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TrainerBase business model

Since TrainerBase implemented a subscription based business model I have been asked on many occasions to justify that decision. I do wonder how many businesses are asked to justify their charging model or for that matter how many feel 100% confident in the business model they have chosen. Regardless of any opinion as to whether the way TrainerBase has operated since 2002 suits everyone this article outlines my thinking behind the site and the business model chosen.

TrainerBase is a marketing channel for trainers. TrainerBase is NOT a recruitment agency or business. There is no requirement to pay a subscription to benefit from the basic offering of the site however doing so does grant additional benefits over and above the basic free registration.

The idea behind TrainerBase came from a need for my training company to manage associate trainers. Rather than me manage a database of trainers on my own server, and the accompanying hassle regarding accurate data, I decided to put the database on the internet and let trainers register and maintain their own details. Within a very short period this idea of an online directory/database grew beyond my own requirement and we rolled out the site as TrainerBase in 2002.

The expectation was that this would be a subscription based marketing channel for trainers and the purchasing community would not be charged for looking for trainers. The subscription model started in early 2003, has stood the test of time and is not expected to change.

Freelance trainers, often new to the market fail to understand the premise that it is their responsibility to pay for their marketing and the use of any number of possible marketing channels. Just like a baker might pay for a stall at a village market; so a trainer will pay for a profile on the TrainerBase web site.

Another question posed is why we do not operate a commission based business model. Again this boils down to my original premise of not having to manage the membership and monitor their engagement or not with the purchasing community. Research by TrainerBase suggests that the site is successful and many trainers are contracted as a result of their presence. For TrainerBase to base its business model on commission I would need to be told by either purchaser or trainers or both; what contracts have been awarded as a result and have in place a commission collection mechanism. This was and still is deemed too complex and likely to incur subjective argument.

I am often asked what guarantee I can give that payment of a subscription will generate a return on investment. The simple answer is none. I would argue that no marketing channel will offer any guarantee of success as success is beyond the control of the channel. Returning to the baker that sets up stall in a village market. There is no guarantee that the baker will sell any bread and that is not within the control of the market; it is under the control of the baker. Some trainers have registered on TrainerBase, paid a subscription and done nothing to promote or enhance their presence in the market place. If the baker set up a stall; does not put out any bread; would they sell anything? Unlikely. From the various research studies I have conducted into the success or not of TrainerBase, the consensus is that those who engage more with the site are more likely to gain a return from that engagement. In one survey, of those that had won contracts from the site, I recognised 90% or their names. In the same survey of those that had been unsuccessful, I recognised less than 10% of the names. A member commented at one point that they would not be re-subscribing as TrainerBase had not provided them with any work. On review of that persons profile they had visited the site less than 10 time (many trainers do more than that in a week), had not uploaded a CV (purchasers want that as a minimum) and had over 100 subjects ticked (jack of all trades). This trainer had misunderstood that the site was about and had all but abdicated responsibility for their marketing.

The purchasing community visit the internet and TrainerBase to find information so that they can make a decision about whom from the thousands of trainers in the market, they should choose. It is incumbent on a trainer, if they want to be found, to market themselves and position their offering ahead of their competition. TrainerBase provides this platform, but just like any other marketing channel there is a cost in resources; time, effort and money.

Members who want assistance on making the most of their investment are welcome to ask. If I can help a trainer get a better profile that results in them getting work; the greater the likelihood they will re-subscribe. Of course they might get such a good contract that they have no need too; that has been known.

Contributor Profile

Peter Mayes

Peter Mayes. Peter Mayes is the founder and editor of TrainerBase; dedicated to helping business and other organisations find trainers and trainers find business. Contact details: Tel 01239 711544

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Contributor: Peter J Mayes

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