Nobody makes it big without learning the ropes first. But unfortunately, entrepreneurship isn’t something that many of us learn at school. While there’s a lot to be said for learning on the job, it certainly helps to have expert advice to fall back on, particularly when it comes from other entrepreneurs who have faced many of the same challenges in the past.
With that in mind, here’s a list of some of the country’s top workshops and training providers for small businesses. We’ve tried to include a variety of options, from full-on degree-courses to free travelling workshops. So, you can be sure that whatever you’re looking for in business training, there will be someone out there who can provide:
- Kick off in Business. Kick Off In Business runs free small business training workshops all over the country. The courses tend to be short and practicality-focused, with as little extraneous waffle as possible. If you’re looking for actionable and understandable help in building strong foundations for your business, these are the guys for you.
- The British Library. The British Library runs all kinds of business-focused events, ranging from drop-in advice sessions with industry experts to longer courses on business management. Keep an eye on their Business and IP Centre for news on what’s coming up.
- The Open University. The Open University has a lot to offer entrepreneurs. Whether you want to take a full degree in business, or simply want a quick dose of small business startup training, the Open University will have what you need. You can take their small business management training courses online, or you could attend one of the workshops which they frequently host at locations all over the country.
- The Women’s Organisation. Female entrepreneurs in the North West could do a lot worse than head to the Women’s Organisation. The Women’s Organisation aims to empower women in business by eliminating barriers to commercial success (of which business education is one). They offer a wide range of training courses and events, teaching essential skills like bookkeeping, leadership, marketing, and strategising.
- Skills To Go. Skipping to the other end of the country, Skills To Go offers business training courses across the South West. They’re particularly good at training for the challenges faced by small rural businesses, with a focus on building networks and selling with confidence. Their blog is very informative, too.
- QA. QA deliver more in-depth business training courses from twenty locations around the country. While they’re a little pricier, they have the advantage of providing bespoke courses tailored to your specific needs and business model. Perhaps one to bear in mind when you’re thinking of scaling.
- LBTC. London Business Training and Consulting are a big operation with a number of strings to their bow. If you’re looking for one organisation that can do it all, LBTC is one of your best bets. They offer bespoke courses on pretty much everything business-related, and their roster of expert advisers is impressive. However, if you’re not ready to shell out on the full package just yet, it’s still worth keeping an eye on these guys. They often run free or discounted sessions and events.
- City of London. The City of London has a vested interest in keeping the capital’s business community thriving, so they’re good at helping out new and burgeoning entrepreneurs. The City Business Library has a wealth of information for the ad-hoc learner, but they also run a full face-to-face business advisory service which puts on regular courses and training events.
- Nwes. Backed by the European Regional Development Fund, Nwes offer small businesses everything from mentoring to funding and even workspaces. They are great for providing advice on-tap, and run regular training events all over London, the East Midlands, and East Anglia. While they do charge for some of their services, a lot of their courses and workshops come for free (thanks to that European funding).
- Enterprise for London. Enterprise for London has in-depth knowledge of the specific needs and challenges of small businesses in the capital. They offer training for small businesses and support for all kinds of enterprises. What’s more, they’re very well connected, so if they can’t provide exactly what you’re looking for, they can certainly direct you to someone who can.
- The Hub. The Hub is a professional business training organisation, offering a wide range of services and events, covering a whole range of topics. Providing both in-house training and centralised workshops, check their ‘Current Events’ section for info on day-courses, seminars, and workshops laid on by their facilitators.
- Eventbrite. Not technically a training provider, but it’s worth keeping tabs on Eventbrite nonetheless. A lot of small business training courses and workshops book and advertise through Eventbrite. While Eventbrite provides advertising and booking services for all kinds of events, the site is pretty easy to search and you can filter according to the kind of thing you’re looking for. If you’re after something fairly specific, or need a certain date or location, Eventbrite is your best bet for honing down your options.
It can be easy to become blinkered when you’re running your own business, forgetting to lift your head up to see what lessons and insights you can take from elsewhere. By keeping an eye on what training courses are on offer to help you, you’re sure to keep your skills fresh and your business on track for growth.
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