The Training Challenge
the business acumen simulation for training consultants.
This business simulation provides training consultants with the opportunity to manage a complete, simulated training business making decisions about time management, pricing, course/business/professional development. In doing so learners will understand the issues associated with running a training business, develop business acumen and their knowledge of finance.
The simulation is currently only available on a fully tutored basis as part of a one-day workshop or as a distance learning contest. For suitable groups of business people it provided on an expenses only basis. The reason for this is twofold. First, it allows me to say thanks to the training industry for thirty-five fun years running my own training business. And, second, to allows trainers to experience the power of business simulation to provide business learning.
This simulation is one of a range of business acumen simulations exploring the issues facing manufacturing, service, retail, distribution, banking, training, professional services and not-for-profit industries.
As detailed later, the simulation covers the following key areas:
The Training Challenge is either available as a fully tutored workshop or on a distance learning contest.
Approximately a day making it suitable for use at the end of a training course, in stages over the course, as a one-day workshop or as a feature of a conference.
The simulation is designed for use by individual training consultants, training business management and company trainers who wish to have a better understanding of commerce and better relate to management.
After a short briefing, the training group is divided into teams of four or and five learners. These teams consider the problem facing them and then make decisions for a simulated quarter. These decisions are fed into a microcomputer that simulates their effect. The results are then analysed and reflected on by the teams before making the next decision. This decision-making cycle is repeated for seven simulated quarters before the group discusses, compares results and justifies their actions.
In the classroom, ideally, a PC and printer for team or a PC and printer for each group of up to three teams. Where run as a distance learning contest, I process the decisions.
The simulation uses an advanced simulator that supports tutoring, provides for ease of use and will run on all Windows operating systems from Windows 98 thorough Windows 7.
The Training Challenge is only available on a fully tutored basis. However, for suitable groups of clients the consultancy fee will be waived and only out-of-pocket travel and accommodation charged.
TRAINING BUSINESS APPRECIATION
The simulation involves running a complete training business selling to four diverse groups of clients:
The training business currently has a portfolio of three courses and also provides training consultancy (involving teaching on clients' courses, training needs analysis, course customisation etc.)
Initially decisions cover the time to spend selling to existing clients, prospecting for new clients, updating existing courses, creating new courses, business development and professional development. Later, the training fees can be changed and the fee earning time spent with clients managed.
BUSINESS OBJECTIVES & MEASURES
During the simulation, learners will be concerned with creating a profitable, growing business that survives. They will develop an understanding of the business purpose, how their decisions influence this and how their objectives and measures interact.
Learners without business experience may be especially challenged by the need to deal with ambiguity and make decisions without perfect information and, where, some information is provided as qualitative comments about the business.
The simulation introduces learners to financial fundamentals (Income Statement, Balance Sheet, cash flow and key ratios) and issues. Together with an analysis of the financial contribution of clients and course offerings.
The four client groups differ significantly in terms of training needs, size and profit potential. And differ in terms of marketing and skills needs.
TRAINING MIX & CONTRIBUTION
The four client groups and multiple products means that the learners must decide the mix of business and how each contribute to profitability, growth and survival.
Learners must consider how clients perceive the training business and respond to selling & prospecting time, course quality etc.. And how these impact the financial and operational consequences for both existing and new clients.
FORECASTING & CONTROL
With decisions covering time management, learners must forecast operating needs. This must take into account the uncertainties of the impact of marketing decisions, competitive actions and short-term client needs.
BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT POLICY & IMPACT
With decisions about course updating, new course development, business and professional development learners must balance the cost of these with the long-term benefits.
With learners working in small teams, they have the opportunity to share experience and knowledge, present and promote different viewpoints and develop their people skills.
Optionally, at the end of the simulation, teams can make a board presentation covering objectives, strategies, process, the future (of the simulated business) and learning.
The simulation can be used in several ways
When used in a classroom or conference environment, whenever possible, I am happy to freely provide my time on an expenses only basis (and I especially favour exotic locations).
The Learners' Manual that provides, for the learners. a description of the simulation, a description of their task and information about the business that they are to manage.
Briefing is a MS Power Point briefing explaining the simulation to the learners. (You may find it useful if you review this before reading the Learners' Manual.)
Most recent update: 12/09/13
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