Disruptive innovation is a concept that we've been hearing a lot about lately. We've seen Uber disrupt the world of taxis and take it by a storm of unknowns. We've witnessed Airbnb revolutionise the concept of lodging and open up a volatile market that 10 years ago nobody thought would ever exist.
We continue to hear about those disruptive ideations that give us chills the moment we entertain the possibility of them becoming a reality. But why? And how does this relate to setting up a successful training company in a region, that if anything, is known to be the most troubled and unstable on Earth.
I wanted to start going over, philosophically, the essence of what a successful training operation means.
It's true that training companies are always on the look out for more revenue, or in other words, are commercially driven. But delivering training isn’t one of those 'if you train well, your business will grow' situations. In order to build a successful training operation, you’ll need to create and fine-tune a disruption plan.
And I say disruption plan because surely you could choose to do it like every other TC in the market, follow the standard norms, apply just the basics, and run the risk of being another one of those herd-like businesses that at the very best will sustain survival within static circumstances. But if you really want to break through the crowd and take it to the next level, you should start by exploring the possibilities outside the scope of what every training company is doing in the Middle East and North Africa.
Currently, the ingredients to setting up a training operation in MENA consists of having a knowledgeable instructor in a given topic, finding an accessible location that trainees can easily attend, and using mass emailing to draw attention and interest to those courses.
In my opinion, the combination of elements required to create and run a uniquely successful training organisation consists of 7 core ingredients that go as follows:
Have the Right Mindset
Understand that training is not about training, it’s about giving individuals the power of specialisation to further an aspect of their lives or careers. When you approach matters from that angle, it will impact the dynamic of your decision making and how you treat your course experience and students’ success factors.
Market a Solution not a Product
What that means is that instead of focusing solely on the content of the course, the quality of the instructors, and the level of the material provided – which are core to delivering a successful course – look into the actual learning experience and what are the dynamics of the in-class presentations, then exchange with the learners the unique value proposition that you have. Capitalise on your alumni community, build a network of experts in the industry you are in, and scale that to be used to further the experience you provide to your learners.
Build a Team of Successful People, Not a Group of Withheld Followers
We are always afraid of the unknown. I noticed that when we decide to let go of our preset ideas of what is right and wrong in a working environment and give our subordinates the power of making a change that they believe in, provided it follows the overall mission of the company, it will only lead to better results. Surrounding yourself with a team of successful people will only lead to bigger success and a variety of output and possibilities. Surrounding yourself with a group of followers will increase the risk of failure as there will be no variety or challenges in the decision-making process.
Have the Most Ambitious Vision Possible and Truly Believe That it's Achievable
This simple yet highly effective rule is the core of your entire operation. It allows your team and entire organisation to be aligned and determined, all working towards one common goal. We’ve seen it first-hand here at Administrate. Having a strong and forward-thinking vision leads the way to a well-defined company roadmap, and sets the standard for performance, persistence, and dedication. Visualising and believing that it is achievable are the pillars to make it happen.
Use Technology as a Tool for Success, Not as an End Result
Most of the training companies that we have dealt with around the region are dragged into using technology as data entry tools instead of planning and management tools. They also get into the process of preparing and managing resources and planning the usage of a given software for so long, and as the process becomes lengthier and heavier, the eagerness to use that software decreases and thus results in pushback from employees who are expected to use that software. Most important is to instil a culture of accepting technology as a mean and not a goal. It’s a means to make our lives easier, so that we could focus on the core experience of our offering and enhance it.
Education globally lacks a lot of creativity - particularly in MENA as there are very many limitations on the educational systems that generations are brought up with.
Dare to apply new techniques in the methods of delivering the learning experience, spend a little bit more on the experience itself rather than the external variables. This is the only element that scales with you as you grow. Content becomes obsolete, instructors can change but once you carve your differentiating factor in the learning experience you will be always able to treat it as an asset and enhance it as you grow.
Create a Culture Around True Values and Live by Them
This very simple notion will make a huge impact organisationally if applied properly. When people can refer back to a set of values as a mechanism to make small and big decisions, it provides bandwidth for everyone and a ceiling that everyone can look for when validating expectations from other colleagues or managers. Take a look at our own values as we put them to the public and truly cultivate ourselves to follow them by having them as the basis of our yearly evaluation.
You might have been waiting for the section within this article that will enumerate the steps you take to setup a business legally, assess your finances, complete all the paperwork, pick your partners, choose the best tools and systems to help you get your marketing and sales off the ground … but I am almost sure that there are more than 1001 very decent articles floating around the web that depict in detail each element in that list.
Instead, I wanted to share what I believe are the essential intangibles to carve a spot as a training business in a blooming region filled with attempts aspiring to coexist in a wide range of competition.