Entrepreneurship courses will develop the analytical abilities and strategic competencies necessary for students who wish to become entrepreneurs or are already part of a growing business. … Several Entrepreneurship courses are short programs, designed to help entrepreneurs grow their business.
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best free online courses for entrepreneurs
In his recent Reddit AMA, visionary and serial entrepreneur Elon Musk wrote: “It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree—make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e., the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.”
Whether you are contemplating starting a business for the first time or starting a new type of business, the most important tool you can have in your toolbox is knowledge. As a follow-up to Angelique O’Rourke’s recent article Top 10 Free Online Classes for Small Business Marketing, here are 11 highly rated free online courses on various topics related to starting a business. Together, they provide a broad entrepreneurship education from which anyone can benefit.
Note: Some of these courses are available in a self-paced format, while others are scheduled to run periodically. On some platforms, even after a scheduled course has ended, you can still enroll and take the course on a self-paced basis.
1. Essentials of Entrepreneurship: Thinking and Action
Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? This course from the University of California, Irvine Continuing Education department, will introduce you to the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, including the entrepreneurial process and how to recognize business opportunities. The goal is for people with little to no knowledge of entrepreneurship to emerge with tools they can use to assess their readiness to start their own business.
2. Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies: The First Step in Entrepreneurship
This course, which was rated the top entrepreneurship course and one of the top three business courses offered by massive open online course (MOOC) provider Coursera, is perfect for those who may have a great idea, but don’t have a business background. As the first course in Coursera’s “Entrepreneurship: Launching an Innovative Business” specialization, and as a general introduction to entrepreneurship, industry, and markets, it is well worth a few hours of your time.
3. Entrepreneurship 101: Who Is Your Customer?
“You have an idea for a product, but do you know who will want to buy it?” That’s the fundamental question explored in this course, which is offered by MIT on the edX MOOC platform. In this course, you will explore case studies of real MIT entrepreneurs, as well as perform various exercises that will help you identify and select the right customers for your business.
4. Degreed’s Entrepreneurship Learning Pathway
This is not a course per se, but rather a curated collection of articles and videos from resources around the web. It is organized into 12 self-paced lessons, starting with an overview of entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurship process, and progressing through various foundational topics and practical applications.
5. How to Build a Startup
What better way to learn about entrepreneurship than from a successful entrepreneur? This course is taught by Steve Blank, who has built several Silicon Valley startups, authored two books on entrepreneurship, and teaches around the world. In this course, you will learn about the Customer Development Process, which teaches entrepreneurs how to develop and test their ideas using data from real customers.
6. Thinking Outside the Box: Creative Entrepreneurship
Creativity and its partner-in-crime, innovation, are two of the hottest in-demand skills today, especially for entrepreneurs. As the business landscape changes and new ideas and technologies disrupt the status quo, creative thinking is what distinguishes the winners from the less successful. This six-week course will lead you on a journey from developing creative habits to applying those habits to an entrepreneurial project.
7. DQ101: Introduction to Decision Quality
The ability to make good decisions is one of the hallmarks of a successful businessperson, and a successful leader. Decision Quality (DQ) is a practical tool that entrepreneurs can apply to help them make better decisions in all aspects of their business, and their lives. Whether you are just starting out or are a seasoned veteran of running a business, this course can help you learn how to improve your decision-making process.
8. Design Thinking for Innovative Problem Solving: A Step by Step Project Course
Design thinking is another idea that has taken the business world by storm. This powerful approach to problem-solving can help you better connect with your customers and drive meaningful innovation in your company. During this eight-week course, you will apply the entire design thinking process—from brainstorming to prototyping, to testing your prototype—to solve a real problem facing your business.
9. New Venture Finance: Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs
Many would-be entrepreneurs have great ideas, but don’t have any clue how to get those ideas funded. This short (four-week) course will introduce you to the vocabulary of investment and teach you how “speak the language of raising start-up capital.” You will also learn how to create an investor pitch that will put you on a good track toward raising the funding your business needs.
10. Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship: Pitching Your Business and Yourself
This course provides a short introduction to what makes an entrepreneur, and to how entrepreneurs can tell their stories so that they can attract both funding and customers. As a final project, you will make a 1-minute video elevator pitch for your business and yourself. This course is offered through Skillshare, and you have the choice of either just watching the videos (free) or paying $8 per month for the full course experience.
11. How to Develop Breakthrough Products and Services
Finally, this graduate-level course is for the more advanced entrepreneur who is seeking the skills to develop “major innovations.” It teaches the user innovation paradigm, which is an innovation process that focuses on the needs of the end user. The courseware lets you work through the materials at your own pace, with readings, video lectures, and assignments from the actual course, which was taught at MIT in 2012.
Whether you are a student studying business, a new entrepreneur just starting out, or someone who has been in the game for a while, it is always a good time for you to enhance your knowledge and upgrade your skills. Whether you choose to read books, take free online courses, or join a local entrepreneurs group, the most important thing is that you never stop learning.
best free courses for starting your own business
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From binge-watching TED talks to online learning, if you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll find that the web is filled with resources aimed at helping you do your job in the best way possible.
Keeping a busy schedule in mind, each of these free online courses for small business owners will allow you to level up on your business management skills at your own pace and without worrying about making a big investment.
1. Increase your productivity and achieve business success
A great part of achieving business success comes down to being as organized and effective as possible. With this in mind, The Balance Small Business offers its Business Success Course, which includes a variety of time, task and team managing skills to help you gain an upper edge as an entrepreneur.
Through several lessons and practical exercises, students can learn at their own pace. Important skills such as delegating or networking are covered. But it also takes things a step further and focused on things like building self-confidence.
Everyone knows a confident business owner is the one who will take their message and brand further. Marketing Strategies for Small BusinessA comprehensive list of essential marketing tips and strategies that will entice old and new customers to come to your small business.
2. Marketing strategy
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Open Courseware is a tremendous resource for business owners and entrepreneurs to go through. Its long list of Entrepreneurship Courses includes so much material is hard to choose just one.
Fortunately, they’re all for free so a bit of allotted time is all you need to continue growing as a boss. Our personal favorite is perhaps the Marketing Strategy course, aimed at helping you develop a successful marketing plan that connects directly to your business goals.
Hello, competitive advantage!
3. Learning the basics – and not so basics of Excel
Managing Excel properly is a tremendous skill any business owner should be able to master. However, since this is often not the case, Udemy offers a myriad of Free Excel Courses and Tutorials for learners of all levels.
Don’t forget to look through the rest of their catalog though. It’s comprised of all sorts of online courses for small business owners. They’re affordably priced and available to be completed whenever fits your schedule.
4. Selling your business
How are your business closing skills? In case they need a little upkeep, the U.S. Small Business Administration provides a great free online course on Selling Your Business.
In just 30 minutes you’ll go through basics such as defining a business exit strategy, preparing a sales agreement, and of course, successfully closing a business.
Keep this website bookmarked, as the Learning Center is filled with course topics aimed at helping you through every stage of the entrepreneurial path. From planning and launching to managing and growing your business – it’s all covered.
5. Accounting and financial management
Thanks to EdX’s free online finance and financial accounting courses, you’re now able to learn from institutions as creditable as Columbia, Maryland, and Babson.
The Accounting and Financial Management course, in particular, is a deep look at reading and understanding your finances. So if you need some additional guidance when it comes to managing costs and making proper financial decisions, it’s the one for you!
6. Content marketing from the experts
HubSpot Academy is already one of the most recognized names when it comes to online training for anything marketing, sales and customer service related. Their Content Marketing free online course for small business owners will give you a thorough look at what this is and how to do it.
The bite-sized lessons offer a great deal of information comprised of 12 sections that should only take you around 6 hours to complete. Squeeze it into your calendar if you’re looking to stand out in the online world. 22 Ingenious Social Media Marketing Tips from the ExpertsSocial media marketing is an absolute must for all businesses. So we decided to ask some business experts about their best social media marketing tips.
7. Introduction to social media advertising
One of the most powerful ways to connect to your customers these days goes through social media. At this point, there’s simply no excuse for not having a proper social media planning and management.
Buffer’s Introduction To Social Media Advertising is everything you need to get that strategy going and succeeding.
Shared through SkillShare, this class will teach you all the key terms to know. Learn to better set your campaign goals, define your audience segments and optimizing your campaigns for long-term success.
8. SEO training course
SEO looks at a website’s internal and external aspects. Optimizing it in a way that allows it to reach the top of search engine marketing results is the goal. If you didn’t really understand the term before reading this, then Moz’s free SEO Training Course should go straight to your to-do list.
Whether you want to manage your own website’s optimization or be better prepared to look for an external agency, this course will walk you through everything.
Become better acquainted with strategy development, site audits, keyword research basics and reporting.
9. Leadership skills in business
Being a business owner isn’t simply a title, but something that you learn how to do effectively. Alison’s Leadership Skills In Business free online course for small business owners is aimed at doing just that.
Regardless of how long you’ve been in the rat race, developing your leadership skills is a promising sign of success.
Through this course’s lessons, students will improve their team managing skills. You’ll learn how to better create an organizational structure while also taking into consideration the ethics of it all.
10. Supply chain sustainability
These days, having an effective and efficient supply chain comes down to also making it a sustainable one. This is precisely what Open Learn’s free Supply Chain Sustainability course is aimed at.
The course tackles the environmental side of things along with social, financial and network sustainability.
Make sure to view the rest of Open Learn’s free course catalog too. Their Money & Business category is a tremendously appreciated resource for entrepreneurs looking to better manage their brand.
While most entrepreneurs and small business owners understand the importance of learning, some are naive to the concept.
Whether you have a business idea, are working from your home, or have just started your career as an entrepreneur, getting the right knowledge before entering the market is necessary.
It can give you an upper hand and can help you avoid big blunders right at the start.
If you agree and are looking for the best online courses to take before opening a small business, you will find the following list useful.
I’ve put together 15 best courses for small business owners offered by professionals and experienced entrepreneurs to help you get a smooth kickstart.
Why do you need an online course to start a small business?
Before we get into my list of the best courses for business, let us discuss why these classes are necessary for those who are new to this idea and unaware of its importance.
It gives you an idea of what’s coming!
More often than not, most small business owners don’t know what’s coming their way when they start their brand.
They are entirely oblivious to the challenges associated with entrepreneurship and are nowhere near prepared to handle them.
Thus, when an issue or confusion arises, it gets quite overwhelming and can quickly intermediate the business owner.
Taking the right course before getting into entrepreneurship can help you avoid these moments of intimidation.
It helps you understand the requirements and essentials of a startup.
If you don’t know the basic necessities and requirements to start your own small business, taking an online course will help you. It will answer questions such as where to start from, what you need, the investments, the infrastructure, the initial charges, expenses, and much more.
It saves you from making blunders right in the beginning.
Not being aware of the basics of a business can lead to big blunders right at the start.
These blunders can ruin your journey before it even started. Having the right know-how and proper knowledge can help you avoid these blunders and make you go up the success scale smoothly.
It helps you convince investors and partners.
Most investors and dealers are reluctant to invest their money into a business owned by a naive entrepreneur. Having a degree or a certificate that you have what it takes to run a business and make it thrive can convince your investors and partners to jump on board with you.Suggested Reads
Now that we have established how and why these courses are necessary let’s look into a list of the best online courses to take for opening a small business.
This list consists of 15 different options available under various price ranges, and each is conducted by a professional, an expert, or an experienced entrepreneur.
1. Become a Small Business Owner (Online Course by LinkedIn Learning)
This online course affairs 11 hours and 15 minutes of content on LinkedIn.
It guarantees information that will help you learn everything about startup businesses. It includes details regarding the basics, the complications, and what you need to be prepared for.
It also includes an understanding of the responsibilities associated with entrepreneurship. These essential duties and aspects include the legal, operational, and financial sides of the business.
What’s great about this LinkedIn course is that it mainly focuses on starting a business alone or with friends and family. It is supposed to help you build a business model and then develop a plan accordingly. This way, you can create a business that will thrive and be legally legitimate.
You can choose to go for a monthly or an annual subscription, each costing $29.99 and $19.99 a month, respectively.
If you’re not sure yet, you can even choose to go for a one-month free trial.
In return for a subscription, you will be able to access more than 16,000 online courses, get a personalized course recommendation, earn a certificate at the end of the course, and much more.
You can also easily access this course on your computer or phone, or download the mobile app to view it offline with ease.
2. Start a profitable business online by Lewis Howes
Lewis Howes is a successful business entrepreneur and a podcast host.
Together, Lewis, James Wedmore, and Derek Halpern offer to teach you everything about a profitable online business.
This particular class offers step-by-step information about the entire process of creating, launching, and developing a successful online business.
Lewis Howes’ courses about business will teach you about developing a sellable product, practical strategies that help your business grow, and the tools you need for online marketing.
You will learn about strategic, experimented, and recommended methods by experts and professionals worldwide during the class.
Plus, Lewis and his fellow instructors will tell you about their personal experiences and their business journey.
They will discuss proven strategies that helped them. This way, you can gain inspiration and motivation from their words.
The entire course consists of 14 lessons and 21 class materials.
A total of 28.4K people are taking this class right now, and you can be a part of them. You can either buy the course for $149 or get a pass starting at $13 a month.
The creator pass will help you unlock a library of more than 1500 classes on the platform.
3. Facebook Blueprint – learn new marketing skills with free online courses
Facebook for business has some of the best online courses for small business owners.
Facebook blueprint is one of the free online business training for advertising on Facebook.
Now, you might be thinking why this online course is even necessary. I’ll tell you why.
You see, Facebook is one of the top social media platforms in the world right now. A massive population of the world is present on Facebook.
If you want to grow an online business, you must learn the practical and efficient marketing skills on this platform, and Facebook blueprint will help you do just that.
Sunset launched in 2015 over 2 million enthusiastic entrepreneurs have enrolled, completed, and gotten their Facebook blueprint certificates.
This certification proves and shows that you have all the professional knowledge about Facebook advertising and are now a certified expert by Facebook.
But that’s not all! You can also learn online content marketing basics and the best practices on various platforms, including Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Oculus.
The featured courses on the platform include essential guides to Facebook ads, creating Facebook pages and Facebook page posts, advertising on Instagram, and much more.
4. How to Build an Online Business Empire From Scratch (Free web class by Lady Boss aka Kaelin)
Kaelin has a rather inspiring story, which is why over a million people trust her to help them with their entrepreneurship.
According to her, Kaelin was a “flat-broke, newbie entrepreneur” when she launched her online business. And she didn’t need any fancy pieces of equipment or substantial investments. Instead, she started right from her kitchen table without any product or tech experience whatsoever.
In 2013, Kaelin and her husband, Brandon, decided to take a leap of faith. They invested all of their money in an online business. This online business included weight loss supplements, digital services, and merchandise for women of all ages.
Her entire business focused on helping women love themselves and reduce weight. In less than three years, Kaelin changed the lives of over 1.3 million women worldwide.
This particular story has inspired millions of people and still does the job well. If you visit her website, Lady Boss Movement, you can get a free pass to access free online on-demand training.
This training is free of cost, but the downside is that it is only available for 48 hours. On Kaelin’s website, you will also find different funnels, including clothing funnels, supplement funnels, coaching funnels, and more.
5. Start a Social Media Marketing Agency by Tai Lopez
Tai Lopez is a film producer and a professional internet marketer. And apart from living a lavish lifestyle, he runs his website and teaches millions of people how to start their marketing agency.
He educates people about different strategies and techniques to get hired by small businesses. Till now, his programs have over 700 success stories and more than 35,000 members.
This success rate shows that the techniques given by Tai Lopez are tested and evidence-based, so they are proven to work.
His latest project, The Social Media Marketing Agency 2.0, is a complete guide, including hone scripts and emails that will help you get clients and the newest social media marketing strategies bound to work.
These social media platforms include Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.
The Social Media Marketing Agency 2.0 is a 4-month training program with ongoing live calls and official certification with one-year access.
Its total cost is $997, or you can pay the price in three installments of $497 each.
6. Instagram Marketing for small business owners by Sue Zimmerman
Sue B. Zimmerman is a ray of sunshine! You will see why I say so when you visit her profile on Creative Live.
Sue is an online business promotional expert, and she is a pro at Instagram for business.
Currently, she teaches business executives, marketing professionals, and entrepreneurs how to use Instagram for their benefit. Her online classes include insta-results and insta-expert.
Plus, she has also written an e-book on Instagram basics and founded Sue B. Do and Sue B. Zimmerman Enterprise.
Sue’s online courses are designed to help you get access to 20 video lessons, all in HD quality, 4 hours and 23 minutes of valuable class content, and lifetime access from anywhere and anytime.
Plus, you get the option to offline sync with your iPhone or your iPad applications. You can also stream on your desktop or your mobile with ease.
The class will teach you the best practices and essential lessons on Instagram branding and content marketing, such as the algorithm, content, feed, Instagram stories, links, hashtag research, and much more.
Sue has more than 31,000 students, and 95% of her following recommend her class to other online entrepreneurs. Her on-demand course costs $49.
7. Start your own e-commerce store by Tai Lopez
I know we just discussed Tai Lopez, but trust me, he’s that good! This e-commerce course is for entrepreneurs who want to sell their products online without going through the frustrating low-profit phase.
Tai Lopez will teach you how to launch your new ventures on the Internet successfully or take your existing business higher up the ladder.
From behind the scenes to valuable insights and tips and tricks from his own experience, Tai will give you the best knowledge that you need if you want to make sure your online store thrives.
The online training sessions are free and exclusive, and you can reserve a seat by going on to their website.
8. Small Business Management Course Online (Free Courses by Future Learn)
Future Learn offers what the name suggests: online learning for the future.
It’s nothing philosophical; I mean that the platform offers courses and classes that help you understand what the future business industry expects and how you should be prepared.
The website offers more than ten different categories of classes and 177 courses for entrepreneurs that you can take.
These include data analytics, social media, entrepreneurship, innovation, marketing, professional development, and much more. You can keep browsing to find a course that fits your profession and requirements.
Each course describes the topics that it will cover, the course duration, and the study hours you will need every week.
The platform has several free sessions to join and some exclusive benefits that you can access if you pay a few bucks ($44, to be precise).
You can learn from experts that come from the leading universities and organizations of the world.
These include the British council, Monash University, Johns Hopkins, The King’s College London, and many more.
9. Cardone University by Grant Cardone
Cardone University offers more than 800 video courses and unlimited access to ointment classes and an in-house coaching team.
You will learn reigniting a business’s sales in a down economy, staying positive about your business every day, winning business and running a remote team, and scaling your business while not letting go of the profit.
If you’re interested in all this information and much more, go onto the Cardone University website to schedule a call or start a free trial.
However, the best feature that helps this platform stand out is the 24/7 Cardone team support.
This particular part of the website is what most of its clients rave about. To this day, more than 45 million people have taken lessons, and the site has more than 200 thousand active users.
10. Knowledge Society for Small Business Owners
According to Knowledge Society, their one-day certification program teaches you more than any college degree would. Now that is a big claim!
Once you land on their platform, you can sign up for courses for entrepreneurs in various niches, including digital marketing, real estate, public speaking, and many more.
If you want to go ahead and be a part of this society, you can start your journey with a $1 3-day trial.
If you like it and wish to learn more, you can stick around and become a permanent member. The process involves three steps: setting up an account with your email and a password, choosing a plan, and setting up your payment methods.
There are two plans to choose from: annual and monthly.
Knowledge Society is $1 for the first three days and $59 a year. In contrast, the monthly plan will cost you $1 for every three days and $7 a month.
However, each of these points allows you to watch the course on your tablet, phone, TV, or laptop, gives you unlimited access, exclusive videos with trips and tricks, and the ability to cancel whenever you want.
11. U.S Startup & Small Business Registration and Business Law
This one is another specific course for startup and small businesses. However, this is more particular to the legal aspects of entrepreneurship.
It teaches you all about registration, intellectual property protection, incorporation, hiring, online privacy, and contracts.
Sometimes, newbie entrepreneurs don’t realize how vital these things are and how essential it is to take care of these details right from the start.
Starting a business is a lot more than just making a product and selling it. If you don’t take care of your business’s legal aspects, you can get into big trouble.
This part is where an online course, such as this one, can help you avoid significant blunders and long-term legal problems.
Specifically, the course teaches you all about understanding business registration, business administration, business operations, as well as the laws and regulations regarding hiring and firing your employees.
It includes the know-how of hiring good lawyers, understanding how to protect yourself legally, and differences between trademarks and copyrights. What’s more? You can learn all of this for approximately $20.
12. How to Start Your Own Business by Michigan State University
More than 12000 people have already enrolled in this class, and so you want to know why?
Because Forest S. Carter guarantees to teach you how to start your own business by being realistic and demystifying the process of creating a business.
While there are many people and sources on the Internet that tell you how to do this, only some people tell you the real deal. And this is the kind of information that you need.
Forest promises to give you just that. This course for business offers a shareable certificate, a flexible schedule, and you don’t need any prior experience to join in.
The whole class is beginner-friendly, in easy English, and will take approximately eight months to complete with 4 study hours a week.
13. The Complete Business Plan Course for Small Business Owners by Chris Haroun
Chris Haroun is a successful entrepreneur and an award-winning online business school professor. He walks you through the process of making a great business plan that you can implement to make sure your business thrives.
In this course, Chris will teach you how to create a business plan from scratch, creating the perfect executive summary write up, understanding how to take your business to the next level, creating the ideal cover page, and much more.
This course also has a bonus content that involves creating an incredible startup presentation with 25 presentation templates. All this, in approximately $135.
14. Entrepreneurship – From Ideas to Reality (Free Course by Open University)
If you wish to launch your startup business and have specific ideas that you want to turn into reality, consider this course by Open Learn.
It consists of 8 different sessions, each of which has a valuable set of content to help you make your business grow.
If you want to access advanced features such as the progress tracker, course reviews, and participation statement, you can create an account on the platform.
There are plenty of free online courses available on the platform as well.
15. Business Communication (Free Classes by Open University)
Last but not least is this free course that teaches you everything about business communication.
It aims to enhance and improve your writing skills as a business person.
This Open University course will take you through the process step-by-step with crystal clear instructions and advice.
By signing up, you will learn about business operations, how to write recommendations, understand what a SWOT analysis is, its framework and analyze it, and understand the strengths, opportunities, threats, weaknesses, and much more.