To help entrepreneurs better market and manage their businesses, Manta, a provider of small business products and services, recently launched Manta Academy.
The free educational resources are designed to provide small business owners with specific, actionable knowledge they can use to grow their businesses. Each course is presented in three escalating levels of difficulty so users can learn at their own pace.
"Manta is excited to launch the Academy — free educational content that is easy to understand and put into action — to assist small business owners in managing the day-to-day business functions that can sometimes seem overwhelming," John Swanciger, Manta CEO, said in a statement.
The Manta Academy courses are divided into six categories:
- Digital marketing: These classes are focused on how small businesses can use specific marketing tools to their advantage, including email, social media, the web, mobile devices and search engines.
- Finance: The finance courses cover cash flow, business insurance, lending alternatives and business credit basics.
- Management: These classes cover hiring and retention strategies and offer advice on how best to interact with employees when employers want to engage with them, inspire discipline or fire them.
- Marketing: The marketing courses focus on how to attract new customers and retain existing ones. Specific topics include event planning, marketing basics and public relations.
- Operations: These classes will teach small business owners about contractual and legal issues and help them plan for the future of their business.
- Sales: The sales courses explain how to develop a customer base, use CRM software, run customer loyalty programs and turn leads into long-term revenue.
Recent research from Manta found that many small businesses can benefit from these types of resources. More than 25 percent of the small businesses they surveyed said they don't have a business plan, and nearly half of that number said the reason is because they don't know how to create one. In addition, 27 percent don't have a marketing plan and 23 percent don't have a sales plan. [See Related Story: Writing a Business Plan? 13 Challenges to Overcome]
The study also revealed that less than half of small businesses conduct market research, have a succession plan, create competitive benchmarks or plan special events.
Small business owners can find all of the educational courses on the Manta Academy website.