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Duration (approx) 900 hours
Qualification Advanced Certificate


This course provides a very sound foundation of knowledge and skills needed for managing a small business. Business success of course will always require more than just what can be learnt from a course, but this course certainly provides an excellent starting point for a career in business whether self employed or working for someone else. 

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Have you always wanted to start a small business but not sure where to start?

Start here.. Learn all of the essential business skills to start your small business.

  • Suitable for anyone wanting to start or improve on their own small business.
  • An excellent starting point for knowledge on running a small business.
  • Learn from highly experienced and qualified tutors.
  • Start your own business; or advance your career in a small business job.

This is a flexible, relevant course for those wanting to train to move into supervisory or managerial positions.


Course Structure

CORE STUDIES - four units of compulsory subjects for all students. ie. Office Practices, Management, Business Operations and Marketing Foundations.

STREAM STUDIES -three units in the specialisation ie. Bookkeeping I, Entrepreneurship and Advertising & Promotions.

INDUSTRY PROJECT  -"Work experience or a workplace project" of 200 hrs (see below). The project specifically aims to provide the student with the opportunity to apply and integrate skills and knowledge developed through various areas of formal study.



Office Practices

Develops basic office skills covering use of equipment, communication systems (telephone, fax, etc) and office procedures such as filing, security, workplace organisations, etc. The course consists in eight lessons where these subjects are developed.
1.  The Modern Office
2.  Communication Systems
3.  Interpersonal Communications
4.  Phone Skills
5.  Writing Letters and Other Documents
6.  Computer Applications
7.  Office Organisation and Procedures
8.  Health and Safety in the Office


Business Operations  

The aim of this course is to provide you with the building blocks for a successful career in business planning and operations. Covering topics such as business law, the money market, taxation, business plan writing and mistakes to avoid, it is a solid foundation, developed by highly qualified and experienced professionals.
Develops knowledge of basic business operations and procedures (eg. types of businesses, financial management, business analysis, staffing, productivity, etc) and the skills to develop a 12 month business plan. 
There are 6 lessons as follows:
  1. Introduction Business: law, types of businesses, starting a business
  2. Finance: Liquidity, the money market,terminology, insurance
  3. Financial Records: Simple Bookkeeping procedures, cash flow
  4. Financial Management: Taxation, costing, budgeting, investing
  5. Business Planning: Developing a 12 month business plan. 
  6. Mistakes to avoid: Reasons for business failures, profitability, improving productivity


Make sure your management style is grounded in the 'tried and true'. This course outlines management theories and procedures, problem solving and decision making tactics, staff management, supervision, recruitment and workplace health and safety.
Developed by professionals with a substantial amount of industry experience, it is the perfect foundation for a successful career.  There are 6 lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction & Organisational Structures
  2. Management Theories & Procedures
  3. Problem Solving & Decision Making
  4. Management Styles & External Influences
  5. Employing People & Interview Skills
  6. Staff Management


This module develops a broad understanding of marketing and specific skills in writing advertisements, undertaking market research, developing an appropriate marketing plan and selling.
The course consists in ten lessons, as follows:
  1. Marketing and the Business What is marketing, and its significance, Considering alternative approaches to business & marketing, Alternative enterprises (eg. goods or services based, sole proprietor or partnership etc).
  2. Scope of Marketing Understanding basic economics (eg. supply & demand); the difference between the potential market, available market, target market, and penetrated market for a product/service of your choice; Different advertising approaches, Controlling Growth, Improving Results in Business, etc
  3. Target Marketing Understanding the market place; Stages that sellers move through in their approach to a market, What is targeting, Advantages of target marketing as compared to mass marketing and product-differentiated marketing.
  4. The Marketing Mix and Managing the Marketing Effort Product, price, place, and promotion; Affects and interactions between marketing and other operations of a business.
  5. Product Presentation and Packaging Importance of product knowledge, Core, tangible and augmented products; Differences in packaging & presentation for different products.
  6. Promotion Communication skills, Merchandising, Shop Floor Layout, Displaying Products, Signs, Understanding Selling and Increasing Sales, Sales Methods, Publicity Marketing,
    Structuring an Advertisement or Promotion, Advertising budgets, etc
  7. Product Pricing and Distribution Pricing, Profitability Ratios, Increasing Turnover, etc
  8. Customer Service Methods of assessing customer satisfaction; Significance of Customer Service; Different types of customers in the market place, and how best to approach each; Difference between selling, publicising, marketing and advertising, etc
  9. Market Research The research process, What to research, Surveys, Developing and conducting a market research program, where to find useful statistics,
  10. Organisations - Structures and Roles Business law; Financial Management, Business Structures, Business terminology, etc.


Stream Studies 


The course consists of thirteen lessons, as follows:
  1. Introduction
  2. Balance Sheet
  3. Analysing and Designing  Accounting Systems
  4. The Double Entry Recording Process
  5. Cash Receipts and Cash Payments Journal
  6. Credit Fees and Purchases Journal
  7. The General Journal
  8. Closing the Ledger
  9. Profit and Loss Statement
  10. Depreciation on Non-current Assets
  11. Profit Determination and Balance Day Adjustments
  12. Cash Control:  Bank Reconciliation and Petty Cash
  13. Cash Control: Budgeting

There are 10 lessons in this module as follows:

  1. Scope & Nature of Entrepreneurship
    2. Is Entrepreneurship Right for You?
    3. Assessing opportunities
    4. The Role of Market Research
    5. Intellectual Property
    6. Legal & Ethical Concerns
    7. Operating a Business
    8. The Business and Financial Plan
    9. Marketing
    10. Launching a Venture

The course contains ten lessons, outlined below: 

  1. Analysing the Market
  2. Target Marketing
  3. Display and Display Techniques
  4. Advertising and Promotions Strategy
  5. New Product Development
  6. Sales Techniques – General
  7. Writing Advertisement
  8. Electronic Marketing -Telephone & Email
  9. Direct Mailing
  10. Exhibitions & Shows
This is the final requirement that you must satisfy before receiving your award. There are different options available to you
One option is to undertake work experience (after completing the above modules), so you can put your learning into practice.
Another option may be to complete two standard workplace project modules that allow you (again) to use what has been learnt in the other modules.  This requirement is negotiated with your tutor upon completing the other modules. A solution will always be found for it to be undertaken at your own pace, from anywhere in the world.


Learn and Develop Effective Business Systems for Better Managed Risk

Every business has risks associated with it; but risk can be minimised if you have the knowledge and tools to develop proper business systems. A well organised business is a low risk business with a higher level of sustainability.

Some things that can easily be time wasters and divert your attention from those things that really matter; but with good systems, time is less likely to be wasted, and important things are less likely to be overlooked.
Systems are those procedures or mechanisms that you put in place to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Many small businesses tend to be very ad hoc in the systems they use; never really taking time to stand back and get a proper perspective or plan how to do things. If a small business is being run by a boss who is innately organised, the boss may well be able to run that business, managing a small number of staff, without any well constructed systems. If on the other hand, the boss is not a naturally organised person; the business operation can become very inefficient.
There are many risks with not having well constructed procedures, too many to list here, but they can result in: 

  • Inconsistencies in the way customers, staff and everything else is dealt with.
  • Losing control of finances – eg. over spending, poorly investing, not keeping money in reserve for taxation, staff sick pay, or other obligations.
  • Not satisfying legal requirements – eg. letting government registrations lapse, treating staff or customers in an illegal way.

The Cost of Systems
It can cost a lot of time and money to put management systems in place for a business; and there can also be ongoing costs to maintain those systems.  The cost can be in time devising and maintaining those systems, but it can also be in the cost of purchasing systems from elsewhere. For example, you can buy computerised diaries, invoicing systems and so on that can help with small businesses.
These costs can be different from country to country, and industry to industry.
New businesses may often underestimate the complexities, time and costs involved in establishing systems.

Many businesses will only attend to the most critical systems when they start up. These may include:
  • Establishing the legal status of the business (eg. setting up a company or partnership agreement, registering a business name; obtaining planning permission for operating in a commercial property, obtaining licenses or permits related to products or services being offered).
  • Organising financial management (eg. opening bank accounts, organising credit card processing facilities, engaging a bookkeeper or accountant to track and help manage finances).
  • Organising insurance policies.
  • Establishing basic rules or procedures to be followed in order to ensure laws are not broken by staff.
    These things should be a minimum – but sadly, some businesses do not even attend to the minimum.
Most businesses will also benefit from the development of procedures to be followed by staff. In a very small business, this may be as short as a one page document setting down key rules to ensure a consistency in how the business deals with key things.  This might address issues such as:
  • how and when invoices are sent out
  • how payments are dealt with
  • how products are packaged and delivered
  • how phones are answered
  • who does what etc.

In a large business, these procedures can become far more complex; and may evolve into a document of hundreds of pages.
This will obviously depend in part on how big the business is, how many staff they have, how many different types of staff roles they have and so on.


Course Duration:  900 hours of self paced learning





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Meet some of our academics

Tracey Jones (psychology)B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), DipSW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies) Tracey began studying psychology in 1990. She has a wide range of experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects. She has been a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work and has also written many textbooks, blogs, articles and ebooks on psychology, writing, sociology, child development and more. She has had also several short stories published.
John MasonWriter, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner. John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over seventy books and of over two thousand magazine articles.
David CrothersChartered Accountant with 20 years experience in corporate and financial roles. David has a FCA, GAICD, B.Sc.Econ (Hons), Cert IV TAA. Extensive international experience in business and finance.

Check out our eBooks

Business OperationsA text book for business students, or a guide book for anyone operating a business. Six chapters: Daily Challenges of Running a Business, Managing People, The Law, Fiance, Product Management and Risk Management.
Getting Work in a Modern WorldGetting Work in a Modern World is a must read; for students, parents, the unemployed, careers advisors or anyone interested in changing or forging a sustainable career. This is realistic guide to getting a job or starting out in business and understanding different industries. Topics covered in this book include 1/Career Myths, 2/ Finding Your Path, 3/ Understanding Employers, 4/ Preparing for a Job, 5/ Jobs to Consider: Looking to the Future, 6/ Information Technology, 7/ Business, Management and Sales, 8/ Health and Wellbeing, 9/ Horticulture, 10/ Wildlife and Environmental, 11/ Animal Care, 12/ Agriculture, 13/ Hospitality and Tourism, 14/ Media and 15/ Education.
Modern MarketingThis book explores new approaches to marketing, how to adapt to a continually changing world both through online marketing, and more. Some aspects of marketing never change; but many of the well established approaches used in the past simply do not work any more. This book lays a foundation for thinking about marketing in a different way
ManagementManagement is the process of planning, organising, leading, and controlling an organisation’s human and other resources to achieve business goals. More importantly though, effective management needs to be a process of human interaction and compassion. Most bad managers don’t know they are bad. They may well admit that they are a bit erratic, or they are sometimes late to appointments, but it is rare that they will recognise that they are ineffective as managers. Never here. This book has something to offer even the best of managers.