How to keep learning for free!

We all know that in small businesses every penny counts.  Sufficient cash flow is vital to make your business run effectively.  Adequate funds to pay your bills and invest in your business are critical.  But when it comes to investing in your business there are so many demands.  From money for marketing, PR and social media, to new technology, premises or stock, the ‘wish’ list can seem endless.

In this ‘How to’ guide one of our virtual assistants Kimba talks about how something like training doesn’t have to demand cash from your business, due to the wide range of free online training courses available.

Training for yourself or for your staff can easily be put to the bottom of the ‘to-do’ list.  But continuous professional development (CPD) is vital to ensure that you continue to stay at the top of your profession and deliver real value for money for your customers and clients.

In some industries such as accountancy, this CPD is non-negotiable.  It has to be completed in order to maintain your accredited status.  For other industries it can seem a nice to do.  But in this digital age, training doesn’t have to take up a lot of your hard earned cash.  There are lots of online resources that will only need an investment of your time.

Investing in training is vital for your business, but it doesn’t have to cost the earth

These are some of my top tips for making learning work for yourself and in your organisation:

  1. Allocate time each week for learning.  This isn’t always easy but blocking out an hour a week can ensure the tasks actually get done.
  2. Think about how you learn best.  With so many online options from webinars to reading material to Google hangouts, you can find a way that works for you.  Do consider offline options as well if you find online just isn’t your most effective route.
  3. Keep your ear to the ground.  Professionals and experts are all around you and many of them offer or have attended online training.  If there is something specific that you want to know try Googling it and asking people you know if they have come across any online learning in that area.

Universities from around the world offer training courses online and for free.

My absolute favourite free online learning tool is Future Learn.  On this specialist website universities and other organisations put together courses that you can do in a couple of hours a week on a huge variety of topics.  You can even pay a nominal fee for a certificate at the end if you like – to give yourself a big pat on the back!  You can study all sorts of things that could be highly relevant for your business.  This could include ‘An Introduction to Cyber Security’, ‘Data to insight: An Introduction to Data Analysis’ or ‘Social Media Analytics: Using data to understand public conversations’.  Once the course is over, you can still access the resources.  It is therefore really flexible and enables you to fit learning around your other commitments.

There are many other online options such as Coursera, and MIT so it is worth exploring to see which might work for you.

If you are struggling to find the time for learning then hiring one of our virtual assistants might be the right next step for your business.

We love to take on the tasks you don’t have time to do, don’t have the skills to do, or simply don’t want to do.

Please get in touch on 01483 332220 or email us at to find out more.  We pride ourselves on being the staff you don’t see, but the difference you do.

Find out more about our services or call 01483 332 220 to discuss in more detail.