Develop a plan for your new or existing business.
- Learn what to plan for and how to plan.
- Learn to write and enact a business plan.
- Make your business succeed!
Flexibility is where and how often you study - even what your learning is focused on. Exams are optional and only needed if you want to use this study as a credit in a formal qualification.
Exceptional tutor support - our faculty includes around forty university trained professionals most with decades of industry experience. You have unlimited access to tutors over the phone or email.
After enrolling, watch our "orientation video" and discover how to use all sorts of services to support your study.
COURSE DURATION: 100 hours of self paced study.
COURSE STRUCTURE AND CONTENT
The course comprises 11 lessons, as follows:
Lesson 1.Introduction to Business Planning
- The business plan
- Strategic and operational planning
- Feasibility studies
- The executive summary.
Lesson 2. Focus and Direction
- Deciding on direction
- Visualising future business directions
- Vision and mission statements
Lesson 3. Legal and Administrative Requirements
- Legal structure of a business
- Business names
- Licenses and permits
- Types of business ownership
Lesson 4. Developing Objectives and Strategies
- Setting goals and objectives
- SWOT and GAP analyses
- Strategies for achieving objectives
Lesson 5. Planning for Growth
- Planned as opposed to runaway growth
- The growth plan
Lesson 6. Risk Management and Contingencies
- Approaches to risk management
- Identifying business risks
Lesson 7. Systems
- System components
- The quality audit
- Business plans as a mechanism of control
Lesson 8. Marketing Plans
- The definition of marketing
- Marketing requirements
- The marketing process
- Market research
- Implications of unplanned marketing
Lesson 9. Operation Plans
- Control of business operations
- Writing an operation plan
Lesson 10. Human Resource Plans
- The value of human resources
- Occupational health and safety
- Skills and competencies of different staff
Lesson 11. Financial Plans
- The importance of financial planning
- Establishment costs and start up capital
- Cash flow forecasts
- Profit and loss statements
- Describe what a business plan is, and it main components
- Differentiate between a vision statement and a mission statement
- Discuss legal and administrative requirements of a business
- Explain the importance of a business name
- Explain the importance of setting goals and objectives in a business setting
- Describe strategies for coping with growth
- Describe different types of business risks
- Explain marketing process
- Explain operations planning
- Explain the importance of human resources
- Explain the purpose of financial planning
HOW TO DECIDE WHAT TO DO NEXT IN A BUSINESS
It is impossible to predict the future with certainty; but it is possible to study trends, make an educated guess and influence the future.
When a business does forecasts, they are establishing what the expectations of customers, or customer opinions or trends will be at a later date. And they do this by using data collected in the past (such as past sales, marketing data etc.). This is an important process for any business, because forecasting will also tell them how much money the business will need today, in order to capitalize on future. And forecasting establishes the benefits of such long term investments. It allows you to decide whether such long-term investments are worthwhile or not.
Markets can change due to:
- Changes in consumer tastes.
- New products becoming available.
- New legislation and regulations changing how products must be made.
- An increase in visibility of the product.
Changing Consumer Tastes
People are becoming more and more sophisticated. They want more choice. A particular product may be very popular for a time, but products can go out of fashion (the same as anything else). A product might be the “thing you must have” in December, but by April, no one is really interested in them. This is particularly the case when dealing with items such as children’s toys. The toy everyone wants for Christmas can be discarded and out of fashion before the end of January. So try to be aware that a product is becoming less popular – slowing of sales in January for example can be attributed to an after Christmas lull. However if sales have not bounced back by February then you will need to consider what you will do:
Just keep the stock until it might become popular again? This is a courageous decision to make as the product may never be popular again. Sell it off at a discount to get rid of the stock? At least this way you continue to have cash flow.
- These actions hold a risk:
With the first approach, you may be left with a lot of unwanted stock and therefore loss of turnover but also a loss of your original investment.
With the second course of action you may sell off at a loss so you also crystalize your losses with no hope of recouping this loss once the goods are sold.
Sell just above cost to cover your initial outlay for the goods and your administration and selling costs – you cover losses and get your money back – however the goods may not be cheap enough to attract customer’s attention.
Although all these actions hold a risk – the first one (no action) is the riskiest. The others have less risk. However you must be in the best position to decide which action you take and how much risk you are willing to take. Experience, understanding your market and analyzing your sales, will all help in minimizing your exposure to risk. This will also help you to make better decisions when faced with these types of situations.
When a new product becomes available, interest in the older product may reduce drastically. This is when you see stores offering the old product at reduced prices. So find out about the types of goods and services that are becoming available in your line of business and see if something else is coming out. Then make reasoned but quick decisions about whether you should be carrying old stock.
Legislation and rules and regulations about products and what they offer can change. So ensure you are aware of any changes. Many websites offer newsletters that update people on changes, so find out a website that applies to the products and services you offer and sign up for their newsletter or join their association. Keep your knowledge up to date! Or you can find yourself with a product that you cannot sell because it is illegal - an example if the safety of children’s toys. Look at the kite mark (or other logo that is relevant to your country) that indicates safety in children’s toys. At one time you could have sold toys without the kite mark or safety logo, but now many parents will look for these before purchasing.
A product may gain increased attention for some reason. It may do this because a celebrity is seen carrying a product – that new handbag, phone, car etc., – all of this can bring the product to the customer’s attention. If you see that a celebrity has been using a product you sell, then you might consider quickly buying new stock as there might be a surge in sales.
So with forecasting and planning, the most important thing that you need is INFORMATION about your product and any changes in the market.
Why should I do this course?
- You are setting up a new business.
- You want to improve an existing business.
- You want to understand how business plan and operate and how they succeed.
If you have any questions, please do get in touch with us - connect with our expert Business and Management tutors, use our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE.
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