At the Axiom Dynamics Training Academy, we are here to help anyone within the training environment. This includes other companies that may wish to become an approved training centre. Regardless of the qualifications you intend your centre to deliver, we can help you through the process, which will allow you to get on with the day to day operations of your business.
This process can take time as there are various checks that need to be carried out by the awarding body you choose. There will also be a lot of documentation that will need to be completed, but do not worry as we are on hand to help this run smoothly for you.
Are you ready?
So you have decided to go for it? At this point, we will assume that you have the relevant certifications you will require to start the process. This will include those within the field you want to teach and assess. If not, we suggest you check what these will be and also take a look at the following qualifications that will help you on your way:
Let’s make a start
There are plenty of things to consider and have ready before you are approved as a training centre. We will now look at some of these points individually.
Have I a business plan?
Having a business plan will serve as a road-map that will provide direction for your business. This formally written document will describe the nature of your business and background information on your company and staff. It will contain your business goals, the methods you will put in place for achieving those goals and your time-frame for reaching them. It will also detail your companys’ financial projections and the strategies you intend to implement to achieve the stated goals and targets.
The awarding body you choose may ask for this, but if you are looking for financial help, for example, an overdraft facility or loan to purchase resources, the chances are your bank will require one of these before they decide to make you that offer.
You will need to consider what type of course(s) you want to deliver. Generally, there are three different types. These are:
Bespoke course are ones written by you or your company. They do not require you or your staff to be qualified or have any prior training experience, meaning anyone can deliver thems.
Accredited courses are those that are written by an awarding body, for example, Highfield ABC, TQUK or City and Guilds; however, you will need to be registered with an awarding body before you can offer the courses they provide.
Before you can offer government funded courses, you will need to be accredited to offer the courses and then on their list of companies that are approved to deliver these.
What courses/ qualifications should I offer?
You have a choice here.
Keep your training company relevant to your own experience and qualifications, thereby being a specialist in your field or branching out into other sectors related to your industry and allowing the company to grow. An example of this would be a security company that moves into health and safety and/ or first aid as these areas are related to security.
Each of these has their own advantages and disadvantages. Offering more qualifications means more revenue, but remember there will be competition so your pricing structure may need reset. Similarly, being a specialist company in your field may mean you can charge more, however, the numbers that may need your course(s) could be limited.
Which awarding body should I go for?
Many awarding bodies in the UK are regulated by one of the public regulators governing qualifications in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (i.e. Ofqual, SQA, Qualifications Wales and CCEA). The role of the Regulators is to accredit and approve Awarding Organisations to award qualifications.
They are experts in developing high-quality qualifications that meet the needs of employers and learners. They approve centres and work with them to ensure high quality delivery of qualifications and they carry out activity designed to assure the quality of the qualifications awarded. They also develop innovative products and services to support their centres and learners.
With this in mind, you need to choose an awarding body that works for you, after all, there is no point in applying to become a centre with an awarding body that does not offer the qualifications you wish to deliver.
There are other factors you will need to consider before you choose an awarding body. These include:
- What costs are associated with centre set up?
- What policies do I need in place for my centre?
- What resources are available?
- Will I have a dedicated account manager?
- Are there penalty fines for not purchasing enough registrations?
Take your time and research the awarding bodies that offer the sectors you wish to go into. It is essential that you choose the correct one for your business or you may end up repeating the process with another one sooner than you would have liked!
Do I need my own premises?
There are several points worth thinking about here, but really this will be determined by whether you wish for your training company to be large or small.
A large company will need space for the administrative or back-office staff to perform their duties both comfortably and legally. You will also need a classroom or classrooms if you intend to run all courses at your venue.
A smaller company may mean the owner runs administration from the spare room in their house and initially hires venues to run the courses in. As the company grows, an investment in offices/ classroom can then be considered. A virtual office is a great way to start your training company as it will mean not giving out your home address, therefore protecting family privacy. It will also project a better, business-focused image of your company.
A word of warning here. When starting your own training company it can be very tempting to rush out and lease or buy a property to run your training company from. There will be an incredible feeling of pride in seeing your company name over the door, however, be aware that this will always be the route that causes most business risk due to the costs involved.
It is also worth noting that in todays world of ever-evolving technology, online training is becoming more and more popular. This may be something you can also consider. Many courses are now delivered via webinar, so as long as you have a strong internet connection, you can utilise this method of training.
What staff will I need?
Like every business, your staff are crucial to making things flow smoothly. How many you need will depend on what size your new company will be.
If your company is small, it may be that one person can take on several tasks. Alternatively, in a large company, you may need several staff members to cover a single task. For example, in a small company, the business owner may book the course with the client, deliver it, mark any assessments, upload results to the system and issue certificates.
As a company grows, it will need to introduce more tutors, (either employed or freelance) and more administrative staff to answer calls, take bookings, arrange diaries, book venues and arrange catering.
The other person that will be key to your training company is an Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) individual. Their role is to ensure the quality of all courses are maintained, from the delivery in the classroom/ online, to how learners are assessed and graded.
With regards to the awarding body, you will most likely have to complete an application for your nominated tutors and IQA. This will include all details on the nominated tutors who you wish to deliver the courses leading to the accredited qualifications and the IQA responsible for maintaining quality. All nominated tutors and IQA must meet the sector requirements within that particular industry and hold the relevant qualifications and/or experience in training.
What are resources and what ones will I need?
Resources are the books, handouts, equipment, objects, and people you will use to deliver and assess your subject. They should stimulate learning, add impact and promote interest in the subject. Resources should be accessible and inclusive to all learners, while enabling them to acquire new skills, knowledge and understanding.
Some awarding bodies will have resources available that you can use, for example, handouts, delegate packs and assessment material. There may also be additional resources that you can purchase. These can include powerpoints, textbooks and kits. While these are an extra expense, they will save a lot of time for you as you will not have to prepare your own. They will also be beneficial to the learner.
Remember you may need additional resources depending on the subject you are teaching. Examples of these might be CPR manikins for first aid courses or a fire extinguisher/ blanket for fire safety qualifications.
If you do decide to design your own resources, individual needs should be taken into account; for example, dyslexia, a hearing impairment, visual impairment, physical or mental disability. You may need to produce handouts in a larger-sized font, on different coloured paper, or ensure there is plenty of white space surrounding the text (the blank area around the text/pictures).
How much should I charge per course?
How long is a piece of string?
The reason for that statement is there are many factors to consider.
- Are you delivering at your own training venue or do you need to hire one?
- Do you have to provide catering?
- Are there travel costs?
- What is the timeline for the preparation of the course?
- Do you have to purchase resources for the course/ learners or are they available from your awarding body?
- Is the course in demand?
- What does your competition charge?
The fees you charge for your courses must ultimately have due regard to your companies business plan and the market place in which you operate. With that in mind, market research will be essential for your company and could well be the difference between success and failure.
What ‘marketing’ approaches should I take?
Good question. Unfortunately, the answer is a little more difficult to come by and may take a bit of time and trial and error to get completely correct.
In the meantime, there are aspects of this that you can start to work on:
Carry out your market research
Market research is a vital part of developing your marketing strategy. It is about collecting information that provides an insight into your customers thinking, buying patterns, and location. It will also allow you to monitor market trends and keep an eye on what your competition is doing.
Profile your target markets
Promoting your product or service to everyone will be costly and ineffective. Your target market should need your product or service and be willing to pay for it.
By grouping or segmenting your potential customers into specific characteristics helps to structure your marketing strategy.
Commonly segmentation is based on factors such as:
- geography – location
- demographics – age, gender, education level, income, occupation
- behaviour – loyalty, attitude, readiness to buy, usage rates
- lifestyle – social class, personality, personal values.
Identify your unique selling proposition (USP)
Your USP is the reason your customers buy from you and not your competitors – it’s what makes your business different, (and better!), than everyone else. It is important to know what you do differently from the rest and convey this to potential customers.
It may be the unique courses you offer, your exceptional customer service or the resources you use during your training. Continually ask yourself:
- What special skills or knowledge do you have?
- What makes your customers come to you instead of your competitors?
- How do your customers benefit by purchasing your products or services?
- Which aspects do you generally highlight when you describe your business to strangers?
Choose your marketing avenues
While there are many marketing avenues available, you must consider your target audience when determining which ones to use. Options include a business website, social media, blogging, brochure and flyers, networking events, print advertising, and cold calling. Knowing which of these avenues your target market uses is critical.
Set your marketing goals and budget
Like every part of your business, you should have marketing goals in place to define what you want to achieve through your marketing activities. Your goals should be realistic with a timeline beside each, helping you stay on track.
You will also need to allocate a budget to your marketing activities. Your marketing budget may need to include elements such as:
- website development and maintenance
- search engine optimisation strategy
- design of branding
- printing of promotional material (business cards, brochures, signage, etc)
- donations and sponsorships
- employing staff to undertake marketing activities.
Develop your business brand
Every business, regardless of its size, should have a brand. A brand is more than a logo, colours or tagline. A well-formulated and communicated brand emotionally connects with your target customers and conveys who you are, what you stand for and what you can deliver.
Nurture your loyal customers
Always remember that your customers are the key to your success, so it is crucial to look after them and encourage their loyalty. Providing an exceptional service can keep people coming back and set you apart from your competitors.
Strategies to build loyalty in customers include:
- communicating regularly with customers through social media, blogs or e-news
- providing after-sale follow up
- delivering on your promises
- going the ‘extra mile’ and providing benefits that exceed initial expectations
- using feedback and complaints as an opportunity to improve services
- listening to customers
- training staff in customer service and basic sales processes.
Monitor and review
It is vital to continually monitor and review your marketing strategy and activities to make sure they are achieving the targets and goals that you have set. Having a review date in your business calendar will ensure this part of your strategy is not missed and will allow you a chance to make changes if necessary.
Lastly, always remember the main aim of your training company is to help people develop their knowledge and skills. If you continually do this to the best of your ability, you will profit from the greatest marketing tool there is; word of mouth. There is not a more successful way to market your business than word of mouth. It comes without cost and is guaranteed, by doing what you do best- delivering the finest training there is.
Remember, however, if learners have a negative experience with your training, they are likely to spread this news to any potential customer.
Your new training company can start now…..
Why not book an Initial Consultation with one of our team who will help you take the first step towards setting up your new training company. You can contact us with any questions or book an initial consultation here.