Financial literacy has been a moving goal post throughout the digital age. Modern financial technology has majorly shaken up how consumers and business owners alike manage their capital and if current trends are any indication, financial literacy is by no means a simple or straightforward goal to achieve. Only the savviest and most adept business owner understands that there is always more to learn when it comes to finances; those who settle are the most likely to be left behind. Once you have the basics down on understanding finances, it’s wise to stay up to date on current financial trends and means to manage your capital. In recognition of Financial Literacy Month, we at Kapitus have aggregated a mélange of valuable resources to test and refine your financial literacy, as it’s just about impossible to know too much about your finances.
Money Smart for Small Business is run and operated by the U.S. Small Business Administration; a great place to start your journey for financial literacy info. Money Smart is a curated course jointly run by the SBA and the FDIC with 13 separate modules available in both English and Spanish. The entire course is free and downloadable directly from the SBA’s money smart main page.
Money Smart is a fantastic tool to diagnose your own financial literacy strong suits and areas that need focus. Being that the course is a comprehensive overview of all the potential needs a small business owner may benefit from in the financial sphere, this course can be a great first step in your literacy journey. Since the course is fully online as well, busy business owners can take the course piecemeal over several weeks or months in between daily operations.
For this accessible collection of financial literacy tools and lessons we have no one other to thank than the Business Development Bank of Canada. Even if your business is not operating in the great North, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the BDC’s collection of resources! After making a free account, you can access several courses and digital workshops (all on your own time) which span several topics from running efficient operations to “advanced cash flow.” The BDC’s resource centre represents a more selective group of resources tuned specifically for business owners with established companies and an interest in tightening up their financial ship. Being the BDC is primarily a financial institution themselves, there are also courses about small business’s connection to banks at-large including courses such as “be credible and prepared when speaking to a banker;” a lesson well worth learning.
If you are not already closely associated with your local SCORE branch, consider this article the match lighting the fire under your behind; SCORE is one of the most reputable and ubiquitous small business learning resource centers out there for both individual mentorship and online courses. SCORE likely has the widest variety of engagement options of the resources on this list; from one-on-one in-person mentorships and audits all the way to lecture-style Zoom lessons, SCORE proudly serves just about as many topics and interests as there are small businesses.
Getting involved with SCORE is also a great means to kick off a partnership with another small business, as local SCORE branches often double as meeting places for the small businesses in your area. There is likely no small business owner that couldn’t benefit from SCORE resources. Better yet, once you know the SCORE system well enough, you can give back to your fellow business owners by becoming a SCORE volunteer.
Large financial institutions have a lot to gain by lending and partnering with small business owners who are financially literate. Articulating your financial needs and building a trend-informed plan for the future of your business doesn’t happen by magic; and Visa knows this to be true. The Visa Financial Center is an online collection of articles, learning documents, and videos covering a wide range of topics relevant to small business owners. Visa also frequently features real-life small business owners who share their own tips about big ideas like funding your business or financial starting points.
Being that Visa has an interest in keeping small businesses educated about trends in their own technology, you can also learn about the finer points of Visa systems like accepting contactless payment or getting financing.
Even if you are not a resident of New York City, you can still take full advantage of the NYC Department of Small Business Services free business courses. The department’s online courses vary widely and are offered frequently, often multiple times a day. From free legal consultations to the finer points of signing a commercial lease, the purpose of the NYC SBS’s courses is fully, and unambiguously, to help businesses run better.
Signing up for NYC SBS courses, once again, does not require you to be a New York City resident, nor do they require you to be a current small business owner. Many of the department’s courses are actually centered on either scoring your first location or managing your first accounts; there are also advanced courses about building marketing strategies and a full 15-hour course on starting a wholly online business.
ABL, Always Be Learning!
While some may say the best experience for small business owners comes from, well, running their business, the most successful small business owners don’t stop their financial education simply because they run their own business. Being ahead of current financial trends and having a firm understanding of your financial situation is the straight spine in your business’s skeleton. While April may indeed be Financial Literacy Month, every day is financial literacy day for America’s small business owners, as there is always more to learn and always more ways to save.