Clifford Towers’ client, Adrian Snook of Learning Accelerators, chats to us about advances in learning and development, why hiring an accountant is crucial for start-ups and how a decade makes the world of difference when starting a new business.
The world of work is changing fast so the pace of learning needs to change too. This has created an entirely new level of challenge for modern organisations seeking to remain agile, relevant and competitive. Enter Learning Accelerators.
Learning Accelerators provides independent advice and support to major employers engaged in accelerated learning initiatives. Learning is an internal human process and an effective learning accelerator is a deliberate external intervention that makes this happen more quickly. This could include anything from virtual and augmented reality acceleration to simulators and mobile learning.
Accelerated learning, is first and foremost, an end, not a means. Put another way: accelerated learning is the results achieved, not the methods used. Dave Meier
Technological development changing the way we work
With more than 30 years of experience, Director Adrian Snook says that innovation, simplicity and technological advances are changing the face of conventional face-to-face learning and development: “Traditional models of education demand keen self-motivated learners, ample time and resources, all which are increasingly rare in modern organisations. Accelerated learning is learner-centred and activity-based model, offering a richer mix of options capable of stimulating all of the learner’s senses.
“Technological developments have also brought some effective new tools. It is likely that any programme we scope today will have some digital dimension such computer-generated virtual learning or adaptive learning which employs sophisticated computer algorithms to personalise the learning experience to individual needs.”
Accelerated learning is based on an understanding that knowledge is not simply absorbed, but something a learner must actively create or construct. Adrian Snook
Adrian’s first learning consultancy was established in 2009. He closed it in 2014 to take on a role in a large corporation. But after a five-year stint, he was drawn back to self-employment and formed Learning Accelerators, exactly a decade after he established his former business. Adrian says a lot has changed in 10 years: “Everything is easier this time around. Most things can be done online, it costs less, takes less time and therefore not as stressful.
“Simon at Clifford Towers was my accountant previously and provided an excellent service, so it made sense to work with him again. I remember having to take carrier bags full of receipts and huge ring binders at year end! Now, it’s all done online and I scan most things. And while Simon has virtual access to my accounts, I still appreciate the fact that I can jump in the car and meet with Simon face-to-face. He has continued to provide invaluable advice which has saved me time and money.”
Adrian has also had to deal with some business challenges along the way and says all businesses need a laser-sharp focus on business development: “Building a reliable cash flow back in 2009 during one of the worst recessions for decades was a huge challenge. I was trying to stimulate interest in an economy which was tanking. But when times are hard, you have to sell your way through it. My thinking was that if you found the opportunity, you would always find the capacity. This is what I did and I survived and prospered”.
So, what advice would Adrian give to those just starting out?
“New businesses need to prioritise marketing, building relationships and finding customers,” he says. “My advice would be to make a connection with everyone you meet. I find social media useful for this, LinkedIn in particular. Proactively accumulate contacts in your network, engage with them and you’ll build momentum and goodwill.”
Financially, Adrian suggests keeping your costs light initially and to take advice from an experienced accountant: “Simon has already guided me through the IR35 rules, the flat rate VAT scheme and the financial safety nets I need in place to protect the business and my family. That’s real added value to me”.
Adrian concludes: “Running my own business gives me flexibility to suit my priorities at any one time. As well as getting a huge amount of job satisfaction professionally, I call the shots and can manage my own workflow. So, this week I’m prioritising a well-earned break with my wife where we’ll be supplementing our own learning and development by enjoying the wonderful region of Yorkshire!”.
About Learning Accelerators
Learning Accelerators draws on years of practical and commercial experience gained specifying, buying, designing, developing and evaluating custom learning solutions for major national and international clients. Free of ties to any technology or vendor, the company offers bespoke best-breed-solutions that apply the proven principles of accelerated learning to its client’s next learning challenge. Find out more here and connect with Adrian on LinkedIn here.