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From: Mark Rifkin (rifkin.vegsource.com)
Subject:         First Part of a Business Plan
Date: December 27, 2005 at 10:52 pm PST

This is the first and oldest part of my business plan. I started implementing some of these ideas in 1997.

Classes, workshops and free presentations
a. senior centers and buildings
b. health food stores
c. houses of worship
d. holistic clinics & centers
e. employers
f. libraries
g. Cooperative Extension
h. municipal Recreation & Parks Depts.

This is a great way to get started for two primary reasons:
1) marketing your name/business
2) opportunities to make contact with individual clients

I started out teaching workshops sponsored by natural food stores. The basic workshop structure was 45 minutes of basic nutrition education and 45 minutes of menus and recipe ideas. This last half used food products off the shelf for "show and tell". This adds substance and direct application of the principles introduced in the first half. Since you've tried many of the products, your personal experiences will come in handy.

More importantly, the store gets product-specific marketing from a knowledgeable person. Thus they become willing to sponsor your workshop thru some or all of the following:
1) offering space to post advertising flyers
2) having employees stuff consumers' bags with flyers
3) providing you the food "props" at no charge
4) providing food for sampling during the workshop (such as hummus or a pre-marinated tofu) at no charge
5) offering space to conduct the workshop
6) providing coupons that give workshop participants discounts with a store purchase

You can arrange payment in one of two ways:
1) directly from the store for a fixed fee (guarantees you a certain minimum take-home, but more learners does not usually translate into more money)
2) a per-learner fee such as $10-15 each. This does not guarantee any minimum take-home for you (and you may decide to cancel the workshop without a minimum number of registered learners) but more learners does translate into more take-home cash.

This workshop structure meets your needs (money and business marketing), meets the store's needs (gets customers into the store and provides product marketing) and meets the learners' needs (knowledge and direct application of veg'n nutrition).
Everyone goes home happy, and you get cash in your pocket that day ---or soon after.

Let me know if you have any questions.
Mark Rifkin, MS, RD, LDN

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