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Seven Classes Online Entrepreneurs Should Take

Apr 22, 2008 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Education.org Columnist | 0 Comments

Have you got a product or service you think will sell well over the Internet?  You’re not alone.  Thousands of new Internet businesses start every day, and each year consumers spend billions online.  However, not all e-businesses are created equally—and as an online entrepreneur, you’ve got to know more than how to deliver a great product or service. 

As an online entrepreneur, you could spend thousands of dollars hiring professional web designers, SEO specialists, writers, tax professionals, and other service providers—or you could spend a few hundred dollars on classes that teach you to do these things yourself.   Learn these skills, and you’ll develop a better understanding of how to manage and promote your business.  Here are seven courses that will make you a more self-sufficient online entrepreneur.

Bookkeeping for small businesses

Knowing how to handle finances is crucial for anyone starting a business.  Learn the basics of bookkeeping, and you’ll be able to track profits and losses efficiently.  Without these skills, you may have difficulty tracking your profit margins and calculating how much you need to charge for your services or products.

Small business courses

When you start your own business, you’ll be faced with many challenges that may be outside your specialty—everything from building rapport with clients to dealing with business math.   Small business courses can be a great benefit to online entrepreneurs who need to fill in key skill gaps.

Marketing courses and sales training

Sales and marketing are two different things.  Marketing generally involves reaching out to prospects passively through ads, web copy, sales letters, and press releases.  Sales involves talking to prospects directly and persuading them to buy in person or over the phone.  As an online entrepreneur, you may be able to avoid in-person sales and offline marketing—but then again, you may find you can increase your profit margins significantly by promoting your business in-person and offline.  To be a successful businessperson, you should have a basic understanding of how to sell and market your business.

Writing for business courses

Graphics might make you look good, but the Internet is mainly made up of text.  A strong sales letter can work wonders for your profit margin; the same goes for a well-written landing page, blog, set of catalogue descriptions, and other online marketing materials.  Most online business owners don’t have online writing skills; if you do, you’ll be far ahead of your competition. If you can generate sales through your web writing, your business will get off to a strong start. 

Web design courses

You can’t have an Internet business without a website.  True, you can download a template with relative ease.  But you’ll have difficulty customizing it—and creating a truly unique and professional web presence—without web design skills.  As a web designer, you’ll be able to create a site that looks good compared with even your biggest and most established competition.

Internet marketing and SEO

An overview of marketing is important to any business, but a strong understanding of Internet marketing is also crucial to all online businesses.  Not every marketing course includes online marketing tactics, since the field is still so new. A course in Internet marketing will teach you how to get the most from online marketing tools such as email marketing, social networking, viral marketing, search engine optimization, business blogging, and keyword research to build a solid web presence that attracts prospects to you.

E-commerce

As an online entrepreneur, you’ll need a broad understanding of online security, e-commerce strategies, and online market leadership to stand out.  A course in e-commerce can give you the knowledge you need to design an online marketing strategy that works; avoid online scams that entrap business owners; and discern whether or not a product or service will lend itself well to an online market. 

Running your own online business can be both challenging and rewarding.  But as a solo business owner, you’ll need to learn a variety of skills quickly.  You can hire expensive professionals, or you can learn to do these things yourself for a fraction of the cost.  Get off to a strong start by investing in your education, and learn the skills you need to run your business on your own—and you’re sure to see success. 
 

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