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5 Professional Development Sources for Small Business Owners

Small business owners are a diverse lot. Some of you have a fancy business degree from a fancier university; others haven’t seen the inside of a classroom since shortly after prom.

That’s the cool thing about owning a small business — there are no prerequisite courses to take. Anyone with a great product or service and some startup capital can make a go of it. (Just ask Sir Richard Branson, who dropped out of high school at 16 and is now worth an estimated $5 billion.)

Just because an education isn’t necessary, however, doesn’t mean it’s not helpful. But most small business owners are pretty busy doing small business stuff such as … well, running a small business. Who has the time for professional development?

You do — thanks to this list of non-traditional business education opportunities.

Learn at Your Own Pace: Online Courses and Webinars

You probably don’t have six hours a day for classroom studies and another two to three hours for homework each night. But with online courses and webinars, you don’t need that kind of time!

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers free online classes in everything from planning your business to launching it. Most courses take less than 30 minutes, and although you won’t get a frameable diploma to hang on your wall, you will receive plenty of knowledge to help your business grow and thrive.

Webinars are another quick way to increase your entrepreneurial education. You can get started with some of these options, or do your own search to find the specific topics you’re interested in.

Professional Development at the Chamber of Commerce

Your local chamber of commerce likely has plenty of business-oriented learning opportunities on the schedule, often presented for a nominal fee by members of your own community.

Not only is that a great professional development option, but it also helps you grow your professional network, giving you a bunch of friends to call when you need advice!

Check Out Industry Websites and Publications

Your favorite industry websites, magazines and newsletters are often chockful of courses, classes and webinars that can help you improve your business skills. Whether online or in person, who better to learn from than the best in your specific business?

Find a Business Mentor

Although not technically an “education opportunity,” a good business mentor can teach you more than a hundred online courses and webinars ever could. Although these relationships don’t happen overnight, having a business mentor in your corner can help you for years and decades to come.

Not sure how to find one of these elusive creatures? They’re everywhere! Former teachers or professors, professionals in your line of business, community members, etc. — anyone who knows something you want to learn is fair game.

Check Out Your Community College Catalogue

These days, most community colleges have an a la carte option, meaning you don’t have to take a full course load to avail yourself of their services. A standalone course that meets once or twice a week shouldn’t put too much of a drain on your schedule, and you’ll come out of it better than you went in!

With all the professional development options available to you, “I’m too busy” falls flat as an excuse. The more you grow as a small business owner, the more your small business will grow with you!

While the College of Mischa Communications isn’t accredited (because it doesn’t actually exist), we’re still uniquely qualified to help you with all of your small business marketing needs. A quick call or email is all it takes to get started!

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