Keeping up with training on new techniques can be tricky, can’t it. Not only do you need to organise yourself and your staff to be on the courses, but you also have to make sure your business is covered, and you don’t lose business while you’re doing the training.

What is the deciding factor when you’re booking a course? Is it the price? Perhaps the convenience of the location? Or the apparent professionalism of the training provider?

First things first: I understand how attractive a cheap training course can be; we all want to keep costs down, after all. But cheap is very rarely best! Often the difference in prices also denotes a difference in quality as well – and when you turn up to the training venue, you’ll soon wish you’d paid a little more for your “cheap as chips” course. I’ve been to some shocking places for training, where the level of hygiene leaves a lot to be desired, let alone the welcome or the actual training.

Let’s think about the ideal training day. You arrive after driving for a couple of hours, and are met with a smile and a friendly face – perhaps the offer of a cuppa and a slice of cake. The training room smells wonderful and everything just oozes professionalism. There’s a clean trolley with all of the products beautifully laid out; the course material is all professionally printed and waiting for you at your work station. Your trainer starts the day with a smile and gives you her heart and soul throughout the training; you can tell her desire for the day is that you don’t leave this course until you’ve mastered what it is she has to teach you. You just know you’re going to come away from this day with some pretty impressive new skills, and a lot of inspiration.

After a morning of fun and learning, lunch time arrives. Often on a training course you’re lucky to get a cup of tea, let alone lunch! How often have you been offered a freshly made, healthy lunch to revive you ready for the afternoon?

Now compare this to your cheap and cheerful course that starts late with a trainer who’s not quite got her act together, runs through the course material like a shopping list, is constantly on her mobile and can’t wait to leave. All you’re going to learn from that course is never to book the cheap one again!

After your training day is over, how often do you get a call from the trainer to see how you’re getting on, or indeed any sort of follow-up? Sometimes there’s even a fee to access your trainer to ask a follow-up question you feel should have been covered by the day you paid for! A technical follow-up after a course is all part of a professional organisation – you shouldn’t feel that you’ve been left high and dry, as your trainer scuttles off out of the door before you do!

I have been in this industry for over a quarter of a century now, and I really feel like I’ve seen it all – from the dodgy, cheap training days with grubby equipment and trainers who only care about getting paid at the end of the day, to the full-on, professional outfits that treat you like the most important person in the world.

Offering professional training that welcomes you, sends you off feeling satisfied and fully resourced, and gives you the feeling that you really are cared about will obviously come with a bit of a price differential. You simply cannot offer all of that for a bargain basement price – and in fact, the bargain basement training usually ends up costing more in the long run, as you end up having to re-do it in order to feel confident offering the treatments. And as every lashpreneur knows, doing training twice doesn’t just mean paying the fee twice; it means losing two days’ income instead of one, as well as probably losing the faith of your clients because you’ve not been able to offer the absolute best treatment.

My advice is to listen carefully what the training provider is offering – and don’t be tempted to choose based entirely on price. Also, watch out for gimmicky promises. What I mean by that is this craze of giving lashes all sorts of names when what you’re doing is essentially the same thing. I’ve seen so many advertisements saying you simply must take this course because it’s oh-so-different, but when you get there you find it’s something you covered at beauty school – and you certainly didn’t need to take a day out of your business and pay a fortune, just to brush up on something you already knew and call it a different name.

I know how difficult it can be to manage quality, which is why I decided to have “training partners” only. Our current training partner Ellevisage Training Academy meets all of my “true value” criteria. I am proud to have them representing the AHF brand. You can find out more about them here, and I would wholeheartedly recommend them for all of your training needs!

Alison xxx