In today’s marketplace, staying informed is part of the cost of doing business. Regardless of industry and location, burgeoning entrepreneurs need to be aware of the latest and greatest technological innovations in management, marketing and cybersecurity to stay competitive. Thankfully, a number of online learning platforms offer classes on these mission critical topics.

Social media marketing

As this Marketo article notes, 71 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a product if it has been referred to them via social media. As such, small business owners need to harness the power of social media if they want to connect with buyers who are resistant to traditional methods of advertising. Founders who need to up their social media knowledge should take Northwestern University’s Social Media Marketing course. Offered through Coursera, this six part comprehensive course covers an introduction to social media, how to adapt existing marketing strategies for various social media platforms, the ins and outs of driving engagement and how to interpret social media analytics.

Omnichannel strategy and management

To succeed in retail, entrepreneurs need to have a firm grasp on the principles of inventory management, pricing, sales forecasting and assortment planning, as well as the type of applications that allow omnichannel management. Founders can gain that critical knowledge by taking edX’s Omnichannel Strategy and Management program. Provided by Dartmouth, this curriculum educates students on those very topics with this four-week course.

Cybersecurity for small businesses

As a data breach will cost the average U.S. small business between $36,000 and $50,000, it behooves owners to protect their companies with a holistic cybersecurity solution. Founders who need an introduction to the subject should check out the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Cybersecurity for Small Businesses course. It offers a primer on the various digital threats owners need to be aware of, the different methods hackers use to intrude into a company’s database and the best practices they can use to minimize their risk factor. The SBA cybersecurity course takes about 30 minutes to complete and is free.

This article was written by Mario McKellop for CBS Small Business Pulse.

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