Whether you’re an entrepreneur approaching or newly in the startup phase, or a longtime operator of a business, it’s important to continuously pursue professional development. By learning new skills, exposing yourself to different ideas, and expanding your business know-how, you can constantly improve what you do and how you do it.
These days, you don’t even have to visit a classroom or pay tuition to take business courses. There are countless free business classes offered over the internet. They cover just about any topic you could ever need a refresher on, or to finally get around to studying.
Below are just 20 of these opportunities, all from reputable sources. Each one only requires a relatively small time investment. Also, if you explore the sites like Alison, Udemy, and Coursera, you’ll find lots of other useful classes. Some—but not all—of the additional ones you’ll encounter are free like the ones below; if you’re willing to pay, it opens up exponentially more options.
Free Business Classes on the Web
- Starting a Business – Santa Clara University’s 15-session course walks you through the process of starting a business. It begins with deciding on a business and proceeds through getting it up and running, basic operations, and troubleshooting and looking at expansion.
- Business Expansion – SCU’s follow-up to the above picks up where it leaves off: considering and executing an expansion. It too consists of 15 sessions and covers all the key topics about expanding, and even gets into what to do when you’re ready to move on from your business.
- New Venture Finance: Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs – If you’re looking to launch your own new business, this course provides extensive information and insights into the process of securing startup funding. It requires about 4 hours per week over four weeks.
- Scaling Operations: Linking Strategy and Execution – Another recommended course for entrepreneurs, this one takes about 3 hours per week for a five-week syllabus. It teaches you how to implement a strategy that keeps your operation scalable and highly competitive.
- Financial Literacy – You’re much better positioned to succeed in business if you have a solid grasp on the fundamentals of money. If finance is a little outside your area of expertise, spend 10 hours or less with this wide-ranging introduction to basic money matters.
- Accounting in 60 Minutes: A Brief Introduction – While it’s usually smart to hire a professional accountant, any business operator should be acquainted with the fundamentals of accounting and financial record keeping. This free tutorial is a good place to start for the uninitiated.
- Introduction to Marketing – This is a useful place to start to familiarize yourself with basic principles of marketing. It takes less than 3 hours to complete, and it’s insightful yet broad enough to apply no matter what industry you’re in or how old your brand is.
- How to Qualify and Get a Prospect’s Interest – This hour-long video tutorial addresses common problems with sales pitches and introduces concepts related to qualifying your leads, understanding your ideal client or customer, and approaching them successfully.
- Leadership Skills in Business – Great leaders aren’t made in 3 hours, but this course can certainly get you pointed in the right direction. Take some guidance to help ensure you’re an effective leader at the helm of your brand, because strong leaders are a pillar of success.
- Customer Service Training – Very little is more important to thriving in business than offering excellent customer service. Every business operator can benefit from reviewing customer service best practices, and this roughly 1.5-hour course is great for employees, too.
- How to Manage Customer Feedback – Customer feedback—positive and complaints—provide keys to improving your products, services, and processes. Spend less than an hour on why consumer responses are so important, how to handle them, and how to benefit from them.
- Understanding Your Customers to Drive Sales – This course focuses on why businesses need to pursue insights into their customers, how to do so, and how to apply the findings to achieve greater success. It can be completed in about 1 to 2 hours.
- How to Make a Great First Impression – It only takes 30 minutes to complete this free online video course. Brush up on the basic body language skills that help you establish good rapport when meeting new people. It’s an ability that serves any businessperson well every day.
- Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills – Running a business is a constant stream of negotiation, and negotiating skills have to be learned and practiced. This class is offered over a seven-week period, taking only 75 minutes of your time per week.
- Fundamentals of Operations Management – In about 2.5 hours, this class addresses operational considerations for service and manufacturing organizations. It covers operational planning, inventory management, productivity, and other nuts and bolts of running a business.
- Fundamentals of Project Management – If you ever have to oversee IT projects in your company, this course should prove helpful. In 2 to 3 hours, you learn about smart planning, process, management, problem solving, evaluation of outcomes, and other aspects.
- Work Smarter Not Harder: Productive Time Management – So many small and mid-size business owners feel like there’s never enough time in the day to do everything. But often, the problem isn’t a shortage of time, it’s that available time isn’t being used wisely.
- Secret Sauce of Great Writing – There’s no exaggerating the importance of clear communication in the business world. Writing is an area where so many people struggle. This video tutorial is under 40 minutes, and it will help you write everything more concisely and effectively.
- Introduction to Risk Management – The term strikes some small business-people as too corporate, but the concepts are important to every enterprise. Everyone should be familiar with these basic concepts of mitigating risk, which are introduced here in just 2 to 3 hours.
- Fundamentals of Health and Safety in the Workplace – This class takes about 1.5 hours and is designed for anyone who has a brick-and-mortar location where employees work. It covers various topics related to risk management and employer responsibilities for protecting staff.
Thirsty for More Learning?
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