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Training and development in a small business
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Thoughts on training in a small business

Thoughts on training in a small business

I’ve been in business now for a year, and gradually the income and outgoings are starting to be where I want them to be. So where does this business stand on spending money on conferences and training? It’s something to give some thought to.

In some of my previous, shall we say ‘proper’ employment, I have been given little to no training or personal development, no new education. I was aware of this and missed it, I wasn’t learning and that’s not good for anyone.

So attending a conference, what happens. It usually involves:

  • an early alarm
  • getting to a place you don’t know on time
  • arriving flustered (or is that just me) and
  • forcing yourself to network and mingle.

Then, hopefully, the good bit starts: meeting those folks you connect with, listening to the presenters and getting that ‘ahh, that’s clever…’ moment and scribbling something down and seeing where it can be applied to a living project. You then rush out, get home and never look at the notes again. Mind some of it is already stuck to your brain, so you have gleaned something and you feel good.

On the other side of the coin:

  • you haven’t got time, it’s a day away from ‘getting things done’
  • it’s a day of spending, not a day of generating
  • you’ve received the update from the organisers and the presenters and the content has changed, it’s not looking good
  • you aren’t in the mood to smile and chat as there are too many things to do swimming insistently around your brain.

You go, the conference is dull. The speakers just sell. 15 minutes in you’re wondering if you should just cut your losses and take your lunch to go. You blame them. You blame yourself. You go back home and try and catch up.

So, with that in mind, the AIF (Association of Independent Festivals) Festival Marketing & Promotion Conference information arrived in my inbox.  All the above trickled through my head, but the ‘it looks really interesting’ and ‘I think I could learn something useful’ won through.  And you know what – it was both interesting and useful.

The things that were useful included:

  • meeting some new contacts, suppliers, folks who make festivals happen and potentially new clients
  • finding out more about digital solutions and how people are responding to new technology
  • confirmation that what I’m doing is right
  • finding out about other great on-line tools
  • remembering to mix media to get your message across and not to be afraid of changing the creative design.

Things that were interesting;

  • the ticketing industry is moving towards improving (or hopefully eradicating) touting and fraud
  • people really do want to swipe their wrist whilst heading to the event stages to ‘check in’ and receive incentives… yes they do.
  • we really are embracing a cashless future.

I only attended the first day and left them to what looked to be a tasty dinner and social, which probably included a small beer or two for the delegates, speakers and organisers.

The AIF have various events so if you’re interested here’s their website And on this occasion, yes, it was worth both the money and the time, I even typed my notes up on the train home (I’ve never been that organised!).



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