Story image

The power of training

01 Dec 10

Small businesses are notorious for putting training into the too-hard basket. Yet the right training can deliver a huge return on investment, allowing you to work smarter, not harder.
Cut the excuses – online learning provides free or value-for-money options. You don’t even need to leave the office.
There are certain practical processes common to all businesses: a customer database, accounts, cash flow, marketing material, file management, etc. There is a wealth of software options for all these functions, but you need the skills to understand how to use them.
Computer Skills
Most readers are confident on the web and are keen to keep up to date with the latest gadgets and software.

  • Do you know how to use formulas in a spreadsheet program such as Excel to create your cash flow?

  • Can you use formatting to ensure that the proposal for that prospective client looks professional?

  • Is your PowerPoint presentation boring because you copied someone else’s and just changed the wording?

  • Do you understand how to manage your files so you can find a document straight away?

The majority of us have taught ourselves to use a computer, so there are gaps in our knowledge. We know enough to survive day to day, but tend to focus on the things we enjoy, such as the latest iPad applications, surfing the net or social networking.
Do you gloss over your lack of the key skills so critical to a sound business? Increasing your productivity can be as simple as filling in the gaps in your computer skills.
Courses such as the Internet and Computer Core Certificate (IC3) offer the advantage of providing a well balanced overview of computing fundamentals in one package. This information can help when you are buying a computer, troubleshooting or managing files. It also includes the all-important word processing, spreadsheet and presentation programs, plus the internet and email.
Yes, you might know a lot of the content, but this is where online training is ideal. You can work at your own pace, check what you know, and then focus on the new content. Completing a certification provides proof of your skills and builds confidence. It can also help provide a benchmark when you start employing staff.
I have seen a lot of businesses with wonderful websites and Facebook pages that struggle to manage the orders or emails that they generate.
If you are still in the planning phase, then why not complete a course before you start your business?
The all-important accounts
For most entrepreneurs, keeping their accounts up to date is their least favourite task and they will leave it to the last minute before tackling it.
But keeping accurate accounts and running an ongoing cash flow spreadsheet are essential for a sustainable business. Flying by the seat of your pants is no longer a viable option. Banks now require solid proof that you have a viable business that will enable you to pay back any loans.
Check out all the options before deciding which accounting software is best for your business. Modern accountants provide a lot of helpful advice and training on how to read your accounts to track progress, increase profits or pick up problems. Make sure your accountants provide this service.
Online accounting options such as MYOB, Xero or Accomplish are easier to use and offer the extra benefits of the cloud, providing flexible access with automatic updates and backup.
Ensure that you get help to set up your accounts, as mistakes at this stage can create major problems in the future.
Then learn how to run your accounts software, even if you later employ someone to look after the day-to-day management. The latest versions are much easier to use and provide a much clearer picture of the state of your business. You need to understand how it works and make good use of the reporting functions. Suppliers have lists of approved trainers, and also provide online training and assistance.
Training is not a luxury – it is essential in business today.
Next month’s article will look at the training available for growing businesses.

DigiCert conquers Google's distrust of Symantec certs
“This could have been an extremely disruptive event to online commerce," comments DigiCert CEO John Merrill. 
Protecting organisations against internal fraud
Most companies tend to take a basic approach that focuses on numbers and compliance, without much room for grey areas or negotiation.
Telesmart to deliver Cloud Calling for Microsoft Teams
The integration will allow Telesmart’s Cloud Calling for Microsoft Teams to natively enable external voice connectivity from within Teams collaborative workflow environment.
Jade Software & Ambit take chatbots to next level of AI
“Conversation Agents present a huge opportunity to increase customer and employee engagement in a cost-effective manner."
52mil users affected by Google+’s second data breach
Google+ APIs will be shut down within the next 90 days, and the consumer platform will be disabled in April 2019 instead of August 2019 as originally planned.
GirlBoss wins 2018 YES Emerging Alumni of the Year Award
The people have spoken – GirlBoss CEO and founder Alexia Hilbertidou has been crowned this year’s Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) Emerging Alumni of the Year.
SingleSource scores R&D grant to explore digital identity over blockchain
Callaghan Innovation has awarded a $318,000 R&D grant to Auckland-based firm SingleSource, a company that applies risk scoring to digital identity.
IDC: Standalone VR headset shipments grow 428.6% in 3Q18
The VR headset market returned to growth in 3Q18 after four consecutive quarters of decline and now makes up 97% of the combined market.