7 of the Best Free Online Business Classes for Aspiring Entrepreneurs


Want to start a business but don’t know where to start? A little education can go a long way, especially when it’s free.

Here are seven great online classes for aspiring entrepreneurs — from some of the top business schools in the country.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

What will you learn?

  • How to overcome the most common myths of entrepreneurship
  • How to define your goals, as an entrepreneur and a startup
  • How to identify business opportunities
  • How to conduct market research and choose your target customer
  • How to design and test your offering
  • How to pitch and sell to customers

Time involved: 6 weeks, approximately 1 to 3 hours per week.

Stanford (Sam Altman)

More a series of videos than a class, How to Start a Startup covers a wide range of topics — and includes startup founders like Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), Emmett Shear (Just.tv and Twitch), Marc Andreessen (Netscape), Aaron Levie (Box), and Paul Graham (Y Combinator.)

What will you learn?

  • How to build a team
  • How to build a  product and talk to users
  • How to raise money
  • How to build a great culture
  • How to build services that scale
  • How to manage, operate, and be a great founder

Time involved: 20 videos, approximately 50 minutes each.

Sloan School of Management (MIT)

Maybe you won’t need a business plan; plenty of people argue you don’t. Or that your business plan will start changing the first week. 

Even so, understanding the basics of a business plan will definitely help bring focus to your idea and your first steps — so what better than the course that has been by every MIT MBA student for over two decades?

What will you learn?

  • How to refine and present your idea
  • How to create marketing and sales plans
  • How to choose the right business model
  • How to develop financial projections
  • How to plan for legal, accounting, copyright, etc. issues
  • How to execute your plan

Time involved: 6 videos of approximately 1 hour each, plus extensive lecture notes and supplemental material (if you want more.) 

Wharton (University of Pennsylvania)

Ideas are great… but execution is everything. A great idea and a solid plan is a given; the next step is to put it into action.

What will you learn?

  • How to build a minimum viable product (MVP)
  • How to build a team
  • How to build a network: Advisors, mentors, professional service providers, etc.
  • How to create a brand
  • How to bring your brand to market

Time involved: Self paced, approximately 8 hours.

Wharton (University of Pennsylvania)

Once you’ve launched, you’ll need to grow — especially if you’re bootstrapping your way to success and financing your startup with the revenue you generate.

What will you learn?

  • How to land customers
  • How to use earned, paid, and owned marketing as efficiently as possible
  • How to build cost and pricing structures
  • How to develop and track the right key performance indicators (KPIs) for your business
  • How to build a great culture — and maintain it as your startup grows

Time involved: Self paced, approximately 7 hours.

Wharton (University of Pennsylvania)

How do you make a small fortune? Begin with a large fortune, and start a (insert your favorite startup money pit here.)

Because a business without (eventual) profits isn’t really a business.

What will you learn?

  • How to develop the right business models
  • How to keep your best customers
  • How to determine the right financing for your business (even if “financing” just means your savings)
  • How to calculate burn rate, break-even point, and other key financial metrics and milestones
  • How to pitch investors
  • How to decide when the time is right, and under what terms, to exit.

Time involved: Self paced, approximately 6 hours.

Deakin University

You can learn business and entrepreneurial skills from a wide variety of sources. But who will teach you how to stay the course when times get tough, as times inevitably do?

For starters, these folks.

What will you learn?

  • How to follow a few simple steps to become more resilient
  • How to develop specific skills to deal with difficult situations
  • How to perform a little self care to recharge your resiliency batteries
  • How to apply resiliency frameworks to professional and personal situations

Time involved: 2 weeks, approximately 3 hours per week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *