Training businesses provide a much needed service to the corporate world at large. They are designed to help any industry’s personnel better their management and leadership skills, while boosting morale and personal confidence. A training business can provide guidance, training and overall coaching on or off-site, depending on certain organizations and their time and financial budgets or constraints.
Select your market. The first step in starting a training business is to know your market and field of interest, as well as your personal skills and experience in this area. If you’ve worked in management for years and have supervisory and leadership skills, training should come easily for you. You should concentrate on the field or industry you are familiar with, and springboard from there to other markets. Determine what specific type of training you want to specialize in; e.g., leadership, motivation, sales, self-esteem or communications. Once you know exactly what sort of training you want to do, you need to prepare the materials.
Create your materials. Translating your skills and knowledge into a training business will require creating materials and booklets, Powerpoint presentations, CDs and/or webinars for additional training online. Start with writing down and creating a seminar from scratch. Design a prospective, write a rough draft speech or bullet points you want to cover. If you need additional help, surf the Internet for training businesses similar to yours and get a feel for what others are offering.
Join organizations. Join training organizations such as the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD). This will help you network with other trainers as well as possibly land training and business opportunities with big organizations. It will also add credibility to your name and your business, if and when a company wants to check on your qualifications and professional memberships.
Hire help. Next, determine if you need to hire additional trainers to cover more territory. The advantage of hiring a staff of trainers is to grow the business quicker. It also allows you to have a variety of seminars and training available to businesses and various organizations. Most training companies hire trainers as independent contractors. You can do the same. This will allow them the freedom they need, and you can still make a commission from every training seminar they give.
Determine your training location. Choose your hotel or meeting space based on the approximate number of people that will attend. Determine whether or not you will provide training onsite. Make a careful list of everything you will need from tables and chairs, to computers, video players, overhead equipment and personnel.
Create promotional materials. Your first step was to know your market. Now you must reach it with seminar flyers, brochures, newsletters, postcards and/or your website. If you’ve ever seen the promotional flyers sent out by places such as SkillPath, Fred Pryor’s or National Seminars, you know that they provide ample information to highlight their one-day, two-day and other types of seminars. Their materials are packed with bullet points, strong course descriptions, fun photos and graphics and eye-catching headlines. Your goal is to create the same type of materials, but make them even better. Don’t make them as text heavy, but instead provide compelling benefit statements to persuade them to attend. Charge slightly less and give them more. As the “new guy on the block,” you have to do all you can to compete with the big guns.
Evaluate and improve. Finally, once you have your first training session completed and all the attendants made it through the training, make sure you provide evaluation forms to all your participants. Your goal is to find out anything that can be improved upon or altered to make your seminars and your presentations better. Don’t be too sensitive. Realize that evaluations are what you need to optimize your training business. Take suggestions seriously and implement them in future programs.
Patricia Williams is a freelance writer who has been published in numerous magazines including "Missouri Impact," "Travelhost," "Careers & Colleges," "Career Focus," "Small Business Journal" and many online sites such as Trazzler, AssociatedContent, Bright Hub, LoveToKnow, and Family.com. Williams has Bachelor of Arts degrees in communications and English from the University of Missouri - Kansas City.