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Published on:
August 12, 2022

How to Find The Best LMS for Small Business

How to Find The Best LMS for Small Business

Workers in small businesses are typically  the heart of the organization – wearing many different hats that require a wide variety of job skills.This can mean employees must stay up to date on training so their many skills can stay sharp.

However, timing, resource, and budget constraints can sometimes push training to the back burner.

Fortunately, an LMS for small businesses can often provide an effective and affordable solution. 

Introduction to an LMS for Small Businesses

Training is an integral part of running a successful business. It’s well worth the investment, but sometimes that can seem challenging for small businesses with limited resources.. That’s where LMS comes in. Because they make training easy forboth employees and leaders.

What Is an LMS?

A Learning Management System (LMS) is a platform made specifically for the creation, customization, and delivery of online learning/training. It can be used for synchronous or asynchronous learning, although it often leans asynchronous. Many features of an LMS are standard, including course creation and delivery, SCORM compliance, tracking & analytics, and mobile responsiveness..

There are a numerous LMS available in today’s market, with varying features, price points, user interface, customer support options, usability, etc. Some are better as enterprise learning management systems. Others have features, price points, and customer service options -best suited for small businesses.

Types of Small Businesses that Benefit from an LMS

Many small businesses can benefit from an LMS. We’ve outlined some types in the table below, including how we think they could help.

Small Business Type

Benefits from an LMS

Retail Customer service training, sales skills training, cashier training, new product training, policy training
IT & Tech Customer service training, skills courses and introduction to new technologies, new product training, policy training
Labor Training courses for: customer service, safety and regulations, new process, new product, and policy
Craftsmanship Training for: customer service, new skills, marketing, sales skills, policy
Freelancer Training for: customer service, marketing, sales skills, new skills

Advantages of Using an LMS Software for Small Business

Now that you have insight into ways different small businesses use LMS for training, let’s go through some of the advantages, including:

  • Saves time and costs
  • Centralized data storage
  • Improves customer service
  • Promotes staff competency
  • Enhances collaboration
  • Imparts core values
  • Enables effective compliance, certification, and accreditation training
  • Creates consistency in knowledge

Saves Time and Cost

This is one of the biggest reasons businesses invest in LMS. It saves time and money.

Time

 It takes employees less time to complete online training, by as much as 40-60 percent according to eLearning Industry. Whilehile also allowing them to retain 25-60 percent more information, according to The Research Institute of America as cited by SH!FT.

It requires less management supervision because the courses can typically be done independently. Managers can check on the administrative side of the LMS to see how well employees are doing and if they need more help and/or supervision.Otherwise employers can leave their teams to their training and focus on their own work.

Cost

An IBM study (cited by the same SH!FT article mentioned above) found that $30 is generated in productivity for every $1 used for eLearning.

So, even though purchasing an LMS is an investment, and buying rather than creating courses costs money, the ROI can be measured in increased productivity and other business benefits.

Centralized Data Storage

With an LMS, all your training and data can be in one location. Anything you or your customers need to know about the training courses can be found on the learner or administrative side of the LMS.

LMS typically tracks data and provides analytics. This allows employers to keep tabs on employee training on the administrative side of the LMS.

Improves Customer Service

You may have noticed in the above graph, that customer services was listed in each line of our ypes of Small Businesses table.

That was no accident.

Customer service is a critical part of every business. At Tovuti, we pride ourselves on exceptional customer service, for which we’ve been nationally recognized.  

With an LMS you can create, or potentially purchase, a customer service course for your staff. That way, all your team will be consistently trained on proper customer service etiquette and provide your customers with above and beyond service.

If you opt to create your own course, you’ll have the opportunity to tailor it to your own business, which can be more beneficial for your employees. You’ll also potentially have the chance to update the course in the future.

Promotes Staff Competency

A trained staff is a competent staff. 

Research shows that training staff not only makes them more valuable employees, but it increases talent retention. According to ThinkImpact, 94 percent of employees say they would remain at the same company if it invested in their learning and training.

That’s why finding the best LMS for small businesses is the way to go.

It will promote competency in your staff by updating their skills (or teaching them new ones), while saving time and allowing workers to do their training whenever they have availability.

Enhanced Collaboration

Online courses can encourage collaboration. Maybe your staff is working on the courses together. Maybe a new staff member is seeking help from a more senior staff member who’s done the training before.

Because LMS allows employees to complete the same training, they’ll be able to leverage those shared learnings to help one another. 

You can also create and offer courses that specifically encourage teamwork and foster a warm, collaborative atmosphere amongemployees.

Impart Core Values

An LMS is an effective way to make new employees aware of your company's core values.

Typically, this type of training is done during the onboarding process – educatingnew employees on company culture and values.

What better way to impart that knowledge than with a course on an LMS. That way, you can make it more engaging than just reading off a piece of paper and more memorable than simply reciting them to new employees.

Effective Compliance, Certification, and Accreditation Training

An LMS can offer effective compliance, certification, and accreditation training.

Compliance training, according to LearnUpon, is mandatory training that teaches employees about legislation, regulation or policy relevant to their job.

As the names suggest, certification and accreditation training leads to formal recognition upon completion of the courses. 

Creates Consistency in Knowledge

As mentioned previously, if you use an LMS, your staff will have access to the same pool of courses. This will create consistency in your employees’ knowledge.

Having this consistency in knowledge can be important because it allows the inner workings of the business to go more smoothly, due to everyone having the same idea of how the processes work.

It also allows for easier communications.. Everyone has a similar understanding of how the company functions, its values, and what they’re working for.

Disadvantages of Using a Free LMS for Small Business

Free versions of LMS do exist and they may be tempting for a small business because they’re easier on the budget. However, there are some disadvantages to using a free LMS, because they: They can require programming knowledge

  • lack certain features
  • have limited support options
  • can require manual updates

Requires Programming Knowledge

A free LMS is fully customizable, but onlyif you have programming knowledge. Free LMS can be a great resource for those who have in-house programmers, as noted in Learning Management System Guide: Tools, Benefits & More.


However, if you’re a small business without programmers on staff, you may want to consider if you or anyone on your team has the know-how necessary to create courses and manage a free LMS properly.

Lacks Certain Features

Typically, free LMS will have some limits to the features they provide, especially depending on the abilities of the programmer working on the code. Some free LMS may have limited features because others are locked behind a paywall.

Limited Support Options

As mentioned in our blog post Learning Management Systems Explained, some other types of LMS, like commercial ones, typically have robust customer support. This is not always the case for free versions. If you have a problem, you may find yourself  it on your own.

Manual Updates

The Learning Management Systems Explained post also explains that updates to a free LMS often need to be done manually, may take time, and may cause some issues.

8 Factors to Consider when Looking for a Small Business Learning Management System

Before you commit to a small business Learning Management System, there are a few factors to consider: 

  1. Content
  2. Features
  3. Pricing Plans and Budget
  4. Development
  5. Ease of use
  6. Customer support
  7. Integrations
  8. User base in company

1. Content

If the LMS comes with a content library, are any of the courses relevant to your business? Does the website list your industry as a focus? Will the LMS be set up to cater to the type of content your employees need to be learning?

Basically, you need to ensure that the content of the LMS you’re purchasing is on board with the type of content you need your employees to learn.

2. Features

Although some features are standard across most, if not all, LMS, others are more particular or specialized. When considering LMS for your small business, you’ll want to pay attention to the features that are being offered.

When researching LMS, ensure you have an idea of the available features and which ones are a priority for you and your small business.

Some features you may find necessary for your small business are listed below.

Feature

Description

Application for Small Businesses

Course creation & delivery Course creation and delivery is really the purpose of an LMS. It allows you to create and customize courses and deliver them to your employees so they can complete them. New policy training, customer service training, promotion training, new product training.
Gamification Gamification is the addition of elements of games to the course content to add interest, engagement, and interaction to online training. Adding quizzes, tests, games, and leader boards to courses.
Tracking & analytics Tracking and analyticsallow administrators of courses to track users’ progress in courses and be supplied with overall analytics on the success of the course and the users. Track how many of your employees completed the course, areas employees may be struggling with and need extra help/training with, etc.
SCORM compliance SCORM compliance is simply the standard for LMSand any LMS should have this. This is essentially a requirement (without being a requirement) of LMS.
Mobile responsive A mobile responsive platform will automatically adjust its sizing when used on a mobile device so the integrity and aesthetic of the platform remains intact. Employees are able to complete training on their personal phones if there is no (or limited) access to company computers or laptops.

3. Pricing Plans and Budget

Different LMS come at different prices. Some are billed monthly, while others may require annual payments or per-user pricing. Small businesses often operate on a tight budget. When looking at LMS, you’ll want to ensure the cost fits into your budget.

Make sure the plan attached makes sense for your business. As a small business, you may not need as many users, orcoursesas medium or large businesses.

4. Development

When you’re looking for an LMS, consider the development of the platform. What we mean is, how the platform is formed will affect your business.

For instance, you’ll want to ensure course development will be easy for you (or whomever you have administrating) to manage and in a way that will allow you to present training effectively for your industry and employees.

You’ll also want to see how the company prioritizes customers. Do they have robust customer support, like Tovuti, for example?

These types of things can make a big difference in how beneficial and practical the LMS will be for you and your employees to actually use.

5. Ease of Use

For administrators and users, you’ll want to ensure your LMS is user-friendly. That way, it’ll be easy for administrators and users to pick up what they need to do to use the application. Without the ease of use, the online learning process can be frustrating or more difficult than necessary, affecting the overall motivation to use it. It can also mean that administrators and users spend extra time just trying to figure out what they’re doing. Some LMS, like Tovuti, offer demos showing how to use the platform and whether it seems straightforward to you. Some LMS offer free trials, so you can take the platform for a test drive before committing.

6. Customer Support

In a way, customer support is an aspect of ease of use because if something goes wrong with your platformor users are struggling to use it, you can get help from those who work for the LMS. Different LMS offer different levels of customer service support. Tovuti, for instance, is known for its award-winning and excellent customer service.

7. Integrations

As a small business, you may want to integrate  apps you currently use for things like video calls, tracking, or HRwith your LMS so you can transfer information and use the apps seamlessly while using your LMS.

Fortunately, integration is one of the common features of LMS. Tovuti, for instance, has more than 2,000 apps with Zapier integration.

They won’t all have the same integrations, so you’ll want to ensure the LMS you choose has the proper integration for the apps you want.

8. User Base in Company

There’s an aspect to choosing an LMS that doesn’t necessarily have to do with the LMS, but rather, with the user base for it.

When choosing an LMS, you’ll have to consider a few things about your employees, .like:

  • How tech-savvy are your employees?
  • Can any of them program?
  • How much time do they have monthly/weekly/daily for training?
  • What do they need training on (may not be the same for all employees)?
  • Do your employees have devices available to complete online courses?
  • Which ways do they learn best?

The answers to these questions may infleunce which LMS you choose and it may help direct the features you’ll prioritize when considering your LMS options, too.

FAQ

What is the best LMS for small businesses?

The best LMS for small businesses will depend on the business itself. Tovuti has a variety of award-winning features like course authoring, virtual classrooms, integrations, and more. It also has industry-leading customer service, including  four one-hour coaching sessions within the first 30 days of purchase to help you get acquainted with the platform. And it’s scalable for businesses of any size, including small businesses.

How can you identify the best learning management system for small businesses?

To find the best LMS for your small businesses consider the eight  things we’ve previously gone over:

  1. Content
  2. Features
  3. Pricing plans and budget
  4. Development
  5. Ease of use
  6. Customer support
  7. Integrations
  8. The user base in the company

Why have a learning management system for small businesses?

An LMS for small businesses will help keep employees current on training, which makes them better skilled and could generate greater revenue..

In Summary

If you own a small business and want to have the most productive, best-trained staff, you need to find the best LMS for small businesses.

To do that, consider these 8 factors when conducting your research:

  1. Content
  2. Features
  3. Pricing plans and budget
  4. Development
  5. Ease of use
  6. Customer support
  7. Integrations
  8. The user base in the company

And when doing your research, remember Tovuti! To see the platform in action, watch our demo. Or contact us so we can discuss your LMS needs. 

Author:
Amey Humphries
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