Give and grow: how businesses can benefit from teaching

Growth and strategy

9 May 2018

Everyone remembers a great teacher, but not everyone realises that some of the best teaching happens outside the classroom.

And with online learning growing in popularity, more and more businesses can make teaching others a core part of their business model.

The worldwide value of e-learning is predicted to rise from $165 billion (£120 billion) in 2015 to $275 billion (£200 billion) by 2022. And behind these big numbers are millions of savvy small businesses, each finding a way to turn teaching to their advantage – both online and off.

Here's just some ways your small business could benefit from 'passing it on' through teaching.

Online tutorials

The trusty ‘How to’ has gone way beyond the days of instruction manuals and customer FAQs. Today, blogs and YouTube videos that tap into a genuine need can earn you millions of viewers. Better still, these are viewers who are seeking out your exact area of expertise.

If you can create a clear and compelling article or video that answers a commonly asked question, you can gain a lot of attention. Google’s algorithms are specifically designed to reward useful content, particularly if it’s packed with handy pictures and videos, and if you invest in online marketing to promote your content you could find a wider audience of customers willing to pay for your expertise.

Connected communities

Buzzwords like ‘community building’ and ‘audience engagement’ are well and good, but what do they really mean? For many small businesses, it’s about have a direct line to your customers and clients: a way to find out what they need, and how to help them get it. Plan and run your online material and engagement well, and your business will benefit.

The key is to think about added value. You could start with a Facebook page or a custom online network on a platform like Mighty Networks. Then launch regular meet-ups to share fresh ideas. It could be flower-arranging with your latest seasonal blooms, beauty tutorials using your latest product stock or a photography page to share tips, pictures and ideas – anything that sparks ideas and creates a dialogue.

Creating experiences

The communities you build don’t have to be virtual, of course. The rise of small artisan businesses, from bakeries to whisky distillers, is riding a tide of public interest in how to make and enjoy their favourite products. Scottish single-malt producers, for example, have made a lucrative sideline in distillery tours that bring in revenue, build their brand and boost sales. And they’re going from strength to strength, welcoming a record 1.7 million visitors last year.

Even if you don’t have stunning Highland premises, you can arrange taster sessions and beginners classes in almost any consumer industry, whether it’s floristry, baking, decorating or carpentry. And sites like Meetup and Eventbrite can help you plan and share your event too.

Training for growth

If you really hone your teaching skills, you might even find your next top employee.

Finding the right talent to take your small business to the next level is a perennial problem, with some 49% of SMEs worldwide saying that a talent shortage is the biggest challenge they’re facing. So a sideline in education might be beneficial to your long-term success, as well as your short-term cash flow.

You don’t have to set up a training academy to find your new team either: you can start by setting up an apprenticeship scheme. There’s even government funding available to help.

Get the right cover for your business

AXA Business Insurance is designed to keep your business running, whatever lies ahead. From personal tutors to business consultants, you can tailor your cover to meet your needs with AXA – and save an extra 10% when you buy online. It’s the protection you’d expect from AXA – for less.