Up Your Game: The Best Places to Find Entrepreneur Training
Being an entrepreneur means knowing that running a business is an evolving journey filled with many opportunities and challenges.
"Building a business is a marathon, and not a sprint," says entrepreneur and cookbook author Pooja Dhingra, founder of bakery chain Le15 Patisseries.
Becoming a successful entrepreneur doesn't come with a one-size-fits-all list of tips, explains the pastry chef, who opened her first macaron bakery and cafe in India in 2010.
"If you're an entrepreneur or are working on giving wings to your passion project, go easy on yourself. Nobody has it all figured out," writes Dhingra in an article for Harvard Business Review.
Learn how to be a better entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is undoubtedly a continuous learning curve. Some lessons will come while running your business, while others may be learned through failures. However, to help ease the burden, external resources are available to hone your entrepreneurship skills.
Here are a few ideas on where to seek more knowledge or first-hand experience designed to help entrepreneurs and small business owners become more successful.
Access online classwork through the SBA. The Small Business Administration offers several free online courses for entrepreneurs, ranging from researching ideas for a startup to growing a small business.
Classes use an objective-driven teaching method to take you through the curriculum. The amount of time it takes to complete the course will be up to you, depending on your class. Each class carries a specific number of objectives, ranging from 25 to as many as 70.
Find a mentor entrepreneur. Having a mentor you can rely on has been proven invaluable to new entrepreneurs and business leaders alike.
Look through your contacts and network groups to see if anyone might be a good fit as your mentor. Potential choices are an entrepreneur running a business in your community or someone who's a part of a local organization such as the Chamber of Commerce.
The search for a mentor might require a more formal approach, such as going through SCORE, a nonprofit mentor organization that helps entrepreneurs plan, launch, manage and grow their businesses.
Through SCORE, you get access to mentors around the country, educational workshops, and free advice in financing, human resources, and business via email, telephone, and video, the website says.
The group's mentors are considered experts in entrepreneurship and related fields, and they're willing to meet with their small business clients on an ongoing basis to provide continued advice and support, according to the organization.
Other types of entrepreneur training available through SCORE include webinars, online workshops, courses on demand, and a library of online resources.
Become part of a business incubator hub. You may want to check with a local university or other academic institution to identify possible incubators in your area.
There are different types of incubators for startup companies and individual entrepreneurs. Nonetheless, they're often based in academic partnerships or involve nonprofit development corporations, for-profit property development ventures, and venture capital firms.
Management training, office space, and even venture capital financing are among the benefits you could tap if you become part of a business incubator.
Incubators may operate in actual physical space or virtually, or both. Some target a particular focus, whether your stage of business or industry, such as incubators that support tech or culinary-related businesses.
Engage with an entrepreneur group. Search out ways to engage with other entrepreneurs through community-based groups or meet-ups that offer programming and networking opportunities.
A national free program called 1 Million Cups, designed to educate, engage and inspire entrepreneurs, is offered in more than 160 communities and 40 states.
Developed by the Kauffman Foundation, 1 Million Cups is "based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and engage with their communities over a million cups of coffee," the Kansas City-based Kauffman Foundation says.
"One Million Cups works with entrepreneurs, empowering them with the tools and resources to break down barriers that stand in the way of starting and growing their businesses."