Running a small business often means you and/or your team need to wear a few different hats to get things done. You might be an expert plumber or talented hairdresser, but that doesn’t mean you have all the skills you need to run a small business. Filling that skills gap by investing in training is a great step that small businesses can take to set themselves up for success by building and retaining a great team.
However, getting access to training for yourself or your staff can be a challenge. It might be tricky to set aside the resources to fill whatever gaps your business has, whether it be levelling up your marketing, getting skilled with machinery, managing finances or nurturing leaders.
We believe that growing the expertise in your business is crucial, so we’ve made it one of our four categories in the Xero Beautiful Business Fund: Upskilling for the future. This category is all about supporting small businesses to upskill themselves and/or their employees. It could include access to training and other professional development opportunities.
We want to see how you are thinking ahead and preparing for the future, but if you’re short on ideas, we’ve pulled some together to help inspire your thinking:
Broadening your business knowledge
It’s almost impossible to avoid some administrative and operational tasks that come with running a business. Invoicing, paying bills, reconciling transactions, or running payroll are but a few that spring to mind. Covering the cost of staff attending professional training in business finance or payroll may result in these tasks, and your business, running more smoothly and efficiently. An added bonus: staff may end up with a new certification too.
For many businesses, networking at industry events or attending conferences is a great way to brush up on skills and become better educated in your industry. Consider using any funding to offer continuing education opportunities for your employees so they can stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends and be better prepared with new skills to do their jobs.
This fund creates a great opportunity for business owners to upskill existing staff in industry-specific skills. This gives a small business a pipeline of staff moving through various levels of industry training and becoming more qualified in what your business requires. Offering additional training can also help you retain staff who may want to add to their skills. Examples might be skilling up in site health and safety, helping your restaurant staff develop more skills at a culinary school, operating a forklift, or servicing factory machinery. This helps employees get better at what they do, and often gives them a certificate to prove it. It also means that skills are shared among the team, so there’s less risk to the business if people are unable to work.
Expanding your business
As your business grows, opportunities to expand your offerings, open new offices or venues might become available. If you were opening a second restaurant focussed on a new cuisine, you might want to train some of your existing staff in this new cuisine instead of hiring an entire new team. Perhaps an employee has expressed interest in managing your new store, so you line up a management course to help them get started.
On the other hand, if your business is just getting started, you might find opportunities to upskill yourself or your employees in key growth areas. For instance, if you’d like to offer a new marketing service to your customers or increase your online presence, you might put team members through digital marketing and SEO training. Or, if you are striving to create the best experience for your customers, you might invest in customer service software and train team members to take on this new responsibility.
Employees can be full of great ideas for improving existing products, workflows or developing new ones. By investing in training that helps you set up your business to facilitate new ideas and development, you can create an environment that helps these ideas flourish. This could be coupled with courses or guest speakers you bring in that give your teams the tools to innovate and develop new products or services.
Wellness and wellbeing
If you operate in an intense or strenuous environment, you might be looking for ways to help your teams cope or manage. Whether it be a yoga program, a team building course, or training members of your staff in mindfulness, there are plenty of ways to help keep your teams happy and healthy.
The Xero Beautiful Business Fund is designed to help small businesses overcome these challenges. We want to hear about how you want to ‘Upskill for the future’, so head over to xerobeautifulbusinessfund.com to apply now.