President Harry Truman once said, “The only things worth learning are the things you learn after you know it all.” In other words, we should never stop trying to discover something new, whether it’s information to make a decision or an improvement in the way we do things.
The same principle holds true for entrepreneurs. There are so many elements to running a small business—marketing, accounting, human resources, finance, plus actually doing the work—that few people start out with a firm grasp on them all. More often, we know a little about some things, but less about others. Some skills and insights can be picked up with time and experience; others may not be learned until it’s too late.
Fortunately, there are many ways small business owners can learn and hone the various skills they may need. And many of them can be accessed conveniently anytime, anywhere.
One of the most popular resources is the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Learning Center (www.sba.gov/sba-learning-center). This virtual campus contains free training courses, workshops and knowledge resources on a wide range of topics, from getting financing to special issues such as post-disaster assistance. Chat sessions with small business experts and fellow entrepreneurs probe deeper into these topics, addressing specific situations and needs.
The Small Business Learning Center also connects you with SBA offices, Small Business Development Centers, and related training and assistance resources in your area. Many offer on-site training and continuing education programs ranging from breakfast talks on local economic conditions, to brown-bag networking lunches, loan seminars, startup workshops, and free business assessments. Not only are these events educational, they’re also great opportunities to network with other entrepreneurs and experts who can benefit your business.
Also visit the website of your local university or community college for business-oriented seminars and training courses. Websites such as http://www.collegesurfing.com and http://www.elearners.com provide quick, easy-to-use directories of online and on-site courses aimed at current and aspiring entrepreneurs.
To learn more about training opportunities for your small business, contact Raleigh SCORE. We provide free, confidential business mentoring and training workshops to small business owners. To schedule a free appointment with our experienced counselors, go to http://raleigh.score.org, or call us at 919-856-4739. Or, sign up to attend one of our local small business workshops by going to https://raleigh.score.org/localworkshops.