Thinking about taking some classes to sharpen your skills? You’re in luck. A wide range of online courses are available. Many are offered at a low cost; some are free. The key is to stick with classes that will help grow your business. Learn more about online courses and one high-value subject area to put near the top of your class list.
The Babson Survey Research Group reports that 5.8 million people are taking at least one online class. It’s a trend that’s been consistently growing for over a decade now.
And it’s not just colleges and universities that are offering them. Nontraditional providers have opened shop too. Founded in 1995, Lynda.com now offers over 6,000 video courses taught by industry experts. While udemy has been offering online classes to adult professionals since 2009.
For small business owners, online classes offer flexibility. You can learn on your own time and still run your business. Some classes even give you the option to start at any time. You don’t have to wait for the semester to begin.
With all the classes to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Start by focusing on subject areas that are likely to provide the biggest impact. In other words, which skill areas will help you grow your business quickly?
One area to consider is communication. Think about it. Skilled communicators provide better customer service. They can relate better to the suppliers and the contractors they work with. They are better at articulating their value proposition to potential lenders or prospects using the marketing materials they create. And they’re able to unite their staff to work toward a common goal.
There are a number of learning outlets that provide online training in a number of communication topics. Here are some to consider (in alphabetical order):
Alison – Offers free online classes that target business communication skills including interpersonal communication, presentation skills, and professional writing.
coursera – Offers over 800 online courses in communication. Search their catalog for “communication skills.” Taught by university staff. It includes video lectures and community discussion forums. Prices range from $29 to $99.
edX – Founded by Harvard and MIT, this open source platform provides free classes in communication taught by leading universities, nonprofits, and institutions.
Lynda.com – Markets classes on topics like training to communicate with customers and employees, craft compelling business plans and proposals, and skills training for difficult situations, such as managing conflict or working remotely. Cost starts at $20 a month.
udemy – Offers a wide variety of communication classes including: The Art of Negotiation, Pitching Your Business, and Improving Public Speaking Skills. Cost varies by class, some as low as $20.
Grow your business by improving areas that have a far-reaching impact—like communication skills. Learn at your own speed by taking advantage of these online learning sites offering extensive communication topics.