By Kayla Matthews
Whether you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur or have been one for years, the learning process never ends. Any opportunity to expand your skills and knowledge base makes you more competitive, adaptable to challenges, inquisitive and more able to stay abreast of developments in your sector.
Fortunately, becoming more educated — particularly focusing on the entrepreneurial realm — doesn’t have to be costly. In fact, all the online courses listed below are free to take.
This course covers topics such as how to actively engage your customers and find out what they want from your products, calculating costs, conducting a market opportunity analysis and the various types of business partners.
After taking this start-up class, you should understand the basics of rapidly developing and testing different concepts, while getting guidance from your customers and the marketplace at large.
Maybe you’re in the tough position of wondering whether now is the time to quit your day job and pour everything you’ve got into a new business venture, or it’s better to play it safe.
This course goes over some of the most useful traits for entrepreneurs to have, so you can get prepared for what’s ahead. Furthermore, it discusses common mistakes, giving you the knowledge to hopefully steer clear of the same pitfalls.
Taught by a professor who works in Malaysia as the dean of engineering at Taylor’s University, but who received training in the United Kingdom as well, this course goes beyond pure lecture material and requires you to interact with classmates for a group project.
The things you’ll learn include money management, defining your vision and mission, effective communications and the essentials of marketing.
Due to the geographical limitations, that could prove challenging at times, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from enrolling and missing out on the pros of online learning.
Did you know the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) makes a significant amount of course material freely available to anyone who wants to learn? This program about business plan basics, originally taught in 2014, is one of them. Inc. magazine ranked it one of the 10 best entrepreneur courses in America.
Also, some of the speakers that contributed to it were judges in MIT’s entrepreneurship competition, which offered a $100,000 prize.
You’ll learn about potential legal issues, business models and financial projections. You also have the option to read a text transcript or watch videos of the course.
Maybe you’ve found some productivity hacks that are useful when launching a startup. By applying those, plus the business plan tips you learn in this course, you could find you’re able to make the most of your time and effort.
In your entrepreneurial career, there will almost certainly be times when you encounter ethical dilemmas. They might involve doing personal business on company time, or even taking home a box of pens for your family’s use because you’re sure no one at the office will miss them.
This course, offered by Santa Clara University, goes into the impact of ethics on the business world and how to identify ethical issues when they arise. You’ll also discover how to analyze complex ethical choices and determine your responsibilities associated with them.
If you study the habits of entrepreneurs you find most inspiring, they probably have some undeniable characteristics that set them apart in a crowd.
When you enroll in this course, you’ll learn more about the decision-making process successful entrepreneurs use, explore whether an entrepreneurial mindset is something you’re born with or can develop and profile entrepreneurs’ personality types.
No matter if you’re a new entrepreneur and want to get started on the right track, or have been in business for a while and are interested in improving your practices, these courses are worth checking out in the interest of continual education.
Although these are all free online courses, many offer a certificate you can pay for if you’d like physical proof of course completion to frame and put on your wall.
About the Author: Kayla Matthews writes about communication and workplace productivity on her blog, Productivity Theory. Her work has also appeared on Talent Culture, MakeUseOf, The Muse and Fast Company.