Entrepreneurs are generally curious, driven, and have a knack for learning on the job. Passion alone can take your business far. But eventually you’re bound to bump up against your own limits. It’s possible that you need to continue to sharpen your skills to realize the full potential of your business. In fact, recognizing your weak spots early on and addressing them through ongoing education and training will prepare your business for the challenges ahead.
So where do you struggle? Do you have difficulty finding good talent, or do your eyes glaze over when your accountant asks questions? Are you having trouble managing conflict on your team, or do you need some inspiration to help you plan promotions? Here are 5 common areas entrepreneur classes cover, plus tips on how to keep your skills current with lifelong learning.
HR education for entrepreneurs
If you only have a few minutes to prepare for a business task like hiring your first employee, firing someone who isn’t working out, or learning about personnel record-keeping checking out a blog for small businesses (like Clover’s) will help answer your questions quickly. But if you have a few more minutes and want to learn the skills you’ll need as your business grows, here are a few entrepreneurial classes covering typical HR tasks.
- Introduction to Human Resources [30 min webinar]
- Small business employee recruitment and retention [30 min webinar]
- Employee empowerment strategies you can try tomorrow [30 min webinar]
- How to establish an effective chain of communication between the front-and back-of-house [30 min webinar]
- How to avoid and deal with sexual harassment [60 min webcast]
- HR 101 for new managers [60 min paid intensive webinar]
- Getting your business ready for the end of the year [30 min webinar]
Entrepreneurship marketing & sales education
Nothing gets a business going like a good promotion, which makes marketing and sales some of the most powerful skills entrepreneurs can learn. If you’re completely new to marketing and sales, start with the basic classes offered by the government:
- Sales for small businesses [30 min webinar]
- Social media marketing [30 min webinar]
- Marketing 101 [30 min webinar]
If you have a little more experience, try some of these more advanced lifelong learning classes:
- Hubspot academy marketing & sales courses
- 5 ways your business can rock the holidays [Webinar]
- Free Entrepreneurial marketing graduate course from MIT
Business development classes for small businesses
At least once a year you’ll want to take a step back from the day-to-day business and think about your long-term strategy. Whether you do a basic business plan or a complete SWOT analysis, here are some great courses for entrepreneurs to help you get started.
- How to write a business plan [30 min webinar]
- Use your point-of-sale inventory to grow profitably [30 min webinar]
- How brick-and-mortar retailers can compete in the digital age [30 min webinar]
- Understand SWOT analysis [30 min course on strategy and risk management]
- How to take charge of your online reviews [30 min webinar]
Finance and accounting business education for small businesses
While apps like DAVO Sales Tax, Payroll and Quickbooks can really simplify the day-to-day accounting, it pays to have a basic understanding of finance and accounting so you can track your most important expenses and pay your taxes on time.
- Introduction to accounting [30 min webinar]
- Sales tax tripwires for restaurants (and how to avoid them) [30 min webinar]
- Small business taxes
- Fundamentals of finance and accounting [Webinar series]
General training & entrepreneur classes
Customer service, boosting productivity and keeping your business secure are just a few of the skills entrepreneurs need to keep sharp. Consider taking these entrepreneur classes to better manage difficult situations.
- Understanding your customer [30 min webinar]
- Customer service [30 min webinar]
- Introduction to pricing [30 min webinar]
- Cybersecurity for small businesses [30 min webinar]
- Entrepreneurial operations: Launching a startup [4-week, free online course]
- 5 Tasks that can steal time from your business [Webinar]
- 5 Choices to extraordinary productivity [60 min Webinar]
- The simple way to get through to difficult people [60 min Webinar]
4 more ways to beef up your entrepreneurial business education
1. Check out your local library. While not all libraries are big enough to offer services to small businesses, libraries will often partner to offer programs available for all of their patrons. For example, if you live in a large city, such as New York City, you are likely eligible to participate in any of events designed for small businesses throughout the city. Other libraries offer their patrons access to online training such as Lynda.com. Check with your local librarian to see what you’re eligible to attend for free.
2. Find a mentor. If you’re a franchise, investigate whether there are any training or mentoring opportunities available to you. If you’re on your own, check out your local chamber of commerce to see if there are free training events or networking opportunities to help you find a mentor.
3. Associations. There are many associations such as SCORE, VISTAGE, or Startup Grind that offer opportunities to learn and network with other entrepreneurs in your area. Want more ideas? Check out this list of associations that offer resources to entrepreneurs.
4. Ask a master. Looking for specific training in your particular niche? Try finding an apprenticeship through the Department of Labor or use social media to post questions for other entrepreneurs in your area.
Don’t forget that training yourself on these tasks can be a great way to improve business and strengthen your weaknesses, but it’s not the only solution. You can also hire competent staff to complement your skillset or shore up your business with apps that make business easier. Clover’s App Market is filled with solutions to help make planning and running your business a little easier.
Clover is sold by leading U.S. banks including Bank of America, BBVA, Citi, PNC, SunTrust and Wells Fargo. You’ll also find Clover at our trusted partners including CardConnect, Restaurant Depot, and Sam’s Club. For more information, visit us at clover.com.