(Last Updated On: January 23, 2016)



Image of woman looking surprised at training budget

I know, I know. Training is not even on your radar far less in any of your budgets. You also told me that you are afraid of the impact on your business if you spend too much on training staff which will eventually leave you.


Furthermore, your staff is small and you can’t be constantly developing people who you are not sure will benefit the business anyhow.


So you “forget” about training and continue to run your business with a set of lazy, unproductive and uncaring people. (Your words not mine!) But have you considered the following reality:


• In order to grow your business quickly and efficiently you need a team of employees who are trained to meet the needs of the job

If you are afraid of growing people who will leave the business, you should be equally afraid of the consequences of not training them and having them remain in the business

• Hands-on training and wide business experience are the “carrots” you can use to attract talent since you might be unable to offer the compensation and benefits which corporations or even non-profits can offer

• Your approach to implementing training has been much like throwing mud at a wall and waiting to see which pieces stick

• You want to avoid the shame of putting out money and effort for staff development and not getting the desired results


Well, here is the good news for you. You can introduce training in your business and get the results you want if you know how to do it right. Here are some tips to kick-start your journey to getting the best training for your “soon to rock the world” enterprise.


1. Link your training to your business goals/strategies


You have finally decided that you are going to train your staff and you want to do it the right way. So you survey your employees asking them what courses they would like to attend, what they expect to learn, and how that will improve their performance back on the job. This information is then passed to the Training Provider. No problem?


So why are you not satisfied? After all, your employees have been trained, there is some improvement in their skills and even in their attitude but the anticipated growth in the business is hard to discern.


You see, small businesses do not have the luxury of training for training sake. While developing people help in increasing the job knowledge and skills of employees, they must be tied to your bottom line results.


In order to tie your training to your bottom line results, you first have to understand your business model – in other words, you have to be clear on how your business makes money.


Then you have to be clear on your business goals and strategies. In this way, you can collaborate with the Training Provider to design programmes that are linked to your business goals and strategies.


2. Make sure that the training addresses the context of the job


Let’s face it. Your training budget is either non-existent or very small but you want to develop your employees. So what do you do? You look for a public workshop or a generic topic-related  programme which on the surface has the potential to solve the problem you need fixed.


Not so fast…let’s look at this a little closer and I want to use customer service as my example.


Customer service is not customer service is not customer service. It is not the same for a small enterprise as it is for a big corporation. It’s not the same for the hotel industry, the catering industry or the construction industry.


How effective then, would be a generic programme called “Customer Service” to any or all of these? The answer would have to be “not very”.


A better approach would be to have your needs completely analysed within the context of the job and a programme developed for your workplace to specifically to meet your requirements.


This gives rise to the question of size and money. If you are too small and cannot afford the cost of such training, you can collaborate with several businesses which are similar to yours. In this way you can reach the numbers that will make the training viable and spread the costs.


3. Make sure that your problem/issue can be fixed by training


Unfortunately, many employers and too many training providers believe that every and any workplace problem can be fixed by training. But listen to me, that’s just not the case, you hear me?


Some problems require a coaching solution, some can be directly linked to the systems that are used by the business and in some instances it could be a case of poor recruiting that no amount of training will solve any time soon.


Working with your Training Provider, here are some of the questions you should have answered to determine the nature of your problem or issue.


a) Is there a gap because employees don’t know how to do the required work or because they don’t want to?

b) Is there a gap because there is no recognition for performing well and/or no consequence for not performing as required?

c) Are your employees intellectually/physically capable of doing the work?

d) Do the employees already have the job knowledge and just need the right attitude to complete the work?

e) Are employees positive about their work and intellectual/physical capable of doing the job, but need training to go to the next level?

f) Are you ready to reinforce new behaviors?


The answer to these questions should be completely honest and carefully analysed because then you will know if you have a training need or not.


4. Do not use training as a punishment


Don’t pretend now…you do know what I mean. You don’t? Let me explain.


First let’s define punishment in the context I am referring to. It can be described as a course of action that is taken after some undesired behavior which is designed or intended to reduce or eliminate that unwanted behavior.


Now consider the following scenario. A group of unhappy workers complain to you about some unsatisfactory working conditions. You are seething and demand to know exactly what they want. Like a well-trained choir they declare “training!”


You contact the next available Training Provider and request that they provide “training” not exceeding $X-amount because that is all you’re going to spend on these ungrateful employees!


At the end of this much anticipated event, your employees are frustrated because they might not have acquired the skills they need. You are confused because you paid for training for who are now called “hard-headed, ungrateful” employees. The training provider is resentful because (s)he delivered training to the client’s requirements and is now hearing that the programme was ineffective.


Punishment is never a reason to engage in training.


5. Learn how to select a Training Provider


The Training Provider is critical to the success of the design and delivery of your training and the transfer of that training from the classroom back to the workplace.


So if your approach to selecting one is by having a conversation like this “…well Company A has quoted me $X so if you can give me a quote like ahmm…$X-Y I’d be happy to give you the job…” what do you think will be your results?


Yep! I agree with you entirely and furthermore, that’s no way to hire a training partner!


At ITDS we work with you to determine your staff training and development needs based on a number of factors, including your business strategies and goals, the context of the job and how comfortable you are managing change.


We write you a comprehensive training plan and if you are unable to afford the entire plan, we advise you which aspects you should implement first based on your budget and your strategic goals.


Some potential clients are quite able to analyse their own needs and require our services only for the delivery – and that’s okay too.


In such cases, we encourage our clients to ask us questions such as:


1. What results have other clients had from your programs?

2. How are your programs different from those offered by other private and tertiary training providers?

3. How can you help us choose the right program?

4. What kind of materials do you provide?

5. How much experience delivering training do you/your instructors have?

6. May we talk with the instructor(s) before the training?

7. How will you help us to get participant buy-in?

8. How will you ensure that what is learnt in your classroom shows up in our workplace?


If you follow this example and think of questions of your own, it is guaranteed that you will find the right match almost 100% of the time.



So there! I have revealed the secret to getting the best training for your small business. If you implement these steps you will take the guess-work out buying training and never again have to suffer the shame of spending money to develop your staff and have your efforts completely miss the mark.


You would love that won’t you?



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Small Training Budget? Get The Best Training Anyway!

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Lorna Barrow

  Lorna Barrow is a small business owner and entrepreneur who starts businesses between her full time pursuits of reading, hiking and hanging out on the beach. It's the life! Here she's helping you to grow your business, your team and yourself. Make use of the really practical tools, info, etc and remember to SHARE how they are working for you...    

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