Tuesday, August 23, 2011/
With mounting concerns that Australia is facing a severe skills shortage, training companies are in a prime position to capitalise on the subsequent surge in demand.
The Government has also set its sights on raising skills, with a focus on workforce development by way of funding.
If you think you have a good rapport with people, a skill set worth selling and a passion for education, a training company could be the ideal start-up business. StartupSmart studies the industry to ensure you’re up to speed.
What is it and who is it suited to?
A training company can cover anything that can be taught in a course. Because the industry encompasses a wide range of activities, trainers tend to specialise.
There are two ways in which this happens: specialising in a particular skill such as management training, or focusing on all skills within a particular industry such as travel or catering.
Anyone with some knowledge or expertise to share, and some experience of presenting, could start a training company. It obviously helps if you believe in the benefit of education.
Referrals won’t happen unless you have a passion for what you do and offer exceptional service.
Rules and regulations
In order to learn the rules and regulations that apply to the industry, it’s worth taking note of existing players, such as the Australian Training Company.
ATC is a not-for-profit group training company, which was established to create entry-level traineeship and apprenticeship opportunities across a variety of industries.
ATC is a registered training organisation in NSW and has the capacity to deliver qualifications nationally. It also has a Code of Practice, which states the ATC will:
- Meet legal obligations.
- Provide a safe working environment.
- Support structured training.
- Provide supervision and support.
- Advise new apprentices of their rights and responsibilities.
Research and competition
The first thing you need to do is decide how you will train people, whether it’s via onsite or bespoke courses, public courses or distance learning.
Onsite training is the easiest way to get into the business. Essentially, you will be offering courses tailored to the needs of the client at their premises.
For example, a client may ask you to tailor a day’s training for its general administration staff, followed by a second session tailored for its bookkeeping staff.
An onsite business is a very cheap and easy way to get started. You can also offer a more tailored service to the client, which will be a big selling point.
A public training company entails setting up a program of events and making them available to anyone willing to pay the price.
This is quite a popular training method for smaller companies, which don’t have the facilities or staff numbers to offer in-house training. Courses may be cheaper but are a little less tailored.
Running the business this way does present some additional considerations. Firstly, you need to secure premises – either daily or on a more long-term basis.
If you choose to run the courses from your own premises, this will obviously require some careful planning and a larger upfront investment.
You should also think carefully about location. If you are asking people to come to your course, they are less likely to travel to a venue in a remote area.
Running public courses will also alter your business plan. Typically, companies running public courses produce a regular brochure with all the details of the courses and send it out to as many potential clients as possible.
While distance learning is a very traditional form of learning, it is rapidly coming into favour as the internet offers a new and convenient way for people to receive training through eLearning.
As well as being flexible and cheap, eLearning course can reach a much wider range of people.
However, there is a lot of free information available online, which raises doubts as to whether customers will sign up in sufficient numbers to pay for training.
Success is also dependent upon the functionality of the site, and the issue of interactivity also needs to be addressed.
Costs and earnings
As it is a service-based business, you can start up a training company with relatively little outlay.
The easiest way to get into the business is to set up as a freelance trainer and start offering bespoke courses to clients. In addition to a car, you should invest in a PC and printer.
The only other costs are your time and any marketing efforts. If you’re starting out small, this is likely to be limited to the telephone and letters.
You should also invest in a website, regardless of the type of business you are operating. However, if you’re looking to make a splash in the world of eTraining, be prepared to invest a bit more.
You will almost certainly need to hire staff – if not right away then as you grow and demand increases.
As a one-man band, you can earn a comfortable wage but you will always be limited by your own time and costs. It is also fiercely competitive unless you cater to a specific niche.
An average day
As an individual or even a partnership, you should be aiming to clock up 100 fee-paying days a year. As a small business, you should be looking to maximise the amount that you can earn from each client.
An ideal breakdown would be 10 days work with 10 different clients. And while you need to be updating your course content, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin.
Australian Training Company
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
02 6273 2311
03 9668 9950
Australian Government Small Business Support Line
1800 777 275