Training is a core component of any comprehensive business strategy, and small enterprise strategy should be no different. In fact, the degree to which those involved in a small business need to have a solid understanding of all aspects of business is greatly increased due to the relative lack of in-house resources, so training should not be overlooked.
Small enterprise training can either be conducted in house or externally. Whilst there may be a greater cost attached to participating in formal external training, the ability to work in a class of individuals all striving for the one common goal (to acquire an expert understanding within the field in question) is not to be underestimated.
While some refresher courses may only last 1 day in duration, the majority of training classes range from three to five working days. This does of course mean you must not only account for the direct financial cost of the course, but also for the opportunity cost of the time out of the office. Together these can amount to a significant sacrifice, particularly for a new enterprise where cash is unlikely to be abundant. That said, the long term benefits for this short term sacrifice can be enormous.
Popular training classes for small enterprises to consider include the following:
- Finance and Accounting – from balance sheets to cash flow forecasts, it is vital new business owners possess a solid grasp of the basic finance and accountancy fundamentals.
- Traditional marketing – there are many forms of traditional marketing a small enterprise can consider, such as leaflet printing, networking and exhibiting. The first thing to tackle is the branding of the organisation. What image and strap line captures the core values, objectives and personality of the business?
- Internet marketing – in recent years there has been a gradual shift towards the virtual world, where things happen faster, cheaper and without geographical boundaries. No matter what industry you operate in, there is an online strategy that will boost your business. Popular techniques involve search engine marketing and social media, but it all begins with a well structured and easy to use website.
- Sales – generating the leads and enquiries is one thing, but they are of no value without the ability to convert them into sales. The skills involved in closing a business deal are frequently undervalued and relevant training is highly recommended to those new to the unforgiving world of sales.
- Operations – of course generating money is only half the battle. You also need to deliver your product in such a way that either satisfies or ideally exceeds customer expectations, leading to long term relationships and new “word of mouth” referrals. This is only achieved through the formulation, execution and, where appropriate, documentation of efficient and reliable delivery processes and procedures.
- Management – at some point you may wish to expand your enterprise. If so you will almost certainly need to involve new resources in order to delegate a proportion of your new workload. Effective delegation comes from effective management. You must know how to appropriately empower your staff without overburdening them in the process. If this is achieved you may soon realise new efficiencies that you had never previously imagined. If executed poorly, however, the entire system will grind to a halt. Effective leadership skills are something only a small percentage of people are born with, but to a greater or lesser extent they are something we can all learn with the right support and guidance.