The value of training for startups

If you are starting or running a startup what type of training is most valuable, and for that matter, is the training of any value at all?

Software and computer system training

There’s no doubt that training on software packages can be very useful, whether it be accounting software to help you run your businesses or presentation software like PowerPoint to help you pitch your services to potential customers. Software training can save you time in trying to figure out how to do various things and even let you know about things you didn’t know the software did. There was an interesting story a  while ago about how Microsoft had done a survey asking customers what functionality they would like in forthcoming releases. It turned out that most of the things requested were already available in the current version and users were completely unaware of this.

Marketing training

One of the biggest challenges that are facing the new startup owners, is how to implement the best startup marketing strategy in today’s digital revolution. Usually for small business, choosing the right marketing tactics can be very intimidating.

However, using the services from a marketing-oriented agency can help you make an impact in this very competitive world. The agency’s team will help you in creating a marketing strategy that will help you in growing your customer base and attracting new customers by taking a set of actions that can bring your business the most exposure without spending too much of your valuable time and money.


Sales training

Another challenge facing new and established business owners is how to sell their products and services. I used to think that there must be some magic formula that could be used to produce great sales results and I read quite a few books on sales and selling in order to discover what it was. A lot of sales books take you through various “closes” that they say will turn you into a super-salesperson overnight. For example, “would you like that in red or blue?”, I can’t remember the name of this close, but they do all have names. The trouble with this is that most people have heard this type of thing before and it turns them right off.  That said, they can be very powerful in the hands of a skillful salesperson who builds these closes (if we have to call them that) into their general presentation. So there would seem to be an answer; get sales training by all means, but think about what you are learning and practice ways to make it fit naturally into your conversations with customers.

Networking training

The easiest people to do business with are those who know, like and trust you, and it is very difficult to achieve this if you are sending letters or making cold calls to try and get appointments with prospective customers. When you turn up for these appointments with “strangers” you are often viewed as a vendor of products or services rather than a prospective partner in a business relationship. Doing business with people you know through networking or people to whom you have been referred by friends and associates is much more effective. These prospective customers will already trust you by association and will be looking forward to their business discussions with you. Since this approach to new business generation is so powerful it is surprising that so few people undertake training to become effective networkers. Networking training enables business people to cultivate business contacts and not see everyone as a prospect to be sold to. One business networking organization calls this the difference between farming and hunting, where the farming approach produces the best long-term results. Some business networking organizations provide this networking training free as a part of their services to members so look out for this when (not if) you consider joining one of these organizations. Also, don’t forget that training sessions are great networking opportunities in themselves.

Time management training

One of the questions often asked as part of the greeting when business people meet is, “are you busy?”, and the implication is that the busier you are, the better. However, is this always the case? You can be really busy but all of your time is taken up with tasks that, although they may be necessary, your limited time would be better spent on something more beneficial to your business. We all have only 24 hours in a day and some people clearly use this time more effectively than others, so this is a skill that can be learned and put into practice. Therefore, time management training could be one of the most valuable types of training that business people can undertake. One tip I picked up at a time management training session concerned making lists. A lot of people make lists of what they need to do, and the really effective list makers even prioritize the items on the list so they do the tasks in the most effective order. The tip I picked up was to always make your list the night before. This achieves two things. Firstly, making the to-do list the night before means that in the morning you can get right on with the tasks on your list. Secondly, the night before you know you don’t have to carry out the tasks until the next day so you won’t leave tasks off that you don’t fancy doing, and in the morning the list is written and you have to get on with it.

Business training can be very useful, then?

I’m a big believer in training for business. So many people try to muddle through and they could save themselves a lot of lost time and opportunities by learning about the right things.