By Steve Lestarjette

Todd Bermont is an author, public speaker, and successful business owner.

As the founder of TCC Learning LLC in League City, he has been interviewed by CNN, ABC, CBS and Fox News as a “content expert” on a subject of his passion—helping people navigate the complicated job search process to find the careers they really want.

Still, with so much going on in his life, Todd recognized he needed help.

“I wanted to take my business to the next level, but I was hitting a brick wall,” he says. “I kept thinking I was missing something, as if I was leaving out an important ingredient of the recipe.”

Todd knew his subject very well, but realized he did not know all the aspects of running a business.

“So I took an online course to learn the part that was troubling me the most,” he explains.

HCC offers literally hundreds of full-fledged certificate programs, including certification preparation training, to students “around the clock.”

For example, a student can take an online course in creative writing and have his work critiqued by an experienced, published writer.

There college readiness courses, too—such as Introduction to Algebra, Introduction to Chemistry, even GED Preparation or SAT/ACT Prep—for someone wanting to return to the college setting.

A student can enroll in longer and very specialized programs, such as Web Applications Development, Medical Billing and Coding, or Hazwoper Training, if a change careers or need a better understanding of an industry is needed

And there are hundreds of other courses in such broad categories as Accounting and Finance, Business, Computer Applications, Design and Composition, Healthcare and Medical, Language and Arts, Law and Legal, Personal Development, Teaching and Education, Technology, and Writing and Publishing.

The missing ingredient for Todd was developing an effective business plan. “So I typed in a search engine, ‘Business Plan Houston,’ and up came several listings, including Houston Community College. I had driven by HCC every day for years, and never thought I’d take a class there.”

Todd went to the HCC webpage, clicked onto Continuing Education, and found Online CE programs.

“You can choose the course, read the syllabus, enroll, and pay for it all while you you are sipping coffee in the morning. You do not have to come to campus to get started,” he said.

“It was a great experience,” Todd recalls. “I found the program online; I paid online; I never had to leave the house. The course included 24-hours of instruction taken over a six-week period of time.”

The big challenge, he says now, was staying on pace to complete the course within the time frame.

“Online classes require some discipline. I blocked out time on my calendar for class, just as if it were a business appointment, and didn’t allow interruptions.”

The instructor was excellent and responded to questions within 24 hours.

“The instructor had an online forum where students could post questions; she answered these very quickly. Students could learn by reading the answers to questions posed by others.”

Did taking the class online help Todd Bermont, business entrepreneur, to work better, faster, or smarter?

“That one class taught me to re-focus my product,” he says. “I changed the audience I was trying to attract and raised my fees. In the first six months of 2016, I have earned more than I did all last year. The class cost a little more than $100, so, yes, I’d say it was a great investment.”

Todd recommends online continuing education courses for anyone who wants to continue to learn, and specifically wants to “shore up” a personal weakness.

“We can’t do everything well,” the business owner says. “Everyone needs help with something in their life. Either we can hire someone to do that something for us, or we can learn about it and do it ourselves.

“Online continuing education helped me work better. There are hundreds of great courses to choose from, and they are affordable and convenient. You really can’t miss.”