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Is TrainerBase too successful potentially for its own good?

I am sure that there will be some who will suggest that it is not possible for a business to be too successful. However that belies the definition of success. In what way is TrainerBase being successful and why is that damaging?

The success of TrainerBase is the fulfilment of its primary objective:

Helping business and other organisation find trainers and trainers find business

Recent activity and feedback suggests that TrainerBase is doing this very well.

  • One opportunity posted has resulted in four members sharing in something like 200 days of training
  • another contract has put dates in a trainer’s diary for 18 months into the future.
  • some trainers have indicated that up to 40% of their annual turnover is derived from TrainerBase contracts
  • and others have commented that their net gain from the site is in six figures.

So why isn’t this good for TrainerBase? There are three main reasons:

  1. Many of the opportunities posted on the site by businesses result in a good number of excellent applications from members. One or more of those members will win the particular contract. However; I am informed that those members are quite likely to be engaged again on other contracts. I am also informed that the list of previous applicants will be kept on file and members have been contacted months after making the initial application to enquire about other potential contracts. The result is that the purchaser has less of a need to post further opportunities on the site.
  2. Members of TrainerBase invest in marketing their services via the site with a view to gain new contract opportunities and clients. However with the success that some members are having in winning lucrative and long term projects; their need to market becomes diminished. I have been told on a number of occasions that a member is not renewing because they can’t take on any more work or even enquiries.
  3. Let’s consider: if you were privy to and benefited from a resource that produces a finite but lucrative return on investment, what is the likelihood that you will want to share that resource and the return on investment with your competitors? I have long been of the opinion that TrainerBase is such a valuable resource to the membership that there is a predicament and even a reluctance to promote the site to other potential members. I know that many do recommend TrainerBase to colleagues; but one cannot get away from the fact that a colleague a member recommended, could beat that member to the next big contract.

TrainerBase has been operating since 2002 and in that time millions of pounds worth of contracts have been won by members. In the past the membership fee was well below £50 so that paying could almost be considered an ‘impromptu’ purchase. The policy worked and the site gained hundreds of members. However a significant percentage (in my humble opinion) were jobbing and hobby trainers and reports back from purchasers about professionalism were not always favourable. In 2010, the membership was set to £150+VAT. The intention was to make the decision to subscribe a ‘considered purchase’ by a practitioner serious about the marketing of their business (in part to reduce the number of jobbing and hobby trainers) whilst attempting to keep revenues at a level needed to sustain and develop the site. TrainerBase has been successful with the first intent and continues with the challenge of the second.

The strategic intent for TrainerBase and to make it more successful is;

  • to maintain and increase its presence within the learning and development community and
  • develop the facilities of the site with a view to helping more businesses and trainers.

My view is that returning to the days of managing 700+ members is not a favourable nor sustainable option. The two aims I have that would make TrainerBase more successful are:

  1. a slightly larger membership; a ‘trainer base’ of competent professional practitioners but also
  2. a growing number of purchasers looking to source transformational trainers.

I believe that the first of these aims will be an inevitable by-product of the second.

How might this second aim be achieved? There are a number of activities that have been tried:

  • Adwords
  • Exhibitions
  • Seminars
  • Social Media groups
  • Surgeries

But little has been achieved that can be quantifiably attributed to these activities. And some are excessively expensive, seem to divert from attracting visitors to the site or fall outside the natural behaviour of the TrainerBase team.

If anyone has any new thoughts on how the second of the above aims could be achieved I would be most interested to hear them.


Onwards and upwards.


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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