As your small business grows, both your staff resources and their skillsets will also need to expand accordingly. This raises the dilemma of how much training you need to provide for your staff - and also for you! It is tempting to try and keep things running without any training at all. Other small businesses seem to manage quite well without it: why not yours? Surely staff can pick things up as they go along and get help from others where necessary? Which has got to be better than laying out hard-earned money - or money from your small business loan - on expensive training courses?
If that is your line of thinking we would encourage you to rethink. Let’s examine each of those questions in more depth.
We can manage quite well
If your ultimate ambition is to manage “quite well”, then yes, you may be able to survive without training. If people are generally competent then it’s perfectly possible for them to pick up enough skills to do their jobs. However, the results are unlikely to be more than mediocre. Recent US research reported in Forbes confirms that companies who invest more in learning and development are having a visibly greater impact. Investing in expanding staff skillsets can foster innovation, and generate unexpected insights into ways of making your business grow. There’s a lot of truth in the old saying “aim low and you’ll never be disappointed” but we’re sure that you want more than that for your business?
Staff can learn on the job
Whilst learning on the job an integral and essential part of working life, it should not be the only way people learn! The title of this article - Work Smarter Not Harder - says it all. Without appropriate tuition, a lot of time will be wasted in trial and error - simply trying to get it right without knowing how to. Even worse, your customers may be adversely impacted in the process, if staff are not able to perform as efficiently and effectively as possible. In these tough times, the competitive advantage can be lost or gained over seemingly minor things and you simply cannot afford to take that risk.
Training courses are expensive
Training does not have to be expensive! There are many companies around that can offer one to one training and coaching with businesses of all sizes, at reasonable rates tailored to what small businesses can afford. A recent blog featured a company called J-go Training that does just this. Another idea is to use free online training resources such as Edx or Coursera, or network with other small businesses and find ways of doing training together or swapping valuable skills. At Fair Business Loans we are involved in regular events called Let’s Do Business Together. These events offer small businesses informal training on specific issues facing small businesses, and also the opportunity to network and to find out about additional sources of small business funding.
Whilst you may agree in principle with the above, what kind of training might be useful for your small business? As well as specific knowledge training related to your products or services, there are many generic business areas in which your staff need to excel in order to help your business stay ahead of the competition. For example:
- Management Skills
- Project Management
- IT skills
- Marketing - Online marketing, Social Media, Telemarketing
- Sales and Customer Care
- HR Essentials - Employment Law, Interviewing, Appraisals
- Finances - Accounts, Payroll
- Health and Safety
Why not sit down and have a think about how your business can work smarter but not harder in 2015? How can you ensure that every staff member is achieving optimum results in the time that they spend with you, with resultant positive impact on customer satisfaction and business growth? Training really does make that difference!