Learning to Run A Business

A man in white shirt sitting at table typing on a computer.

Strategies For Learning To Run A Business


In this post, you’ll find guidance, tips, and insights to develop your skills to run a small business successfully. We’ll answer some of the questions people search for and offer recommendations for excellent business courses you can take for free provided by reputable organizations.

Before you get to the course section at the end of this post, let’s go over some important points you’ll want to consider.

Things To Know About Business

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.) Only around 25%of businesses make it to the 15-year mark. 20% fail in the first year, while 45% fail in the first five years and 65% fail in the first ten years.

The success rate for businesses is not great, and more businesses fail as time goes on.

A man and a woman sitting at a desk looking at an iPad.

There is constant change in the business world and moving fast. You can think of it as a high-speed rollercoaster ride with ups, downs, and shifts. Some business owners can’t adapt to change quickly enough and end up closing their doors. Others may have had a competitor come in to do a better job and force them to close, For example, Netflix and Blockbuster Video.

With that being said, does that mean you’re destined to fail? No, of course not. You can succeed, but it’s good to know what you’re up against and what to watch out for.

What Does It Take To Run a Small Business

What it takes to run a small business depends on the type of industry, the size of your business, and your work experience.

Let’s look at a couple of examples.

Example 1:

Suppose you’re an auto body repair mechanic and you want to start your own business. You already know how to repair vehicles and understand how the business works. You just may not have dipped your hands in the complete process of running a business.

Example 2:

You’re interested in starting a manufacturing plant to produce parts for the auto industry. You have no experience, but it’s something you’re interested in.

In the first example, because you know the industry, you’re already ahead of the game. You have industry experience, know what customers expect, and an idea of how the business operates. You would have to learn or brush up on managing a business, marketing, financial and bookkeeping, and becoming familiar with the laws and regulations.

The second example would take a lot more work because, first of all, you’re not familiar with the industry, and manufacturing has a lot more to it than a service or retail business. You have many regulations to follow, you may need a large workforce, and you need to watch your costs while ensuring you have enough volume to keep your operation running.

As you can see from the above examples, identifying what it takes to run a business will depend on certain conditions.

For a general understanding of what it takes to run a successful business, you will need to work long hours and do a lot of planning. Becoming successful takes time, and one of the hardest parts is the uncertainty of success.

A young women putting an open sign in the store window.

For example, you could have a great business, but you open in the wrong location. Or you could have a good product, and you price it incorrectly. You might have an excellent idea, but the timing is off. There are so many variables, and one will affect other parts of your operation. For example, if your pricing is wrong, your revenues suffer, your profits go down, and now you have a hard time paying expenses. So the one variable of pricing affects many areas.

Coming up with a plan that works is difficult. Once you find something that does work, it gets easier.

What Qualifications Do You Need To Run a Small Business?

There are a few key points to consider to run a successful small business.

You can start a business without any qualifications. You don’t need an MBA. What you want to consider is how successful you’ll be. Let’s look at a few key areas that will help you succeed.


An essential part of running a business is management. Without effective management, you’ll have a chaotic operation and a business that won’t last. It’s people with great management skills that can make a business successful.

Management consists of being organized, having good planning skills, and coordinating operations. You’ll also need to direct and take control, you are not an employee but the boss, and it’s up to you to manage the business.

With time your management skills improve, you’ll encounter many scenarios not taught in school, and you’ll learn from experience.


Running a business is about making money. I like to think of it as making money while doing something you love. You need to be good at managing money. You have to pay on time, get paid on time, know where to spend and where to save money. You also need to be aware of the rules, regulations, and taxes.


You need to be aware of the laws and regulations. There can be stiff consequences for breaking the laws, and not being aware of them does not exempt you. Keep in mind laws and regulations may differ depending on your location. It’s always a good idea to check with your local municipality and state or province.

Understanding Your Industry:

Whether you are new to an industry or a veteran, you must have a thorough understanding of it to have a chance of succeeding.

Let’s look at a couple of examples.

You may have noticed this if you have ever worked for a large corporation. Upper management hires a hotshot executive from outside the company. The executive comes in with his head held high and implements a new process based on past experience.

.The process might be a strong one, but does it work for this particular industry? Not all processes are interchangeable. You need to first understand how a business works and understand the industry before making changes.

I remember hearing a story of how Blockbuster Video brought in a top Walmart executive, hoping he would turn Blockbuster around and improve revenues and operations.

The top Walmart executive had a strong background in merchandising. Rather than focusing on Blockbuster’s core business of movie rentals, he created a new line of merchandise for the video stores. It began to look like a mini Walmart. People want movies, not merchandise. The Walmart hotshot did an excellent job at Walmart, but for Blockbuster, it was a bust! (pun intended)

Focus on the industry, learn the strong and weak points, then apply your skills. Don’t apply a process to an industry where you don’t have a strong understanding. Don’t assume what works in one industry will work in a different one.


It’s essential to understand marketing when running your own business. This doesn’t mean you need to have the skills of a marketing expert, but in summary, you need to understand your customers and how to communicate with them.

Let’s go over a few marketing areas to focus on.

Target Market:

You need to know your target market, how they think, what they need, and what they want. With this understanding, you’ll be able to provide products and services that sell.

Create Attractive Offers:

You’ll need to know how to develop attractive offers and specials that appeal to your customers. Running a special is an excellent way to boost your revenues while providing value. Another benefit to consider is when you consistently offer specials, you build repeat customers.

Advertising Skills:

You need to have a basic understanding of advertising. A business without customers is useless. You need customers, and many times you will need to advertise to get them through the door. Even if you hire an agency or a copywriter, you must understand how to advertise successfully, or you might spend thousands of dollars without any increase in revenue.

What Classes, Should I Take To Run My Own Business?

There are many courses out there that will benefit a business owner. In fact, there are so many it can become overwhelming. If you take every course that deals with running a business, you’ll be learning for years. It’s important to learn what you need when you need it.

Spending a lot of time on education alone will not work for most business owners. One approach is taking night courses at a local educational institution. Another is to take courses online to learn at your own pace and when you need to familiarize yourself with a subject.

A teacher in an adult class writing on a whiteboard.It also depends on your current level of understanding. For example, if you know nothing about running a business, a suggestion would be to look for a course for entrepreneurs. This differs from a course for someone looking for a career in the corporate world. Entrepreneurs get into the areas that will get them starting and running their own business, while the MBA approach goes into many areas that won’t apply to running a small business.

Here are suggestions for the courses that can benefit you:

Once you have that basic understanding of running a small business, then tackle the courses where you’ll benefit the most.

For example, your business is up and running. You’ll need to advertise to boost sales. This is when you would spend time on an advertising course, which may be at a local educational center, or you could find a course for online learning.

The beauty of taking this approach is that you’re focused on the subject you need, and you’ll be putting the information to use right away. Theory and application help you retain the information.

Next, suppose you are filing receipts and sending them to your bookkeeper. You want a more organized approach that allows you to better grasp your financial outlook with the click of a button. You would do the same thing you did for the advertising course only this time you’re looking for an accounting or bookkeeping course.

You would repeat this approach to taking courses whenever you are involved in a new business process.

Free Business Courses

A popular search query is, “How Can I Learn Business for Free?” There are a lot of free business courses available. Some are an introduction, some are detailed, and some are not worth your time.

.Another popular search query is “How Can I Learn Business Fast” I can see the intent of the query is the person doesn’t want to take a full MBA course, or they are in a hurry, they may have a business idea, and they want to get started on it.

If you take courses where you can learn at your own pace. You can get through the information rather quickly, and you’ll gain a broad overview of the topic. You can also go into more depth or do a refresher when needed.

Let’s look at a few resources to get you started.


The Small Business Administration (SBA), a government-funded organization designed to help small businesses succeed, offers many courses through the SBA Learning Platform. You can get started online with no previous knowledge or experience.


edX.org is an excellent and valuable resource created by Harvard and MIT. You have access to university-level courses with many at no charge. I recommend you use their search bar to find the courses you’re looking for. It will be worth your while.

Online Search

Another way to find the latest courses is to do a specific search query.

For example, if I want a course for small business advertising. I would search for: “Advertising course for Small Business owners” to get the latest information. Once I find an appealing course, I would search the [course name + reviews ] to get feedback.

Our Resources

You can look at the following resources from A Touch of Business.com.

When starting most small businesses, the steps to consider can be summed up in my post, The Essential Steps To Start a Business

offering you an overview of each of the steps and considerations you’ll need.

Check out My Simplified guide to start a business. My goal for this guide was to present the information, so it’s easy to understand, along with important issues to consider before you start a business.

Our library of articles can be found in three main categories of our site: starting a businessrunning a business, and marketing your business.


Learning to run a business is an ongoing process. The more years you put into running a business, the more experience you’ll gain and the more you’ll be able to accomplish. All you need now is a process to get started and once you’re up and running, keep learning as needed!

Good Luck!
Acey Gaspard