Excited to share with you all the free small business courses that have helped me launch and grow my business. But firs, a little background. Educators raised me. My mom teaches Biology on a high school and college level. My dad is a professor of Human Resources.
Educators raised me. My mom teaches Biology on a high school and college level. My dad is a professor of Human Resources.
Being raised by overachievers has it’s ups and downs. Down? Being forced to read every day, even when I didn’t want to.
The up? Their discipline has made me what I am today. Their strong belief in “lifelong learning,” literally shaped my destiny.
Reading and learning was as fundamental as eating dinner in my house. If I didn’t know something, I was taught to figure it out first before asking. This was waaaaaay before Google.
Thanks for their continued encouragement to be curious and to teach myself, I am where I am today. The whole reason you are reading this blog all started because of my parent’s passion for learning.
So you can understand my frustration when I hear so many entrepreneurs blame a lack of resources or education as a reason why that can’t reach their goals.
If you don’t know how to run and market a business, for God’s sake, stop making excuses and start learning. There is NO excuse to not know something with the amount of information at our fingertips.
As a result of making learning a priority, I am proud to say that this month marks 11 years that I’ve been a marketing consultant. I built my business and my client list from scratch, with no business or marketing degree. I was able to sign billion dollar companies like Under Armour Connected Fitness, MyFitnessPal and USPS because I taught myself everything there was to know about digital marketing and branding.
To celebrate, I decided to share my favorite resources and free small business courses that have helped me stay at the top of my field.
Then a surprising thing happened, as I was going through my research, I began to see a trend.
I had self-taught myself into an MBA. That’s right! A DIY MBA utilizing FREE resources and free small business courses.
After I realized what I’d done, I began studying the course lineup in a traditional MBA program and developed my own.
This is DIY curriculum is a work in progress that I will regularly be updating, so please comment below if you know of any additional opportunities that would fit into each category.
18 Free Small Business Courses
Introduction to Accounting by the US SBA: This quick 30-minute course gives you a basic understanding of small business accounting including cash flow and income statements, balance sheets, and accounting worksheets.
IRS Business Video Training Library: Yes, the IRS provides very detailed business training videos to help you navigate business taxes. Hint? Spend time and watch them all. They will come in very handy, even if you hire an accountant to do the work.
Also, see the business management section for an edx course that covers accounting and finances in more detail.
Business Management by edx: his in-depth self-taught course can last between 5 to 9 weeks and covers the basics of how to manage and run a successful business including accounting, finance, marketing, operations, people management and strategy. Hint? Once you sign up, choose to audit the course for free and get full access to course materials.
Also, see the Strategic Management Course by Allison in the Business Strategy section below.
Foundation of Business Strategy by Udemy: One of my favorite free small business courses, this curriculum dives deep into strategic analysis from a competitive point of view. The course delves into fundamentals on how to position your business for success.
Strategic Management by Alison: This free online course goes through the strategic practices and procedures needed to achieve business goals. You will learn how to develop a mission statement and a strategic plan. It also covers decision making, strategic management, competitiveness, risk, flexibility, strategy analysis, and more.
Entrepreneurship Through the Lens of Venture Capital by Stanford: Straight from the IVY League school, this audio course explores startup from a venture capital point of view including funding, managing and scaling a business. Topics also include value equation, board management, market strategy, company culture, and hyper growth.
Principles of Microeconomics by MIT: Not my favorite course, but very much needed. This course will help you get an overall understanding of microeconomics including the basic concepts, supply and demand, theories, competition, and more. This curriculum is an actual undergraduate course.
Remote Team Management by HubStuff: They call it a guide but don’t be fooled, this is an in-depth course. If you plan on managing a remote team, this is a must read. HubStuff’s 5 part guide goes through everything you need to manage a remote team including accountability, job posting, hiring, outsourcing, project management, communication, and more.
Modern Human Resource Management by Alison: A lot of entrepreneurs like to skip this when learning how to start and run a business, but I think it’s one of the most important things you can learn. Here’s why. To be able to survive you have to delegate. Delegation means freedom. You can’t do any of that without learning how to create systems, hire the right people, train the, and manage them. This course by Alison teaches you just that plus more.
Fundamentals of Marketing Your Business Online by Google: A free 4 module course about digital marketing for free by Google via Alison. This course will help you get an introductory understanding of digital marketing, shape your strategy for competition, and get the most out of AdWords.
Branding, Content, and Social Media by Ohio State University: This audio course will teach you how to strategically focus on PR online via social media, branding, and content. The best part is that it also shows you mistakes that you can avoid and examples of best practices.
SEO Training Course by Moz: This course via Udemy covers in detail the steps needed to optimize your website for the web including how to build a monthly SEO plan, keyword targeting, link building, and more.
Social Media Marketing by Advance Learning Academy: Here’s a highly recommended social media marketing course taken by over 100K students. The amazing thing about this course is that it leaves no stone unturned. It covers everything from email and affiliate marketing to podcasting and blogging, and of course social media tools like Facebook and Twitter.
A Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing by Shopify: A beautifully designed 15 module video course that covers the basics of content marketing including content marketing plans, tracking codes, content syndication, Facebook ads, and more.
Technology & Info Systems
Complete WordPress Training For Beginners by Eduonix Learning Solutions: This course teaches WordPress from a beginner’s point of view by providing a detailed guide to launching and building a modern blog. Topics include installing WordPress, creating pages and posts, building themes, and more.
HTML & CSS by Codecademy: Everything you see online is the result of HTML and CSS. In a few short years, most employers will require these two syntaxes. If you want to learn the basics, Codeacademy has one of the best free small business courses for coding out there. This course covers the fundamentals of HTML and CSS as well so that you can utilize both to bring a website design to life.
Leadership & Organizational Development
Management Training & Leadership Skills by Master Class Management: Don’t let their basic course page fool you, this is one fantastic in-depth leadership guide that covers the fundamentals of management and leadership.
Success – Achieve Success with Emotional Intelligence by Taylor University and MIT: Staring and running a successful business can be stressful and draining. So much so that many entrepreneurs suffer from depression, suicidal thoughts, irrational fears. This is the last course on my list, but it’s required to live a balanced and healthy life by helping you cultivate skills so that you can achieve success and happiness.
That’s it! My curated DIY Small Business MBA Program. Enjoy and let’s keep this party going.
Comment below and add any free small business courses, tools, and resources that have helped you figure out how to navigate entrepreneurialism.