Originally appeared on Xerox Small Business Solutions.
By Rieva Lesonsky
Back-to-school season is upon us, and the kids aren’t the only ones who could stand to learn something new. In the spirit of education, here are seven places you and your employees can learn skills that will boost your business.
The SBA Small Business Learning Center offers self-paced online training courses; you can also find live events from the SBA and its partners. Many of the courses are focused on managing your business subjects, such as winning federal contracts, but there are also more general courses on topics such as finding financing, attracting investors, customer service and more.
SCORE offers hundreds of live and recorded webinars and interactive online training courses, as well as local in-person events from SCORE and its partners. Online courses include a wide range of topics, from protecting your intellectual property to marketing your business and managing your cash flow, and cover stages from startup to growth.
Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) nationwide offer e-learning programs as well as hosting events and providing free consulting. Each chapter offers different things, often through partner organizations, so you’ll need to check what your local SBDC has available. For example, one chapter near me offers more than 100 online courses in topics ranging from marketing essentials to HIPAA compliance.
Udemy for Business offers over 2,000 professional courses on key business topics relevant to you and your employees. The business courses are curated from Udemy.com, which offers more than 20,000 instructors and 45,000 courses. Udemy says their marketplace model enables them to “deliver new courses as quickly as industry trends change and emerge.” New courses are added every month. The company encourages one-on-one engagement between students and instructors, so your team can get answers to questions and easily share feedback. Courses cover 20 topics, including marketing, financing and accounting, productivity, HR, design, data science and personal wellbeing. There are two business plans to choose from. The “team” plan is for 5-20 people and costs $240 a year per person. There’s a mobile app for both iOS and Android, so you can learn anytime from anywhere.
Coursera features instructors from the world’s top universities. Business courses include leadership/management, finance, marketing, entrepreneurship, strategy and business essentials. There are also a wide variety of computer science courses. Courses are taught via recorded video lectures, auto-graded and peer-reviewed assignments, and community discussion forums. In addition to taking individual courses, you can earn Specializations, which requires completing a series of rigorous courses and completing hands-on projects based on real business challenges. Courses and Specializations are priced approximately $29 – $99.
Lynda started out as a general learning site, but now that LinkedIn owns it, the focus is on marketable skills. Courses, taught by industry experts, include web development, design, business, software development and more; there are also Learning Paths where you take a series of courses to learn career skills. Instead of paying course by course, users get unlimited access for a monthly fee. There is a free trial; after that, the Basic plan starts at $19.99/person/month. If you need to train five or more people, contact them regarding group membership.
Codecademy focuses on computer coding skills. Users can take courses for free or upgrade to the Pro or Pro Intensive modules that provide live support from professional developers and real-world projects at additional cost. If you want to train five or more people, you can use the Business plan at $25/person/month.
To make the most of training, share what you’ve learned. Can’t spare more than one employee to take a course? Have him or her share the information with others on the team so everyone can gain knowledge.
If you use Xerox ConnectKey technology-enabled printers or multifunction printers (MFPs), your employees can download, print, distribute and share documents from their courses simply by tapping an app.
When your employees spend less time dealing with documents, data and paper, they’ll have more time to spend learning new skills.
To streamline your business workflows, start by scanning and digitizing print documents using a printer with Xerox ConnectKey technology. ConnectKey technology integrates with popular cloud storage apps such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive and Office 365 so you can scan directly to the cloud or your company’s network.
You can also create customized apps to send PDFs straight from the printer to the right person or department. Save even more time using Xerox Web Capture: It scans documents and imports them straight into business apps like QuickBooks.