Being a successful entrepreneur takes plenty of intelligence, creativity, and daring. For some, it’s a role that they seem born to play. For others, it’s an uphill climb full of bumps and bruises, each with its own corresponding lesson in business. Either way, the one thing that’s certain is that the journey of an entrepreneur is one of learning and personal growth—and it’s always a challenge.
There are, however, some ways that budding entrepreneurs can prepare to meet the challenge of starting a business that will make the whole process easier and more likely to succeed. The key is for the entrepreneur to arm themselves with the right knowledge and tools so that they’ll have a firm grasp of all that it takes to run a successful business before they get started. To help them do that, here are the four types of courses that every entrepreneur should take before starting their first venture.
Accounting and Finance
Generally speaking, most entrepreneurs start businesses for the thrill of creating something new and nurturing their ideas to fruition. Most don’t relish the nuts-and-bolts kind of work that it takes to keep a new business financially stable, however.
Still, when you consider that 82% of small businesses fail due to cash flow problems, it’s pretty clear that basic business finance courses should be the first stop on every entrepreneur’s journey to success. Without the skills to keep their business’s finances in order, they risk watching their dream of business success wither on the vine for the most mundane of reasons.
Sales and Marketing
Some entrepreneurs begin new businesses under the impression that a superior product or service will sell itself, and that they need not trouble themselves with learning how to properly market their wares. They tend to discount how quickly modern marketing strategies evolve and lack an in-depth understanding of sales and marketing best practices. To remedy that, it’s important for entrepreneurs to master the skills needed to:
- Use customer discovery tools to explore market opportunities
- Develop customer profiles to enable targeted marketing efforts
- Design and execute multi-format marketing campaigns
- Create content and copy to support marketing initiatives
- Understand analytics to measure campaign success
The good news is that there are plenty of online marketing courses that entrepreneurs can take to master the above skills. They’re available from countless eLearning platforms and major universities and are tailor-made for self-starters and jacks-of-all-trades.
As an entrepreneur, it’s essential to be able to be the evangelist-in-chief for every new venture. After all, every company’s founder is expected to be the driving force behind the business’s strategic vision, and to be able to articulate that message to investors, customers, and the public at large. Unfortunately, not very many people are born with a flair for communication, and an even smaller number possess the kind of personal magnetism required to instantly win over converts to their cause.
For that reason, every entrepreneur should invest in a public speaking course, so they’ll get used to giving presentations and being the center of attention. That way, they’ll be at ease in any environment that calls for them to pitch, sell, or otherwise discuss their business and why they expect to become the next big thing.
Computer Science or Programming
In today’s business environment, digitization is everywhere. Long gone are the days when an entrepreneur could build a stand-alone business that relied on their personal skills and handshakes alone. Now, every company uses the internet for sales, customer service, communication, and any number of other essential functions.
In truth, it can fairly be said that every company is now a tech company, regardless of their industry. For that reason, no entrepreneur should skip building a solid base of knowledge in computer science or programming, which will no doubt be a part of their business at some point. For that reason, just about every major university now makes computer science courses a part of their entrepreneurship educational packages, and every new entrepreneur should take advantage of their wide availability.
Learning to Grow
By getting the knowledge in the above courses under their belt, any entrepreneur should be well-positioned to turn their startup dreams into a reality and build a thriving, successful business. They’ll know what it takes to keep their bottom line healthy, their products flying off of shelves, their public image sparkling, and their technology cutting-edge. After that, all they need do is make sure their vision is sound and that they’re delivering value for their customers—and before they know it, they’ll be at the helm of an industry titan.