The entrepreneurial journey is an exciting and scary one. We’ve all heard the dismal statistics about how many new businesses fail within a year, and within five years. How much homework you do in preparation for launch will be a major factor in your startup’s success—or lack thereof.
Of course, nobody can be an expert in everything. And relying on help from other professionals whose expertise makes up for your weaknesses is critical to making it. Still, though, as a business founder and owner, it’s certainly in your best interest to have at least a working knowledge of all aspects of your enterprise.
Here’s a roundup of some helpful free online courses for entrepreneurs that go a long way toward pointing you in the right direction. They’ll assist you in making the right initial decisions, getting your brand and processes set up, and getting things moving toward success.
And did we mention they’re free? Always a good thing for bootstrapping entrepreneurs like yourself!
Free Web Classes for Entrepreneurs
- Becoming an Entrepreneur – In just one to three hours per week for six weeks, this MIT course walks your through a wide range of fundamentals about launching an entrepreneurial enterprise and setting it—and yourself—up for success.
- Creativity & Entrepreneurship – Spend about four hours per week for four weeks learning how to harness your creativity for greater entrepreneurial success in this free online course from Berklee.
- Starting a Business – This 15-session course from Santa Clara University starts with deciding on a business and progresses through the process of getting it up and running, understanding basic operations, dealing with common problems, and evaluating expansion opportunities.
- Business Expansion – Another 15 sessions of follow-up from Santa Clara University pick up where the above class leaves off: deciding whether to expand and how to go about it.
- Financial Analysis for Decision Making – Gain insights into making smart decisions in the early stages based on sound financial analysis in this four-week free web class from Babson, committing just two to four hours per week.
- New Venture Finance: Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs – Delve into options for startup financing and how to secure it in this free class from University of Maryland, College Park. It takes about four hours per week over four weeks.
- Entrepreneurial Finance – You really can’t study up on this topic too much; lack of financial savvy is one of the biggest contributors to entrepreneurial failure. This free, self-paced course is more advanced than the previous two finance entries.
- Inbound Marketing Certification Course – Every entrepreneur today needs a solid grasp of inbound marketing principles. Study up on SEO, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, landing pages, calls to action, and more with this great HubSpot course.
- Fundamentals of Marketing Your Business Online – Because it’s such an important topic, here’s another good free online course covering similar ground as the above. This Alison class only takes around one to two hours to complete.
- Building and Leading Effective Teams – These are crucial skills for any entrepreneur, of course. Understand what it takes with this self-paced crash course in strong professional leadership.
- Leadership Skills in Business – Since it’s another subject that’s so important, here’s a second option in this department too. It only requires about three hours of your time—not enough to make you a great leader, but you’ll be headed in the right direction.
- The Essential Guide to Entrepreneurship by Guy Kawasaki – This self-paced course, from one of the most famous and successful entrepreneurs and investors out there, covers lots of ground pertaining to launching a new business and building it up.
- Customer Service Training – Essential to any brand’s success in any industry, every entrepreneur needs to focus on these skills. The emphasis you put on customer service funnels down through your entire company. Spend about two hours with this free online course.
- Startup School – You have to be accepted into this free 10-week or self-paced startup school from Y Combinator, and it’s pretty tough to get into. But it’s totally worth it if you do.
- Understanding Your Customers to Drive Sales – In about two hours, learn how to gain key insights into your customers and explore how to best leverage them for meaningful growth.