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“7 Essential Steps to Building a Successful and Profitable Training Business”

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Don't give up; the beginning is always hardest.In case you missed it, last week’s blog featured Part One of our start-up checklist for freelance trainers and was packed full of pointers about things to consider and put in place before you start up as a freelance trainer.

In Part Two this week, we’re looking at a checklist of actions you can take to move your training business forward once it’s up and running. They’re all things that I’d recommend doing as soon as possible – they’re just not essential to launching your business and getting those first paying clients through the door.

Part two: Once your business is up and running

Investigate insurance options

In fact, this may be something that you do need to put in place before you launch. It depends on the training services you plan to provide and where you will be providing them. You may want to consider Public Liability Insurance, which covers if a client were to visit you at your place of work and have an accident, or you were to visit a client and cause an accident, such as spilling coffee over a computer or leaving your laptop lead where someone could trip over it.

You may also want to explore whether you need Professional Indemnity Insurance. As trainers, there is always the risk that we will be challenged on the work we deliver or the syllabus we cover. Professional Indemnity Insurance can protect you against the costs of settling or defending a client’s claim against you.

Neither type of insurance is a legal requirement in the UK, but it can help to give you and your clients peace of mind.

Set up your internal systems

Something that many freelancers skip, but shouldn’t, is setting up internal systems to manage their client relationships and to systematically follow-up on enquiries, or to handle invoices, bookkeeping, referrals or even networking introductions.

Putting these systems in place from the outset will help you to capitalise on opportunities and customer relationships now and in the future. There are some excellent Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems available at various price points, as well as some free options such as Hubspot’s CRM or Outlook’s Contacts.

Identify potential suppliers and service providers

It’s helpful to have a list of reputable suppliers and service providers that you can use to support your business, whether it’s a stationery supplier, accountant, IT support, or associate trainers. Having contacts in place from the outset will help to save you time when you unexpectedly need to source a particular item or service.

Make sure your IT systems are protected

Even if you’re a single freelancer, it’s important to make sure that any data you hold about your clients or their employees on your computer is secure. I would also recommend backing up your files to an external hard drive or to cloud storage so that you can retrieve them in the case of IT problems.

If you’re not sure how to do this yourself, you may be able to access ad hoc IT support locally. Try asking people in your network for recommendations.

Upgrade your smartphone and add all your favourite business apps

As a busy freelance trainer always on the go, your smartphone will be an essential business tool from which you can keep in touch with your customers, manage your emails, run your social media accounts, manage your newsletters, keep an eye on your website traffic, access and write files, do your bookkeeping and much more.

If your current phone has seen better days, think about shopping around for an upgrade and then adding all of your favourite apps to help you run your training business when you’re on the move. Some people opt to have a business contract for their phone, but if you’re a freelancer, you may feel this isn’t cost effective. It’s worth seeing what deals are out there.

Work on your elevator pitch

An elevator pitch is a short, persuasive speech designed to create interest in you or your business. Experts recommend that you keep your elevator pitch to an explanation that can be delivered in just 20 to 30 seconds, i.e. the length of time of a short ride in a lift.

Can you succinctly describe your business in just one or two sentences? Why not try your elevator pitch out on your friends and family – do they understand what it is you do after hearing your pitch?

Plan your marketing

For most self-employed people – and even for established businesses – marketing is a constant process of learning, hypothesising, taking action, testing and revising what works. That being said, I would recommend putting a marketing plan into action as it will give you a roadmap for how to organise your marketing. Think about your:

  • Target customers
  • Unique selling points (USPs)
  • Pricing
  • Positioning
  • How customers will buy from you
  • Offers/packages
  • Marketing materials – Where do you customers hang out? Which marketing materials are most likely to reach them and fall within your marketing budget?
  • Online marketing strategy
  • Search engine optimisation
  • Social media
  • Conversion strategy
  • Referrals
  • Customer retention

Let your network know what services you offer

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog about how you can turn your LinkedIn connections into clients. Do make a point of letting your network know that you’ve set up business as a freelance trainer and tell them about the kind of services you will be offering as well as the type of businesses you can best work with. This will help people in your network to make referrals.

Get a mentor

The value of a mentor is that they will ideally be someone who has worked as a trainer, possibly even in the same field as you, and are now several years further down the line. A mentor can, therefore, give you the value of their experience to help you take advantage of opportunities as they arise or avoid expensive mistakes. They can also be a fantastic sounding board and source of information and resources.

If you’re not yet ready for one-to-one mentoring, you might find it helpful to be part of a mentoring group like my Success Shapers Group Mentoring.

 

Although I could continue to add to this checklist, I feel that the points we have covered both this week and last week will give you an excellent foundation on which to build your training business.

If you run an established training business, is there anything else that you would add to this checklist? If you’re running a start-up, is there anything you would like to know more about? Do let me know in the Comments.

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