Online Courses to Get Your Startup up and Running

Online Courses to Get Your Startup up and Running

In our current environment, with the job market turned upside down, it may be the perfect time to give another thought to that startup idea you’ve been playing around with.  One of the things about launching a startup and being an entrepreneur, though, is that there are right ways and wrong ways of getting started and if you do it right, you will maximize your chances of success.

One of the best ways of getting it right is to take a proven entrepreneurship course. Startup courses can take you through all the steps that are proven to lead to success and because they are online, you can work through the steps from home, at your own pace.  These business courses can help you learn not only the steps that successful entrepreneurs take, but also the business fundamentals that you will need to know to take your idea from concept to reality.

There has been an enormous number of changes in the past 20 years that have influenced how businesses can start and operate, and because of things like the fact that costs have never been lower, the internet is available to customers around the world, and tools to handle technical requirements are easy to find and implement, there has never been a better time to start a business.

You can take an online entrepreneurship course and learn about the Lean Startup Method, which can help you cut risk by applying scientific methods to building companies. These days, the most successful startups talk to customers right away. They learn to work smarter and not harder by creating hypotheses and assumptions about all key aspects of the business. Each one is tested and if the hypothesis is proven correct, they proceed and if not, they pivot and try something else. They test and fail and pivot and test again.  This “Stoplight Test” is a key to 21st century successful entrepreneurship.

There are several phases to starting a business and the first one is just finding the problem. You might think you might have an issue worth addressing, but going through the process of identifying a customer segment to serve, establishing the market size, seeing if there is an unmet need worth solving, finding early adopters etc will allow you to test your idea in a scientific way. If you don’t have an idea, the online course can take you through steps which can help you find a problem worth solving that people will pay for.  While some businesses are based on a brand new problems/solutions (living in quarantine), others are just variations on existing alternatives. Startup courses can help you understand that the most successful startups are based on solutions that are exponentially better than what is currently out there-  ie at least 10 times better, faster, lighter, cheaper, stronger and then can help you figure out how to create a value proposition and a minimum viable offer.

Once the idea is defined, online courses can ensure you have all the pieces in place to set up your startup.  They can teach you about finding a trademarkable name, securing a domain name, identifying key success metrics, setting up landing pages, Twitter/Instagram accounts, and defining the tagline and other marketing and branding elements that will make your business stand out. These business courses will help you understand which companies should incorporate and which don’t need to, how to decide about payment processing, how to set up accounting and bookkeeping procedures and all about analytics.

The next thing that an entrepreneurship course can help you with is developing the market. Do you know how to figure out the revenue model? The best price? The Minimum Viable Product (basic prototype with just the key features of your proposed product that can be given or sold to early adopters, who can give you feedback)? The distribution process? These are all elements of online courses that can help you ensure that your business optimizes its chances for success. Did you know that your MVP should be:

Delightful: your customers want to pay for it,

Usable: your customers can actually use it,

Valuable: it creates value for your customers, and

Feasible: you can actually build it.

The MVP will be tested using the Stoplight test and the distribution channels will be tweaked and tested too. One of the ways a course helps you is by identifying all of the stages of testing so that you don’t make commitments and spend money until you know that this is a business that actually has legs. Much of the testing can also happen even if you are currently working somewhere else, so you don’t have to assume the risk of quitting your job and launching until you are really ready to go with a business that can take off.

The other thing that people starting new businesses don’t always consider is how much money the business will need to grow. A good online course will help you understand the true costs of the business; not just the costs of the product/service, but also all the associated costs of operating a business and growing it out of the startup phase. Do you have enough money to succeed and grow? If not, how much do you actually need? Who should you pitch to for investment and how? How should you value the business?  How do you create an investor slide deck?  How do you negotiate with potential investors? What do you do if you get rejections? Is there a Plan B?

Starting your own business can be wonderful and exciting and challenging and fun. It can also be scary and hard and exhausting and frustrating.  Why not do everything you can to maximize the good stuff and minimize the bad? Entrepreneurship courses take all the research AND all the learning from real, successful entrepreneurs and pass on all of that wisdom in totally approachable, bite-sized chunks so that you can avoid the pitfalls that come when you’re going it alone. Their online orientation makes them accessible from anywhere, anytime and their step-wise process means that you can work through all the stages on your schedule, in a way that makes sense to you.

You don’t have to go it alone. Learn from those who have been there and done that. Take your future in your own hands today.

Wishing you the best of luck.

Elisa Palter

About the Author

Elisa Palter

Elisa has co-founded and successfully exited 2 small businesses, written business cases for Harvard Business School, and was part of the team that founded a prestigious Liberal Arts College overseas. She assists select NFP organizations with their messaging and strategy, and coaches women who are looking to become entrepreneurs. Elisa is passionate about entrepreneurship and its ability to empower individuals, particularly women.

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