When you are a startup or even a more established business with a fairly small number of staff, the people you have on your team tend to be even more crucial to the effectiveness than in a larger corporation.

With fewer people to depend on to get things done, the competence of your staff becomes essential, and as the team is formed based on their specific abilities and personalities, it can be very disruptive if people leave and need to be replaced.

Getting training

While in big businesses it is usually easy for people who want to gain new skills and qualifications to get the go ahead to do training courses. For example to gain industry qualifications like their Six Sigma Master Black Belt certification – a highly sought after business qualification, or get an online MBA from a recognized institution.

In smaller companies, it can be more difficult to get the funding or time away from normal work to do this kind of thing. However, as a small business owner, you stand to benefit a lot from investing in your people and their professional development.

Related: How to Measure The ROI on Employee Training

Retain the talent

Staff retention is something you need to do well at if you want to succeed as a small business because the cost of hiring new people and getting them up to speed is not one you want to have to face too often.

There are many ways to make people want to stay, for example giving them good working conditions (for example allowing things like flexible hours or working from home), but one thing that appeals to many staff is the ability to develop themselves professionally as they work with you.

A clear career path within your company is a part of this, as is the option to take on training to become able to do new things within the business or expand their responsibilities. Some businesses worry that staff will leave for better-paid jobs if they receive too much training.

However, this usually turns out to be false – training and making their current role more interesting or giving them a clear direction towards a more senior role in the business actually tends to incentivize people to remain loyal.

Getting the best skills

Encouraging staff to remain with you is just one of the advantages of offering good training and allowing staff who want to get recognized certifications the time and financial support to do them.

You can also use targeted training to enhance the workforce you already have. You may have promising people who could if you let them study something like Six Sigma or even get an MBA, be hugely effective in your business.

Training people you already have and who are motivated is cheaper and easier than hiring people with advanced qualifications, and it is always easier to fill a skills gap by giving someone the skills than by hiring.

If you don’t currently encourage staff to do things like professional qualifications, then it is well worth thinking about the benefits you could get by starting to do so.