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10 Best Online Courses for Small Business Owners

By Mike McLeod Reviewed By Mike Lucas
By Mike McLeod
By Mike McLeod Reviewed By Mike Lucas

The best courses for small business owners can take any important topic and give you everything you need to become an expert.

No matter what stage of growth your business is in, there’s always something more to learn. Taking the time to expand your knowledge can give you a leg up against your competitors.

Here’s a list of the 10 best online business courses for entrepreneurs out there today.

CourseBest for
How to Start Your Own BusinessThose interested in entrepreneurship
Startup and Small Business Law: Business Registration and MoreNew or inexperienced entrepreneurs
Start a Profitable Online BusinessEcommerce startups
Understand SWOT Analysis in 30 MinutesFirst-time business owners
Modern Marketing With Seth GodinOwners who want to optimize their marketing strategy
Driving Traffic to Your Online BusinessBloggers and online retailers
The Complete Introductory Course to Finance and AccountingNew business owners without a bookkeeper/ accountant
Financing Options for Small BusinessOwners who need financing
Project Management Principles and PracticesAny managing owner looking to optimize their processes
The Art of Less DoingAll business owners looking for more time

1. How to Start Your Own Business

Offered by Michigan State University through Coursera, this fully online business course is for entrepreneurs of any experience level.

The course takes you through everything you need to know about, you guessed it, starting your own business.

Instructors say you’ll learn about all of the topics necessary to create a successful business. These include getting in the right mindset, generating an idea, planning, strategy and taking action.

After completing the 6 small business courses, you should be ready to launch your own business.

Cost

You can sign up for a 7-day free trial with Coursera. After that, there is a monthly fee; Coursera subscription fees start at  $39 per month. If, for any reason, you don’t want to continue, you can cancel anytime.

Who Should Take the Course?

If you’re thinking about starting your own business but aren’t sure what goes into it, this class is for you. Experienced Michigan State instructors guide you through the process so you can turn your ideas into a viable business model.

2. U.S. Startup and Small Business Registration and Business Law

Created by business coach Alex Genadinik and attorney Steve Pipenger, this online course has been updated for 2021 and gives small business owners the knowledge they need to navigate business law.

Offered by Udemy, this class delivers nearly 5 hours of video instruction as well as articles and other downloadable materials.

You’ll learn how to register your business, including which business entity you should choose.

The course also touches on Internet privacy and intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks and copyrights.

For businesses with employees, it also goes over laws surrounding the hiring and firing of employees and their benefits.

Cost

The course is currently offered at a discounted price of $11.99; its regular listed price is $79.99.

Who Should Take the Course?

Having a grasp on business law can help any small business owner. But online business courses like this are best for entrepreneurs looking to start their first business. The focus on registering a business and other essential legalese lends itself well to rookie small business owners.

A man writes on a package he’ll ship to a customer. Lessons from an online business course might have helped him improve his ecommerce business.

3. Start a Profitable Online Business

Hosted on CreativeLive from creator/ instructor Lewis Howes, this class instructs you on launching a successful online business.

With 14 HD video classes, the small business classes cover all of the unique challenges that business owners face online and show you how to take them head-on. Lewis teaches most classes but brings in experts to cover topics like creating a great product, social media marketing, building the right team and more.

After completing the course, you’ll be ready to generate leads and market your product online.

Cost

You can buy the whole series of online small business classes for a discounted price of $29 (typically $149) or pay $13 a month for access. CreativeLive also offers yearly passes that give you access to over 1,500 courses in its library.

Who Should Take the Course?

If you’re looking to get into the ecommerce market or want to learn more about optimizing your online business strategy, this course can give you what you need. And the video format is great for small business owners who learn visually.

4. Understand SWOT Analysis in 30 Minutes

A strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis is a common way businesses assess their performance. If you aren’t sure what it is or want to get the most out of your analysis, this Udemy course is a great place to start.

This online class for small business owners teaches the concepts behind a SWOT analysis and its value to any project or business. You’ll learn what to include in your analysis to get the most out of it.

By the end of the 30-minute video class, you’ll have everything you need to put together a SWOT analysis for your business successfully.

Cost

Purchase the course for a discounted price of $11.99 (Regularly priced at $79.99).

Who Should Take the Course?

This is one of the best free online business courses for entrepreneurs at any stage, but it’s especially well-suited for new owners. A SWOT analysis can be a great tool to use in the early stages of business growth, but it should be regularly utilized to assess your ongoing performance.

If you’re new to business ownership or think it can help you track performance, it’s more than worth it to take the half-hour to learn how to conduct a SWOT analysis.

5. Modern Marketing With Seth Godin

This online course is for business owners seeking expert advice on marketing to the 21st-century consumer. It’s taught by one of the most respected names in the business world today, Seth Godin.

Seth’s Modern Marketing workshop takes you through 45 lessons, over 6 hours of video and offers articles and other downloadable content. He stresses looking past fast tips and tricks, instead, focusing on completely understanding how marketing can help grow your business.

You’ll learn the basic best practices of marketing as well as ways to reach customers in the fast-paced, connected world of today.

Cost

Full access to the videos, articles and downloadable content costs $199.99. That’s the price you pay for 6 hours of advice from a bestseller and inductee into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame.

Who Should Take the Course?

Because of the topic and quality of the instructor, it’s easy to say that any entrepreneur should take this course.

It’s an especially great course for small business owners who want to optimize their marketing strategy for today’s consumer. Seth goes in-depth on what customers expect and how to empathize with them, which is important as their wants and needs continue to shift.

6. Driving Traffic to Your Online Business

Instructed by another big name in marketing, Neil Patel, Driving Traffic to Your Online Business teaches you how to optimize your digital marketing strategy.

Where Seth Godin’s course focuses on overall strategies and reaching customers, Neil’s lessons teach you how to increase your online footprint.

This course gives small business owners tips on growing traffic and leads through search engine optimization (SEO), social media strategy and more.

Completing the course delivers ready-made solutions you can immediately use to improve your online skills and grow your customer base.

Cost

The current cost is $29 ($49 at full cost) for 10 video lessons.

Who Should Take the Course?

Bloggers and eCommerce businesses could learn how to drastically increase their traffic and social media engagement from these lessons.

It’s also one of the best online business courses for small business owners who want to learn how ti use content marketing to help drive customers to their brick-and-mortar stores.

7. The Complete Introductory Course to Finance and Accounting

Learn the basics with the Complete Introductory Course to Finance and Accounting on Udemy.

This course offers 8 hours of video instruction, an article and over 80 downloadable resources for continued learning. You’ll learn everything you need, including business finance terminology, financial statement creation and reporting, the accounting cycle, business taxes and more. The course has also been updated with additional content for 2021.

Cost

The course has a list price of $99.99 but is generally offered with a significant discount. It currently sits at $16.99.

Who Should Take the Course?

If you don’t have an accounting background or plan to have a full-time accountant on hand for your startup, it’s a good idea to learn everything you can.

Understanding basic business accounting and financing is critical to tracking and reporting, making this a great course for new small business owners.

8. Financing Options for Small Business

The Small Business Administration (SBA) created Financing Options for Small Business, a set of free business courses, to explain the basics of securing small business loans and other ways to raise capital.

You’ll learn how to determine your financial needs and where to turn to find money. Topics include small business grants, angel investors, venture capitalists, crowdfunding and more.

You can follow the course through slides or a transcript, completing worksheets that allow you to test your knowledge on business financing.

Cost

Free.

Who Should Take the Course?

These free classes are great for people starting a small business who need financing but don’t know where to begin. If you need cash to get through a slow season or fund your next project, these free online business courses can get you on the right track before reaching out to financiers.

A man works at his laptop and writes in a notebook as he completes his online business course.

9. Project Management Principles and Practices

Another specialization course from Coursera, Project Management Principles and Practices, tackles the best way to optimize your business’s processes.

Completing the course will give you proven ways to identify, plan and execute your next project.

Topics include budgeting, resource allocation and defining potential risks.

Cost

You can utilize Coursera’s 7-day free trial before being charged a recurring monthly fee. Plans start at $39. You can cancel anytime.

Who Should Take the Course?

This business course is for small business owners involved in operations.

Identifying and solving issues in your process can generate improvements to your products and sales, something any managing owner would like to see.

10. The Art of Less Doing

Taught by achievement and efficiency expert Ari Meisel, The Art of Less Doing teaches you how to take charge of your time and get more done.

Throughout 19 video lessons, you’ll learn how to identify time-consuming projects and develop creative ways to lessen their effects on your day. Ari will help you build strategies to get through busy work more efficiently, opening you up to focus on more challenging and important tasks.

Cost

Access to this series of small business classes is $29 ($49 at full cost), or you can subscribe to the CreativeLive library for $13 a month.

Who Should Take the Course?

Any business owner can take advantage of this online course. We all wish we had more time in the day to get things done. Learning strategies to add time to your busy schedule can put your focus back on growing your business.

Getting the Most from Online Business Courses

To choose which course for small business owners is right for you, consider what fits the position you’re currently in.

If you have a business idea but aren’t sure where to start, choose one of the courses focusing on startups. As you grow, you can learn more about accounting, marketing and project management.

When you sign on to take  online business courses, make sure to give it your best effort. If it’s a course that has tests and worksheets, make sure you’re studying. If the course is a series of videos, it’s still a good idea to take as many notes as possible so you can review them later.

The point of taking one of these online small business classes is to expand your knowledge and make you a better business owner. Putting in the right amount of effort will give you a great return on your investment — and will pay dividends when you grow your business.

Mike McLeod Technical SEO Specialist at Fast Capital 360
Mike McLeod is a Content Writer at Fast Capital 360. He has a passion for giving small business owners like you the financial and strategic tools you need to realize the American dream.
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