Sir Richard Branson doesn’t mince words about the importance of training in startup businesses.

In a blog posting called How to Train Your Employees published on, the founder of Virgin Group with its 400 companies around the world lays out his strategy:

The first goal of any new business is simply to survive. One of the best ways to do this is by hiring excellent people who believe in your company and share your goals, and then by helping them to learn and improve their skills. This isn’t optional.”

If your startup company has decided to engage in e-learning training for your staff, where do you place your focus?

Employee training can be categorized into three areas: functional training for basic skills, management training for strategies for handling employees, and additional training for specialized areas.

Functional Training

-Consider the nature of what employees need to know to get their most basic job done. If you are a manufacturing or service company, for example, your employees need to know how to safely use any equipment they will be using, your sales staff needs to know how to prepare presentations and quotes for customers, your office staff needs to know how to answer the phone properly and take messages and perhaps how to do payroll, and your delivery staff needs to know the ins and outs of your planned system.

-Add to that marketing and sales skills for some of your team members, quality control functions, and inventory control and budgeting.

-Whatever your product is, some degree of technical skills will be involved, and that is another crucial part of training for startup employees.

Management Training

-The people you hire to look after your other employees need to fully understand your vision and your business philosophy and know how to practice it effectively.

-Effective training for managers includes communication skills, leadership and team-building, dealing with change, developing new programs, project management and time management.

Additional Training

-At the startup phase, some business owners consider additional training is something that could wait. But keep in mind that your best and brightest managers joined forces with you because they wanted a new challenge and an opportunity to learn.

-Make sure that they get that. Look at training into advanced technical skills, new strategies, additional languages, or continued academic advancement. Valuable training is one of the most common reasons given for employees to stay loyal to a company past the startup phase.

-Besides encouraging loyalty, providing training to employees is a means of ensuring your startup will grow and continue to flourish.

At every level, you will find that e-learning pays off for your startup. As poet Mark Van Doren puts it: “The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.”

When you train employees, they will help you discover new and valuable ways to grow your business.