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Training need not be the exclusive domain of companies with cushy budgets for seminars and conferences.
Luckily technology comes to the rescue of small businesses on a budget. In my business, we make wide use of technology for training. The solutions we use are not complex, nor are they expensive. Many are free, but even the paid versions are cost effective.
If you're looking for ways to train your team on a budget, and do it efficiently and effectively, take a look at the following technology-based training options.
1. Use online training courses.
Do you want to beef up your team's skills through structured courses? Online training is ideal for small businesses because team members learn at their own pace and in comfortable settings.
There are no travel costs, so online training is usually less expensive than attending seminars.
Lynda.com is one place to find online courses. It is now part of LinkedIn. A subscription gives access to almost 6,000 courses.
Another online training provider is LearnNowOnline, which like Lynda is subscription based.
Udemy has a huge number of courses-;more than 45,000. For small teams, Udemy has a different pricing model. Individuals can take single courses (priced as low as $10) with no subscription required.
2. Share your screen on a call.
If you need to show remote workers how to do something, such as how to set up a spreadsheet report, an ideal way is to share screens. Teacher and trainees can be at their computers looking at the same screen, while talking via phone or computer audio.
3. Record an instructional video.
Using your phone's camera or a webcam, record a video to show others, say, how to use new equipment or master a special work technique (such as cutting hair in a trendy new style).
A variation is a screen-capture video for teaching how to do something using software on your screen. For this you'll need a screen-capture recording tool.
The advantage of a video is that trainees can review the video multiple times to ensure comprehension. For this reason, videos are good not just for training remote workers, but for those who work in the same facility.
Also, videos are efficient. You record videos on your own schedule, and workers watch them on their schedule. There's no need to coordinate a training session.
4. Hold a training session via conference call.
If sharing a screen or visuals is not crucial, but you want to explain, say, a new strategy or concept, an easy way is to hold an audio conference call. Or make it a video conference.
Go to Meeting, Join Me, Google Hangouts, and Skype are all solutions, as are conference call platforms like FreeConference.com and FreeConferenceCall.com. In my company, we've started using Zoom because it enables you to broadcast the session to Facebook Live (either publicly or to a private Facebook Group).
Here's a tip: record the call for absent team members to listen to later. Most conference platforms have built-in recording.
Some even provide a written transcript. Or you can separately transcribe the call using online services like Rev.com orTranscribeMe. A transcript allows people to skim information quickly, rather than listening to a 30-minute recording. Buts it saves you the burden of writing it down.
5. Check Out YouTube.
Don't forget what may be the simplest option: YouTube videos. If your team has to learn something with a software app, such as how to set up automation in your CRM package, check the vendor's YouTube channel for Help videos.
Or simply search YouTube for "how-to" videos. For example, you may find public videos on how to use certain equipment or how to solve a vexing problem using quick office hacks.
Finally, I have one last piece of advice. Have a reliable and fast Internet connection and good bandwidth. Remember, time is money. And streaming and download delays cost money.