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How do you offer a public training courses?

Rick Hightower
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 20, 2002
Posts: 350
Frank et al,
What is the best way to market public courses?
We just started marketing Struts and JSF Public Training Courses.
Do you use google, print media, what?


Rick Hightower is CTO of Mammatus which focuses on Cloud Computing, EC2, etc. Rick is invovled in Java CDI and Java EE as well. linkedin,twitter,blog
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
I teach through a university so I'm not sure what might work. How about through JUGs?


Associate Instructor - Hofstra University
Amazon Top 750 reviewer - Blog - Unresolved References - Book Review Blog
Frank Carver
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 07, 1999
Posts: 6920
It's damn hard.
I'm sure Marcus Green will be able to tell you some horror stories of trying to sell his training. In my experience most businesses are simply not willing to take the risk of sourcing something as important as training from an independent provider.
The only successes I have had are from coat-tailling on an existing arrangement for consultancy, and even these opportunities are relatively rare. My current plan is to get enough teaching qualifications in addition to my tech skills to be a convincing proposition that way. It means I have to spend a couple of years teaching Access and Excel to surly teenagers at a local college, though.
I sometimes wonder if there is a market opportunity for some kind of franchise operation, though. Share the advertising and marketing budget, divide up work on a regional or topical basis.


Read about me at frankcarver.me ~ Raspberry Alpha Omega ~ Frank's Punchbarrel Blog
Marcus Green
arch rival
Rancher

Joined: Sep 14, 1999
Posts: 2813
Yup, fairly horrid, and it is true that big corps feel comfortable with names like "Learning Tree", even if that means that the students are lucky to get one PC per learner. I was hoping that a combination of my profile from book writing and my website might give me a head start.
However the last time I tried delivering a course around a year or so was probably at the very bottom of the dip in demand for training. I got around 3 or four fairly seriously interested people and in the end all but one dropped out. So Betsy flew all the way from the USA for 4 days of one on one with me. I would guess it was a plain break even experience for me and it was only possible because I was able to perform some last minute footwork to lower my overheads. I introduced her to the delights of the city of london and delivered a slightly backhanded compliment of introducing her to marmite.
I tried to plug myself direct to the blue chips and my good friends here here behind the scenes at JavaRanch gave me the kind of publicity that money couldn't buy (which is just as well as I had a budget of around no money).
I recommend giving yourself a very long lead time to get the people in and talk nicely to the leading web sites. Also if you are in the USA I suspect that there is a larger overall market than I have access to here in the UK.
60 odd million people in the UK and over 250 million in the US might make a difference (having said that my 1 student came all the way from the USA anyway .. Also the market may have picked up slightly. Meanwhile, like Frank I am teaching Access and Word to Surley teenagers whilst aquiring a formal teaching qualification. Mind you I am teaching operating systems at the moment and next weeks lessons involves tattoing Tux the penguin on each of the little sods forheads ...
Marcus

Assuming the market is picking up and you are better at business than me you could be OK.


SCWCD: Online Course, 50,000+ words and 200+ questions
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John Rizzo
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 11, 2004
Posts: 16
I don't know it it helps this discussion. Here is my teacher path.
I started in education as an IBM employee in an education center (AS/400).
Then, I've been en freelance teacher for IBM. In 2000, I moved to Java training and joined an associate.
We went to our local Sun Education center ans Siemens Education Center (Brussels). They agreed to subcontract us Java courses.
We rarely went further than 200Km away from Brussels to teach.
Now we took some distance from these education centers (market went down also since 11/9) and most of our business is done direct for local customers, half coaching and half more classic "courses".
We hired few instructors (and fired them...).
We are now 5 (2 associates, 2 employees instructors, 1 admin).
I found out that the best relationships I had with customers are the relationships that last. Currently, our star customer has around 150 Java developers and we are his exclusive Java training provider. We train them about anything they need (Classic course + Ant, JUnit, JDBC, Struts, GoF, Tomcat Admin,...). We regularly propose them new intresting stuff they need. We coach some of their team that need it.
But we have never managed to organize open class sessions (as IBM or Sun do). We only organize private sessions (tailor made) for one customer at once. Most of time, it's at customer's site.
It's probably painful to organize open-classes when you are alone, especially if you want to specialize on one subject (and write a book about it, for example) and travel from city to city (where you are unknown...). If I was obliged to do that, I would probably delegate the marketing of it to local professionals (as education centers... who knows the local Java education customers) and give up some %. An agreement with a large organization as Sun or IBM could help. But I fear you have to spend a lot of time to convice each local education center (even from the same brand, event with agreement with the top management), to do active advertising for your course event.
Most examples I know, either:
- build a company focused on both training and consultancy (in a local area)
- try to be famous (and alone) and travel from conference to conference (+ do some consultancy to eat...).
Hope this helps.
John.


BlackBeltFactory.com founder.
 
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