New Horizons has been delivering award-winning IT training for over 30 years. We regularly share best practice tips across our network of franchisees in over 60 countries. We hope you find out top 10 tips for increasing profitability useful.
1. Have a watertight plan
Business planning is the backbone of any successful and profitable organisation.
Do not underestimate the importance of a clear, concise strategy. Most importantly, revisit this plan regularly to review and address any areas of inconsistency. It is inconceivable that a successful business owner doesn’t know how their business is performing against their business plan.
Set your SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely). All businesses need to set objectives, objectives are important as they focus organisations. Businesses that have specific aims are usually more successful than those that don’t; because a business with objectives knows what it is trying to achieve. Objectives can be set in all areas of the business e.g. sales, production, finance and marketing.
If you’re unsure about where to start, make sure you have the support of an experienced business professional to assist you with this process. At New Horizons, our dedicated UK support directors work very closely with our franchisees from day one; developing business plans, consulting on their business performance and assisting with large enterprise or complex business opportunities.
2. Minimise your cost base
Sounds simple right? So why is it that so many business owners get this so wrong?
Keep fixed costs down and variable costs in line with business growth. Referring back to point 1, a clear business plan is the surest place to start. Monitor, compare and challenge to preserve your bottom line. Smart procurement is a must and managing supplier relationships is crucial if you are to be successful in business.
As the largest independent IT training provider in the world, our franchisees are supported by our UK support directors who deal with our major supplier partners such as Microsoft and Cisco on their behalf. Ensuring our franchisees have the competitive edge, all the accreditations they need and are fully aligned with their suppliers.
3. Have multiple revenue streams
Undoubtedly your business will have a core revenue stream, one upon which you have been able to develop and build your operation.
However, it’s important to recognise that your clients have multiple needs, many of which are linked to your main product or service. Review your market and ascertain what complementary services you can provide in-house at minimum cost, whilst offering maximum benefit to your clients. This really is the perfect opportunity for a win-win situation where both parties can take advantage of the convenience and cost effectiveness offered by your diversification.
As a New Horizons franchisee, your training centre becomes the single source of IT and complementary training for many small, medium and large organisations as well as individuals, improving their careers. By being the ‘go to’ training centre, our franchisees thrive no matter what their client’s requirements.
4. Service a variety of clients
You can also think of this tip as ‘spreading the risk’ or ‘not putting all your eggs in one basket’…
There are numerous ways to emphasise the point but you get the idea. Inevitably, clients will come and go. The secret to profitability here is to manage your customer base and provide for those times when a client drops off your books. When this is done correctly, the loss of a client, even a large one, should not significantly impact your cash-flow or profitability.
Think about who you are targeting and look to diversify by industry, size and even your product offering to each. Any product or service you can add to your arsenal for which you don’t trade your time for money, is another key element to ensuring your success.
New Horizons recognises that our clients come in all shapes and sizes. We encourage our network to work with large, medium and small businesses as well as with individuals. Our business plans for new franchisees, along with our award-wining products and services, are specifically designed to minimise risk and maximise net profits.
5. Never stop learning
It’s clearly evidenced by top entrepreneurs from around the world that investment into yourself and your own skillset directly translates into the success of your business and its profitability.
Never be afraid to ask for assistance when you need it. Being self-aware and recognising a gap in your own skillset and doing something about it is just as valuable as having all the answers. After their initial training, we don’t expect our franchisees to have all the answers.
That’s why we host ongoing training events and annual conferences as well as a wide variety of live online events to constantly improve, update and empower our entire network.
6. Stick to what you know
One of Alan Sugar’s top five entrepreneurial commandments is ‘stick to what you know’ and allow other people to fill in the gaps.
By doing this, your chances of success will be much higher for you and your business venture. Just because you’ve had a good idea, doesn’t mean that you can automatically make it a success. By remaining in your sector of expertise and employing others to fill in the gaps in your knowledge, you can remain at the top of your game.
The New Horizons franchise opportunity is designed to empower franchisees to operate at the highest level, in the sector of their expertise, and their employees fill in the gaps. This ensures our franchisees are the best in the industry because everyone within the business is an expert in their own role.
7. Hire good people
Whether you’re a franchisee or an owner-operator, putting the right team in place is essential for not just profitability, but for sustainability.
Be clear on exactly which roles you are recruiting for, have a strict vetting process and never underestimate the value of face-to-face interviews and trial periods, particularly for those members of your team who will be responsible for the training and development of others.
Whilst New Horizons looks to find the best possible franchisees, we also support our franchisees in hiring a great team of their own, providing job descriptions and even assisting in the interview process.
8.Train your people
Recruiting great people is half of the battle but keeping them is another matter entirely.
Great staff will be eager to progress and learn and if you aren’t prepared to help them do that, they will look to those who will. Remembering to invest time and resources to develop and grow your own team is something that many business owners in the training industry often overlook.
At New Horizons we understand the value of making sure our franchisees are the best business owners they can be. We provide ongoing training events and annual conferences, plus a wide variety of live online events and self-paced e-learning resources to ensure our global network develops its full potential. We also provide training programmes for all franchisees’ employees, giving them the strongest team possible.
9. Benchmark yourself against the best
Benchmark your current performance so you know how you are doing.
Put Key Performance Indicators in place to understand your business better. To keep on top of profitability you need to know the detail of how your business is performing and the efficiency of both your core activities and your staff.
Knowing how your competition and your industry leaders are performing are key in helping you to achieve new levels in the service you provide. Consider a regular mystery shopping programme to collect relevant data for practical use.
Our worldwide network of over 300 franchised centres in 60 countries means that our franchisees are able to constantly benchmark themselves against each other and share best practices. We also utilise a franchise wide system and cloud-based centre management system that allows franchisees to easily understand which benchmarks are important and how they compare to other New Horizons franchisees globally. As the leaders in the IT training industry, we encourage and support our network to find new and better ways to service their clients, thus raising their own businesses to greater heights and, consequently, profitability.
Complacency is often one of the biggest killers for any business, small or large.
Those that stand still will inevitably stagnate. The training industry is constantly adapting and evolving as technology develops in leaps and bounds and customers look for ever more inventive ways to lower their own cost bases.
As Einstein said, “Insanity: doing the same things again and again and expecting different results.”
Being an IT training franchise, it is crucial that New Horizons, and our franchisees, pave the way with our industry-leading training methods, new product releases and innovations. Our products have ensured we maintain a leading position worldwide by giving our franchisees a major advantage. Our industry-leading training methods of Online LIVE® and Mentored Learning® are not only preferred by customers but also strategically designed to decrease costs and increase margins, vital in today’s economic climate.
We hope you find this guide useful and informative! If you like what you’ve read here why not book a call with Scott McDaniel, Franchise Development Director, to see how you can take your next steps in the training industry.