Clever courses to help you and your business

 As your small business evolves, so too do the skills that you need to support its growth and success into the future.

While you have expertise in the field that's the backbone of your business, you need a firm understanding of the many other aspects involved.

Are you at the foundation stage? You’ll need to get savvy with business basics, including financials. Keen to develop the talents of your team? On-the-pulse leadership skills will be essential. If you’re entering new markets, you’ll need a content marketing and social media strategy, as well as customer relationship building smarts. And if you’re ready to innovate or make big decisions, data and analytics skills will set you up well.

Getting a grip on these areas is not so you can take on more tasks personally. You need to know enough to set a strategy and get the right people on the job. A common challenge, however, is finding the time to step away from the busy day-to-day action to learn. Thankfully, there are fantastic short courses available either online, or in person, to get you up to speed quickly. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Business basics

Day-to-day essentials
If you’re new to the world of small business, there’s nothing like an overview of the fundamentals to set you up. Upskilled offers an online Certificate IV in Small Business Management, over one year, which is designed to get you confident with the day-to-day processes of running a company.

If finances aren’t your strong point, you can get a better grasp via the many tutorial videos on LinkedIn Learning. For example, Finance for Non-Financial Managers, with Accounting Professor Jim Stice, teaches you to interpret financial reports, manage inventory and receivables, and set up your budget.

Project management
When you’re taking on more clients, project management skills will become more important. A short course such as Masterclass: Agile Project Management, via Swinburne University, could help. This in-person workshop frames up the agile approach to project management and how it can help you deliver your services.

Product management
As you move into innovating new products and services, it could be handy to get a grip on product management. General Assembly’s 10-week part-time, or one-week accelerated Product Management course, helps you create a product roadmap, production standards and key metrics.

Learning new skills is a great way for small business owners to develop personally and professionally

Take your skills to a new level to help your business grow

Self-development and leadership

People management
When you're set to hire more staff, your management and leadership skills will become central to their performance. A course such as Manage People Effectively, held over three days at the Australian Institute of Management (AIM) delves into emotional intelligence, relationship building and team cohesion.

Becoming more competitive
Ramping up your company's competitiveness takes confidence. Open2Study’s video series, Management for a Competitive Edge by Haldor Aamot, could give yours a boost. Goal setting, sustainable competitive advantages, and the importance of motivation and constructive communication are key. 

Marketing and public relations

Content marketing
Reaching new and existing customers through tailored content about your business is a core marketing approach. The Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) one-day course,PR Writing one-day intensive, could get you on the right track. It covers content campaigns, keeping ‘on brand’, content platforms, and measuring outcomes.

To add to this knowledge, some public relations skills will be invaluable, so you can navigate the ups and downs of the media. AMI also delve into this in their PR Writing one-day intensive.

Social media
Central to both aspects of marketing (content and PR) is how it's distributed, so a strong social media strategy is key. The Centre for Adult Education’s Social Media Strategy for Business one-day workshop looks at choosing the right platforms, creating guidelines, and building a following.

Upskilling all your staff will help your small business to succeed as a whole

Skills across the whole of small business can bring great rewards

Customer relationships

Customer retention and relationships
No business can thrive without a strong customer base, so brushing up your customer relationship nous can't hurt. offers video tutorials including Customer Retention with Noah Fleming. He looks at how to keep your customers loyal, how to make follow-up more tailored, and customer relationship technology and automation approaches.

Supply chain management
A core part of servicing customers well is having a smooth supply chain cycle, so understanding how to get your goods from A to B will be invaluable. RMIT offers an 8-month intensive online Graduate Certificate in Supply Chain Management. It covers the strategic factors involved in supply chains, logistics performance and operations management. 

Data and analytics

Data management
Going with your intuition will get your business so far, but delving into the facts about your market and customers will give you an advantage. General Assembly offers a 10-week part-time, or one-week accelerated Data Analytics course. It'll help get you savvy with collecting, cleaning and analysing data, data management software, and creating visual stories.

Tracking customer pathways
Open2Study also offers data and analytics lessons, through a series of videos, Data for Better Performance. They get stuck into big data and how small businesses are using it to track customer pathways.

There's no end to the possibilities of self-learning to ensure you've got the skills and understanding to help your small business get ahead. These ideas are the tip of the iceberg. Get started, and see where your learning takes you and your business.