Courses I've taken to improve my business during lockdown

February, 2021

In the UK, we've been in and out of lockdown for nearly a year now (the first one beginning March 23rd 2020). My business has been affected, as many others have, so I've used the spare time to improve and add certain skills and in turn grow my business.

The courses I've taken have been free and are accessible to everyone online. I've given a brief overview of each course below:

Sage Bookkeeping stages 1 and 2 ("Basic double entry bookkeeping" & "Extend your knowledge of double entry bookkeeping").

Having a small business means you have to wear many hats and bookkeeping is essential. These courses, whilst probably more in depth than I needed, gave me a deeper insight into bookkeeping; control accounts, VAT, trial balance & profit and loss reports using sage. I took a lot from this course and it actually gained me a new client early on during the first lockdown.

Time to complete: 2 weeks

Certificate? Yes, 2 certificates of completion

Link to course: Basic Double Entry Bookkeeping

Extend your knowledge of double entry bookkeeping

Introduction to Graphic Design

This was a LinkedIn course that had a mixture of articles and videos. The content was fairly basic to start with so great for beginners. The tests at the end of each chapter make sure you really understand what's being said before moving onto the next section which I liked. The course covers the creative process, layout & composition, typography, colour and then gives training in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

Time to complete: 4 hours

Certificate? Yes, a certificate of completion

Link to course: Introduction to Graphic Design

Graphic Design Foundations: Layout and Composition

Another LinkedIn course that didn't take long to complete at all. Mostly taught through the use of video. I learnt about layout elements, composition principles, proportion, grids, attributes and the power of images and words. There were chapter quizzes just like in the other LinkedIn course which I found really helpful as they highlighted any areas I needed to go over again.

Time to complete: 1.5 hours

Certificate? Yes, a certificate of completion

Link to course: Graphic design foundations: Layout and composition

Digital skills: Digital Marketing

I really enjoyed this course, it was short and to the point. It's advertised as a 2 week course but I completed it in a couple of hours. The course covers display and pay per click advertising, SEO, email marketing and then how to integrate these new found skills into your business. The course is accredited by the CPD certification service so it is one you can add to your CV upon completion and you can start straight away.

Time to complete: 2 hours

Certificate? Yes, a certificate of achievement. Note, unlike the LinkedIn courses you do have to achieve a certain percent to gain the certificate.

Link to course: Digital skills: Digital marketing

Digital skills: Web Analytics

If I'm being honest, this course was a little basic for me but I would definitely recommend it to my clients. The course didn't take long to complete at all and covers topics such as measuring objectives and outcomes in your business, segmentation and benchmarking, measurements plans and Google Analytics.

Time to complete: 2 hours

Certificate? Yes, a certificate of achievement, accredited by the CPD certifcation service

Link to course: Digital skills: Web analytics

Digital skills: Artificial Intelligence

Again, this course was a little basic but really interesting for someone that wants to increase their basic understanding of artificial intelligence. The course focusses on where AI came from, the difference between AI and machine learning and makes you realise that AI is a lot more common that we may originally think.

Time to complete: 2 hours

Certificate? Yes, accredited by the CPD certfication service, a certificate of achievement.

Link to course: Digital skills: Artificial intelligence

As well as taking these course I've also read more business books. I have a blog post that I update with summaries and reviews of these, here

These courses were just ones I found that interested me and related to my business but there are so many different courses that could help you grow your business during this time. The Skills Toolkit is a great website that has loads of courses from maths to computer coding and practical business skills. The pandemic has been hard hitting for businesses but, for me, courses help to keep some normality, learn new skills and set up a positive attitude during this hard time.

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