Whether you’ve been running a small business for decades or you’re just starting out, there is always a new opportunity to learn as an entrepreneur. It may include the basics of accounting or structuring a business plan, or something later down the road like how to expand your product line or grow your social media following. No matter where you stand, there is a consistent truth: if you expand your knowledge base, you open your business to new opportunities (and ideally, an expansion of the business itself).
If you think you don’t have the time or funds to invest in your education, think again. Staying up-to-date on the latest business trends or best practices doesn’t have to absorb all your energy or money. Here’s a list of three free or low-cost learning opportunities available to every small business owner:
Attend Events in Your Area
Whether it’s a conference or just a networking meetup, there are a lot of opportunities to be found in small business events. Build relationships with other small business owners and learn from their experience or attend a quick lecture to brush up on something you are already familiar with. Here are some tips for finding the right event in your area:
- Enroll in mailing lists for local small business groups or conferences.
- Set up Google Alerts so you’ll know right away when new conferences or meetups pop up.
- Use LinkedIn to search for networking events by interest area.
- Follow your favorite brands on social media—many executives at big companies will speak at special events, panels, and other educational events.
Sign up for Webinars
Many online seminars are free, and better yet, available to you anywhere you are. Most hosts will also hold a Q&A session after the webinar, so come prepared with your questions for a personalized response. Search your area of interest with “webinar” and see what you can find, or explore these resources:
- General small business webinars: BizLaunch
- Government-sponsored webinars (funding): IRS
- Mentor-based, industry leaders: SCORE
Subscribe to Podcasts
If you’re constantly on the go or simply can’t find the time to set aside for your continuing education, podcasts may be your best option. Free, easily-accessible, and perfect for multitasking, podcasts are a great resource for the busiest of small business owners. Search for a topic that interests you or start with one from this list:
- Shared experience and common problems: Small Business War Stories
- Q&A-style troubleshooting: Office Hours
- Improving growth potential: Accelerate Your Business Growth
- Key issues and foundational tips: Breaking Down Your Business
- Marketing: Online Marketing Made Easy
Want great small business how-tos and best practices delivered right to your inbox? Subscribe to the Headway Capital newsletter.