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Starting A Small Business

Course CodeVBS101
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn to Work in the World of Business

  • Self Employed
  • As a Contractor
  • As a Manager

PLAN YOUR OWN BUSINESS WITH GUIDANCE FROM PROFESSIONAL TUTORS!

Learn to run a business. Then, under the guidance of a professional business expert, you will then plan and initiate the development of your own business.

What's Your Chance of Succeeding in Business?

Some statistics suggest over 90% of businesses fail.  While that might be correct; far less fail if the business has been planned, launched and managed properly.

If you have never run a successful business before; you almost certainly need this course.

You may already have ideas about a service or products you want to supply; but don't set any of your ideas in stone until you first understand the business world and the market place; and take the time to go through a logical and careful process of assessing risks, and planning the launch and development of your new enterprise.

Lesson Structure

There are 12 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Small Business
    • Types of business and communication, types of language, office equipment.
  2. The Business World
    • Consultancy services, law and business, the landscape industry, business letters, communication systems.
  3. Your alternatives - different types of ventures
    • Buying and starting a business.
  4. Marketing
    • What is involved in marketing, advertising, selling, communication?
  5. Planning
    • Organising and planning to ensure the success of the business.
  6. Basic Bookkeeping
    • Financial statements, balance sheet, profit and loss statement,insurance.
  7. Sales Methods
    • Selling, sales method, telephone canvassing.
  8. Budgeting
    • Assets and liabilities.
  9. Developing a 12 month business plan
    • Protection, planning and production.
  10. Implementing a business plan
    • Communication with employees, planning the development of the business.
  11. Reviewing progress in a new business
    • Research, evaluate and decide on business plan updates.
  12. Improving profitability
    • Increase profit and reduce expenditure.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Discuss the nature of small business and the skills required to run one successfully.
  • Explain the legal requirements, restrictions and the costs of running a small business.
  • Describe the different aspects and considerations associated with starting a new or buying an existing business.
  • Explain the marketing process.
  • Explain the importance of planning in the running of a successful business.
  • Explain the importance of record keeping and the principles of bookkeeping.
  • Determine sales and promotions strategies in small business.
  • Explain the importance of budgets.
  • Develop a business plan.
  • Implement a business plan.
  • Identify factors that affect profitability.

DEVELOPING BUSINESS CONCEPTS

Many businesses start small, as an idea/interest/hobby/part time job, etc. of one individual.  Some are successful; flourish and grow to become the full time employment of the founder.  Most fail!

Generally the people who are successful in business, are those who kept trying different things until they finally found something that worked. The successful small businessman (or woman) is almost certainly an enthusiastic sort of person, who enjoys hard work and a challenge.

It is important for you to identify the reason, or reasons for wanting to go into business, because this will become your major motivating influence, and will impact on the goals you set for the business, and the risks you are prepared to take in order to achieve your goals.

 

Why Start a Business?

Some of the many reasons given for starting up a small business are:

1. To earn a better living/make more money for yourself.
2. To be your own boss and totally independent.
3. To have flexible working hours/better lifestyle.
4. To be able to develop your own creative ideas.
5. Because you see a need in the market which you can satisfy.
6. To produce a better quality product/service.
7. To build a family business that can be passed on the next generation.
8. Because you enjoy your hobby.
9. Because you have always dreamed of having your own business.
10. Because it is an alternative to being unemployed.
11. Because you want to try something different.

Motivation and enthusiasm are essential ingredients for starting out in a new business venture.

Because the consequences of failure can be drastic, such a major step should be taken only after considerable thought, discussion, research, and a serious balancing of the advantages and disadvantages offered by a small business enterprise.

Because the owner/manager of a small business is the main driving force behind the operation, as well as the major decision-maker, the personal characteristics and skills of this individual are crucial to the success of the business.
The entrepreneurial qualities required for success in small business can be divided into two broad categories:

1. Personal characteristics:
These are features that relate to your personality, your motivation and your goals.

2. Abilities and skills:
These are more technical aspects that relate to your knowledge, experience, expertise and talents. They incorporate technical, managerial and personal skills.

 

Why Do Businesses Fail?

The number of small business that fail can be quite high. Businesses that are properly planned and resourced though, have a far lower failure rate.

The reasons for small business failure and certain mistakes which tend to occur repeatedly include:

1. Poor planning
2. Lack of capital
3. Partnership problems
4. Lack of management expertise
5. Incorrect pricing structure
6. Inadequate record keeping
7. Failure to seek and/or take advice
8. Cash flow problems
9. Marketing problems
10. Neglect

What are the Options?

There are various types of businesses you might consider:

Types of Business:

  • Services or Goods Based
    Service based businesses provide the customer with a service
    (eg: repairman, designer, babysitter).
  • Goods based businesses provide the customer with a tangible product
    (eg: Tools, equipment, materials, food, books, etc).
  • Small or Large?
    Do you aim to operate a small or large business ?
    LARGE should NOT be the obvious answer!
    Larger businesses do not necessarily make more profit than smaller ones in the same field.
    Larger businesses can be more difficult and expensive to manage, and are often more risky,
    particularly if you lack experience. (It may be preferable to control your growth and not let your
    business get too big too quickly).

Businesses can (broadly speaking), be divided into the following three main groups:

  • Goods – retailing/wholesaling
  • Manufacturing
  • Services – this might operate from a commercial premises or be home-based


SPECIFIC OPTIONS
There are lots of alternatives.
The challenge is to choose one that is appropriate and viable for you (ie. the resources you have, and where you are at in your life); and for the time (the world is changing rapidly, so that which is viable and appropriate today, might not be tomorrow).

STEP 1
The first step might be to write down a list of broad areas or industries of opportunity, that both appeal to you, and at first glance appear to be viable possibilities.
Your list might consider a range of options; perhaps some of the following, or others.

  • Home Services such as cleaning, garden care, ironing, rubbish removal etc.
  • Plant Nursery
  • Craft sell through markets or wholesale to shops.
  • Party Plans (e.g. Kitchen ware, Cosmetics, Homegoods).
  • Retailing - online or a physical shop
  • Freelance publishing or writing -electronic or print
  • Office Services typing, serviced offices, etc.
  • Equipment hire or leasing 
  • Child Care, Pet Care, Geriatric Care
  • Tourism
  • Personal wellbeing -coaching, fitness, counselling
  • Hospitality -accommodation or food service

These are of course, only a few of many hundreds (if not thousands) of possibilities.

STEP 2
The second step will be to compare the possibilities, to narrow down the range of concepts under consideration.

STEP 3
The next task will be to compare the different concepts, in order to determine the most viable.

STEP 4
Once you have decided on a broad concept, the next step will be to refine the concept, and develop the best approach to that concept, with respect to:

A/ The product …What product range (or range of services) is likely to be most viable.

B/ Marketing … How should the product or service be marketed?
Does excessive demand already exist, or perhaps you need to compete with existing businesses for market share…or maybe you need to create a demand that has not previously existed.

C/ Scope of Operation … What size operation is appropriate. This is often determined by available resources (money, manpower, etc); but resources should never be the only determining factor.
ie. You might have unlimited resources; but if the market for a particular thing is limited, it still may not be appropriate to run a large operation. In some industries, smaller businesses may have an advantage over large …etc.

STEP 5
The final step is to "Develop a Mission Statement and Business Profile"
In essence, you are producing a tight description of what the business should be. This mission statement and business profile can then become a focal point for management as the business develops.

Without this clear focus, it is easy for a business to stray from what it intends doing, and that can result in both time and money being wasted unnecessarily.
With a clear focus, it is then far easier to develop a coherent and workable business plan!

 



Meet some of our academics

John Mason John Mason is one of Australia's most prolific writers. He saw his first work published when at secondary school, where he worked on the school magazine. In 1973 he was writing a weekly column for his local newspaper and by 1975 he was a regular contributor to Australia's national magazine "Your Garden". John was engaged by Victoria's Dept of Youth, Sport and Recreation to write a book on Fun and Fitness Trails in 1978. In 1981 he saw two more books published (one in America, another in Australia), and commenced writing regularly for the Self Sufficiency Magazine, Grass Roots. John is a long term member of the Australian Society of Authors, the Garden Media Guild (UK) and the Horticultural Media Association (Australia). He has written or contributed to over 100 books, many published by international publishers and published more than 2,000 articles across a range of genres (Gardening, Education, Business, Farming, Fitness). In addition, John has contributed to and overseen the development of more than 600 distance education courses which encompass around 20 million words. He has been an avid photographer for 40 years, building a collection of over 100,000 images, which are used to illustrate his work. His marine animal photos are even used by Legoland in England, on their Atlantis ride! Writer, 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.
Denise Hodges Promotions Manager for ABC retail, Fitness Programmer/Instructor, Small Business Owner, Marketing Coordinator (Laserpoint). Over 20 years varied experienced in business and marketing. More recently Denise studied naturopathy to share her passion for health and wellness. Denise has an Adv.Dip.Bus., Dip. Clothing Design, Adv.Dip.Naturopathy (completing).
Gavin ColeGavin has over 20 years of industry experience in Psychology, Landscaping, Publishing, Writing and Education. Former operations manager for highly reputable Landscape firm, The Chelsea Gardener, before starting his own firm. Gavin has a B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA.
Lyn QuirkM.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head for TAFE, she brings a wealth of skills and experience to her role as a tutor for ACS.


Check out our eBooks

Starting a Garden or Landscape BusinessExpert advice on how to get started in your own garden or landscape business! Packed with valuable business advice, horticultural and landscaping knowledge, and practical ideas - this book is a must have for garden lovers. It is great for anyone thinking about (or already involved in) a horticultural, landscaping or garden business. This updated re-print is only available as an e book. Originally published by Simon & Schuster. 125 pages
Business OperationsExplore how to improve the management and profitability of an existing business. Businesses do not run themselves - goals need to be set and decisions need to be made in order to achieve business goals. This book talks you through all of the different aspects involved in running a business from finance and forecasting to staffing changes and legal issues. Six chapters cover the daily challenges of running a business, people, the law, finance, product management, and risk management. 73 pages
Event ManagementThe Event Management ebook is a complementary text for event management students or professionals working in the field. The ebook goes through the considerations and elements of an event and what needs to be organised when an event is in the planning stage.
Starting a BusinessThinking of starting your own business? Many businesses fail, but this doesn’t need to happen! This is a concise, easy to read ebook which alerts you to all of the things that commonly make a difference to business success or failure. Seven chapters include: A Reality Check, The Product or Service, Managing a Business, How to Find Customers, How to Make a Sale, Delivering the Product or Service and Pitfalls to Avoid. 51 pages