The average amount spent on training an employee for a business is about $1,071 a year, according to Training Magazine’s 2021 Training Industry Report. That’s a lot for a small business to spend on professional development. They need your chamber’s help. Here’s what you can do.
It’s not enough to just provide good work and a comparable salary these days. According to the University of Phoenix’s Annual Career Optimism Index 2022, an analysis of 5,000 employees and 500 companies, 68% of workers say they would stay with their employer throughout their career if the employer made an effort to upskill them. Plus, 49% of employees want to develop their skills but don’t know where to begin (up 6% from 2021 data) and 66% of employers believe the same.
So there’s a real desire and need for professional development ideas for small businesses.
While no one expects the chamber to step in and become a major educator in the community, there is the opportunity to fill in with secondary training and professional development ideas that could help small businesses especially do more for their employees.
People will pay hundreds of dollars for online courses. Why can’t your chamber provide similar resources for businesses in common areas of professional development for a lucrative non-dues revenue stream?
You need to know how to implement your professional development training and you need the ideas that will appeal to your small business members.
Implementing a Professional Development Program
There are many ways you could get involved in offering courses.
- You can create a multi-month leadership program.
- Create a shorter series over several sessions on a specific topic area such as marketing, finance or social media.
- Offer monthly one-time topics.
- Partner with larger organizations.
- You may already have suitable programs – they just need to be packaged and presented as such.
After you decide which kind of learning program you’re offering, you’ll want to figure out who will be heading it.
If you’re running a year-long leadership program, you will have many instructors. If on the other hand, you’re hosting a lunch and learn or professional series, you may have only one. Your facilitator can be someone you bring in from the outside or a staff member. They may provide their services pro bono based on their ability to sell additional professional services to the group or you will pay them for their time. You may even have a volunteer or a chamber pro from a neighboring chamber who is willing to volunteer their time to teach a skill.
70 Topics and Ideas for Chamber Training Courses
The true benefit to offering this type of professional development (aside from non-dues revenue if you decide to charge for learning) is that it’s something businesses/employees need but often don’t know where to go for it.
If you offer free learning opportunities to members, it may also be something that makes membership invaluable to them, especially if they can offer these courses as a perk to their employees.
Again, how you use these topics is up to you. Some of them lend themselves to one hour lunch and learns while others can be combined for longer series and possibly awarding a certification at the end. But all these topics are popular subjects for today’s businesses.
With things in flux and technology always changing there’s certainly a need to stay well informed and to spend time on professional development.
- Dealing with imposter syndrome
- How to start a business in your community
- Time management for the busy parent
- Side hustles and how to develop multiple revenue streams
- Social media 101 (or a social media guru series)
- Workplace conflict management
- Managing through change
- Managing work at home employees
- How to write a business book and land more clients
- Your first year as a soloprenuer
- Business storytelling
- Public speaking and effective presentations
- Creating a fantastic customer experience
- Goal setting for creatives
- Communication skills and body language
- Practicing inclusion
- Using your influence for good
- Creative problem solving
- Delivering difficult news
- How to become self motivated
- Creating an awesome company culture, small business edition
- How to become an employer of choice
- Delegating for people who hate to delegate
- Things you shouldn’t be doing in your new business
- Marketing for people who don’t have a marketing department or person
- Streamlining your business with the latest technology
- Working with freelancers
- How to ace word-of-mouth marketing
- Building a brain trust (or mastermind) to help you grow
- Knowing when it’s time to take your business to the next level
- Overcoming overwhelm (and mental health or dealing with stress series)
- Identifying your value and learning to lead with it
- Staying focused in a world of shiny objects
- Embracing uncertainty and managing risk
- Ways to use crowdsourcing in your business to build loyalty and increase sales
- Creating your own personal development plan and sticking to it
- Vision boards for the driven professional
- How collaboration can improve your business
- Anticipating what’s next in business
- Hiring and onboarding workshop
- Women’s leadership series
- Growth-hacking workshop
- Cyber security
- Things to do before you launch a new business
- Federal government contracting
- Expanding to new locations
- Creating experiences for your customers
- Mastering day-to-day operations in your business
- Market research for people who hate numbers
- Developing a competitive advantage and leveraging your unique value proposition
- Social media marketing or digital marketing
- Finding and attracting investors
- Starting a subscription service at your business
- Developing as a leader
- Learning how to learn/mastering mental tools
- English/communication skills for professional development or developing a business
- Brand management
- Is it time for a rebrand?
- Using Canva in creative ways for your business
- Easy ways to become a greener business
- Fundamentals of leadership
- Managing people, especially the difficult ones
- Mastering teamwork
- Personality types in the workplace
- Overcoming bias in the workplace
- Fundamentals of management
- Becoming a more creative professional or business
- Marketing analytics for non marketers
- Diversity equity and inclusion 101
- Becoming a successful franchisee