Last week, I was wandering around our local hardware store in search of garden hoses and noticed a sign offering birdhouse classes for children. The time was convenient for young families (Saturday morning), and the cost was minimal. I could already see the reward: a happy kid, an even happier parent with a prepared activity, and a small business owner thinking about potential future customers.
And that reminded me of when my sons were cub scouts, taking classes at an area big box hardware store, which offered similar classes. Obviously, this small business owner had seen the same thing and decided to capitalize on educational classes for the younger set.
How-to educational classes are fairly basic in nature. And for a minimal amount of time and effort, you are not only pleasing to your present customers but, in due time, endearing yourself to future clients, who will fondly remember time spent at your establishment.
The project should be some aspect of your business that would appeal to youngsters. If you’re a florist, arranging flowers. If you own a restaurant or cafe, baking cupcakes or icing/decorating 101. If you own a bookstore, consider a creative writing class where kids create a small book of their own with hand drawn art work. And if you run a hardware store, projects like a birdhouse with prefab pieces. The options are as limitless as your imagination.
You’ll need to keep the following in mind:
Consider your audience. Decide what age range is right for an event that would require some focus for a limited amount of time; perhaps 9- to 12-year-olds for your first endeavor. Also, depending on the space available (more on that below), decide how many kids with parents you can host at one time.
- Pick a date/time for the event. Make sure the time is not affecting peak shopping hours and that you can afford to take an employee (or yourself) aside to lead the class.
- Ensure you have a dedicated space. If your business doesn’t have a special event area and the activity lends itself, consider holding it out back or at a side area on a table with chairs.
- Perhaps most importantly, promote the event. Use your local newspaper as well as your social media outlets, your Web site, and flyers for your store. And give yourself enough time to get the word out, but not too much time that customers will forget.
Before you know it, you’ll have grateful parents asking when the next class with take place. And hopefully, additional sales to balance out the outlay of materials for the event.
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