According to TrainingIndustry.com, organizations spent more than $366.2 billion on training their people in 2018 — and $166.8 billion of that was spent in North America.
Not only that, the amount spent has risen every year since 2009, after the Great Recession hit. But even in 2019, companies still spent $244.4 billion, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at.
It’s really no wonder these numbers are enormous.
In study after study, CEOs of global companies name people challenges as their biggest hurdle in meeting their goals and making their visions a reality.
Take for example PWC’s 22nd Annual Global CEO Study, where “Availability of key skills” jumped to the No. 3 on the list of biggest things CEOs are worried about. (See page 17.)
And of course, the cost of not properly training employees proactively is even bigger. When Starbucks closed more than 8,000 company-owned stores in May 2018 for racial-bias training, it was estimated to cost the company $12 million in lost profits.
So companies are well aware of the training needs of their people. And the even better news for consultants, coaches, speakers, authors and other small business owners is that a big chunk of the dollars companies spend on training goes not just to outside providers — but specifically to solo trainers and very small firms.
Here are the three most important reasons companies like working with small business owners on training programs:
- You are ultra responsive and can move quickly.
- You’re a great value because your overhead is low.
- You can bring niche expertise — and can easily customize to them.
So whether or not there’s opportunity in this space for you is really not a question at all.
The real question is: What problems will you help organizations solve with your training programs?
The most obvious is the leadership training market, which has been one of the fastest-growing segments in the learning and development (L&D) industry over the last 10 years.
The most common leadership training topics — or what are increasingly referred to as “essential skills” — include:
- Teamwork and collaboration
- Diversity and inclusion
- Leading innovation
- Providing feedback
- Emotional intelligence
But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg.
So to help jumpstart your opportunity mapping, we’ve compiled a list of 59 of the hot topics we see organizations hiring experts to deliver, again and again.
But here’s an important caveat…
If you don’t see your topic on the list of 59, that doesn’t mean there’s not an opportunity for you. It could just be that you’re about to be a groundbreaker in an emerging area that will soon take off.
In fact, here’s a short clip, where I share how one of our clients was seen as a radical groundbreaker more than four decades ago.
The topic will shock you.
Now Let’s Dive Into The 59 Hottest Topics Right Now
- Leadership Development
- Women in Leadership
- Diversity in Leadership
- Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
- Communicating & Leading Across Generational Barriers
- Communicating & Leading Across Virtual Teams
- Effective Communication
- Building & Cultivating Trust
- Building Effective Teams
- Team Communication
- Team Collaboration
- Employee Engagement
- Employee Accountability & Ownership
- Assessment-Based Trainings (i.e. DiSC, Kolbe®, etc.)
- Diversity & Cultural Awareness
- Unconscious Bias
- Effective Writing Skills
- Problem Solving
- Unlocking Entrepreneurial Spirit
- Unlocking Innate Creativity
- Strategic Thinking
- Strategic Planning
- Decision Making
- Project Management
- Change Management
- Time Management & Productivity
- Getting the Right Things Done
- Dealing with Conflict
- Workplace Etiquette
- Having Difficult Conversations
- Giving Employees Feedback
- Conducting Effective Performance Reviews
- Gaining Influence With Others
- How to Delegate Effectively
- Work-Life Balance
- Energy Management
- Stress Management
- Presentation & Speaking Skills
- Train the Trainer
- Coaching Skills for Leaders
- Becoming a First-Time Manager
- Effective Meeting Facilitation
- Conducting Effective Job Candidate Interviews
- Legal & Regulatory Compliance
- Human Resources Compliance
- Reducing Harassment in the Workplace
- Violence Prevention
- Compassion Fatigue
- IT Skills
- Technical Skills for Specific Job Roles
- Digital Marketing
- Sales Training
- Customer Service
- Product Training
As you consider this list of 59 hot topics, be sure to keep something in mind. Just because other experts already teach on a particular topic, doesn’t mean there isn’t room for you in the market as well.
Companies are always looking for a fresh perspective, a missing link, or a more innovative or more interactive approach. Indeed, experiential learning is a big buzzword in the world of L&D.
In addition to these go-to topics, companies are also looking for one-off custom training development, as well as training that’s customized to key segments, including: individual contributors, first-line supervisors, middle managers, first-time directors, and senior-level leaders.
Frankly, the opportunities are endless. It all comes down to you selecting your point of entry and taking action.
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