Great Business Ideas: Give Away a Seminar Seat

Great Ideas for your Small Business: Give Away a Seminar Seat

Karen tate, president of the griffin tate Group in Cincinnati, teaches employees of big and small companies how to manage complex projects.

Although she earns most of her money conducting group seminars for big corporations, she attracts new individual clients by raffling off a free project management course once a month. “The free seat costs me the printed materials and two free lunches,” said Tate. “But, when I raffle off a free seat at a meeting before the next seminar, I’m mentioned in the organization’s newsletter and that gives me free publicity.”

Her basic, two-day project management seminar costs $995 and is open to any businessperson interested in learning how to manage complex projects. “Once, a quiet guy showed up at a meeting and won the free seat,” recalled Tate, author of Getting Started in Project Management (John Wiley & Sons; 2001). “He took the course and must have liked it because soon after that, he referred four paying col- leagues to me.”

Tate, who also authored the pocket-sized, spiral-bound Project Management Memory Jogger (Goal/QPC; 1997), said there are about 100,000 professional project man- agers working around the United States. When she entered the field about twenty-five years ago, there were only 500.

With so many projects to manage, learning how to keep things moving is a valuable business skill, she said.

If you provide any sort of training, consider trying Tate’s give-it-away philosophy. An unfilled seminar seat is perishable, just like an airline seat. If you can fill it with someone who may recommend your class to someone else, it’s worth the price of a lunch and a notebook.

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