When running a public training company with an advertised course schedule, we are often confronted with the issue of minimum class sizes and public training courses. As a general rule, to host a training day costs a certain amount of money in the form of trainer time, rent, licencing, manual generation, advertising etc. The minimum class size is imposed by the training company to recover enough revenue from paid up enrolments to cover hosting costs and hopefully earn a little over the top.
Now that Excel Consulting has sufficient scale, website traffic, repeat business customers and knowledge of the range of courses we offer and their respective level of demand, we can better manage class size to a point where it is less of a concern. Now we are more concerned with exceeding and managing the class cap which is 10 in every city.
Our terms and conditions state that we have the ability to reschedule a participants course date for any reason once. A second date reschedule and we offer a refund. The refund can at times be the best outcome as it avoids you having to run a course for a poor return. Upfront honesty with the client who has enrolled in a low demand course can go a long way and lead to less disappointment if the course does not proceed. At times we offer the refund upon the first reschedule.
Our attitude to minimum class sizes has changed over the years. Where initially we insisted on covering our costs for every class we ran now we are more relaxed and happy to run the course with a small number of enrolments. At times we will run a courses below the minimum number and at a loss and reasons vary but may include:
- To provide the trainer with the experience of running a course new to them in a smaller class environment;
- Testing new course content or course changes on a smaller audience and using the feedback to further improve the course;
- Strategic reasons such as participants you want to train and impress for further follow up business.
In short I see running courses below the minimum number as an investment in the training business that will pay itself off over time. We are able to:
- Satisfy the participants who have been able to attend their preferred training day without the inconvenience of having to reschedule their training;
- Receive follow up enrolments from satisfied participants who are impressed at the additional trainer time they receive when running the course with low numbers;
- Create activity in training that allows you to improve your systems, communications & quality of training delivery that feeds on itself and leads to more business.