From the National Federation for Independent Business

As the New Year approaches, you may be thinking about your resolutions. Do you want to learn a new skill, strengthen your leadership, or inspire a positive change within your staff? These free or low-cost online courses can help you become a better small business owner.

LinkedIn Learning/Lynda

Kim McCumber, CEO of Floodlight Training and Consulting, says Lynda has long been one of his favorite resources for skill and career development because of the variety of topics ranging from software-specific tutorials to general courses focusing on leadership, finance, and project management. In addition to more than 1,200 business courses, there are also options for learning design, photography, software development, and web development.

LinkedIn acquired Lynda in 2015, the integration of which led to LinkedIn Learning. The content across the two platforms is the same, but Lynda remains online separately as well. Both offer a one-month free trial, and LinkedIn Learning’s cost thereafter is $24.99 per month. Lynda offers a Basic plan for $19.99 per month or a Premium plan for $29.99 per month.


Udemy self-describes as the world’s largest online learning marketplace; its library contains more than 55,000 courses taught by expert instructors. The Business category alone contains courses on finance, entrepreneurship, communications, management, sales, strategy, operations, project management, business law, data and analytics, home business, human resources, industry, media, and real estate.

You can purchase individual courses, which range from $20 to $200, although the site sometimes runs sales offering courses for just $10. If you’re looking for a workplace-wide learning program, there is also Udemy for Business for $240 per user annually.

Before committing to a course, however, McCumber recommends going through the outline and reviews to make sure it fits your needs and expectations.

RELATED: Parts of a Business Plan: 7 Essential Sections


Skillshare offers more than 17,000 courses, and thousands of them are available for free to users. Upgrading to a premium plan costs $99 annually, which gives you unlimited access to the entire library of classes. Team plans are also available for $99 per user/per year and up.

Business course topics include getting started with email marketing, presentation essentials, staples of branding, and social media strategy.

The Academy by Manta

Manta, an online resource dedicated to small businesses, offers The Academy, a hub for free courses designed to help small business owners grow, market, and manage their companies. Categories include digital marketing, finance, management, marketing, operations, and sales; some of the most popular courses deal with sales tax automation, listings and local search, and overtime compliance. Each course is broken into three levels of difficulty—Beginner, Pro, and Expert—so that you can tailor your learning to your experience.


The courses available on SmallBizU are geared toward new businesses looking for help launching and growing their companies. Classes are grouped into topics about money, marketing, and management. Each takes about 2 to 4 hours to complete and costs $29.99.

SBA Learning Center

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Learning Center offers about 60 different free courses on topics like winning federal contracts, buying a business, cybersecurity, and more. Each course is self-paced and provides an overview of the topic as well as additional resources to further help you put your training to work.


Codecademy offers free coding classes—with a premium upgrade option—in seven programming languages.

“For those looking for a better grasp of HTML, JavaScript, and other technical areas around website development, I don’t think there’s a better resource than Codecademy,” McCumber says. “Its free subscription provides access to the content while a low monthly fee gives you access to projects and quizzes to enhance the learning experience.”


Click Here for the NFIB website.