Small business owners face some pretty significant challenges. They’re forced to compete with larger, better-known companies with deep pockets and lots of marketing clout. Often, small business owners feel at a disadvantage even when it comes to employee training. Not only do they struggle to realize the value of employee training, but just finding the best learning management system can be a massive hurdle.
There’s good news, though. Modern learning management systems deliver critical benefits to small and medium businesses (SMBs), ensuring that you’re able to upskill your team and avoid those challenges. Below, we’ll explore what you need to know about finding the best LMS for small business needs.
Price Is Key
First, small businesses are much more limited in terms of budget than larger companies are. That means the best learning management system is going to be affordably priced. What does that mean, though? Some companies can shell out up to $1,500 per year per employee for traditional training systems, which is a significant amount and often outside the reach of smaller firms.
However, web-based learning management systems are much more affordably priced. You’re able to avoid the costs of things like travel, instructor-led classes, and teacher salaries. You don’t need to pay for guest speakers, or employee meals while they’re in training, either.
You will also find that these systems offer other cost-saving solutions. For instance, they often allow you to pay per user, and they are scalable, meaning that you only pay for the features and capabilities that you need at the time. This makes a web-based option the best learning management system for companies seeking an affordable way to provide employees with the training they require.
However, that does not mean that all web-based LMSs are the best solution to your needs. When you start comparing your options, make sure that you’re making an accurate comparison in the following areas:
- Do you get tracking tools to verify your ROI?
- What’s the pricing structure like?
- Do you get any breaks on per-employee pricing after a certain point or below a certain point?
- How much work do you have to put in to maintain and update the system?
- Does the provider manage any aspect? Remember that free systems may not be worth it if you have to spend a lot of time managing the system.
Fosters a Culture of Innovation
Innovation – it’s one of the buzzwords that has defined the last decade or so, but for all that, it’s a vital consideration. No matter your industry or niche, you want to create a culture of innovation, which requires that your employees be driven by curiosity and have a love of learning. The best learning management system will support that in several different ways.
First, the right system makes learning accessible. Most of your employees want to learn – it’s the difficulty involved with the process that often turns them off. With the right LMS, you can provide easy access to a broad range of learning options to help your employees build and enhance their skills and knowledge.
However, it’s not just about accessibility. You can have a wide-open system that’s as easy to use as you might want, but without engaging, quality content, it won’t do you much good. To incite a love of learning in your team, you need good content that engages, informs, educates, and resonates with your employees.
Finally, real innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s a collaborative, iterative process in most cases. Make sure that the learning management system you choose offers communication and collaboration tools like user forums and message boards.
When comparing the features of various options to find the best learning management system for your needs, consider the following:
- Does the system support interactive content?
- Are there any gamified elements to offer further engagement?
- Does the system offer a wide range of courses?
- Is the content accurate, enjoyable, and engaging?
- Does the LMS provide any collaboration and communication tools?
The Tools You Need to Succeed
The best learning management system doesn’t just provide access to knowledge. It allows you to manage the learning experience. For that to happen, you need access to the right tools and capabilities to achieve your goals.
For example, you will need tracking capabilities so you can measure the progress of each learner, where they’re spending the most time, where they tend to skip over, and more. You may also need other options. For instance, do you want to create custom content and then make that available to other small business owners for sale? That means you’ll need eCommerce capabilities on top of your tracking and monitoring tools. You may want to take advantage of a pre-built library of video courses to save yourself time, or you might want to conduct online tests and assessments to ensure knowledge retention.Things to consider at this point include:
- Does the LMS support all of my goals?
- Does it provide tracking and monitoring tools?
- How much existing content is available?
- Can you create custom content and upload it to the system?
Ultimately, there is no “best” learning management system that will work for everyone. Each business owner’s needs, goals, and budget will be different. What you must do is make an informed comparison of your options, and then choose the system that best matches your requirements.
Perhaps the most important tip here is this – make sure there is a free trial period. This gives you a no-obligation test-drive of the software, lets you put it through its paces, and gives you hands-on experience with it in your business. Based on that trial run, you can determine which is the best learning management system for you.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the best learning management system for your small business can be challenging. With so many options on the market, you want to be sure that the one that seems the best truly is the best. That’s why we always recommend a trial or demo period for you and your employees to see the response and determine the potential success.
eLeaP offers a 30-day free, no-risk trial. See why we are the best learning management system for small businesses.