IMPROVE BUSINESS SKILLS THROUGH ONLINE LEARNING
Enhancing your floral designs skills is easy by taking a hands-on class at the Floriology Institute in Jacksonville, Florida. However, running a successful floral business requires a broad skillset that can go well beyond design. For busy shop owners, time away from the shop attending class at a local community college is an unlikely option. Fortunately, there are many learning options online, which you can take advantage of at any time and from the comfort of your office or home.
We explored the online education landscape, but before we share our recommendations, you may be thinking, why pay for education? Can’t I get the same stuff from YouTube? True, you can learn how to change brake pads, fish for bass or learn how to bake a cake from YouTube, but the issue is from whom? Anyone can post a video so you need to search and curate content carefully — which takes time, and you probably have to watch a few brake pad or bass fishing videos to get the information. And you still won’t be sure of its validity.
Paid online learning services provide consistent, valid information, strictly focusing on education delivered by qualified professionals. The important aspect is consistency. Think of the number of employees you’ll be on-boarding and training over the years. You want them all to learn the same consistent skillsets.
You’ll find two options for online learning — a la carte services like Coursera.com and Udemy.com where you pay per class, and subscription-based services such as SkillShare.com and Lynda.com. We recommend going with the subscription services as they offer a wide variety of practical, basic courses in categories such as computer-aided design including Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, business programs such as Microsoft Word or Excel, photography and video capture best practices, finance courses, and relevant technology topics such as web and app development. Lynda.com, which is now owned by LinkedIn, offers a monthly subscription starting at $29.99 a month or $24.99 if you choose the annual plan where you pay for the whole year. Skillshare subscription plans are less than half Lynda’s price starting at $12.00 a month which you can drive down to $8.00 a month if you decide to pay for an annual plan.
What do you get on Lynda for the higher price? We find Lynda provides more high-level offerings in management and leadership training, project management, negotiating best practices and
more…great for larger businesses with a management level but perhaps not for small flower shops. Despite the lesser price, we find SkillShare offers more creative or “artsy” courses to train you and your staff on how to write, how to locally market your business, and how to leverage social media.
Based on value and price, SkillShare would be our immediate recommendation as they have more offerings on core skills you can immediately use to grow your business. The great thing is both services offer one-month free trials so you can really see which platform will suit the needs of your business, big or small. So what about Coursera or Udemy? If you are planning on pursuing a career outside the floral industry, these options may be for you. We may say this in jest but it’s probably the truth. Both these services really specialize in building skillsets in technology programming and development, robotics, prep for related certifications and more on topics non-related to running a flower shop. These courses are also instructed by highly qualified professionals — which is the case with Coursera, offering the knowledge of instructors who also teach at highly-regarded universities such as Stanford, University of Pennsylvania and Caltech (so price does reflect the caliber of instructor).
Regardless of where you want to take your business, or your own career, education is a critical requirement for change and growth. And this will take time and, from our perspective, some money. But given the flexibility and opportunities online learning can provide, it’s well worth the investment.