Every job, every career, every professional pursuit involves some OJT, or on-the-job training. But where else will you acquire as much OJT as you will owning a small business? It’s a never-ending process, and owners themselves say OJT can be exciting. At the same time, learn-as-you-go presents some big challenges. Sometimes, some more structured training is the way to go.
There’s one kind of training both small businesses and their larger-company brethren tend to want to skip over and instead fall back on their innate abilities and instincts. That’s management training. But the truth is, almost no one can manage people or processes optimally without some training and guided practice.
So why the resistance, especially among small businesses? They’re overscheduled already—who has time for training?! There’s no budget—small business funds are usually stretched. It’s viewed as a luxury—a nice-to-have as opposed to a necessary must-have. While all valid reasons, management experts urge business owners to reconsider management training as a priority. Although the results of training can be difficult to quantify, these experts have stories to tell about the downside of skipping it: Millions of dollars in lost sales, excessive employee turnover and other costly business caused by less- than-effective managers.
Business owners who themselves have gone the training route see it as a must-have. Here’s what one posted not long ago on the SBA's community discussion boards:
…If you are just starting out in business or if you’re a seasoned Entrepreneur, you can benefit from Management Consulting and Training programs. Nobody knows everything and even a long-time CEO needs training or consulting in something at some point in time. This business world is chaotic and constantly changing. You have to be able to keep up with the changing times or get left behind. …[Training programs] can help you to improve on or develop your overall administrative management, your strategic planning and strategic management. With training you’ll be able to execute your strategy better, you could enhance and make effective decisions, get help to work on and improve your time management, work on your Six-Sigma, work on your strategic thinking, you can learn to better supervise and support performance, etc. etc…Online seminars let you obtain the consulting and training that you need without ever leaving your place of business or home…So take some time out today to find the management training programs that are right for you and invest in them. You’ll be glad you did.
Information on the University of Lincoln blogs makes some similar points and develops the case for management and leadership training even further. A number of different areas of your business can potentially benefit:
- Customer satisfaction. You’ll learn new ways to address customer needs.
- Good working environment. Relationships improve. You’ll learn how to motivate employees to rally behind the goals of the business.
- Production efficiency. Employees gain a new appreciation for the roles of productivity and accountability in the success of the business.
- Profitability. Improved effectiveness and efficiency lead to more revenue.
- Time management. Learn to work smarter, not longer, in accomplishing business goals.
We can’t think of a single downside to management training. It’s really only a matter of setting it as a priority; having a clear picture of what you want to accomplish through the training; budgeting for it (time and money); and then just doing it. Many business owners say they have found it so beneficial that they’ve made it a recurring activity for themselves, as well as for their employees.
While you’re making your decision to start management training, here are a few additional considerations to keep in mind:
- Affordability. Think about online training for you and your team instead of bringing in expensive consultants or attending expensive seminars.
- SOP (standard operating procedures). Small business owners often skip these but shouldn’t. Management training can help you develop and implement them for your business.
- Issue resolution. Policies and guidelines will help you resolve unnecessary issues, which you may not realize are seriously draining time and talent.
- Begin with an analysis. Do you have the right team in place? Training can make sure you do, without having to make difficult staff changes.
- Cost. This is the cost of not doing management training—turnover, low morale, unresolved problems and issues that can affect customer service and the bottom line. In other words, small business owners can’t afford NOT to do it!
Has management training made a difference for your business? Why or why not?
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