Business Training Plans
Cost-Effectiveness for Business Training
The benefits of business training are often misunderstood, and it is not unusual for business owners and managers to routinely shrink their training budget and efforts. In a challenging economic environment, companies of all sizes constantly find themselves in an awkward position when it comes to operating expenses. Business training is a frequent early target for controlling costs even in the best of times, so it is not surprising to observe progressively deeper training cuts within a more severe financial climate.
This can create unintended negative consequences and problems. The only significant benefit realized will usually be a reduction in expenditures. Is this a cost-effective strategy?
By focusing on the cost-effectiveness of business training plans, companies can put themselves in a better position to selectively retain, reduce or eliminate specific training activities. Some business training expenses are likely to be more important than others, and a primary business training goal should be to identify which training programs are the most cost-effective.
Flexible Training Plans for Small Businesses
Some words have the potential for being misunderstood simply because they are overused. In a small business context, here are some examples of concepts and phrases that have a high potential of being used indiscriminately by managers, bankers and employees:
- SEO benefits (for search engine optimization)
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but most of the words above would probably appear on a number of top 20 listings if business owners, employees and bankers were asked to name business concepts that they felt were usually misunderstood in their typical usage. This observation is meant to introduce the possibility that training is vulnerable to a high degree of misunderstandings because it involves so many concepts that are not always well-understood.
Is there a practical solution to this problem? One effective approach is to develop flexible business training plans. As discussed in the next section below, such a strategy should include four primary goals.
Business Training Goals
Establishing business training goals that are as specific as possible while still providing a prudent amount of flexibility will reduce many potential misunderstandings alluded to in the preceding section. Here is a straightforward list of four recommended goals to facilitate more effective business training results:
- Risk Control
- Cost Effectiveness
- Management of Problems
- Flexibility and Plan B
While it is a short list, this set of training goals does involve concepts and processes that require a high level of experience and expertise by those responsible for achieving the goals.
Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.— Mark Twain
Business Training Questions
As with any complex subject, there are limitations about what can be provided in one page of discussion. Asking the right questions should help facilitate a deeper understanding, and here are several relevant business training questions that should always be asked.
- Where is business training most effective?
- What is Plan B?
- What problems?
- What risks?
The Most Cost-Effective Business Training?
As noted above, cost-effectiveness is a critical business training goal. When training is evaluated according to what business activities are impacted in the most cost-effective way, there is a group of eight areas that generally move to the top of the list of cost effective solutions:
- Risk management
- Business communications
- Team collaboration and management
- Contingency planning
- Commercial financing
- Business negotiating
- Business writing
Certainly not all businesses are likely to need help in each of the eight areas. But this list should be a helpful starting point when considering whether to use business training programs to improve results in specific areas such as those just noted.
Is Career Training Cost Effective?
Business Training Strategy
The business training process for companies of all sizes should include a strategy for getting to the ultimate destination (business training goals). In many small businesses, this might require some help and guidance from a business training expert. It all depends on how well-versed existing company personnel and managers are with the "misunderstood concepts" mentioned early in this discussion. Whatever approach is used, here are five final words of wisdom about business strategies:
"Always have a Plan B."
Confidence comes from discipline and training.— Robert Kiyosaki
Finding Expert Training Solutions
Finding expert help for anything can always be a challenge. Since you are reading this on the internet, you probably rely on search engine results at least periodically to find information and answers about difficult problems.
While that can be efficient in terms of cost and time, expert training solutions are usually not found by a straightforward search. This is due in part to possibly asking the wrong questions. If you are not asking the right question, how likely is it that you will find the most effective solution?
Small Business Tips: Improving Business Writing
An Example: Real Estate Training Solutions
When it is done right, training can produce results that are simply impossible any other way. What more do we need to know? Where do I sign up?
Training is, of course, more complicated than that and demands a specialized human process to get us where we want to go. But a prudent evaluation of any training process is that it can provide a uniquely cost-effective outcome that is difficult (if not impossible) to emulate by other strategies. It is important to distinguish between training and other practices and activities that are used (incorrectly) by some on an interchangeable basis with training. In particular, the field of "education" is sufficiently different from the field of "training" that they really should not typically be thought of together.
For example, if you have attended and/or graduated from college, you might be disappointed that your time there did not apparently prepare you adequately for the current disappointing employment market. Perhaps this is because you thought that you were receiving training for a specific career. Instead I would say that universities routinely provide an education that differs markedly in quality from one institution to another. The result is a high-quality education for some but not for all. Regardless of the quality of education received, only rarely will the college experience also provide training of any kind. Certainly there are exceptions such as when working toward a specialized medical degree (and other similar specialized programs).
How does this introduction relate to real estate training? My intent is to simply build a concise case to demonstrate that successful training can largely stand on its own regardless (for the most part) of previous educational experiences. We can all still be proud of our educational accomplishments. For example, I will be forever pleased that I decided to obtain an MBA degree in Real Estate Finance from UCLA after I served several years as a Navy officer. But my excellent education both at UCLA and prior to that at Miami University actually did relatively little to prepare me for what followed in my career.
Specialized training in real estate as I practice it goes in two distinct directions:
- Career training programs for those wanting to work in the small business and real estate finance field.
- Business training programs for small businesses needing help with real estate issues like commercial mortgage financing.
Depending on your preferences, the emphasis on real estate can either be increased or decreased — the real estate emphasis can be adjusted according to your specific needs. Flexibility and individualized training deserve to be major components in any credible training program.
Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.— Aristotle
© 2013 Stephen Bush