There has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. With technology making the impossible possible and an economy that is expanding, the possibilities are limitless. If your goal is to be an entrepreneur, the internet offers a wealth of information and educational opportunities. As with anything online, be careful and do your research. The best place to start is classes that teach you the basics and the art of being an entrepreneur.
When searching for classes, do not invest time or money into classes unless they meet the following criteria:
- The purpose of the course is explained clearly with no vague language and complicated steps before the class.
- Make sure the course is well-rounded. There is more than one point of view or way of doing things presented.
- Check ratings and reviews to make sure you are not getting involved in a scam or pyramid scheme.
Some of the best classes available for little to no cost are:
- Essentials of Entrepreneurship—Thinking and Action. This course is offered by the University of California continuing education department. The course covers the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and how to recognize business opportunities. This class is designed for people with little or no knowledge of entrepreneurship to emerge with foundational knowledge about the process.
- 21 Critical Lessons for Entrepreneurs—Presented by Docstoc CEO, Jason Nazaar, and based on his real-world experience. These video lessons discuss the steps of running a successful business, from coming up with an idea about raising capital and developing growth strategies. What makes this course unique is that it is designed and presented by a successful entrepreneur.
- Scaling Operations: Linking Strategy and Execution—Created by the Kellog School of Management at Northwestern University. The five-week lesson shows you how to build a stable and scalable operation. Every entrepreneur wants their idea to blossom into a large and successful venture. This course shows you how to build that from the ground up.
- Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills—Negotiation is a skill every entrepreneur will need. This video course put together by the University of Michigan, breaks down the negotiation process into four parts. The fundamentals of this course apply to any sales scenario.
- Introduction to Finance—Another video learning series put together by the Unversity of Michigan, this course is critical for anyone starting a business. The course is designed to help students make sound financial decisions by outlining the concept of the time value of money using real-world examples. Money management, finance strategies, and understanding how to value your time are foundational skills everyone needs.
- Design Thinking for Business Innovation—This is a five-week course from the University of Virginia. The course syllabus describes the goal of igniting the right and left brains of entrepreneurs. There is a focus on the creative process and how to turn that into a sound business strategy.
- Creativity and Entrepreneurship from Berklee Online—This is a four-week course offered for free, with the option to pay $49 for a certificate. This course focuses on the creative process of entrepreneurship. The course will introduce you to famous entrepreneurs, innovators, songwriters, educators and others who will share their experiences.
- Becoming an Entrepreneur from MIT Launch—This extremely popular class features a combination of videos and exercises. Examples of topics covered include:
- The most common myths about being an entrepreneur
- How to identify opportunities
- How to set goals for your business
- How to perform market research and select your target audience
- How to design and test your product
A dream of becoming an entrepreneur can become a reality. There are no short-cuts though. It requires knowledge, educating yourself about the business world, and hard work to achieve your goals. These classes are a significant stepping stone in helping you understand what is involved in being a successful entrepreneur. Every class is not necessary. The process of choosing the courses most relevant to your dreams will help you solidify what you hope to accomplish.