Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Of rental agreements and misunderstandings

viewpoints |  

by B. Singer

What you should not miss-out from a rental agreement

Absolutely under no-circumstances, should you ever forget to pen this 'mother of all' tenancy  clause in!

Agreements are an essential part of any selling/buying or letting out/renting a property. I'm sure you have seen many examples but a thorough reading of the agreement? It does not matter if you are copying the agreement off the internet, or  drafted by a legal professional, your part to play is to read it thoroughly.

Now, an agreement is not only about guarding your rights, but also about being fair with the other party, and not to have unnecessary arguments later on. Even with an agreement in place an error can cause misunderstanding, arguments and wasted time, not to mention money that may be spent correcting the error.

Recently I came across a tenancy agreement supposedly drafted by one top Malaysian property agency. The document

contained some fanciful English words of the law-kind. Meanwhile,  the agency's name itself  is an equally impressive English name picked smack from around the region of Mayfair, City of Westminster, London!

I must say, it is probably one of the most thorough contract document I have come across, they'd addressed nearly every aspect of life including 'To allow quiet enjoyment'... I'm guessing of 'the said property the tenant had paid the rent for'. 

But...the most interesting....well, at  least to me, is that they had  this short notes  in a column along the right side of the document. These one or two liners, or short notes are summarising the longer text of the main document on its left. Brought back memories of my university thesis where my supervisor had explicitly requested short notes to elucidate those 'unfamiliar' with my research work! In other words, to be able to easily pick-up what I've painstakingly  been writing, for some years! To be precise, 4 lonely years working and toiling on this thesis, and I was reduced to writing short sentences along the sides (much like the advert next to this paragraph) so that the clueless and the daft can comprehend what I have written in my thesis without reading my thesis??? My hard-work .....without much effort? 

Anyway, for once, I became the daft and clueless one, on the other side of some other person's hard-work ( the Tenancy agreement). To cut a long story short, rodents and thievery matters were addressed, and finally I arrive at 'Termination before expiry of the Term of Tenancy'. Now,  this section had a whole lot of 'demised', 'terminates/terminated', 'rate of interest' and some more big words. Then,  nonchalantly came the clause for notice of contract termination, that either party can initiate it, that is notice of two months to either decide to leave the premises or be asked to leave. It is all done and dusted in one single paragraph.

Now, I'm assuming that this is, the one most important point, that should be dealt with thoroughly.  So, it says should I decide to sell the house and requires the tenant to leave? Not to worry, it adds that I'm required to tell the new purchasers that, currently, there are tenants in the property until such and such date and that he need to temporarily hang on to the sledgehammers, hacksaws and the cement mixer that he's preparing to use to cement the entire front lawn of God's green grass and making it into one big cemented parking lot instead!

...BUT, wait, wait again a sec, it does not mentions  anywhere if the tenant in a moment of panic, considering he and his family are about to be made homeless by my tyrant act of selling the property, finds a new property he can move in right now. So, let's say, the tenant wishes to move out of my property in the middle of the month

The agreement is completely silent of this scenario! Do I now refund the deposit for half a  month since he's leaving in the mid-of month, or does the tenant pays up half a month rent, or must he stay a full month before vacating my property?

I've counted at least 20 'in the event of' in the agreement but not a single one of them addressing the above mentioned event

So, my tenant headed for the nearest solicitor (I would have done the same) and the solicitor advised my tenant that since its not stated in the tenancy agreement, he can move out any time, and that I am to return his deposit nevertheless! 

After numerous text messages and meeting the tenant personally, finally the tenant decides to leave at the end of the month and fulfilling the 2 months notice I had given him. Now, isn't this is why Agreement's are made in the first place. I mean it blatantly says 'AGREEMENT'... quite blatantly, can't be anymore blatant than that, on the front page. What else could this document be if its not solving this simple, but utmost of importance matter? Priorities of, if a rodent is sharing the premises or if a nail has been driven into the wall as the agreement has taken pains to point out is the least likely of my worries! So, what was missing, and is definitely required is a statement that outlines clearly the monthly rental conditions, and might be written like this:

"Rental is calculated on a monthly basis, and therefore no refunds to be given if tenants moves out before the expiry of a full month.

This statement should cover either parties actions, regardless of the causing factor!

So, finally after pages of ramblings, I would stress again that YOU read the agreement thoroughly  and re-read again and get another person to read too before you put pen and ink to paper accepting responsibility for some things that you know not of. Trust me, should circumstances change, it will save you from a whole lot of headaches in the future.


the views expressed in this article are not that of this blogspot. They are solely the writer's views |

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

5 ideas to help you sell more courses by Steve Penfold

 With Covid-19 affecting every industry worldwide, nearly everyone has adopted the Internet as a medium of conducting business. From university lectures to news anchors, we have slowly accustomed ourselves to the work-from-home lifestyle. A worldwide quarantine has shown the success of implementing online learning; training providers are now more than ever joining a competitive online training market. 

Below are 5 ideas to help you sell more courses by Steve Penfold from Elucidat.

Are you leaving money on the table? With more and more training
providers entering the competitive online training space, it’s
becoming harder to sell training courses. Instead of sticking to yourold trusty sales methods, learn the secrets to a successful training/busines – starting with these five strategies

1. Get clear about your ideal customers and how to engage them

A key aspect of successfully marketing online training products is having clarity about who you’re targeting and how you communicate value. Make sure everyone across your organization is clear and on the same page about who your ideal customers are, what personas you’re targeting and your value proposition.

Ideal customer profile 

Who is your ideal customer and how can you identify them? For example, it may be that your ideal customers are retail organizations with over 3,000 employees. This type of firmographic profiling can really help with ensuring your marketing is focused on the right prospects. Everyone across your business should be able to describe your ideal customer in the same way!


Once you know what your ideal customer profile looks like, get into more detail with segmented personas. For example, if you’re selling training to large retail organizations, you may need to engage with different contacts within the L&D department, store-based training managers and procurement. To engage with them effectively, you need to understand their pain points, motivations, objectives, where they hang out online, etc. Again, make sure your team knows which personas you’re targeting. That way, your product and messaging will be aligned throughout the whole customer journey.

Value proposition

Make sure your value proposition reflects the needs of your ideal customers and the unique value you offer over competitors. It’s no longer good enough to compete solely on price. You need to focus on
why customers buy from you.

2. Start differentiating your online training from that of your competitors

The Learn 2020 project (https://www.trainingjournal.com/articles/feature/challenges-learning-2020) found competition to be one of the three biggest challenges online training providers will face over the
next five years. With more and more solutions entering the field, it’s more important than ever to differentiate yourself. Unless you’re very lucky, you’ll have other training organizations competing for your customers’ business.Follow these three suggestions to create online training that gives you a competitive advantage. 

  • Ensure your training products work. Do your research on your learning audience so you can design, test and refine an experience that helps them meet their goals. Then, create the experiences in a tool with built-in analytics. Proving the impact of your training modules will instantly boost your credibility.
  • Design your online training to look as effective as it is. Good-looking training appears professional, and anything else seems amateurish – regardless of how good the training itself is.
  • Use an authoring tool that lets you build mobile-friendly online training. Different learners will want to access your training on different devices. Modern tools – like Elucidat – help you build online training that adapts to desktop, tablet and smartphone screen sizes (i.e., responsive). This will allow more learners to access the training in more flexible ways.

3. Choose the right pricing strategy

How do you price online training courses? It’s a difficult question for many online training providers. Simply “winging” your pricing strategy is risky. While you may be able to estimate what your online training is worth to customers, it can be helpful to learn about the different pricing strategies (and theories) available.

Calculate the cost

What does it cost to create your online training? On a very basic level, you should have an understanding of how much it costs you to create a course. Factor in additional fixed and variable costs, and you’ll quickly learn what you need to charge to break even. 

It’s also worth considering the different factors at play when estimating the cost and time of instructional design.

Understand external factors

What are your competitors doing? You must consider what moves your competitors are making. For example, if you set your price too low, you may trigger a price war. If you set your price too high — and can’t communicate the value — you may lose customers to lower-priced courses from competitors.

Estimate the demand for your product

It’s important to understand the demand curve for your online training. As you sell more courses, you’ll be able to better estimate future demand based on current sales.

4. Create online training that meets the needs of the modern customer

Consumers of online training are becoming increasingly sophisticated. They expect engaging learning experiences and will quickly choose a competitor’s offerings if you fail to meet their needs. We would always recommend following a design framework that will help you design, create and deliver elearning that works for your audience. At Elucidat, our customers have a broad range of different learners, and this has resulted in many different learning approaches. Here are three engagement techniques our customers use to keep their learners coming back.

Use branching to increase engagement

Branching gives learners control over the process, allowing them to direct where they go, what they see and what happens. This makes the experience inherently more engaging and personalized than if the same information is presented in a linear and inflexible fashion. See an example of a personalized branching experience, built in Elucidat. (https://www.elucidat.com/showcase/#delegation-skills)

Use bite-sized online training

Bite-sized learning enables learners to quickly and conveniently consume content, particularly on mobile devices. One of the biggest benefits is it can be consumed during gaps in busy work schedules.
Consider this on the job sales support example (https://www.elucidat.com/showcase/#sales-support) (created with Elucidat) that would only take learners 3-5 minutes to complete.

Challenge learners

Adult learners like to be challenged. Spoonfeeding them information is a sure way to bore them and have them forget what you’re trying to teach. Here’s a great example of how making choices can be fun for the learner (https://www.elucidat.com/showcase/#sales-simulation) as well as effective learning mechanisms. Adult learners like to prove to themselves that they understand what they’re being told or asked to do.

5. Improve the way you deliver online training to customers

When you provide online training as a paid service, you have to balance two broad factors. On one hand, you want to create training that meets your clients’ needs in an engaging, enjoyable way. But to maximize profits, you’ll also want to deliver that training in the most efficient ways possible. These requirements aren’t mutually exclusive, but they do rely on selecting the right tools and using them wisely.
Key takeaways to deliver effective online training:

  • Choose an elearning authoring tool that makes it easy to create and maintain training.
  • Use an elearning design framework to guide you through the design, development and improvement process.
  • Ensure your LMS plays nice with your authoring tool.
  • Monitor analytics to understand and improve the learner experience