In terms of continually learning new things and meeting new challenges, small business owners must rank near the top of the list. The need for education never stops and can include everything from taking university courses to getting together with a monthly peer support group.
College-level entrepreneurship and management courses are one way to go. We mentioned a few in last week’s post, including Stanford, MIT, Coursera and others. But there are many other ways to expand your horizons. While trial-and-error is a necessary part of any business owner’s experience, you can cut down on it significantly by taking advantage of the wealth of opportunities available to you (and there are more popping up all the time). After all, having the right knowledge and skills to run your business isn’t a static proposition but instead, a dynamic, evolving one that requires that you keep up!
The following list includes a few examples of resources for “less formal” educational options:
- SBA (the U.S. Small Business Administration). The SBA offers a training network online where small business owners can participate in business forums and take self-paced business courses. Included are free, 30-minute courses that span disciplines from accounting to planning and executing strategy to marketing and more. Check out the SBA’s offerings at www.sba.gov/.
- Local organization sponsored events. There are dozens of these offered by various organizations, and by “events” we mean seminars, programs or weekend classes. How do you find them? Start by looking at listings online, in your local paper s or magazines, or on websites like that of The Business Journals. At www.bizjournals.com, just click on your city and look under “events” for upcoming classes or seminars. You can also check the IRS website for workshops, forums and webinars on tax-specific topics.
- World Wide Learn. World Wide Learn is an online education directory that offers course listings in many different business-related areas. Many are offered online, which enables you to move at your own pace. One of their latest features that was just announce, a new partnership with Profit Mastery University, a provides users with a series of online seminars geared to helping you become your own financial expert.
- Harvard Business Review. Many business owners swear by the online educational tools offered by the Harvard Business Review. The online seminars and tutorials are targeted to those running small businesses and wearing all the hats, as well as to more corporate types. Some examples include the Harvard ManageMentor which offers 44 modules on critical management issues that will help you build, broaden or refresh your skills. Be sure to try the dynamic, simulated learning on topics from pricing to marketing to working capital and managing growth.
- National Federation of Independent Business. NFIB offers continuing education resources and articles for business owners who want to “keep on learning” and “keep up with the latest industry trends.” From taxes and healthcare to networking and work-life balance, NFIB covers the gamut of relevant topics and will point you in the right direction for more.
- Online College. At onlinecollege.org, there’s a terrific list of—and links to—50 fantastic open courses for small business owners. The range of topics is vast, and among the featured lecturers you’ll find the likes of LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Handspring founder Jeff Hawkins. This is an unbelievable resource—be sure to check out the website for the full list and content descriptions.
Have we left any resources for small business owners off our list? Let us know in the comment section below.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net