Launching your own product takes more than a background in design – it also requires familiarity with business fundamentals. Luckily, the past few years have seen an explosion in the wealth of online educational tools that you can use to your advantage. The best part is that you can pick up a sense of business while you work on your product idea as well. You can also structure the courses to fit your own schedule. Here are our picks of business foundation courses from a variety of sources. Embrace the era of self-learning.
Through Coursera, one of the leading platforms for online education, you can enroll in a diversity of courses in any subject. Courses involve watching short video lectures, taking interactive quizzes, completing peer graded assessments, and connecting with fellow learners and instructors online.
Taught by three of top faculty from Wharton’s marketing department, consistently ranked #1 in the world, this course covers three core topics in customer loyalty: branding, customer centricity, and practical, go-to-market strategies. Price: $95 (or forgo a certificate and audit the class for free). Enrollment ends: January 1.
Dubbed the “Netflix for Education,” Udemy has engaged over 9 million students in 80 languages. The lessons are available on demand, so students can learn on their own time. Some courses are offered for free while others are paid.
The course includes 11 lectures over 1 hour of content. It teaches how to structure an idea, draft a business plan, and create strong team dynamics. The course caters to a wide audience, including freelancers and businesses seeking growth. Price: $35. Enroll anytime.
Mixergy offers business enthusiasts advice from a mix of experienced mentors. The platform includes concise interviews and e-courses where founders tell their stories and offer solutions to roadblocks they’ve faced. As their website articulates, the Mixergy mission is to introduce doers and thinkers whose ideas and stories are so powerful that just hearing them will change you. The best way to grow is to learn from a mix of smart people who are willing to share their expertise.
Steve Sims, founder of Bluefish, discusses his attention-grabbing system for making contact with top influencers (he even got the Vatican to agree to a crazy request), including his tactic for getting a 100% hit rate using snail mail to reach world-famous influencers. Price: $49 to access unlimited talks for 1 month. Subscribe anytime.
EdX courses are offered in weekly learning sequences. Each sequence has short videos and interactive learning exercises, where students can immediately apply concepts from the videos. The courses often include tutorial videos that are similar to small on-campus discussion groups, an online textbook, and an online discussion forum where students can post and review questions and comments to each other and teaching assistants.
Every business requires accounting in some capacity: browsing bank accounts, preparing a budget, and calculating costs. The course equips entrepreneurs with an an overview of business organizations and the impact of business transactions on financial statements. At the end of this course, students will know how to prepare their own financial statements. Price: $79 (or forgo a certificate and audit the class for free). Enrollment ends: January 1.
Udacity is focused on providing very practical vocational skills – it’s often used for corporate training. The company offers individual courses as well as full-fledged “nanodegrees.” Each course is broken into units that have video lectures, integrated quizzes to help students reinforce ideas, and follow-up homework.
This holistic, one-month course covers the broad business skills it takes to build idea “from concept to market.” Topics include business models, customer development, value proposition, customer segments, channels, customer relationships, revenue models, and partners. Price: Free! Enroll anytime.
6. Lynda.com: Sales Secrets for Small Business
A pioneer in online education, lynda.com is a well-known hub for developing technology, creative, and business skills. Members have access to the lynda.com video library of engaging, top-quality courses taught by recognized industry experts. Prospective members can try their first month for free.
This powerful course is less than one hour! Small business consultant Dave Crenshaw offers a simple three-step sales system (explore-present-act) that you can incorporate into your own small business to boost sales. First, learn the seven foundations of small business sales: common-sense techniques such as asking questions, listening, and following up. Then get tips to start building your sales system. Price: $25 for 1 month on the entire site (and first month free). Enroll anytime.
If you want detailed instructions through the pre-production and production processes, pre-register for our Prototyping 101, and register for our Production 101 and Sourcing 101 courses. Our Academy offers these educational guides for free! Over the duration of each course, expect a new lesson in your inbox each day.
After you have put together your designs, check out Maker’s Row for nearly 10,000 factories with capabilities in ideation, pre-production, and production.
- » Building Your Business: 4 Easy Ways to Self-Educate
- » How to Quit Your Day Job…To Start a Business
- » How Not To Kill Your Startup: Hard Lessons On Business Survival
For more on design, production, and starting a business, join our daily blog mailing list if you haven’t already!