A few days ago we published the first story within the blog series “How I’ve Successfully Launched an LMS-Based Project”. In case you’ve missed here is a story how one aviation company has grown by amazing 400% and as a result has extended their LMS license to 3000 learners in the system.
To remind you, the main idea of the blog series is to share the stories of real LMS users, their ups and downs of going from a bare idea to a successful LMS-based online business. Online entrepreneurs, business owners, trainers, and educators tell honest stories you can learn from and get inspired.
Today we would like to share with you a story from the Project Management and Coaching Industry.
A story how a startup went from a small project management office to a leading project management training company with a turnover of £1.2m a year.
A Learning Management System for Project Management Training
The primary goal of Project Management Training is to provide wide knowledge on how to deliver projects on time, within the available resources and specified time frame. The discipline has been developing for years and has proven itself as an effective alternative to the trial-and-error method when it comes to the development of required project management competencies.
Online Project Management Training on the basis of a Learning Management System, in its turn, provides even more benefits. Flexibility and mobility of online project management courses allow the learners to study wherever they are, at the time that suits them most, using any preferred device. The trainees can study at their own pace, re-watch the materials if necessary and immediately apply the gained knowledge to the workplace. Not to mention cutting additional expenses associated with a classroom-based training such as traveling and accommodation.
When it comes to project management training, online training on the basis of a Learning Management System becomes the most convenient means of delivering knowledge and developing manager’s professional skills.
A story of Parallel Project Training and its Business Development Director - Paul Naybour
An Early Start
I was 48 when I launched Parallel with my business partner John Bolton in 2009. By that point, I had been delivering classroom based project management training for eight years. Previously I was working on projects in the Nuclear and Transportation sectors. I trained as an electronics engineer but moved into project management, like many people do in my mid 40’s. Mostly my experience is in setting up and running a project management office, which often included the development and delivery of training programs.
I saw the emerging trend towards more diverse training delivery methods in the early 2000’s. My clients wanted more value with less time in the classroom. I didn’t see e-learning replacing classroom training, but the trend is certainly towards the more blended course. For example, we have seen the launch and growth of www.lynda.com from a startup business to being acquired by LinkedIn and then Microsoft. I don’t see this trend slowing down.
Time to move on
I think the germ of the idea was an e-learning module we developed in 2005 for transport for London on risk management. I was surprised at how quickly and easily we could develop an effective e-learning package. It struck me that this was a much more effective way delivering knowledge based training. Following the financial crash of 2007 clients began asking for more cost effective ways of delivering training. So the use of eLearning seemed to be the best approach.
Of course we made some mistakes in those years:
- Our package included a printed study guide to go along with the e-learning. We wrote this in at the same time as developing the e-learning. As a result we ended up with some inconsistencies between the two sets of material. However, we did get to market quickly;
- We spent too long writing our own e-learning content. This wasted our time and the result was not as good as it should have be. We should have found a professional e-learning creator sooner, although having said that it did mean we could test the concept without much cost;
- We wasted money on pay-per-click and e-mail lists. These things just cost money and don’t generate the best leads. Our best leads came from personal networking and LinkedIn;
- I assumed that the business would grow faster than it did. I took 9 months before it generated any real profits, and this was longer than we expected.
Expect things to go wrong when you launch a new business. You have to try some things to see if they work. Provided you follow up on the things that work and drop the things that don’t then you will succeed eventually. Don’t be afraid to try something that might fail, but don’t carry on if it is not giving the results you want.
Today we are now in our 8th year of trading; we are heading towards a turnover of £1.2m this year, with a wide and ever growing customer base. Our website ranks extremely well, and we are continuing to see year on year growth in traffic numbers.
What is Next?
Over the next few years our plan is to move from startup to a company run by a management team. This will be a challenging transition, but if successful with give the organization a life of it’s own.
Advice for everyone who is thinking of launching an LMS-based business
The think that made the difference for us, was on ongoing commitment to search engine optimization and online marketing. Developing strong content and building relationships in the blogger community is the best way of getting visibility for your product.
Credibility is everything in the training market, and we continue to invest in our on-line presence and branding.
The next inspiring story within the blog series is coming shortly! Please subscribe to our blog to be in the know when a new post is published.
What to read next?
How to Select a Learning Management System?
How One Aviation Company Implemented an LMS and Has Grown by Amazing 400%
16 Remarkable Lessons Learned from Interviewing Top ELearning and Edtech Experts