Growing Your Business: 5 Essential Business Skills You Can Learn Today For Free
Running a business is difficult, it is even more difficult for business owners who lack the necessary skills for the effective day-to-day running of the business operations.
The business environment is constantly evolving and the skills that were relevant to running your business successfully a decade ago may no longer be as important to your success today.
To ensure that your business does not lack the essential skills necessary to exist and remain relevant in today’s business environment you need to learn and re-learn some of these essentials skills that can help you stay on top of the changes and help your business adapt quickly.
I have highlighted some of the most important business skills you need to give your business an edge that you can learn online for free:
- Financial Management
- Legal and Taxation
- Sales and Negotiation
- Business Writing
- Marketing: No matter how good a product is, it cannot market itself. Marketing is an essential aspect of our daily business operation one that many SMEs have relegated to the background. Perhaps, taking a few courses on marketing will help business owners see the importance of marketing to their businesses and some of the many ways it can be leveraged to achieve their business objectives.
Here are a few marketing courses you can take today for free:
- Fundamentals of Digital Marketing – Google Digital Garage
- Marketing Fundamentals: Who is Your Customer by EdX
- Viral Marketing and How to Create Contagious Content by Coursera
- Marketing Analytics by Darden School of Business
- Financial Management: Without proper knowledge of financial management, you would not be able to tell the state of your business at any time. As a business owner, you should be able to show a proper understanding of your finance as well as make plans and monitor your financial resources to help you achieve your organizational goals. Here are some courses that cover various areas of financial management that you can take for free:
- Financial Management by MIT Open Courseware
- Financial Literacy by Alison
- All About Financial Business Management by Management Help
- Understanding Financial Statements – FutureLearn
- Entrepreneurial Finance by MIT Open Courseware
- Business Law and Taxation: Law is the backbone of any business. An entrepreneur or business owner that does not have a proper understanding of the legal environment under which s/he operates sets the business on the path of failure. Proper knowledge of the rules and regulations concerning contracts, financial transactions, taxation as well as the various do’s and don’ts that guide both industry-specific operations, as well as businesses, generally play important roles in the success of a business. Here are some free resources that would help you stay grounded on the business laws and policies important to your business:
- Companies and Allied Matters Act (2020)
- International Law by the Catholic University of Louvain via edX – want to get a grasp of international business laws? then this 12 weeks long course would help you get a basic knowledge of what international law pertains.
- Nigerian Tax Laws by FIRS – it covers the existing tax legislation in Nigeria providing downloadable tax policy documents on Capital Gains Tax, Value Added Tax, and personal income tax, etc.
- Basic Principles of Taxation in Nigeria by Mondaq – It is an overview of the current tax regime in Nigeria and covers Company income Tax, Stamp Duty, Withholding tax, etc.
- Constitution of The Federal Republic of Nigeria (pdf)
- Sales and Negotiation: With Sales and negotiation being an integral part of business life it is easy to see why businesses whose owners or teams are skilled in the selling and negotiation are more successful than others. You simply cannot skip on negotiation or sales in your business no matter the size or industry. To help you up to your sales and negotiation skills, here are a few free courses you can take today:
- Introduction to Negotiation: A Strategic Playbook for Becoming a Principled and Persuasive Negotiator – Yale University via Coursera
- The Art of Negotiation by University of California
- The Art of Sales: Mastering the selling process by Northwestern
- Strategies for Developing a Successful Sales Team by Hubspot
- Business Writing and Communication: Learn how to convey your message simply and effectively via emails, memos, reports, or proposals. Here are a few courses you can get started on for free:
- Business Communication – Fundamentals of Business Writing
- Business Writing by University of Colorado Boulder
- Storytelling and Influencing: Communicate with Impact by Macquarie University
- Grant Proposal by MIPT
There are tons of courses available online that are both general and specific to your industry that you should take advantage of. By taking these free courses you should be able to build a solid background for your business to succeed upon.