Staff development for small business matters

Building a small business is sometimes like raising children. Stay with me…I’m going somewhere with this. You start this business, and nurture and grow it, all the while thinking it will be big and grown up someday, meeting your wildest expectations and dreams.

Unlike raising a child that will then go off and do its own thing, you have a team of people that are also growing with your business.  And just like your business needs nurturing to grow into something awesome, your team needs the same thing.  In fact, staff development for small business teams is critically important.

The challenge has been to figure out how to find and provide staff development training that fits your small business budget. Most of the professional development players go after the huge corporations or conglomerates and charge a pretty penny to do so.  Their pricing is their pricing; they don’t see the small business owner and her staff as their ideal client.

So you’re left with Googling or hoping that you can come across something that could benefit your team as a whole.

Check this data from the SBA Council:

In 2012, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, there were 5.73 million employer firms in the U.S. Firms with fewer than 500 workers accounted for 99.7 percent of those businesses, and businesses with less than 20 workers made up 89.6 percent. Add in the number of nonemployer businesses – there were 23.0 million in 2013 – then the share of U.S. businesses with less than 20 workers increases to 97.9 percent.

Among employer C Corporations in 2012, 99.2 percent had less than 500 workers, and 86.2 percent had fewer than 20 employees.

Small businesses are the backbone of the United States.

Business is changing. Team members don’t just want a living wage, they want to feel valued and want to provide value.  Develop their skills so they can continue to feel valued by you, the leader.  In turn, they’ll want to provide even more value and are more likely to stick with your company.

Here’s my top 4 staff development suggestions for Small Businesses

Use a local resource
Check if you have a local ATD (Association of Training and Development) chapter in your area. Search their membership roster for options. A local resource is almost always more cost effective and usually knows your local business climate better.

Think outside the box – part 1
Staff development doesn’t need to be lecture, classroom based. It can be an online or interactive program.

Think outside the box – part 2
Don’t just take the first thing that you come across or that thing that “everyone else is doing.”  Recognize if you are using something that’s up to date or decades old. Choose an option that is real world and relevant. Check out Fascination training options. 

Build the family bond
The buzz word is “culture.” But really, we’re talking about everyone feeling a deeper connection like they are part of a family. Families develop strong bonds, feel incredibly loyal to each other and go through thick and thin for the family. Because on the deepest level, they love the family and being part of the family.  Being part of a family isn’t just about work; it’s also about fun, play, and celebration. Whether it’s a summer picnic or a holiday party or something in between, those bonding events can help teams coalesce even tighter.

Staff development isn’t just about hard skill development. In fact, soft skill development is even more important. When your team can build and embrace soft skills like communication and self-leadership, you are building the people infrastructure that will take your business to the next stage of success.

Your team is what drives the success of your company.  Investing in that team matters.