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Qualification - Certificate in Small Business

Course CodeVBS017
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)600 hours



Whether you are starting up a small business or already own one, gear yourself for success by being informed, organised and focused. We all dream of owning a successful business, but the reality is you will need to be prepared. The certificate in Small Business aims to improve your level of success by better planning, better management and controlling the level of risk. The course consists of three core modules covering marketing, planning and start up of a small business, the student may then select three electives from topics such as bookkeeping, ecommerce, sales, advertising and promotion and more.




Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Qualification - Certificate in Small Business.
 Marketing Foundations VBS109
 Starting A Small Business VBS101
 Business Planning BBS302
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 10 modules.
 Bookkeeping Foundations BBS103
 Ecommerce BIT100
 Financial (Money) Management BBS104
 Leadership BBS110
 Office Practices VBS102
 Personnel Management VBS107
 Sales Skills VBS108
 Advertising and Promoting BBS202
 Project Management BBS201
 Professional Practice For Consultants BBS301

Note that each module in the Qualification - Certificate in Small Business is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

 How our Courses Differ
  • ACS started as a small business in 1979; and many of our tutors have a wealth of experience operating their own small businesses. Many still do -working part time for us as a tutor, and also operating a successful other business
  • We don't just teach small business, we live and breathe it on a daily basis.
  • Courses are continually improved –we invite feedback from all graduates and change courses immediately the need is detected.
  • Courses are relevant to the whole world –we try hard to teach make the learning transferable to any region or country because the world is increasingly a global economy
  • Courses written by our staff, teach different skills to standard courses; giving a unique mix of skills and knowledge to provide a career advantage. Do you want an accredited certificate and the same skills as 100 other job applicants; or one of our courses with skills that no other applicants have?
  • Certificates and diplomas are longer. They teach you more, and our qualifications have built a reputation amongst academics and industry as being a very high standard for this reason.
  • We are focused on helping you learn in a way that improves your capacity to understand your discipline, apply knowledge, and continue learning and developing your capabilities beyond your course.

These things cannot be always said of other colleges.



Those who are most successful in small business always have one thing in common: they know what the customer wants, and they give it to them.

Some knowledge of human psychology is a huge advantage to the business manager; whether inherent or learned. A lot of marketing today may be relatively impersonal, using social media, web sites or other online facilities; but despite the new ways people connect, the reality remains the same. You need to understand the customer in order to:

  • create and give them something they are prepared to pay for,
  • find and connect with the appropriate target market,
  • communicate effectively in order to make a sale and deliver the "goods"

These truths apply whether doing business face to face, over the internet, or in any other way.

Marketing Online and through Social Media. 

The people we are dealing with through social media are not a new species - they are the same customers/potential customers that we have dealt with via other forms of advertising. They have the same wants, desires and needs that they did before, they are just accessing the information to achieve their wants/desires and needs via social media. Social media can be a great way of promoting to people, however it does need to be managed as information can be exchanged so rapidly.

The way that we present information to potential customers may have changed, but what worked years ago will still work today, because effective advertising via social media is based on knowledge of human nature.   

Internet marketing psychology is the idea that by understanding how customers think and behave, we can engage with them better in an online environment. And by engaging with them better, we can hopefully sell them more of our goods and services.  

People have been using psychology to sell items more effectively for years.  Think about when you go into a supermarket, supermarkets will pump the smell of their freshly cooked bread around the store, knowing that the smell will make you hungry. Even the music that is used in supermarkets is selected to put you in a positive frame of mind and want to make a purchase. They put sweets and lollies by the tills, to attract the attention of the bored children waiting in the queue with their parents.  They will put the special offers at the end of aisles and use large coloured tickets to attract your eye for items they want to promote. Larger stores and supermarkets will often employ psychologists to work out the layout of stock, how to present their products, how to lay out the store and so on. 

We can also use similar techniques online to make the goods and services we offer more interesting and appealing to potential customers.

People buy for two reasons:

  1. Because they have to; this applies to needs based products, such as drink, food, heating, housing etc. (Meeting a basic need).
  2. Because they want to; this applies to other products. (Fulfilling a want).

But even the “have to” products are open to psychological persuasion.  

For example, we HAVE TO drink water. But we may WANT TO buy a certain brand of mineral water, flavoured water, fizzy water, or a water filter for our taps.

Choice is influenced psychologically. A lot of products and services that are for sale are not “essential” for our survival. We do not NEED a new car or new cell phone or a new skirt, but we may want them. Customers can be open to persuasion to purchase that car, skirt or cell phone.
The most important principle in advertising is that the customer will ask – what’s in it for me?  They will ask the same question whether they are looking at a paper brochure or a website.  Therefore, it is important that the website answers that question and answers it quickly.  Your website should tell the customer what you have to offer and what is in it for them that is not available from anyone else. You are the solution to their problem and you are unique and different to any other product that is available.
So here are some tips to help encourage people to visit your website or read your social media posts.

Probably the most important consideration that you would need to do to ensure that your marketing activities are successful would be to make sure that your activities and posts are the right fit with your target audience and your brand personality and positioning.  
People are curious. If they see something they want to learn about, they will read it.  We can leverage this through social media. You might write a blog – 5 fascinating facts about internet marketing.  You post your blog. Then on your Facebook page, you post a link – “Read here for 5 fascinating facts about Internet marketing.”  Someone will read your post and think, “mmm, I wonder what that is about” and go to your blog. OR they will think, “I’m not interested in social media but this is Joe’s thing” and pass the blog by or send it to a friend who is interested. Everyone is individual and interested in different things.  

Another tactic is to suggest that we know a secret – “Click here for the top five secrets to successful selling online.”

We can also ask people a question:

  1. Do you know as much as you think you do about nutrition?
  2. What do you think about the new ABC Cell phone?
  3. Do you prefer XYZ Chocolate or NMO Chocolate? Complete our survey.  

Some people will answer the questions for no reason other than that they can, or they are interested in the topic. Other people will need the incentive.
Do you know as much as you think you do about nutrition? Fill in this online questionnaire and get the chance to win $1000 or £1000.
Or, fill in this online questionnaire and get a 10% discount off your first order.

The incentive can be a prize, a discount, a free product, a free download, a free sample etc. The bigger the incentive, the more likely it is that people will visit your website, or fill in your questionnaire or survey for the chance to gain that incentive.  
People also like to have bargain. They want to think that they have the best product at a bargain price.  So special offers and discounts can attract attention.
We see simple offers such as:

  • 10% off if you order before 31st July.
  • Or 10% off for the first 100 customers ordering this product.
  • Or 99% off for the first customer to place this order.
  • A free bottle of wine when you come in for a meal if you “like” our Facebook page.
  • A free eBook when you order “The Internet Marketing Guide”

And so on.  Customers will be attracted to the idea that they are getting the product cheaper or getting something extra when they buy the product and in their minds “saving money”. We see this in supermarkets:

  • Buy one get one free
  • Buy two get one free
  • Buy one get one half price
  • Six for the price of five
  • Buy six and get 25% off
  • Buy this and get 10% off your next purchase

Or you have future offers. For example, some supermarkets will offer a special discount on your NEXT visit to them.  “Keep this coupon and get $/£10 off your next shop”.

These encourage the customer to buy, but also encourage the customer to come back again to get the $/£10 off next time.

Loyalty cards do the same.  Some stores offer loyalty cards. Every time the customer goes into the store, they get a sticker or stamp or the card is electronically swiped, then they may receive money off vouchers, be advised of special offers and so on.  

These same principles of special offers, future offers and loyalty cards can also be used online. Customers can gain points every time they shop online and then use them to gain products/money off etc at some point in the future. A good example of this in the UK is the NECTAR card. A card may be linked to a specific store, used in physical shops and also online.  People can collect points at stores online and physically, then use those points to get discounts in the stores.  The more they collect the greater the discount. This increases brand loyalty, as the customer knows they will get more points for their purchases. In other examples, points may be collected in return for products, if you collect a certain amount of points they may be redeemed for products. The more points you collect the higher the value of the product you can ‘buy’ with your points.  This is also how most frequent flyer cards work.

Loyalty cards are also a great way of staying in contact with your customers- adding them to an electronic mail out- so they can receive regular communication and discounts from you.



Study alone can never guarantee career success; but a good education is an important starting point. Success in a career depends upon many things. A course like this is an excellent starting point because it provides a foundation for continued learning, and the means of understanding and dealing with issues you encounter in the workplace.

Completing this certificate will:

  • increase your knowledge and understanding of business operations and practices
  • give you a deeper insight into what is needed to set up and establish any new business enterprise
  • raise your awareness of the world of commerce
  • help you formulate ways to improve an existing business or launch a new business
  • expand your options for working in the world of business

Meet some of our academics

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.
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).
Kate GibsonKate has 12 years experience as a marketing advisor and experience as a project manager. Kate has traveled and worked in a variety of locations including London, New Zealand and Australia. Kate has a B.Soc.Sc, Post-Grad. Dip. Org Behaviour (HR).

Check out our eBooks

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
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
Professional Practice for ConsultantsExplore becoming a consultant. This ebook contains chapters on how to be a consultant, packaging your services, delivering the services, building your resources, finding the work and getting the job, planning and ethics.
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.