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Done correctly, seminars can increase your company's visibility--and even ring up sales.

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This story appears in the August 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Anyone who's attended an interesting and informative seminar knows it can be one of the best ways to train staff, keep yourself up-to-date on industry changes and learn new skills. On the flip side, seminars are also a powerful way to build awareness of your company, market your products or services, and possibly create a new revenue stream for your business. Whatever type of business you're in, you probably have knowledge and expertise that others would find helpful--and that might encourage them to use your services. Follow this checklist to make your seminars great:

  • Fee or free? When determining what or if to charge for your seminar, consider two rules of thumb: 1) Most people will attend events for which they've already paid in advance, and 2) the more you charge, the less overt selling you should do. If your seminar is held primarily to showcase your expertise, you can charge higher fees. However, if you're trying to create an environment in which to sell your product or service, you need to charge less or waive the fee. In either case, make sure you deliver timely, interesting and worthwhile content.
  • Partner up. Consider defraying your costs by teaming up with another business that's related to yours. For example, an attorney and an accountant could deliver an informative small-business start-up seminar to attract new clients for both of them.

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