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Free Online Courses for Small Business Owners

December 2, 2014 | Jennifer Goodwyn

Taking the time to work on essential business skills seems unachievable for many small-to-medium sized business owners; between red tape, legislation, payroll, and bookkeeping, the effort required for further education can seem impossible to fit into your already busy schedule. In order to stay ahead of the curve, continually gaining new skills is vital. Now, thanks to free online courses and in-depth classes on entrepreneurship, business management and finance, and marketing, small business owners can educate themselves without ever having to leave the office. Here's some free online courses small-to-medium sizes business owners should consider.

Entrepreneurship 101

These classes are designed to help you get your business off the ground: from choosing the right industry and creating a business plan to finding and attracting the right investors, these courses will walk you through the beginning stage of your business. Ideal for those who are new to entrepreneurship, these courses focus on the basics and should be skipped by those with a bit of start-up experience.

Finance and Accounting

Managing the financial aspect of a small business can be confusing, especially if it's something you've never done before. Between spreadsheets and cash flow, it's easy to lose track of money and set your company up for a financial disaster. Mostly designed with non-accountants in mind, these classes will walk you through the essentials of business finance and accounting.

Business Marketing

Whether you work in a virtual office or brick-and-mortar store, it's tough getting your new business noticed, especially if you don't know the basics of marketing. These courses, workshops, and resources will show you how to market your business in an online space – remember to take notes, as business marketing is a crucial part of getting your new business off the ground.


Technology is a crucial aspect of virtually any business, even if you don't work in a virtual office. While it may seem daunting at first, technology as a whole is designed to make our lives easier. With an entire suite of technology created with small business owners in mind, these online courses can help you get in touch with your inner geek.

Whether you take one class or a few, any ‘new' information can help small business owners succeed in the marketplace. Additionally, many major education start-ups, like Coursera and Udacity, offer free entrepreneurship classes taught by industry pioneers from Silicon Valley. If you're interested in gaining access to valuable knowledge without the fees or time constraints, visit any of the above links.