You might have a really great idea for a small business, but without some basic knowledge of how to run your business and how to handle things like taxes, payroll, inventory and marketing, you may not see very much success. To start your business off on the right foot, you owe it to yourself to obtain some small business training. Fortunately for you, there are many formal and informal ways to get that training. Here are a few options to pursue.
See also: 5 Simple Ways to Start a Small Business
1. Government training programs
Perhaps the biggest resource for small business owners lies in local and national government programs. In the United States, the federal government offers trainings through Department of Labor and the U.S. Small Business Administration programs. Likewise, the government in the United Kingdom offers support for small business owners, including mentoring and training programs. Check out your country’s national training programs, but also look to local labor boards at the city, county or state level where you can get matched with a mentor in your industry and attend training sessions that help you learn to grow your business.
2. College courses
Your local community colleges and universities are another resource for finding help in launching your business successfully, as well as finding ongoing training to learn the nuances of tax codes, labor laws, and more. Peruse the course calendars or call your nearest community education center or employment department for information about upcoming business workshops and courses.
Finding a mentor who’s been down the road you’re now taking can be an invaluable way to learn new skills and to grow your business. Some local labor departments may have a formal mentoring program in place which can help to match you with the right mentor, but you can also seek one out on your own. If there’s a successful business owner who you admire, approach her about doing a day of job shadowing. If you get along, inquire about a more formal mentoring relationship. You might have to offer some kind of help in return, such as offering a trade for your goods or services, for example, or promising to mentor one of your mentor’s employees in another aspect of running the business.
4. Business coaches
There’s yet another way to get the one-on-one mentoring that can help your business succeed: pay a business coach. In a very short amount of time, a business coach can help to assess what you’re doing well in your business and where you can improve, and can help you figure out ways to expand and grow. Since you’re paying the coach, you can expect top quality work and a good return on your investment of time – and you can also expect the coach to push you and encourage you to work hard to attain new levels of success.
5. Business networking
Joining a local business networking group can offer you business training in both formal and informal ways. You’ll learn new tricks for running your business simply by socializing with other business owners but, often, networking groups also hold training sessions, conferences or other educational events that can really help you learn new techniques. What’s more, you might even find a good candidate to be your business mentor. Look to your local chamber of commerce, trade groups in your industry or sites such as Meetup to find business networking opportunities.
Seeking out one or all of these opportunities before you open your business – a well as once you’ve opened – could mean the difference between mild success and a great business venture.