In the United States, close to 800,000 new businesses are started each year. A growing number of these businesses are started by women, immigrants, and older adults. Many – almost 70 percent – are started right at home, with just an idea, some funds, and a small workspace.
Starting your own business is an exciting journey, full of potential and possibilities. Of course, the getting there can take some time. While having a great idea for a new business is critical, it takes much more to make that business successful. You must learn how to run a business. You must learn how to manage the operations, as well as finances. You must learn how to promote your business, in order to get off the ground and grow. And all that can require education.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
If you are looking to start a business, and seeking classes to get you started, you are in the right place. Below, we list the most important business classes to take before launching your own start-up.
Key Business Start-Up Classes
- Introduction to Management
Although you may be a natural leader and entrepreneur, it is important to learn effective management skills. Running your own business means that you will need to manage everyday operations, employees, accounting, and customer relationships (at least to start). For this reason, an introductory management course is critical. In the course, “Introduction to Management” – the first core class of Goodwin’s business certificate and degree programs – you will learn the basic principles of management, including:
- Staffing and leadership
- Effective decision-making
- Business planning
- Ethics and social responsibility
- Meeting customer expectations
- Business Law and Ethics
As easy as we’d love start-ups to be, there are many legalities involved. For example, new businesses must go through a legal process of registering a business name, creating an LLC or corporation, and applying for the necessary tax ID numbers. In addition, businesses must operate under certain regulations required by law. In the course titled “Business Law and Ethics,” you will learn about property laws (public and private), civil laws, and criminal laws relating to business. You will also learn about licensing, incorporation, tax filings, legal recourses, and state employment/labor laws in this class.
In addition, you will learn about the ethics involved in running a business, and the considerations that are at play in everyday business affairs. You will learn how to handle common ethical dilemmas in the professional world, as well as how to ensure an ethical business plan, mission, practice, and environment for customers and employees.
- Small Business and Entrepreneurship
If you are seeking to start a business, you are a clear entrepreneur. However, that’s just one step in the right direction. A course dedicated to entrepreneurship, like this, will be critical in your start-up journey. This is where you will learn the fundamental principles needed to start a business from the ground up, and the skills for making it a successful endeavor. While 50 percent of new businesses do not survive beyond the first 5 years, you have the potential to beat the odds, simply by nailing down the basics first. This start-up course covers:
- How to approach the entrepreneurial process
- The ethics involved with starting a business endeavor
- The skills needed to start a small business
- The acquisition of capital
- How to manage a small business
- Effective networking skills
- Financial resource management as an SMB owner
- Different forms of business ownership, and other forms of business opportunities like franchising
Marketing skills, as a new business owner, are critical for success. Not only do you need to know how to market your product offering, but you also need to know how to market yourself to potential investors, clients, or team members. For this reason, a fundamental course in marketing can give you a leg-up. In the business marketing course at Goodwin, you can expect to learn modern marketing strategies and methods relating to promotion, pricing, and service distribution. In addition, you will learn how to:
- Evaluate market opportunities
- Understand buyer behavior in your niche
- Target and position yourself to the right customer
- Plan and implement a marketing strategy
- Develop a marketing mix that works for your biz
- Control and organize your marketing plan
Through marketing, you can find, attract, and engage your customers. And, in turn, you can strengthen your business model.
You may be thinking, “I’m an entrepreneur, not a math wiz.” In fact, we hear this all the time from aspiring business owners. However, in order to start your business (and plan your finances wisely), you must know the basics of budgeting and marketing. Even the most basic accounting skills can help you keep your new business afloat, and upkeep your bookkeeping so that it’s organized and compliant.
While you can find an array of different accounting classes, around many business topics, you may consider starting with a basic course like “Information Accounting Systems.” This course provides an overview of QuickBooks and Sage Accounting Software, which are commonly used by small business owners. You will learn how to enter transactions, generate reports, and track your books securely on these platforms.
You may also consider a course like “Managerial Accounting,” as a start-up business owner. This course will give you a basic understanding of accounting and how it relates to new businesses. You will learn key skills like calculating your break-even point, your target net income, as well as order and process costs. You will also learn how to apply accounting to any key business decisions.
Start a Business with Classes at Goodwin
As an aspiring business owner, you probably want to hit the ground running—fast. And as you can imagine, business school can take a lot of time. However, it is an investment worth making. Not to mention, there are programs that can get you where you want to be, fast.
Goodwin offers a business start-up certificate program for those seeking basic knowledge in starting a new venture. The start-up business classes listed above are all included in this curriculum. The best part is, this certificate can be completed in a matter of months. In fact, you can complete these classes in just two semesters. You can learn more here.
If you are interested in expanding your knowledge beyond these course offerings, you may also consider a business-related associate degree. The Entrepreneurship and Small Business degree program at Goodwin, for example, includes valuable courses like “Business Planning and Development,” as well as a hands-on internship experience. The best part? It can be completed in less than two years’ time. Many of our business classes are also offered in an accelerated format, for those wanting to finish their degree even faster.
As Oprah Winfrey would tell you, “Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”
To learn more about starting your start-up journey at Goodwin, please do not hesitate to contact us. You can request more information about our flexible business school options online, or call 800-889-3282 to learn more.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.