5 signs that your training business is failing 

30 September 2019


Training businesses face complex operating procedures; from in-company training, relying on third party equipment, to managing the attendance and follow-up procedures with all your attendees.

In this article, we outline the 5 key signs that your training business is struggling and give you a steer on how you can improve the performance of your business.


1) You’re delivering half-full courses

The saying may well be ‘the glass is half full’, but if the class is half full, you’re likely to be losing money. Managing and monitoring the sales process of your training courses is vital.

Do you know your breakeven point on any given course? Can you cancel a course or merge a course with another date to maximise your resources? Is your management information up to date? Or are you constantly looking back?

Having a clear understanding of how many places you need to sell to make a profit is vital, plus a full class makes for a more engaging learning environment.

Tip: add a course viability metric to your KPIs to ensure that your courses are profitable. This can help you manage late offers to ensure you’re not losing money.


2) You’re only seeing your customers once

It’s a well-known fact that it’s cheaper to resell to an existing customer than it is to recruit a new one, but how do you keep them coming back to you?

Some training only needs to happen once in a lifetime, but other training has requirements for annual renewals, or at least refreshers. This is your opportunity to remarket to your existing audience, driving them back to you by communicating your refresher courses in line with their renewal dates.

Missing this opportunity could be the difference between a one-off purchase and repeat annual business, at a nominal cost to your business.

Tip: Survey your customers to find out whether they are likely to purchase from you again, or if they’d recommend you to their friends.


3) You’re struggling to process your delegates

There’s a lot involved for every delegate you process; registration, joining instructions, dietary requirements, name badges, certificates, ID and qualification checks… the list goes on. And we haven’t even discussed the sticky subject of payment (more on that later).

The truth is that the administrative work that goes into processing your delegates can be overwhelming without a process or system behind it. It’s vital that you look at how you can automate at least some of the above tasks, or growth just won’t be sustainable for your business.

Tip: map your customer journey and highlight the areas you can save time by either automating a task, or by consolidating your effort to a certain time period in the week.


4) You’ve no clear picture of your resource allocation

Another key metric for training businesses is their resource utilisation percentage. How well are you utilising your trainers and other resources? This isn’t just down to your team delivering training courses, but what other work are they doing, and is this other work the best way to spend their time?

Your trainers have a particular set of skills that need to be utilised to maximise your earning potential. Administrative tasks need to be automated or allocated away from people that could be delivering more courses.

Getting a clear picture of what your trainers are doing, what courses they are delivering and where they are delivering them can unlock potential capacity in your business you didn’t know existed.

Tip: Collect trainer timesheets to understand where and what they are doing, and whether they are the best person to be doing some of the tasks.


5) You’re not managing your cashflow

So, this one is a bit more general, but cash is king, after all. Relating this specifically to the challenges facing a training business is important, though.

There are so many opportunities for you as the trainer to control the cashflow process and ensure you’re never out of pocket:

a) Booking confirmation: allow users to reserve a place on your course but tell them that their place isn’t confirmed until you are given a purchase order (or receive payment for those not on account).

b) Deposit: take this one step further and request a deposit from those on account to secure their place – how about 50% upfront and 50% on day one of the course?

c) Withhold certificates: it’s easy to put this control in place. No payment = no certificate. This way, even if you’ve been flexible with them around payment beyond attendance, they can’t get the value of the course until they have settled their bill.

d) Cancellation policy: cancellations are inconvenient. They can be last minute and cost you money. You need to control this with a detailed cancellation policy; cancel a week before the event? That’ll be 75% of the fee, on the day? You’ll have to pay the full amount anyway.

Tip: be reasonable. The above are examples of controls that you can put in place, but this will all depend on your existing customer relationships.

Now these are just 5 signs that you’re training business could be in trouble, there’s much more that we could discuss. What challenges is your business facing?

If you’re interested in discussing any of the above in more detail or would like to know how we could help eliminate these problems in your business, get in touch.

Blue Wren develop configurable business process software to improve processes, boost productivity and create positive change. Find out more about Flight, our training provider CRM and workflow management software.

Alternatively, to discuss how your training and events business can boost productivity with business process management software:

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