Have you come across a situation in your business that you didn’t have the answer to? Did you realize this lack of knowledge could lead to potential fallout with clients and business partners if you don’t do something about it? Those moments are the first step to learning: making the choice to fill your knowledge gaps when you identify them.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for years, here are some professional development avenues that could take your expertise to greater heights. [Learn more about continuing education as a business owner.]
1. Corporate law
Understanding the laws, rules and regulations around corporation formation, ownership, operation and management is crucial in any business. Corporate law classes can provide the important information you want as a business owner and entrepreneur.
These classes will cover the basics of business law when dealing with small businesses, franchises and entrepreneurial endeavors. The course material covers contracts, intellectual property rights, tax responsibilities, employee rights, and other important topics.
FYI: Corporate law classes can also be helpful in learning the important factors you may need to consider before deciding to leave your company and start your own business venture.
2. Corporate finance techniques
Corporate finance is the collective group of financial activities integral to running a business. The point of these finances is to maximize your profit and add value to your business. Training courses in corporate finance will cover financial accounting, financial planning and management, risks and returns, debt and equity raising, and other topics.
A good corporate finance course will help business owners and entrepreneurs understand their company’s financial situations and goals as well as develop the necessary skills needed to meet those goals. You can often find financial techniques from successful professionals online in professional networks.
3. Goal setting
To help your business succeed into the future, you must set realistic and attainable goals to achieve and grow from. Whether your goal is to open up your own branch of business or grow your profits by 20% in the next year, you need to identify the steps it will take to reach that goal (which are also goals).
Online courses on goal setting can focus on reflecting and reassessing your goals, creating realistic plans, recognizing problems with traditional goal setting, objectives and key results, and other topics.
4. Speaker training
Perhaps one of the most important tools to have in your business arsenal is knowing how to speak to employees, clients and partners. Speaking is one of the most integral skills your business can rely on to succeed. Whether it’s making sales, pitching a new idea, marketing a new product, or boosting the morale of your employees, speaking courses can help you find a clear, smart and confident voice in your business dealings.
Though many people – even successful business leaders– fear public speaking, online public speaking courses can help teach you how to calm your nerves, use body language to your advantage, and improve persuasion techniques.
5. Interactive whiteboarding
Interactive whiteboarding in the professional world involves considering and discussing multiple employees’ perspectives and ideas in a collaborative environment. Whiteboarding for managers running a meeting or pitching new ideas makes the experience more interactive. Digital whiteboard platforms are available for businesses to utilize together in real-time (regardless of their locations) and will update changes to the cloud for all team members to access.
6. Mastering press opportunities
Partnering with bigger brands, pitching to publications and holding contests are ways newer entrepreneurs can get their businesses into the press. More established businesses who are looking to grow successful press opportunities and working relationships should search for courses to help them understand their target audience, how to pitch themselves, and how to ensure their branding is credible and up to date.
Three-module courses like Mastering the Media can teach you how to have successful interviews and look your best on camera. This class will test you on the knowledge you learned throughout the course.
7. Global expansion
Fast-growing companies may consider global expansion as the next step in their business plan; this means they are considering overseas markets to expand their brand. While going overseas may seem like the next step, it is important to establish entry and exit strategies prior to expansion, find the right talent for the job, embrace flexibility in changing markets, and do the research needed.
Expanding to a new market is never a bad idea, but doing so without the right precautions and plans in place could be detrimental to a new or already-established business.
8. Employee psychology
Knowing more about the psychology of those around you can be a huge benefit for your business. Courses can help you learn about human behavior, motivations and attitudes at work; the psychology behind leadership; personnel selection, training, and assessment; as well as communication, conflict resolution and negotiation. Specifically, the psychology of entrepreneurship can help you understand the link between human behavior and business. Psychology courses can also help you understand the different types of entrepreneurs, like innovators and opportunists.
9. Exiting bad partnerships
If you realize a business partnership is no longer serving your company’s best interest, how do you end it without ruining the relationship – and your reputation? Keeping amiability in mind, it is best to prepare with a well-rounded business contract, adopt a professional manner when weighing the benefits of buyout and share the costs of dissolving the business.
Bottom Line: While a “break-up” in the business world could feel like a blow to your ego, failed partnerships are often the first step toward becoming successful.
10. Video creation and editing
As the world becomes more visual, it is important for your business to have the video creation and editing skills necessary to succeed – especially when it comes to digital marketing. Learning online video content strategies may be the best first step for beginners just getting started in the video world. If you already have video skills, a course about video production and business growth could take your business to the next level.
On the flip side of creation, video editing is just as important as creating the video. The editing process will also be where you determine if your video works for marketing or if it isn’t worth publishing.
11. Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing involves someone of notoriety who has influence over others working with a company to promote a product or service. In today’s world, those influencers are found on social media. Influencers can help grow your business’s success, depending on the relationship you establish with them. Paid influencers will be more inclined to promote your business via their social media channels.
FYI: Influencer marketing will continue to grow because more people are becoming influencers, marketing agencies are growing in popularity, there are more content options than ever, and influencers continue to garner trust with their followers.
Why entrepreneurs should never stop learning
Business landscapes are constantly changing. Entrepreneurs who continue to seek out knowledge and add skills to their repertoire will stay ahead of their competition. These people will also become more creative and innovative over time, while also creating a larger professional network with classmates they meet along the way.
Additional reporting by Scott Gerber.