To be great at running a business, you need a specific set of knowledge and skills.
Now, the odds are you won’t just wake up one day and discover you have them.
You probably know a lot about the specific work your business will do – but just because you’re a great accountant, for example, doesn’t mean you’ll find it easy to run a successful accounting practice.
Of course, you may be a natural in some areas of business management. And you may have gained many of the skills you need by studying or over the course of your career.
But since you’re reading this article, I’m guessing there’s more you want to learn.
You’ve come to the right place.
There’s a huge number of courses out there to help you learn the basics, master a new area of business management, or upgrade your existing skills so you can take your business to the next level. Many of these courses are free, so all you’ll need to invest is your precious time.
“That’s what I need,” you might be thinking.
So where are they?
That’s what this article is for. Here, I’ve shared details of ten of the best courses or course providers, to help get the skills you need to you build and grow a successful business.
1. Ace the basics with Entrepreneurship and Family Business (Entp)
The first course on the list on the is a free business skills course run by RMIT University, which you’ll find over at Open2Study.
It’s a popular course that (according to Open2Study) has already been chosen by almost 50,000 people.
The course is broken down into four different modules that last six days each. For each module you’ll need to watch 10 videos, do nine quizzes, and complete one final assessment.
- Module 1: Who is an entrepreneur?
- Module 2: Managing the entrepreneurial process
- Module 3: Entrepreneurial enterprises
- Module 4: Family business
To complete this course, you’ll need to put in between two and four hours a week of study, including all the videos and quizzes and the assessment. (Just in case you’re wondering, the total viewing time for the videos, across all four modules, is 4 hours and 37 minutes).
The course covers a large number of topics, but here are a few that may stand out for you:
Once you successfully complete the course you’ll receive an informal certificate.
If you feel like taking your studies further, you’ll find links on the course information page to some of the formal business courses on offer from RMIT.
2. Do right by your people with the Human Resources Course (HRC)
This is another offering from Open2Study which will be extremely useful if you plan on handling the HR portion of your business yourself - the Human Resources Course (HRC).
Just like the Entp course, the HRC is split into four modules that last six days each. It follows the same structure, so once again you’ll have to watch 10 videos, complete nine quizzes and produce one final assessment for each module.
- Module 1: The evolution of people management
- Module 2: Recruitment in the digital age
- Module 3: Learning and development in context
- Module 4: Performance management
The approximate study time is the same as the Entp course – two to four hours per week for four weeks – but the total time you’ll spend watching the video tutorials is only 4 hours and 22 minutes.
Here are just a few of the topics you’ll cover if you opt for this course:
- The role of performance management
- The recruitment process, from planning to retention
- Using social media to recruit employees
- Workplace stress and bullying
- How to conduct performance reviews
- How to screen potential job candidates
This course is also free, and almost 84,000 other people have already taken it.
3. Build a killer brand with a Certificate in Marketing Basics
The Certificate in Marketing Basics is another short online course, one of a large variety of targeted business courses offered by Courses for Success.
It’s ideal if you’re after a better understanding of common marketing techniques – and how to use them to build your brand and get your business in front of those all-important potential customers.
You’ll learn how to:
The entire course only takes between six and eight hours, and you’ll be able to go back and look at the materials to refresh your knowledge at any time for a whole 12 months after you’ve completed it.
Aimed specifically at busy business owners like you, the course is optimised for mobile learning so you can study on the go on your mobile device. It is currently on sale for $199.
If it’s a more in-depth, nationally-recognised qualification you’re after, TAFE offers a choice of small business management courses you can take purely online, or via ‘blended learning’ (a combination of online learning and face-to-face teaching).
4. Transform ideas into business success with a Certificate III in Micro-Business Operations
This course will help you learn all you need to know to turn a great idea into a successful business.
Already up and running?
Don’t worry, this one could still be for you. It’ll help you add proven theory to your on-the-job knowledge, boost your skills and run your business more successfully.
Among other things, you’ll learn how to create business proposals, secure funding for your business and develop action plans. You’ll also gain practical networking skills and learn how to develop and apply critical thinking to help you create and sustain your business.
You have up to 18 months to complete this course, although you could do it in as little as six months if you have more time to study and plenty of real-world experience to draw on.
For full details including pricing, start dates, curriculum and study methods, shoot them an enquiry from the link above.
5. Build strong foundations for your business with a Certificate IV in New Small Business
This Certificate IV in New Small Business course will give you the solid foundation you need to set up and manage your small business.
You’ll learn all about the legal and regulatory requirements of running a business in Australia – and how to manage your risks.
It will also teach you how to develop marketing and customer service strategies, and how to monitor how well your business is doing.
You’ll need to have completed Year 10 to be eligible to take this course and you’ll have a maximum of 24 months to finish it.
TAFE runs the course through a choice of providers – Open Colleges, Monarch Institute and UpSkilled – so you can opt for online or blended delivery. Either way, you’ll get support the whole way from a trainer and an assessor.
6. Get all the skills you need with a Certificate IV in Small Business Management
The Certificate IV in Small Business Management is a comprehensive course that promises to teach you “everything you need to know as a small business owner in Australia.”
It covers how to research, plan and setup your business, how to manage your finances, marketing and personnel, a how to use technology to boost your business operations.
On top of that you’ll learn the communication and management skills you’ll need to lead and inspire a small team.
The course is contemporary and forward-looking, with a focus on implementing environmentally-sustainable work practices and using cloud technology to manage your business operations.
The course is offered over a period of 12 months, and you’ll be expected to complete one unit each month.
7. Get real-world skills through Short business courses from The University of Newcastle
The University of Newcastle offers a wide range of short business courses at their Sydney campus, all of which are open to anyone. They cover lots of valuable topics, including:
As a budding entrepreneur you’ll probably be most interested in their small business course.
This course will help you with the basics of planning and setting up your business, including choosing the right business structure and developing your business plan.
It’ll also give you the tools and knowledge you need to manage the financial and legal aspects of your business, as well as your marketing and your customer and business relations.
Pretty much everything, in fact!
This course, which comes in at $459 (GST free), is delivered as an eight-hour, single-day interactive workshop, with a range of instructor-led lectures, group and individual activities. That means you’ll get to work through all the concepts in an ‘application-focused teaching environment’ which will make it easier to apply what you’ve learned in your business.
8. Get unlimited learning with LinkedIn Small Business Management courses
LinkedIn is another great source of online learning. Their small business management learning program works on a subscription basis – once you subscribe you’ll have unrestricted access to all their learning courses (currently 13,000+ video tutorials with more being added every week).
You can stream any of the courses via computer, tablet or mobile, and download them to watch offline at your leisure.
Many of the courses include quizzes and exercises to help you validate and practice what you’re learning.
LinkedIn Learning offers a whole suite of courses specifically targeted at small businesses, including Small Business Finance, Small Business Management, Small Business Marketing and Small Business Sales.
As well as these core modules – which cover essentials like banking and financial record keeping, business planning, sales networking, tax management, and marketing fundamentals – you can branch out into more specialised areas like cybersecurity for small businesses.
If you want to test the value before committing yourself to a LinkedIn Learning subscription you can check it out with a one-month free trial.
9. Master the tools you need for business success with Business software and tools courses from LinkedIn Learning
As well as the theoretical stuff, LinkedIn Learning offers a great range of courses to help you master the tools and software you’ll need to run a successful business. These include:
- 21 courses on accounting software
- 35 courses on project management software
- 47 courses on desktop databases
- 93 courses on business Intelligence
- 94 courses on document management
- And a staggering 158 courses on data analysis and 289 on data science!
Obviously there are far more courses on offer than you could possibly need – but the point is that this can be a great resource to help you find and use the tools that can make your life as a business owner much easier.
10. Keep your finger on the pulse with Events and training from Business.gov.au
The last source on my list, Business.gov.au, is a great place to look for events and training opportunities for Australian business owners.
You can search courses based on your location, or on the stage your business is at (i.e. whether you’re just starting up, managing an ongoing business or even ready to exit).
Many of the courses are low-cost or free, and they cover topics ranging from how to write a business plan, to managing employees, to using social media in your business.
You’ll also find networking events from time to time, plus information sessions on how to access business grants and assistance.
There are hundreds of courses out there for business owners, from 30-minute webinars to full MBA programs.
My list is far from exhaustive, of course, but it’s a great place to start if you’re looking for courses to help you learn the basics, boost your business management skills or dive in deeper to specific areas like finance, marketing or HR.
Whether you’re looking for an intensive one-day workshop, own-pace online learning, or a full nationally-recognised qualification, you’ll find something on the list to whet your appetite.
Best of all, with so many specialised courses to choose from you can home in on what you really want to know, without having to waste your precious time going over ground you already know, or developing skills you don’t need just yet.
And since most of these courses are delivered online, you can learn everything you need to know whenever, and wherever, you have the time.
By the way.
You’ll see there are quite a few free resources on this list. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring those just because they’re free – some of the best small business courses on offer are provided free-of-charge by first-class institutions like RMIT. Be sure to check out each course and take it on its merits!
One last thing…
Some of these sources, like LinkedIn Learning, can prove to be a goldmine of information – after all, you don’t know what you don’t know until you start looking, right?
Which course are you going to try first? Is there anything else you think should be on this list?
Tell us in the comments below.