We speak to training providers, coaching professionals and subject matter experts daily, and the message is clear – if you’re not already delivering your expertise online then you should be making plans to do so.
An online or blended approach provides many benefits for both your learners and your client. But from a training provider’s perspective, taking your expertise online can transform your business, your services and your lifestyle.
For most face-to-face training providers, generating revenue is typically tied to the number of training courses you can deliver or the number of participants you can attract for each one.
By packaging up your knowledge and delivering this digitally, for example as an online course a rich set of resources, you can move away from selling to 20 or 30 people and scale this up to 200 or 2000 people at any given time.
Let’s not also forget the additional costs involved in delivering face-to-face training. Naturally, there’s all the travel and keeping yourself fed and watered, which can add up. There’s also the opportunity cost involved with being on the road that could be better spent working on your business, rather than in it.
Given the travel involved in face-to-face training delivery, your market can be limited by where you can travel to. Naturally, if you’re based in Devon, it’s unlikely you’re going to want to be travelling up to Aberdeen every week to deliver – as such you may have to turn work down.
Online learning provides the potential to serve a bigger market, given that the ‘input’ of your training can be delivered online. You can of course deliver a blended option too (a mix of online and face-to-face training), but with the benefit of choosing when the contact sessions work better for you.
Online learning can also open up new audiences closer to home and in our experience is often an overlooked opportunity. For example, one of our partners continues to deliver face-to-face courses to senior management teams, but with their new online offering can now deliver a solution at scale for the more junior employees for the same client.
Pro tip: Exploring new markets via online delivery may mean taking a different approach (for example you may need to consider language, access requirements and the overall learning experience for the new audience you are serving).
You may also need to tweak your sales and marketing approach to the new market from what you do now. Don’t assume that you can simply replicate what you do now – we’ve found that there’s always an element of trial and error with this.
With most training opportunities, there often comes some competition for the business. You may ask yourself “How can I stand out?”. The good news is that many training providers are yet to take advantage of online learning – but this won’t last for long.
Online options, such as courses, resources and quick guides provide the client with more ‘bang for their buck’, as well as contributing to the wider success of the programme. This could help you stand out from the crowd, and may make the difference between getting the gig or not at all.
Naturally, delivering your training online provides the opportunity to reach new audiences, but it can also help with the impact of your face-to-face training as part of a blended solution.
Developing new skills or changing behaviours takes time. Think of the best dishes you cook at home. You’ve become great at these because of repeated practice (you might make them every couple of weeks) and from the feedback you’ve received (“This tastes great!” or “This could do with more salt!”).
Unfortunately due to the logistics of organising face-to-face training, it can be delivered in fits and spurts which can work against the desired outcomes. It doesn’t help either when the client you are delivering for expects the problem to be fixed once you’ve left the building!
Online learning can support the impact of your face-to-face sessions in several ways. It could be activities and resources to prime learners for the face-to-face sessions – meaning that you can focus on having everyone in the same room. It could be supporting tasks between sessions. Or once the face-to-face sessions have finished, a series of resources to help them reinforce what they learned, but to act as prompts and reminders when your learners need it further down the line.
If you use a blended learning approach (particularly if this involves a mix of resources too) then your learners will be interacting with your expertise and brand multiple times, rather than simply when they see you in the classroom. If you become a common touchpoint for your learners then this can help with repeat business, but also additional opportunities related to your subject area.
One of the great things about going online is the increased ability to collect data from those using your online product. Naturally, any data should only be gathered and shared within data regulations and guidelines, but this can be used to inform you how you can improve your product and service.
Naturally what an organisation think is an issue among their teams may differ with what the actual issues are (which your online products may reveal), and this can be a useful tool in your armoury when it comes to helping your client on a wider basis.
If all of your expertise is stored in your head, this is a major risk for your training business. We’re big fans of 24 assets by Daniel Priestley, which advocates turning as much of your business into ‘assets’ which you can then monetise in different ways.
One way to think about this is to consider your business in terms of your house. Decorate and work on your house as if you were going to sell it. This will increase it’s value, so if you choose to sell it, then you will benefit from the increase spoils. However if decide not to sell, you have a better house to live in!
By building your expertise into a digital product, you are creating an asset that ultimately adds value to your business, helps you explore new revenue streams and ultimately will support continued growth.
In today’s economy the demand for a more skillful and flexible workforce is increasing. If you’re not providing a service that can have a deep impact across a business as a whole (which online learning can support), then how will your business look in one, two, or ten years time?
Are you ready to take your training online? Check your potential using our free tool >