Case Studies

Training business ‘powers through’ pandemic with new online platform

The Power Within Training was able to expand its offering and launch a virtual training platform, after accessing vital funding through DigitalBoost.

15th February 2021

During the pandemic, many businesses have looked for ways to improve and invest in their digital capabilities. Through DigitalBoost, Scottish Government’s leading digital skills programme, delivered by Business Gateway, businesses have been able to access vital funding that has enabled them to develop and improve their websites, e-commerce offering, social media platforms, IT equipment and more.

James Fleming, Managing Director of The Power Within Training, based in North Lanarkshire, used the grant to secure a designer to build a virtual training programme, an inbuilt CRM system and an e-commerce system.

Who you are – an overview of the business?

I spent 17 years working as an Executive within the oil and gas industry in Dubai. When we moved back to the UK, I realised that continuing to work within this sector wasn’t what I wanted to do, so decided to set up The Power Within Training in February 2017. We are a family run business that are committed to motivating and inspiring future leaders. Most of our training is for corporate environments, but we also offer classroom training for micro-business owners. Our recent transition to offering our services digitally has been supported by DigitalBoost.

Why did you apply for a DigitalBoost grant?

I love engaging and capturing people’s interest in person, but we soon realised that our future had to be digital if we wanted to grow further as a business. The funds to do so, however, were very tight.

What was the challenge/starting point/objective?

It’s difficult for our enthusiasm to translate on a screen, so the challenge was starting all over again, using the knowledge and client base we had grown since we launched four years ago, and channelling that in a new format.

How was your business impacted by COVID-19?

All of our business takes place within a face-to-face environment, which is no longer possible because of the pandemic. We saw 97% of our revenue disappear overnight when the first lockdown was announced, and, quite frankly, we didn’t know what we were going to do. Our business was doing really well before COVID hit.

We weren’t eligible for any help as our business doesn’t come under the right bracket for support. I even had to furlough my wife. We had to address how to go digital in order to keep our business afloat.

The support we received through the Business Gateway DigitalBoost programme has been essential for the growth of our business, especially during the pandemic. We knew that we had to go digital to continue to succeed, and we are so excited now that our online platform is up and running for future leaders across the world.

What will you do/have you done with the grant?

We had the plans in place for going digital before the application for the grant was accepted. When the funding was confirmed, we approached a designer and got him to build us a training platform, an inbuilt CRM system and an e-commerce system.

This now means that anyone in the world can purchase and complete one of our training courses. It’s really broadened our client base and made our training materials more accessible. We have now successfully run courses in Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Malaysia, which we wouldn’t have been able to do if we weren’t online.

What impact will the grant have on your business/operations?

Within the first week of our training portal and course content going live, we’d made over £2,500. The grant has really helped us stay afloat as a business through these uncertain times, but it's also a strong investment for the future. We can now build on what we’ve created with the help of the DigitalBoost fund. It’s really accelerated our business’ growth.

What are you planning to do business wise over the next 6 months?

When the world allows it, we do want to run face-to-face programmes again because it’s what we love to do. However, we definitely want to stay digital too.

Now, whenever we do run those corporate events, our clients will also have access to the digital content. They can use the online platform for feedback and homework, so it’s really added value to our business overall.

We were approved by Skills Development Scotland, whose ITA fund covers the cost of some of our courses and have also been approved by the SQA for our own mini-MBA called “Leading with motivational intelligence”. We designed this course ourselves, and now can offer it to those in senior leadership across the country.

We are very excited about the future now that we have improved our digital offering.

Any reflections? What can others learn? What would you recommend others do based on your experience?

I would say that if you’re not digital, you’re not going to grow. I love that my business is face-to-face, but I realised early on that we needed to go online.

The biggest problem with small business is access to financial support, particularly now more than ever. I think a lot of people are currently in the “shoulda, woulda, coulda” stage at the moment and I can relate, but businesses should go for it if they can, it’s an investment in their future.

Looking to do more with digital?

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