TAPPING THE INTERNET’S EDUCATION RESOURCES CAN BROADEN YOUR KNOWLEDGE AND EXPAND YOUR OPPORTUNITIES

You’ll discover reading this issue of floriology magazine the many options you have to improve your floral design skills, but what about all the other essential business skills you need to run your shop? Although our own classes at Floriology Institute… hosted in Jacksonville, Florida…include digital marketing, shop operations, product sourcing, photography, and more within the curriculum, it’s important you focus building these skills on your own. The best solution for busy shop owners is through online education. In this article, we’ll introduce both free and paid options and discuss the pros and cons for each service. Let’s start with free.

 FREE ONLINE EDUCATION

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know YouTube is an obvious choice for online education. Owned by Google, you can easily find videos based on its powerful search engine. This is good and bad. Good, in the sense there are billions of videos in which you may find the education you need. Bad, considering videos can be uploaded by anybody (i.e., not experts), video content will likely not follow any curriculum and you just may end up burning lots of time searching through irrelevant videos. KhanAcademy.org is another free option which is more structured. The caveats are the topics which are geared toward more traditional academic topics – think math, history, chemistry and computer science. Last I checked, searches for “Excel,” “marketing,” “accounting,” or “COGs” didn’t return any results…which may be good for your child in school, but not for your business.

PAID ONLINE EDUCATION

 As with most things in life, you get what you pay for (or don’t). Free, as we discovered, will require time you don’t have and may not deliver the content you need. Your best options are paid. We by Renato Cruz Sogueco, AAF, PFCI BloomNet Vice President of Digital Strategy and Education DIGITAL STRATEGIES recommend checking out and investing in either Linkedin.com/ learning (previously known as Lynda.com) and Udemy.com.

 If you try the same topic searches, we shared and other small business topics, the return will be listings of several courses, all with summary descriptions. You’ll also find the courses will be offered at a variety of skill levels: beginner, intermediate or advanced. Need more information about the course and/or the instructor? Click on the listing to get even more detail.

 Unlike YouTube, where you’ll probably need to watch at least a minute or two of the video to judge whether it’s worthy, you should be able to make a sound call on whether to take the course based on the descriptions and reviews from other students of the course and its instructor.

Let’s talk about pricing. The difference between Udemy.com and LinkedIn Learning is how they charge. Udemy.com provides an a la carte model where you pay per course enrolled. Price for each course can range widely from $29 to $199 but often you’ll see most courses discounted to just $9.99. LinkedIn Learning is more of a buffet model where you pay a monthly fee to have access to all the courses. LinkedIn Learning is available as a Premium monthly subscription for $29.99 plus taxes or as an annual subscription for $299.88 plus taxes.

Our recommendation is if you have a small staff or it’s just you, check out what Udemy.com offers by taking a course or two a la carte. If you have a large staff, get them together and prioritize the topics in which they need education. Then, set up and schedule when they could take these courses and start a free one-month trial on LinkedIn Learning. This way, you can effectively determine whether this solution is worth the monthly fee.