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Options to fit your budget and schedule.

Small business owners often benefit from significant on-the-job training to become Jacks and Jills of all trades. But if you’ve been thinking about taking your formal education to a new level, there are numerous Internet-based and in-person courses to consider.

Whether you’re looking to obtain an advanced degree in entrepreneurship or business management, or simply add new skills like marketing, accounting or IT to your portfolio, check out the following guide as you start to research your options:

    1. Online courses: Web-based classes may be the best option for small business owners who are logging in long hours. Luckily, the number of high-quality courses available online has increased in recent years.
      • A number of excellent universities offer online MBA classes, such as Indiana University and the University of North Carolina. Get tips on choosing an online MBA program from CBS, and check out U.S. News & World Report’s rankings for more information on each program.
      • The growing popularity of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) affords you a wide variety of classes offered from top universities that you can pursue at your own pace — some are even free. Find out about upcoming sessions at the MOOC List. EdX also offers courses from universities around the world, including Harvard and Cornell. Many are free, and others range from $50 to $295.
      • The Small Business Administration Learning Center offers competitive advantage, cybersecurity and other training courses: videos on finance, marketing and other topics, and Q&A chat session transcripts that provide additional information at no cost.
      • The MIT Enterprise Forum video portal includes dozens of free programs from members of its tech entrepreneur network on topics, such as communications, venture capital financing and innovation.
      • You can access more than 1,000 free courses through the Open Education Consortium sponsored by Tufts, the University of Michigan and other institutions.
      • Looking for advice from your peers? Check out, a platform where members exchange skills and know-how via short instructional videos. You can watch the videos, but also upload your own, as well.
      • For a list of additional online learning sites, check out this article from
    2. College classes: There are a variety of ways you can attend courses in person and obtain degrees or certificates ―many that have options to fit busy schedules.
      • Want to work toward an advanced degree? You may be able to take classes on nights and weekends. Expect to spend, on average, about two years to complete an MBA program, which could cost a total of $50,000 through a private college or $20,000 to $35,000 at a public school, according to BusinessWeekThird Party Link. Check S. News & World Report’s rankings to find the school that best fits your goals as a small business owner. Not sure if grad school is right for you? Take these 5 steps to find out.
      • Community colleges in your area may provide a reasonably priced way to learn about accounting, IT and other topics. Two-year public college costs, on average, were $3,347 in 2014-15, according to the College Board. Judging by a College America studyThird Party Link, the average cost to take a community college course should be less than $300 (based on a 12-credit-hour semester). Locate your nearest community college through the American Association of Community Colleges.
      • Check if any colleges in your area offer a small business incubator. Several schools, including Duke, Northern Kentucky University and Syracuse, have added (or plan to add) incubators, according to the New York Times.
    3. Workshops and other in-person courses: One-time or semi-regular non-credit courses can provide additional networking opportunities with other small business professionals.
      • SBA’s 1,100 Small Business Development Centers are hosted by universities and state economic development agencies throughout the U.S. The centers offer free and low-cost training, workshops and other resources on health care guidance, manufacturing assistance and other subjects to help entrepreneurs.
      • Your local library and Chamber of Commerce may also offer some workshops or other gratis courses. Find your local branch — and additional free online resources for entrepreneurs — at the American Library Association’s website.
    4. Mentoring opportunities: Considerable research has shown small business owners can benefit from mentoring — particularly if the mentor is also an entrepreneur, according to CBS MoneyWatch. Free assistance is available from several organizations.
      • Apply to get volunteer guidance from MBAs Across America, formed by four Harvard Business School students, which has sent MBA students to work with businesses in 28 cities in the past two years.
      • Nonprofit organization SCORE has a network of 11,000 retired and working business owners who provide mentoring, at no cost, at more than 300 locations in the U.S. — or via email.

Looking for additional small business owner education and instruction? Get tips on overcoming five common business challenges, learn how to build your business into a stand-out brand and find out 10 talents of highly successful entrepreneurs that can help you stay on top of your game.

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