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Updated May 15, 2024

Forever a Student: 11 Types of Courses That Prepare You for the Future of Business

These professional development courses can help entrepreneurs build new skills and stay competitive in today’s marketplace.

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Sean Peek, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Ownership
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The drive to continue learning can come from anywhere. Whether you’re facing a difficult-to-navigate situation or you’ve identified a personal information gap, these are the first steps to seeking additional knowledge about running your business.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for years, here are some professional development avenues that could expand your expertise. [Learn more about the importance of professional growth.]

Courses to improve business expertise

1. Corporate law

Understanding the laws, rules and regulations surrounding corporation formation, ownership, operation and management is crucial for any business. Corporate law classes can provide the important information you want as a business owner and entrepreneur. 

These classes cover the basics of business law in the context of small businesses, franchises and entrepreneurial endeavors. The course material covers contracts, intellectual property rights, tax responsibilities, employee rights and other important topics. 

FYIDid you know
Corporate law classes can educate you on the important factors you may need to consider before leaving your place of employment to start your own business venture.

2. Corporate finance techniques

Corporate finance is the collective group of financial activities that are integral to running a business. The point of these finances is to maximize your profit and add value to your business. Corporate finance courses cover financial accounting; financial planning and management; risks and returns; debt and equity raising; and other topics. 

A good corporate finance course helps business owners and entrepreneurs understand their company’s financial situations and goals as well as develop the necessary skills needed to meet those goals. 

3. Goal setting

For your business to succeed, you must set realistic and attainable goals. Whether your goal is to open up your own branch of business or grow your profits by 20 percent in the next year, you need to identify the steps it will take to reach that goal. Online courses on goal setting can help you focus on reassessing your goals, creating realistic plans, recognizing problems with traditional goal setting, 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 soft skills you can rely on to succeed. Whether it’s making sales, pitching a new idea, marketing a new product or boosting employee morale, communication courses can help you find a clear, smart and confident voice in your business dealings.

Although 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 meetings 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 update changes in the cloud for all team members to access.

6. Press opportunities

Entrepreneurs leading early-stage businesses can get the word out by partnering with bigger brands, pitching their stories to publications and holding contests. More established businesses that 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.

7. Global expansion

Fast-growing companies may consider global expansion as the next step in their business plan. While going overseas may seem like the next step, it is important to establish entry and exit strategies prior to expansion, as well as to find the right talent for the job, embrace flexibility in changing markets, and do the necessary research.

Expanding to a new market without the right precautions and plans in place could be detrimental to any business.

8. Employee psychology

Knowing more about the psychology of those around you can be a huge benefit for your business. Courses can teach you about human behavior, motivations and attitudes at work; the psychology behind leadership; personnel selection, training and assessment; and communication, conflict resolution and negotiation. Specifically, the psychology of entrepreneurship can help you understand the link between human behavior and business, as well as learn about the different types of entrepreneurs, like innovators and opportunists.

9. Strategies for exiting bad partnerships

If you realize a business partnership no longer serves your company’s best interest, how do you end it without ruining the relationship and your reputation? Keep amiability in mind, prepare a well-rounded business contract, weigh the benefits of a buyout, and understand the costs of dissolving the business.

Did You Know?Did you know
While a breakup in the business world could feel like a blow to your ego, a failed partnership is 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 video creation and editing skills, especially for digital marketing. Learning online video content strategies may be the best first step for beginners. If you already have video skills, a course about video production and business growth could take your business to the next level.

Editing video is just as important as creating it. The editing process will determine if your video works for marketing.

11. Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing involves someone 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 if you develop the right relationship with them. Paid influencers are more likely to promote your business via their social media channels.

FYIDid you know
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 still garner trust with their followers.

Why entrepreneurs should never stop learning

As an entrepreneur and business owner, continuing your education offers many benefits. Here are some of them:

  • Greater creativity: Creativity influences how you approach the world, and new knowledge boosts innovation. Entrepreneurs can apply what they’ve learned to existing challenges, forecast potential business opportunities and prepare for upcoming changes.
  • Potential for higher pay and more opportunities: Building more skills and continuing your professional development are vital for advancing your career. According to the World Economic Forum, 50 percent of the global workforce will need reskilling by 2025, and research from Lightcast indicates that 22 percent of adults who return to school are more likely to achieve upward mobility in their careers, compared with those who don’t return to school.
  • Professional network growth: The right industry connections can yield unexpected opportunities for you and your business. Connecting with your peers and industry experts can go a long way in growing your business and your career.
  • Boosted confidence: According to a SurveyMonkey audience report, 51 percent of the employees surveyed believe additional job training gives them more self-confidence.

Beyond traditional courses, there are many professional development avenues to explore, including joining a networking group for professionals in your field, seeking out a mentor, and attending conferences to learn the latest industry trends and developments. You can also find experts who develop quality educational content that they share for free on their social media platforms.

Scott Gerber contributed to this article.

author image
Sean Peek, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Ownership
Sean Peek co-founded and self-funded a small business that's grown to include more than a dozen dedicated team members. Over the years, he's become adept at navigating the intricacies of bootstrapping a new business, overseeing day-to-day operations, utilizing process automation to increase efficiencies and cut costs, and leading a small workforce. This journey has afforded him a profound understanding of the B2B landscape and the critical challenges business owners face as they start and grow their enterprises today. In addition to running his own business, Peek shares his firsthand experiences and vast knowledge to support fellow entrepreneurs, offering guidance on everything from business software to marketing strategies to HR management. In fact, his expertise has been featured in Entrepreneur, Inc. and Forbes and with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
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