We may be sole traders, but we are not alone. We work in a large, diverse and active industry, so use it
I’m writing this month’s article on a wave of inspiration and positivity after attending the Driving Instructors’ Business Summit, even though I was working on our trade stall there. The experience of being surrounded by fellow exhibitors and delegates alike, made me think about participation, togetherness and self-development. However, it also reinforced two conflicting views I have about our industry.
Firstly, when people come together with positive, open minds, amazing things can (and do) happen. Knowing that delegates will be going home after the summit today with heads full of new ideas, opportunities and greater knowledge, with a well-earned CPD certificate to boot, made me feel good about being part of the whole event. I’m certainly not saying it was perfect, or the only such event, but this type of industry get-together brings people from all sectors of the industry into a social networking arena, sharing ideas, experiences, wishes and sense of purpose. There are many ADIs out there who exude positivity, contribute in whatever way they can, and endeavour to find ways to better themselves, their business and their prospects. They are to be applauded for their dynamic professionalism. On the other end of the spectrum, there are thousands of ADIs who work in the shadows of the industry, people who don’t participate, contribute or seek betterment. I’d love to understand why. For some, working independently as a driving instructor suits their desire for a largely solitary existence, and there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what they want. For others, they may lack the confidence to network and socialise within the professional arena. Then there are those that feel their business is running ‘just fine’ without the need to seek enhancement, and if ‘just fine’ is what you aspire to in your business, then ‘as you were’. But these ADIs must be mindful that resting on your laurels will, in the end, lead to you falling behind. Not only that, but it doesn’t help the industry as a whole either! It’s a real shame that more ADIs don’t come out to play. Apathy and fear is a curse, and I’m sure that with more people contributing, this industry would be far stronger as a unified collective, more capable in business, much louder in voice and influential in progressing positive change.
I’m confident that some of you want to get involved, but aren’t sure how, so I thought we’d take a look at some ways you can join in. Whilst there are personal gains to be had, this is very much about business development. Knowledge is key to power, and the more you have, the more equipped you are to be an authority in your local area, and perhaps on a national scale; evolving your business practices, as well as the industry as a whole.
Here are a few ways you can take part:
Join a national driving instructor association – Our national associations can help ADIs, both on a personal and government level. Being part of one provides you with news, training, support, events, tools and all sorts of opportunities. Visit GOV.UK and search for ‘Driving Instructor Associations’ for more details. And remember, you can join more than one!
Join your local driving instructor association – In almost every area of the UK, there’s a local driving instructor’s association catering for the needs of local ADIs. It’s a fantastic way to meet other instructors, give and receive support from those who know your area, and learn about local and national events. Look for information at your test centre, or just ask other ADIs if they’re members.
Join local networking groups – The Federation of Small Business (‘FSB’) is just one example of an organisation designed to bring together, and support, small businesses. They can help you to spread the word about what you do, find new sources of customers, and benefit from the services offered by other members.
Attending conferences and exhibitions – There are various events held throughout the year and across the country, supporting ADIs looking to increase their awareness and know-how. Some are organised by national associations, others are independent. Look out for information in magazines like this or in online forums and social media.
Training – Keeping on top of the latest standards and techniques is crucial if you want to stay fresh and prepared for the future. Search “ADI Training” on the internet, or speak with your local or national association to help you expand your horizons.
Social Media – There are many people who read, but never comment on, Facebook posts, for example. This is sometimes due to a fear of being judged, attacked or dismissed by others who are perhaps more vocal. It’s important not to let the very few bullies win, but instead get involved and improve the constructive, positive messages.
Industry news and opinion – If you don’t subscribe to this magazine, you definitely should. It’s essential to keep apprised of the latest goings on, news, techniques and ideas. Look out for other industry forums, webinars and publications such as ‘DiPod’.
Community events – Get involved in your local community and local events; it’s a great way to promote your business and road safety. Pre-17 learning or taster sessions can work really well.
The Big Learner Relay – Supporting Children In Need, this is a national industry event that gets you involved in the industry community, raising its profile in a socially positive way, as well as raising money for a great cause.
Our industry is stronger for every voice that is heard, and your business is stronger for every piece of knowledge you gain, so please come out of the shadows, shine and be a part of it.
Dan hill – https://www.mydrivetime.co.uk/