Small Business Owners Continue Education to Expand Skill Set


Business owners of the small biz sector seem to be among those believing you never stop learning. As the new school year begins more SMB owners join colleges,universities or other educational institutions across the US either to be introduced to new fields – such as the basics of accounting software usage, or to expand their knowledge and education by acquiring new skills to power their business’ expansion. They are thus becoming an important target audience for those offering all kinds of business classes.

Those looking to learn are not short on choices, from colleges and universities to trade organizations and chambers of commerce, even government agencies, everyone with relevant knowledge to be taught is offering business courses this year.

Even PR pros realize they need to adapt their skills and techniques to the new market realities to stay relevant and keep or bring in clients. Lynette Viviani, owner of a public relations firm, has signed up for social media classes, teaching it how to leverage these online platforms and communities in her marketing effort. After attending several courses offered by trade groups, she is now a student of the City University of New York’s Business Development Institute.

“You have to go out there and learn new things,” says Viviani, whose company, Viviani Associates PR is located in Parsippany, N.J. She’s been taking classes since the early days of running her own business, which she started 22 years ago. At first she was taking courses in subjects like speechwriting. Now, she says, “continuing education is a must, especially in light of today’s evolving world of social media and content marketing.”

Even those with a tight budget can sign up for courses they are interested in. Some classes or seminars prices range from 20 do a few hundred dollars, making them a lot more affordable than the more expensive options that require investments of thousands of dollars.

Educational institutions are already picking up on the trend and striving to catch the eye of their new group of interest, small business owners. Not only do all possible types offer classes, from colleges to universities and for-profit schools, they are also customizing their offering to fit the real needs and tight schedule of a business owner, a good example being the part-time MBA programs, or their openness to accepting students for individual MBA classes only.

If SMB owners are looking for formal recognition of their educational efforts, they can choose one of the many courses offering certificates in specific areas of business such as accounting, marketing and management.

Chambers of Commerce, trade groups and small business development centers are also adding to the already overwhelming list of options to pursue further educational goals. They teach everything from customer service best practices to leveraging Facebook for your business.

And if that’s not enough there are plenty of online classes, semniars and webcasts, with supporting expert articles and ebook to help small business owners find out more about the areas they are interested in.

We are all trying to keep up with the best and latest in our field, to either grow our business or advance our career. How do you achieve that? Do you take extra courses, join local programs or devour reading material online?

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