Spotlight: Alicia Stephens, education manager, BioLab

photo of Alicia Stephens
Alicia Stephens teaches chemistry, product knowledge and selling skills for BioLab, based just north of Atlanta in Lawrenceville, Ga. A BioLab veteran of 12 years, she has a bachelor’s degree in biology and began managing the company’s training and education programs in 2003.

How can small business owners use educational resources to help them succeed in this economy?

Using education for business success is a three-pronged approach. The first piece is using training and other educational tools to make sure you have the most knowledgeable employees working in your business and that they have the tools they need to sell products, drive business and offer solutions. It is this expertise that is the biggest point of differentiation a pool store can have over a mass market competitor. Small business owners need employees who can solve problems and help pull in sales.

This leads to the second prong of education, which is creating the best possible customer experience. Customers who are satisfied with the answers they get and the products they buy are more likely to return to the pool store, be loyal, and spend more money in the business. Employees who can answer questions correctly, solve problems on the first try, and recommend the right products create a satisfying customer experience.

Finally, providing training and education to employees shows them that the business owner is willing to invest in them, as well as help the owner identify “star performers.” This contributes to an atmosphere of motivated, driven employees who want to learn and are able to learn. The more the owner invests in them, the more they are able to sell products, answer questions, etc. . . which brings us back to our satisfied customers and increased value over competitors.

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