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Warning! Why you need to be One Step Ahead, not falling behind.


We may be change management experts when it comes to advising our clients, but let’s take a look a little closer to home. How are we coping with change in our businesses?

I have three kids, aged 17, 19 and 23. Whilst they can’t seem to agree on much most of the time, there’s one thing that they all certainly have in common. And that’s the desire to upgrade their phones and their technology at the earliest possible opportunity. “When am I due for my upgrade on my phone?” is usually asked about six months after receiving the current version, which of course had had them in raptures at the time, but is now destined for the recycling bin.

It’s just one example, isn’t it, of the phenomenal pace of change. The world in which we run our businesses seems to reinvent itself every few months. Just think back over the last couple of months. Changes, to name but a few, that could affect all our training and coaching businesses  include:
Google’s recent cracking down on SEO (a good thing as we should all be generating high quality content that is relevant and builds trust)
Its ever-changing algorithm
The explosion of Pinterest
The Facebook Timeline changes and Facebook advertising
The HUGE increase in postage, just as we may have been considering reverting to direct mail strategies
and other limitless possibilities that seem to pop up every day to either help or hinder. It’s exhausting isn’t it? And of course we then have to try and work out what will help us build and strengthen our training businesses, what’s relevant to us and our market, and what probably isn’t – but of course we can never be sure can we? Because the next iteration or adaption is just around the corner………
The way I run my training businesses now bears no resemblance to how I did things when I started, as a bit of a pioneer really, in 1990, as a self-employed trainer. It was exciting, and challenging in its own way, but I now realise how simple it was to get and retain clients:
I built great relationships, which removed the need to “sell” (which I have always hated with a passion)
I had meetings face to face with clients and networked.
I gave fantastic client service, got testimonials and used these as social proof
I ensured I exceeded expectations and delivered results that stuck.
Guess what? It worked! Word spread, the phone rang and work came in from all corners. I had more than enough contracts  for years, often repeat work, booked in blocks for the coming months, and I never needed to work as an Associate. I became FCIPD, and channelled my energies and my self-development into becoming a great trainer. Any other thoughts to develop the business, rather than myself I am ashamed to say were really below the radar.
Of course that was two decades ago. Those strategies then were powerful enough to ensure that I even survived two recessions. But they are not enough now, for me or anyone else in our marketplace.
So, how I run my training business today bears no relation to how I ran it two years ago and even in the last six months we’ve embraced so much new stuff.
The main message is this: marketing your training business has to keep up with the pace of change. We have to be one step ahead. Always. Otherwise we will be falling behind. And once we are falling behind, catching up becomes a huge, if not impossible  challenge.
As training business owners we’re in a tricky position, aren’t we, because we get paid when we deliver, but that leaves precious little time for getting our heads round business development.
Do you think you can find the time, the skills and knowledge to market your training business?
Is it an optional extra? Experience tells me no.
Is it exciting, challenging, a brilliant, never-ending learning experience and the only way forward to strengthen our training businesses and ultimately get the work life balance we want?
Experience tells me yes.

Alison Miles-Jenkins  BA Hons FCIPD
Founder & CEO
How To Market Training

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