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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Home Study - Learn Operational Management in Horticulture

"An introduction to horticulture business management systems".

Study the economics, planning and marketing of the horticultural operation.

  • Learn about the business side of horticulture.
  • Learn how to plan and implement effective strategies for your business or service.
  • An essential qualification for anyone managing a horticultural business.

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Learn the business of horticulture.

This course develops your ability to formulate and evaluate strategy as well as to ensure effective business performance in today’s fast changing social, political and economic environment, for horticultural enterprises within one sector of the horticulture industry.


There are 8 lessons in this module as follows:

  1. The Economic Environment
  2. External Influences on Horticultural Enterprise
  3. Information Management for Horticulture
  4. Strategic Planning in Horticulture
  5. Implementing Strategies
  6. PBL Project:Developing a Business Plan
  7. Business Control Systems for Horticulture
  8. Evaluating Horticultural Marketing
  9. Marketing Strategies for Horticulture

Each lesson should require around 10 hours of work, except for Lesson 6, which will require around 20 hours.


  • Explain the economic environment in which horticultural business operates.
  • Appraise the impact of external influences.
  • Establish the type of information required for operations in both commercial businesses and service organisations.
  • Examine the process and analyse approaches to strategic planning.
  • Examine the process and analyse approaches to strategy formation and implementation.
  • Prepare a business plan.
  • Assess the importance of business control systems utilising IT integration into financial management; prepare, read and interpret annual statements, appreciate the importance of budgetary control.
  • Identify the benefits involved when preparing marketing plans; analyse organisational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
  • Formulate customer-orientated and realisable strategies for selected markets


What is covered in each lesson?

1. The Economic Environment
  • The world of economics
  • Scarcity
  • Opportunity costs
  • Goods
  • Definitions
  • Economic systems
  • Economic ownership
  • Performance criteria for an economy
  • Other economic performance indicators
  • Basic economic principles
  • Law of demand
  • Law of Substitution
  • Law of diminishing return
  • Law of diminished marginal utility
  • Competition
  • Sustainability
  • Total Quality Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Creating a strategic plan
  • European economic union
  • European Central bank
  • Asia Pacific Economic Community

2. External Influences on Horticultural Enterprise

  • Monopoly
  • Monopolistic Competition
  • Oligopoly
  • Perfect competition
  • International markets and tradeable commodities
  • Globalisation
  • Supply and demand
  • Market forces
  • Demand
  • Supply
  • Elasticity
  • Economics of scale
  • Cost structures
  • Liquidity

3. Information Management for Horticulture

  • Scope and nature of office work
  • Functions of an office
  • Common jobs in an office: reception, clerical, secretarial, information processing
  • Departments within an organisation
  • Office processes
  • Data knowledge, strage and management
  • Filing systems
  • Classifying information
  • Hard copy
  • Filing procedure
  • Active and inactive records
  • Computer databases
  • Designing a filing system
  • Data protection
  • Financial records
  • Books needed in business
  • Different ways to approach bookkeeping
  • Steps in the bookkeeping process
  • Developing a record keeping and accounting system
  • Flow of information
  • Financial reports
  • Ledger
  • Journal
  • Source documents
  • Cash transactions
  • Credit transactions
  • Returns and allowances
  • Other business documents
  • Use of business documents
  • The cash book
  • Credit sales and credit purchases journal
  • The general journal
  • The ledger
  • A trial balance
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Petty cash

4. Strategic Planning in Horticulture

  • Strategic planning
  • Documenting the strategy
  • Operational planning
  • Documenting an operational plan
  • Key components of a business plan
  • SWOT analysis
  • A planning procedure
  • Decisions
  • What to plan for
  • Finance
  • Structure for a Financial plan
  • Developing a budget
  • Structure for a marketing plan
  • Plan drawing

5. Implementing Strategies

  • Implementing strategy
  • Benchmarking
  • Reviewing strategy and strategy management
  • Environmental audits
  • Key elements of EIA
  • Steps in an environmental assessment process
  • Study design
  • Baseline studies
  • Predicting impacts
  • Mitigation measures
  • Flora and fauna assessment
  • Open space management plan
  • Rehabilitation plan

6. PBL Project:  Developing a Business Plan

  • Business planning
  • Case study: nursery development plan
  • Sensitivity analysis
  • PBL project to formulate criteria required for the successful implementation of a business proposal; develop a business plan.

7. Business Control Systems for Horticulture

  • Financial statements
  • The balance sheet
  • Classification in the balance sheet
  • Working capital
  • Profit and loss statement

  • Link between profit and balance sheet
  • Depreciation of assets
  • Analysis and interpretation of accounting reports
  • Analytical ratios
  • Ratio yardsticks
  • Profitability ratios
  • Operating efficiency ratios
  • Efficiency ratios and profitability
  • Liquidity ratios
  • Liquidity analysis and cash budgeting
  • Financial stability ratios
  • Gearing rate of return on investment
  • Limitations to ratio analysis
  • Risk
  • Risk analysis
  • Contingency planning
  • Business systems
  • Quality systems
  • Innovation management
  • PERT (Program evaluation and review)
  • CPA (Critical path analysis)
  • GNATT ChartsFastest and slowest completion times
  • Business expansion and sources of finance
  • Record keeping

8. Evaluating Horticultural Marketing

  • Introduction
  • Market research
  • The marketing mix
  • Marketing planning
  • Services marketing
  • Customer service
  • Buying, selling and decision making
  • Different heuristics
  • Decision making process
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Goodwill

9. Marketing Strategies for Horticulture

  • Target markets and market segmentation
  • Targeting strategies
  • Defining your target market
  • Determining market segmentation
  • Projecting the future
  • Positioning
  • Case study: The market for landscape contractors
  • The business portfolio

Benefits of Studying This Course
Although there are many different types of horticulture businesses from landscaping to nurseries, and tree surgery to garden supplies, they all need to be run efficiently. This course provides knowledge and insights which are adaptable to all these different types of businesses. Graduates will be well informed about how to operate a business optimally, how to plan ahead, weigh up risks, and market the business. The course is most suited to people in the following areas:

  • Owner-operator
  • Self-employed
  • Horticulture retail or wholesale
  • Nurseries
  • Garden supplies
  • Tree surgery
  • Landscaping
  • Garden maintenance
  • Lawn mowing & turf care




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