I have noticed over the years, since starting a small first aid business, an awful lot of people requesting information on the following things;
- how do you generate new clients?
- what’s been best for you when doing marketing?
- how much do you think I should charge?
- what fun ideas have you come up with for teaching this?
I am a very supportive person. I am always here for my friends and family, and would consider myself loyal, however there is a limit to this generosity.
When Aldi started, do you think they asked Tesco for advice on how to take over some of their market share, and Tesco gladly gave this advice for free?
The founding of Omnia Training Solutions
So how did I start. After leaving school after my A levels, not wanting to go to uni, I got an easy job as a lifeguard for 6 months It turned in to a 10 year career from a lifeguard up to a general manager in leisure. I became disillusioned with this industry so I decided to leave, and become a sales and marketing manager for a golf club. It quickly became clear this wasn’t going to work out, so I then spent 2 years working for a salary of about 10-15k as a freelance trainer. I still freelance today and I feel I have built valuable networks that help bolster my private income. This helped me understand my industry and develop the training I offer, improving the quality of my product. I went from a 32k a year job with good pension, annual leave, sick pay, to this because of my long term ambition to run my own business.
So once I had learnt the industry and developed my product, I developed myself. I attended a further teaching qualification and quality training. This developed my understanding and ensured I wasn’t just doing the bear minimum to offer training. This was paired with my 10 years running million pound budgets and 50 staff in leisure centres. If I didn’t have this business experience I would have also gone on courses for this. Something I was amazed to find out that only half of my industry seems to have done or have. This lack of business experience seems to shine out in the first aid industry, but thankfully that is to my advantage.
So should I tell you how to compete with me?
I have spent around £2k a year on failed marketing attempts
Over the 7 years I have been doing this I have accepted lower income at a time where I am in the prime of my earning potential, between the age of 26 and 34. This hasn’t been easy, I have missed holidays, had to struggle to pay a mortgage at times, and put personal life progression on the back burner, all so I can develop my own business. I see this as a long term ambition so I have been happy to accept this short term pain.
I have spent around £2k a year on failed marketing attempts. This has been a necessary progression to allow me to learn what does and does not work for my business and me. I can’t do cold calls, I just don’t like doing business like that, so I had to look at other avenues.
So this has come at a significant cost to me. No holidays, or deciding not to replace my car or boiler at this time (just a couple of examples). This is part of the issue for me. Should I tell my competitors what has and hasn’t worked all for free, and would they come back to me in 2 years time and share what has and hasn’t worked for them. I doubt it!
We are in an incredibly competitive industry with an incredibly low barrier to entry. Just a teaching qualification and a 3 day first aid course, plus buying the kit. You could be up and running for just £1000. What industry can you start a business for as little as that.
So no I won’t be sharing this hard earned knowledge with my competitors. I am always amazed that so many people seem happy to share this, when this could be a competitor taking away money from their pocket, and food off their table.
You should be motivated by helping people!
The argument is always, well this is about saving lives. We should give this knowledge away for free, but my mortgage company doesn’t give me a month off because I taught a school first aid for free and never heard from them again. That’s generally what’s happened. People say they want to know how to save a life, but generally don’t want to pay for it, or are too busy with life to turn up. They don’t value something if it’s free.
How much should I charge?
You must decide what type of business you want to be.
This is a question that is constantly asked. I always say the same thing. Carry out a SWOT analysis, if you don’t know what this is, book on to some business training or research how to run a business. I’m amazed that people who train are so unwilling to accept training from others.
You must decide what type of business you want to be.
Do you want to be a food bank? Giving away your time for free to help your community.
Do you want to be a Aldi, high quantity, whilst trying to work out how to keep prices as low as possible. Usually this effects quality.
Do you want to be a Tesco or Sainsbury’s. You have a budget, mid range and finest option, but generally you offer a good level of service at an affordable price.
Do you want to be a Waitrose, it’s more expensive but in return you get a high standard of service, and a few more bells and whistles (a free bandage and gloves).
Do you want to be a Harrods? Offering a high end service that people pay for, low quantity, bespoke courses with all the frills, even a bar of chocolate and training at your training centre.
So what type of business are we!
I decided to place myself in the middle. We offer high quality training, with excellent trainers, at an affordable price based on our local competition and how much I feel we need to earn to be a successful thriving business. We don’t give you a free first aid kit, you do get a manual and a regulated qualification, but we don’t have our own training centre. So coming to our clients saves them money in travel, but saves us money on venue fees. We can pass this on in lower prices.
I appreciate there are lots of companies doing courses at half our price. Like Tesco selling Harry Potter books for below what they pay for them, creating a chance to gain new clients.
Personally we have found that when we have undervalued our product the client has shown no loyalty to us. They want the cheapest price and will go to the next cheapest on their next course. For me this doesn’t allow me to forecast income and therefore I struggle to know how much I can invest moving forward.
We have decided to work closely with our clients building loyalty, and yes this costs them a little more, but we feel the quality of training is worth that. Do you want to watch a video to know how to do CPR, or get hands on with quality manikins and learn via a supportive trainer? We know what is ultimately going to be more beneficial and more memorable. So when the worst happens, you can be effective.
I have made a lot of mistakes, struggled with motivation and become frustrated by others and progress, but if it was easy, would it be worthwhile?
So will I share all my knowledge with you about my price point, what has worked for me to create clients, and how I run my business? Well if you look closely I have done a little of that above. However this is what is best for me and my business, not for you, your skill set and your motivations to succeed.
I get told at times I should focus more on the saving lives bit and less on money, but this is a business. Yes it’s a business that also benefits many peoples lives, but as mentioned, I have to put food on the table.
One day I hope to have a team of people, I already use a small group of trainers, and this in turn helps them and their families.
This has been a hard 7 years. I have made a lot of mistakes, struggled with motivation and become frustrated by others and progress, but if it was easy, would it be worthwhile? I think everyone knows the answer to that.
If I hadn’t had taken this path, would my training company be offering the standard of training? Is there really a quick fix, or is knowledge and experience truly the most valuable thing to a business! I’ll let you decide…