RTO Set Up and RTO Business Coach
RTO set Up and RTO Business Coach

RTO business coach & RTO set up consultant

You know what you want out of your RTO business and yet it seems that every turn you reach a dead-end and you’re left questioning where to turn next.

One thing isn’t clear: how to get there. 

You’re probably overwhelmed by how much there is to do and frustrated that you seem to be the only one who can do it all.

That’s where I come in.

Your RTO vision looks something like this:

  • A thriving RTO business that satisfies your ambition, allows you to grow and be more than ‘the doer of all things’


  • To exceed your financial goals and have the lifestyle you really want


  • More balance, not less


Whether you’re looking to set-up an RTO, grow or scale your existing RTO business, I am here to support you, both commercially and personally, so that you can create a business with impact and one that you are proud of.


Your RTO will be aligned with your bigger life goals, your values and, importantly, it will see financial success. 


Maybe you’re confused about what to prioritise, and just wish you knew what would really move the needle for you?

Or perhaps you’re just tired of grinding so hard but not getting ahead, watching everyone else around you succeed.

I’ve been there.

Having built & managed multiple RTO businesses, I know the enormous amount of things there are to do in building, managing the compliance, undertaking the marketing and running the businesses.

Once you are through the RTO set-up audit hurdle then you need run the business. I know how overwhelming it can be – it’s like you’re supposed to be an expert in marketing, law, accounting, HR, RTO compliance, training… the list goes on and on…

But I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be like that.

In helping you to become an RTO and improve your business, I draw on over 20 years of experience in managing corporate divisions and businesses, in marketing, sales, and managing RTO’s and their compliance. All of that experience is backed-up with 15+ years’ experience of coaching and mentoring, as well as my successful entrepreneurial experience. So in working with me, you will find I draw upon the lessons learnt from failures, successes and feedback to help YOU on your journey to enjoy more time and freedom.

You’re in safe hands

Our RTO Services

RTO Business Coach

Australia leading RTO Business Coach. If you would like some help within your business from someone who’s been there, coached other businesses, knows about RTO compliance and managed large teams, then maybe I can help.

Become an RTO

RTO Mentor helps people, just like you, to achieve the dream of their very own compliant training organisation, one that issues Australian nationally accredited training. It takes great attention to detail, have someone who knows the systems to guide you.

Compliance Audit

Our compliance audit is not just a tick (or cross) and send you a report on the areas of what need fixing. We believe in getting the systems right, so you can deliver that fantastic training. We work with your business, your systems and review the business.

Business Coach

Contact Merinda to discuss your RTO

I'd love to help you with your RTO, let's make a time to connect.


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Pat came to us when he needed help with undertsanding the complexities of the RTO business and how to set it up. We went through our step by step process, and mentoring. This is what Pat said when his application was approved... Thanks for your help, much appreciated. Yea Merinda Just cracking a bottle of Champers.
Lee-AnneWA RTO (TAC)
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“I have a secret, an RTO secret; it is RTO Mentor and specifically Merinda Smith. She is the best out there and we could not do without her. Thank you for everything you do assist us with our compliance and enabling us to get through another audit “
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I asked RTO Mentor to assist me with to set-up my RTO. The process was a positive experience, with regular contact and very informative, allowing me to understand what was required. Merinda has been there every step of the way to guide me through becoming an RTO. She was always on the other end of the phone or emails. Great experience.
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WE DID IT!!!! ITS OFFICIAL!!! Cannot thank you enough for all of your hard work and assistance !!!!! Now the hard work starts 😊 I might have a few questions to ask you on what I do from here!! I am currently overseas so will speak to you next week!! IM SO EXCITED!!!!
Louise Small Business owner
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Merinda is a wonderful business coach and mentor and extremely professional at what she does. She assisted me to step back and work on the business, rather than in the business. It was this that had a huge part in us winning the Gold Award at the WA Awards and the Bronze Award at the Australian Awards.

3 Tips to set up your RTO

Excerpts from Merinda's Blog

3 tips to help you increase your RTO

Your RTO Success depends on you constantly looking at your business. Working on your business, managing the numbers and reviewing the metrics.    Your RTO Success relies on you looking at the following:  Maintain your Focus for the Long Term.  Focusing on the students is a positive and much can be achieved by listening to what they want. This information will provide you with a long term strategy – what courses they want, how they want them, and when. Yes we sure do need to buckle up and get ready for the ride, seize the moment and transform it into an opportunity — an opportunity to sharpen the focus of your RTOs vision and long-term goals. You might be pleasantly surprised what the students have to say. Maintaining Your Focus on Service Quality. Service quality continues with the student focus. Establish systems that provide service, and continue to provide what the client wants. Maybe it is time to change them up and amend those training and assessment strategies and internal processes to deliver the greatest value to your customers and clients. My best advice is to listen to your clients and they will tell you how you can improve. Consider ways to support them and their learning.  Keeping up with Innovation. One of the key aspects of the current environment is the innovation that is out there to support the students and the trainers. It seems there is an app or online tool for everything, and so many that can be used to provide a better student experience. Whether they are used to create and share lessons on your tablet, flipping classrooms, creating your own animated videos or allowing students to imagine, write, illustrate and share their own stories. Then of course there are the many social media platforms where students/ trainers can bring together content and share in various ways. Perhaps now is the time to start researching those apps, and maybe implementing one or two into your training delivery model. The RTOs who can harness the power of digital data, and keep compliance will be the big winners. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes (remember your continuous improvement). Be bold, think big and learn along the way.   Let’s Talk about your business How is the energy you are putting into your business? Is it running a bit low?   Are you feel like the right clients wont come to you? Or your revenue isn’t growing, or worse, it’s staying the same, month after month? You can’t seem to build the right team, or structure… and basically so much about it it is frustrating?   Interested to find out how we can help you? MORE by clicking the button… Click here

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RTO Consultant RTO Mentor
RTO Business Growth
Merinda Smith

Should I start an RTO business from scratch, or buy an existing one?

There are so many considerations, however I would like to provide you with a guide that may make the decision easier. The best way to do this is to consider all of the possible advantages and disadvantages of buying an RTO before making a decision.

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RTO Marketing strategies

MARKETING YOUR RTO – MEETING COMPLIANCE The Standards for Registered Training organisations (2015) require that RTOs complying with advertising and marketing standards when marketing and advertising of AQF qualifications to prospective clients is ethical, accurate and consistent with its scope of registration. This is regardless if you use a third party or you undertake your marketing yourself. Your RTO is responsible for all marketing or other material disseminated on its behalf, regardless of the channel or method used. As in any other business you need to be talking to your client to attract them into your courses. The goal of marketing is to connect your business’ value to the right customer base. There has to be a need and the way you train must suit the learner. These are key. There is no magic bullet. When thinking about your clients, consider questions like: What demographics make up your customer base? Where do they live? Where do they hang out online? How do they look for products in your niche? Who do the listen when making decisions relative to your product? The answers to these questions determine which marketing strategies will be viable and which will be a waste of time. Then the RTO must comply to the Standards. RTOs must provide accurate information to learners about services and qualifications (Clause 4.1); your RTO must ensure it honours all commitments it makes. The RTO refers to another person or organisation in its marketing material only if the consent of that person or organisation has been obtained. As the Standards state your marketing material must include the following information: You must include your RTO code in all marketing material. The RTO responsible for the training and/or assessment and for issuing a qualification or statement of attainment must be absolutely clear to anyone viewing any marketing or advertising material. If another person or organisation is delivering training under a third-party agreement with your RTO, your RTO code must be included on all marketing or other material created by that person or organisation that relates to that training and/or assessment. If another person or organisation is recruiting learners under a third-party agreement with your RTO, your RTO code must be included on all marketing or other material created by that person or organisation. If you are delivering under a third-party agreement with another RTO, that RTO’s code must be included in all marketing or other material relating to those courses. It is important you market to the clients you actually want. Be specific. As in any other business you need to be talking to your client to attract them into your courses. In developing marketing or advertising material, remember the likely audience, particularly for your online marketing. Your RTO’s marketing or advertising material must also be consistent with its training and assessment strategies, including any variations or additions for courses delivered to overseas students. For example, you must not claim a course takes two weeks to complete if learners complete the course over a period of several months, including doing so by also undertaking a period of independent study. Significant numbers of complaints are submitted to ASQA and other agencies about RTOs making inaccurate or misleading statements in their marketing—being vigilant about monitoring the accuracy of your marketing will increase learner satisfaction and reduce the chance of complaints being submitted to regulators, which may lead to expensive compliance action against your RTO. When you are starting your RTO often you need some quick wins. Partnering with another company or organisation that has a similar target customer can help you both increase your reach. If you choose to go down this path, then you also need to consider the RTO Standards. The concept of pooling the marketing abilities and resources together to build your brands is sound; it just needs to comply. I highly recommend this approach where complimentary services work together. Whether you’re in the process of launching a new RTO business or already have one, marketing and having a strong online presence for your RTO and it’s services is extremely important. In fact, consumers learn about local businesses online more than anywhere else. It is said that over 70% of buying decisions are made online. Book in a Business Audit Facebook Twitter Google-plus Review your business so know exactly what you need to do, and what is urgent for it’s growth.  go HEREhttps://calendly.com/merinda_smith/online-business-audit-with-merinda-smith

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The power of being curious in your business

Curiosity is a critical skill for transformative growth and change.   Curiosity is part art and part science, well in fact they both are based upon curiosity. When we have a business we need to add curiosity into our business. Most of the breakthrough discoveries and remarkable inventions throughout history, from starting a fire to potentially living on Mars, are all the result of curiosity. Sadly, it is also a trait that many leaders seem to undervalue or dismiss entirely from business.   Each business is unique, and our recent disruption from the Covid-19 response is different for all of us. What doesn’t change though is the planning, and strategizing to lead your business forward are fundamental business principles. In some states in Australia RTO’s were such down for weeks. So now is the time to get planning, and get curious.   So how does curiosity affect the bottom line?   Planning your business is all about being curious about what could happen if we… It’s about looking at where you want to go, reflecting upon what has happened, and then becoming curious.   Using your curiosity skills in your business will enhance: Your awareness (what truly is happening here) Your planning ability (what if I did this…) Encourage collaboration (what if we did this….) Reduce resistance (in your team) Create continual learning   By implementing strategies around curiosity you could be creating new revenue streams, new ways of working with less cost associated with it. New ways of training, and implementing your own RTO course strategies.   In our ever-shifting market, we need to ask questions of our employees, other leaders, our students and our industry. Accelerating change, compliance and clouding uncertainty demand it. It’s no longer enough to fall back on long-established ways of doing things.   Those RTO businesses that are unable to adapt and keep pace with change simply will not survive. You need tools, practices, mindsets to adapt, curiosity, flexibility, and innovation, or you disappear.   All of these will increase your leadership and build trust.   It works with your team as well. In business we need to build trust, especially when there is a global exit happening. We want our people to feel valued and supported, and to get along. By asking them to become curious, they feel invested, and come up with new ideas, that could be game changing for your business. When people develop the habit of genuinely exploring ideas, they are more likely to find surprising, innovative solutions.   Curious people also make better co-workers because they are interested in others. They ask questions and learn about others, giving them the ability to see a bigger picture. This also means they know more about each other’s skills, and value each person’s unique contributions. Which makes for better relationships, and more productive collaborations. This means your leaders need to be constantly learning, adopting new practices and perspectives, asking the right questions, and anticipating how they will be able fit today and tomorrow. Additional by reflecting on the way people are working, and being curious about making small changes to the design of your business, managing employees you can significantly improve your RTO. Curiosity is openness to what’s possible. Curiosity is an “elite” communication skill. Much like empathy and self-awareness, curiosity is a proven and useful leadership skill. The value that curiosity brings for personal growth, organisational learning and creating connections that generate employee engagement is evident. If there was ever a time that establishing relationships and increased employee engagement is needed, it’s now. Be a leader who treasures inquisitive minds, rather than stifling curiosity, fearing it will increase risk and inefficiency. It is a way of the future, just as art and science has been sharing for years. To be really curious focus on understanding where you ask questions such as “How did you do that?” “What do you want to do?” “How will that create…” Really put your skin in the game and go deeper, asking questions like “We need to achieve…. How do you think we can do this?”   It can be game changing.  

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4 Ideas for RTOs in 2022

he future of RTO has stepped forward in huge leaps and bounds. Back in 2018 there was a conference I attended that focused on the future of VET and the disruption era we live in. if only they knew at that point how things would look only 4 years on!   We know that each year brings change, especially in the VET sector. Training is still needed, and even more so now that we are working with COVID19 fall out.   Change has always been here, yet the pandemic brought with it many changes that happened extremely fast. Take online training for instance. We got better Student management Systems, we had regulators change their mind about the fact that online is actually a great way to train (when done well) and we got to have less travel.   We live in change, yet there always seems to be amazing students who are doing some fantastic things in their communities. I am excited to be part of the VET sector, even after many years of change.   Growth areas include: IT especially cyber security Community services International students are coming back Upskilling – micro courses to meet the need of change Hospitality – in fact there is a need right now for quality trained staff in this sector.   Training still needs to be affordable for all The RTO sector needs to be flexible and nimble enough to keep up with the rapid change happening in our sector   So all of this got me thinking about how you can be supported to move forward with a successful RTO. Here are my ideas to help you.   Consider what you have on scope We are constantly being told to undertake industry engagement, well I am saying it again. Ask your students and clients and listen to what they want. It might not be a full blown Diploma or Certificate IV qualification. It might be a small course they are seeking. Maybe something with only 3 units of competence in it.   Gathering this information will provide you with a short term strategy and enable you to plan a long term strategy – what courses they want, how they want them, and when. This is an opportunity to sharpen the focus of your RTOs vision and long-term goals. You might be pleasantly surprised what the students and clients have to say.   Maintaining Your Focus on Service Quality. Regardless if you have gone online, we still need to establish systems that provide a quality service to ensure you provide what the client wants. When was the last time you checked those training and assessment strategies and internal processes to deliver the greatest value to your customers and clients? My best advice is to listen to your clients and they will tell you how you can improve.   Students no longer want to be sat in a classroom where they are talked at for hours on end – so consider ways to support them and their learning.   Keeping up with Innovation. Online learning means we can create a different learning practice which can lead a better student experience. There are so many options such as create and share lessons online, or in a blended environment, flipping classrooms, creating your own animated videos or allowing students to imagine, write, illustrate and share their own stories.   Many of the Student management systems offer ways to connect with your cohort, and include them in the lessons. Then of course there are the many social media platforms where students/ trainers can bring together content and share in various ways.   Consider the future of RTO compliance and ways to include employers in your digital information and collection.   RTOs need to harness the power of digital data, and keep compliance, so make sure you have a record of all the contact with students. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes (remember your continuous improvement). Be bold, think big and learn along the way.   Keeping Technologies Mobile The world is awash with virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and other realities where technologies that are already making a big impact on education. There is much excitement allowing realistic immersive learning environments come to life. Adding to this SMS and learning management systems are becoming compatible with this technology, allowing for compliance and a great experience.     IPads and mobiles are used for everything now a days. If your students are head down looking at them, then use them to your advantage. Write them into the training & better still incorporate them into your assessments solutions. Having the capacity to keep digital images for evidence means you are one step ahead of compliance and validation.   Did you know? RTO Mentor is Australia’s business coach for RTO’s and helping you with RTO compliance.   From starting out as an RTO, to helping you and the future of your RTO business thrive, RTO Mentor is a solution for you. Learn how we can help your training organisation here, or chat with us to see how we can work with you to reach your training management goals here.  

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