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Question: I teach seminars at local colleges on topics such as the Internet, and I also do in-house corporate training. I generally earn $250 per day. Would I make more money doing a business seminar? How can I get such jobs?
Lynbrook, New York
Answer: Giving speeches at business conferences is an excellent way for seminar leaders to attract future business. Some of the major seminar producers pay only $200 a day, and training for any of these companies involves a great deal of traveling.
According to our re-search for Best Home Businesses for the 21st Century (Tarcher), independent professional trainers charge between $600 and $2,000 per day. Those in technology charge between $100 and $300 per day per trainee. Since companies often set their training costs to the salary level of the employees being trained, a group of 12 people earning in the mid-20s per year could yield $1,200 per day for a corporate trainer.
Develop an attractive presentation package, including a video and testimonials from trainees. Look for Web sites where you might list your seminars and possibly identify sponsors.
Check out The American Society for Training and Development (703-683-8100 or http://www.astd.org) and the National Speakers Association (480-968-2552 or http://www.nsaspeaker.org). Another great resource is Speak and Grow Rich (Prentice Hall) by Dottie and Lilly Walters.
Small-business experts Paul and Sarah Edwards recently released their second edition of Getting Business to Come to You (Tarcher). If you have a question regarding a start-up business issue, contact them at http://www.paulandsarah.com or send it in care of Entrepreneur.
How do I drum up loyal business?
Question: I'm a computer consultant with a niche in a specific software package, and my primary competition is the manufacturer of the software. They want to subcontract with me, if not hire me; however, due to their business practices, I would prefer not to represent this company. My problem is finding potential clients and key contacts without their help. Do you have any suggestions?
Answer: You're wise to avoid companies that have questionable business practices. Have you considered a referral relationship, in which you pay this company a referral fee? Not only would you and your clients handle all client fees directly, but you could also make it clear to clients that your relationship with the company is limited to handling referrals.
Can you rent the company's mailing list to do mailings (via snail mail or e-mail) of newsletters, handy tips or special offers? If your competition is difficult to work with, customers will appreciate an alternative.
Then there's the Web. Create a site with links to and from professions that use the software application in which you specialize.
If there's a professional publication for these users, contribute articles or send letters to the editor. Other business-generating ideas include participating in forums, newsgroups and message boards; speaking to civic, trade and professional organizations; networking with computer consultants who specialize in other software applications; and joining local business organizations, such as the chamber of commerce and business-to-business referral groups like Business Network International (800-825-8286 or http://www.bni.com).
The goal is to increase your visibility so that you become known as the expert on this package. Whenever someone needs assistance, they'll turn to you--not your competitors.