.
After you have set a date, it is time to consider logistics. You should already know what size audience you are expecting and that will allow you to plan things like food, restrooms, beverages, and venue. You may want to consider hiring an event coordinator to help make sure that things go smoothly or you may want to do the work yourself. Just know that doing the work yourself usually means putting out fires on the day of the event rather than participating in the event itself.
Why Do It?
You may be wondering why you would go to all of the trouble and expense to put on a design seminar. The answer, it turns out, is multi-faceted. Benefits of hosting a seminar include:
. Promoting your business
. Gaining potential clients
. Making industry and political connections
. Increase the prestige of your brand
. Solving a local problem
. Boosting awareness
. Generating positive word of mouth
. Creating connections with vendors
. Learning about new technologies
You should not underestimate the good will such an event will generate either. Demonstrating a willingness to push your industry forward and include peers in your business is a great way to generate good will that will pay dividends in ways you may not be able to imagine. You may even get a contract out of the event if you plan a seminar that is designed to solve something like a local municipal or civil problem.