How, What, When to future-proofing your RTO
Have you ever looked at successful businesses or other training organisations and thought somehow they were able to predict the future? That they took a time machine, saw what solution/service/product was required and then returned to a point in time that it could take off and flourish? Seems far fetched and until proven otherwise…we have a hunch that they were either lucky or they looked into future proofing. The definition of future proofing according to Wikipedia is, “The process of anticipating the future and developing methods of minimising the effects of shocks and stresses of future events.”
We therefore understand that the success of a business is generally from excellent planning and execution of that plan. Managing Director of Cloud Assess, Rob Bright has a background in Business Process Optimisation and states, “It is impossible to drive to a destination without a vehicle, route or destination which is what it is like if we fail to plan in our businesses. Success comes from a great plan that is well managed including reviewing and making decisions.”
Here’s a quick run through of what, how, when and who to think of when planning for the future of your RTO:
1. What are you trying to achieve?
Understand your market inside and out. Compare yourself in the industry and benchmark. This will help you set goals and rationalise what you are trying to achieve. Without clear goals at the start (or a location you wish to be at) your plan will have nothing to measure against and may leave you without a clue as to what you have achieved, or not.
2. How are you going to achieve your goals?
Align your internal processes and departments within your business. Key areas to look at are outlined below:
Look at better ways to use your money whether it is incoming or out going. Where can you cut costs and where does raising the cost add more value and bring in more return on investment allowing for greater capacity and a higher ROI. Look at quick fixes such as cashflow and then the bigger picture for investment. Planning for the future often means to handle the immediate well.
Unless we have decided to run a remote rainforest retreat as our business, it is clear to say we will be using technology in one form or another within our day to day lives. If we are looking at future proofing our business there is a clear trend that technology is going to be a great influencing factor, not only enablng us to do our work better, but to cut costs, gain efficiency and allow us to reach more people/potential clients.
Check out this chart below from the World Economic Forum
If you use a Learning Management System or want to manage your assessment online ensure the system has the capacity to be with you for the future.
Sales and Marketing
Getting this even half right will enable your business to survive. Giving yourself a good name in the market is not just about sales talk and a few fancy graphics but doing what you say you will do and don’t forget good old customer support. There are tools out there that are free or even a small monthly subscription fee.
3. Who are you targeting and who is in your team
In the same way that the best way to learn is to do, understand your target market’s problems by living them. Rob ran an RTO before realising the need for an automated and online/offline tool to manage assessments. As an RTO manager, he felt the heavy burden of keeping a paper-based audit trail and searched for a better way. It is a great idea to walk a mile in your customer’s footsteps to really get to grips with what they want rather than what you think they want. If you can’t actually do this then run surveys and interview your target market to get a critical mass’s opinion on what is required.
When recruiting and planning your team look for people with a can-do attitude that look for better ways to do things. This will future proof your workforce to ensure committed and self-invested people are working alongside you.
4. When do I start planning…
Organise planning meetings now, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually. Whatever your cycle make it consistent so that measurements can be made and changes according to needs. Ensure you are flexible and adaptable however as it may not always be a weekly meeting but it should be as close to consistent as possible.
Plan in when tasks happen and this can be broken down or kept quite high level for team meetings. If you procrastinate over a task, remember, the 3 d’s: Do it, delegate it, delete it. If a task in a plan is not happening, review the roadblocks, maybe you don’t have the resources, time or information you need to complete it. Break the task down further.
Calendars, templates and checklists will help to improve your efficiency and ensure a consistent approach within your team.
Review, review, review. As we don’t have time machines (yet) we must not be complacent and just expect our plan to roll out without glitches. Use the tools you have put in place to help you evaluate the good and bad outcomes. Recalibrate by setting goals and altering the process before production and reviewing happens again. Before you know it, you’ll be headed in the right direction and mapping out the future for your RTO.