How to Start a Seminar Production Business

Startup Costs

One of the Catch-22s of being in business for yourself is that you need money to make money--in other words, you need startup funds. For the seminar business, these costs range from $5,000 to $25,000.

One of the many nifty things about the seminar business is that its startup costs are comparatively low. You've got the advantage of homebased-ability, which cuts office lease expenses down to nothing. Except for any back-of-the-room (or BOR) products you may choose to develop, you've got no inventory. And even if you've got inventory, you won't need fancy display cabinets or kicky d�cor. Your major financial outlay will go toward office equipment, marketing and promotion, and--if you're doing public seminars--your site facilities. And if you're like many, you've already got the most expensive piece of office equipment: a computer system.

But let's take it from the top. The following is a breakdown of everything--from heavy investment pieces to flyweight items--you'll need to get up and running:

  • computer system with modem and printer
  • fax machine
  • internet/e-mail service
  • website design and marketing
  • software
  • electronic credit card processing
  • bulk mail permit
  • market research
  • phone
  • voice mail, answering machine or answering service
  • stationery and office supplies
  • shipping and packaging supplies
  • postage
  • initial inventory

You can add all kinds of goodies of varying degrees of necessity to this list. For example, a copier is a plus. It's also nice to have bona fide office furniture: a swiveling, rolling, tweedy upholstered chair with lumbar support, gleaming file cabinets that really lock and real oak bookshelves.

But let's consider that you're starting from absolute scratch. You can always set up your computer on your kitchen table or on a card table in a corner of the bedroom. You can stash files in cardboard boxes. It's not glamorous, but it'll suffice until you get your business steaming ahead.

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