Might you be missing something?

The problem with any small business – and I speak as one myself – is that it’s so difficult to keep on top of everything you need to. Paperwork is a …

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28th March 2007 at 11:33 am

The problem with any small business – and I speak as one myself – is that it’s so difficult to keep on top of everything you need to. Paperwork is a nightmare and let’s not even talk about accounts.

This is why it’s important to note information like the release that’s hit my desk from Microsoft’s small business team which says that 81 per cent of small businesses employees receive no training at all. Why do I believe this when a press release has, by definition, vested interests all over it? Well, quite simply, Microsoft doesn’t sell training so it has nothing to gain from making this point. So it’s probably true and unbiased.

It might sound familiar to you in your own business, and if it does then you have a problem because in franchising above all other business areas you’ve actually undertaken to build someone else’s brand for them. So your staff and their training aren’t just going to hit your organisation if they’re discernably below par but they’ll hit your franchisor as well. And all the other franchisees in the chain.

Training is a costly investment but the true cost of not doing it can be even higher. When you (inevitably) watch the new crew on The Apprentice tonight, you’ll no doubt have a giggle at some of the howlers they drop and their various gaffes; you could do worse, though, to ask yourself just how many of these errors you’ve trained your employees not to make.

Guy Clapperton

Guy Clapperton is a freelance journalist who specialises in small business issues and has written for the likes of The Guardian, the FT and the Daily Mirror. Guy has written about finance and franchising for SmallBizPod. http://www.guyclapperton.co.uk

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  1. Leo says:

    Guy,

    While I don’t at all dissagree with the substance of the article about the need for training, the assertion that Microsoft has nothing to gain from this is clearly wrong.

    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/training/default.mspx

    As somebody working in this industry I know that Microsoft has a large and it seems increasing interest (both directly and indirectly as they provide learning management software) in the provision of training.

  2. Nick says:

    Isn’t the lack of training or bad training one of the top cause of failures of franchise companies?

  3. Guy Clapperton Guy Clapperton says:

    I take both points of course. I should perhaps have said that Microsoft’s core business is miles away from training rather than suggesting that it offers none. Microsoft’s presence in the field may well seem large, but compared to its software business it’s still a sideline (although as successive releases of Windows perform indifferently if Vista is anything to go by this might change eventually!)

  4. We realized years ago that training was important to our success as a small business. Neither my business partner or I are classically trained in business but somehow we’ve survived almost 26 years. Our business SeminarInformation.com is devoted to listing seminars and conferences – many of whom are directed to small business. And over the years each time we’ve found ourselves lacking in a skill we’ve turned to our own database of thousands of seminars for a “quick-fix” answer – and I must say most times it has been sufficient to get us over the problem hump. If nothing else, these seminars motivate us and the interaction with others with the same problem lets us know we are not alone – that alone feeling really gets to you in a small business.

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