Scale Up Your Skill Set: Online Resources for Small Businesses

How many different hats do you wear on an average day in a small business? For many people, the answer could easily reach double digits before lunchtime. You could be called upon to help with everything from admin to IT support, seamlessly switching between roles as required. It’s an incredible skill to have, but picking up a working knowledge of several different professions whilst trying to run a business is far from easy.

Whether you need to brush up on your digital marketing or learn a new language, we’ve put together a list of some of the best online resources available to small businesses looking to scale up their skill sets.

Become a digital marketing guru with Google

Google’s digital courses have been around for years, evolving with the web’s rapidly changing landscape to become one of the most comprehensive business resources available online. Google’s Digital Garage offers a huge selection of courses, from the fundamentals of digital marketing, right through to data analysis and the basics of coding.

Whatever digital skills you’re looking to develop, Digital Garage is a great place to start for anyone looking to get to grips with the basics of managing a small business’s online presence. Best of all, every course is completely free!

Supercharge your Social Media

Social media has become an integral part of any business’s marketing arsenal, providing a direct and highly flexible means of communicating with potential customers. Getting the most out of your social media isn’t always straightforward however, as those who’ve fallen foul of obscure algorithms and wayward demographic targeting can attest to.

All of the big three social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) have in depth guides designed to help small businesses get started, offering good advice on creating adverts, communicating with existing customers and targeting new audiences.


Broaden your business horizons with a new language

Learning a new language can open up a whole new world of opportunity, allowing even the smallest businesses to find new customers, clients and suppliers beyond the UK. Picking up a new language has never been easier either, with companies like Duolingo and Babbel offering online courses and mobile apps, some as short as a couple of minutes. This means you can learn whilst you’re commuting, on your lunch break, even during downtime between meetings. The lessons themselves focus on building a practical understanding of the language you’re learning and allow you to progress at your own pace, making them the perfect side project in a hectic schedule.

Whether you’re looking to gain new clients in a different country, or audit your key suppliers, it’s hard to overstate how valuable multiple languages can be, particularly when you’re working to grow a small business.

Stay secure with courses in digital security

One of the biggest challenges facing small businesses is staying secure in the face of increasingly sophisticated cyber threats. The government’s latest survey found that 46% of businesses have experienced a cyber security breach in 2020 , with a significant proportion of these becoming recurring issues.

Fortunately, there are lots of online resources available for businesses looking to improve their cyber security knowledge and protect against more common threats. The UK government offers free training for small and medium businesses, as well as the opportunity to practice your cyber incident response in a training scenario. There are also hundreds of free and paid for cyber security courses on sites like Udemy, which allow you to develop an in-depth knowledge of cyber security, hacking and protecting your business, all at your own pace.

There are no limits to upskilling online

We’ve really just scratched the surface with our recommendations in this article. Digital marketing, social media and cyber security are great places to start for a small business, but they’re by no means the only skills you’re going to need. The real key is understanding and prioritising the ones that will benefit your business the most.

Working out which courses will provide the most value to your business can be a challenge, but sites like LinkedIn Learning, Udemy and Skillshare are a great place to begin. Their highest rated courses are often designed by experts in that particular field and recommended by thousands of other users. Udemy in particular is excellent for those looking to learn programming languages, software development and cloud computing, whilst LinkedIn has excellent courses on leadership, business development and customer experience. Whatever skill you’re looking to learn, you’ll probably find it on one of these sites!

Learning is a lifelong commitment

As much as we might want to believe it, there’s never a point at which ‘you know it all’, particularly when running a small business. There’s always going to be a new skill to perfect, or a new challenge to overcome, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing! It doesn’t have to be in the form of a course or a diploma, but it’s important to remember that as long as you’re putting the effort into learning and growing, there’s a good chance your business is too.


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