In a traditional classroom, when a student has a problem understanding a concept, there’s an easy solution: ask the teacher. However, in the working environment, that luxury is not readily available.
As a small business owner, you will encounter many problems that you won’t know how to solve. There will be no manual for addressing these challenges. The responsibility will be on you to figure out how to get it done, and that’s why I believe online courses are so valuable for small business owners.
If you’re completely new to online courses, you might be skeptical of their value. How do they work? How will I fit it into my busy schedule? And most importantly, will I learn anything useful?
We understand that your time is sacred as a small business owner, so that’s why we recommend online learning as a possible solution. It provides a low-cost, flexible, and targeted approach to your business challenges.
Online courses can help your employees level up their skills.
When I worked for an education nonprofit earlier in my career, I was tasked with putting together a grant application requesting nearly a half million dollars. I had never put together a grant application before, and I had no idea where to start.
So I took an online course. I spent about 2-3 hours a week watching videos, reviewing writing samples, and asking my instructor tons of questions. By the end, I learned enough to submit a strong application: one that was awarded a $200,000 grant.
A Harvard Business Review survey found 52 percent who took an online course wanted to improve at their current job. And of those individuals, 87 percent reported experiencing some form of career benefit after completion, including raises and promotions, as well as abstract outcomes like feeling more equipped to do their job.
These types of benefits are invaluable for your business. They will help with keeping turnover low and keeping employee happiness and productivity high. And this all results in improvements to your bottom line.
Online courses deepen your professional network.
Online courses also offer access to a diversity of contacts. In a standard massive open online course, for example, it would not be surprising to share a class with up to 50,000 other students. For paid courses, such as IDEO’s design thinking course, Insights of Innovation, the community will be much smaller.
Either way, it gives you the opportunity to collaborate with peers, especially with people experiencing similar challenges you’re facing.
Online courses are price, time, and technology accessible.
Lastly, though it may be obvious, it’s worth noting the financial and time-saving perks of taking an online course. If you want to expand your business knowledge, you can do so with a click of a button.
In the past, entrepreneurs enrolled in local community college classes or attended a Chamber of Commerce workshop.
Online courses allow you to fit the education into your own schedule, whether that means watching videos during lunch breaks or completing assignments on your work commute.