While blogger Dave Choate is on vacation, we’ll be digging up some gems from PointBlank’s past. Today’s post is from Scott Rowland, former Senior Professional Development Manager at Direct Capital.
Having been in the training profession for nearly 20 years, one thing is common: bigger companies and corporations have the means to provide quality training to employees, whereas most small businesses with less than 50 employees do not.
I’ve never met a business owner that does not want to invest in the quality of his/her employees, not only to improve the employee but also because they believe firmly that better employees mean a better business. The real issue is how to provide good quality training to a small workforce with minimal time and expense. Here are three inexpensive options for use in your small business:
If your company has computers, there are many providers of online training (called e-learning) out there. Prices range from pretty cheap ($20-$50) to pretty steep ($500+), depending on the topic and how long it takes. Good places to start looking include the site for the American Society for Training and Development (www.astd.org), Training Magazine (www.trainingmag.com), and Business Week (www.businessweek.com).
Another option for inexpensive training may be found from resources in your area. Some Chambers of Commerce offer training to members, and many colleges and universities that have a management or business school offer training courses as well, particularly training on business and leadership. In addition, in this economy you may find corporate trainers that have been laid off and are looking to provide training on a contract basis. Check the classifieds and see what you can find. You could also check a business networking site such as LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com). Try using the Groups tool to search for trainers in your area.
Leverage your network
While you may not have the employees or resources to host a professional training on your own, you may be able to team up with several fellow business owners in your area to offer something. For example, here at Direct Capital we have encouraged our sales representatives to talk to their customers about training needs.
But why bother?
It takes time and money, right? Determine the outcome you want to achieve before you go looking for training. Do you want to see a 10% increase in sales over the next 3 months? Or do you want a benchmark on your customer satisfaction? What would that mean to your business? By knowing in advance exactly what you want to achieve, you narrow your focus and the search becomes much easier. Look around a little, and you’d be surprised to find that there are more resources available to small businesses today than there ever have been.
If you are interested in training for your business on virtually any topic, drop us a line so we can determine how we can help. At Direct Capital, we believe that when your business is thriving, we thrive also. And when your business is ready to get financing, we’re here for that as well.
Photo credit to arte ram at http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1314697