Operational Business Management for Horticulture I

Course CodeBHT326
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn the skills in the management of a horticultural enterprise.

  • Learn to Plan for Economic and Marketing Success in a Horticultural Enterprise of any type
  • Study the management strategies, financial planning and marketing operations in horticulture.
  • Learn to the business side of horticulture, including how to plan and implement effective strategies for your business and/or services.


“Building on the first operational business module this course delves into the prominent legal aspects of the horticulture industry in terms of contract and employment law as well as sound financial practices. In addition, man management techniques designed to improve productivity are discussed. Ideal for anyone in a horticultural management position.” - Gavin Cole B.Sc., Psych.Cert., Cert.Garden Design, MACA, ACS Tutor.

Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  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. 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 to 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


  • 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

Ensure Operations are not only Efficient and Productive, but also Sustainable
Sustainable development is a complex term that encompasses institutional, economic and ecological factors - it has many definitions but is broadly defined as: meeting the needs of the current populace without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same. 
The United Nations adopted the term ‘Sustainable Development’ in a document named ‘Agenda 21’ which was released in 1992 at the Earth Summit (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development) held at Rio de Janeiro. Five years later the general assembly of the UN determined that little progress had been made to prevent the deterioration of the global environment and to address inequality of income. In the 2002 Earth Summit met in Johannesburg and this meeting affirmed the UN commitment to full implementation of Agenda 21 alongside other international agreement – however the absence of the United States at this summit was a major drawback to realistic implementation on a global basis.
Sustainability is achieved when global economic, social and environmental development are interlinked i.e. dependent on each other to form one complex global system.  This approach helps the way in which we assess our approach to business; it helps to open up or modify perceived barriers or boundaries.  The horticultural world for example is associated with many such boundaries i.e. protectionism, tariffs etc. In order to encourage sustainable and equitable global development these barriers would need to be re-defined or removed where at all appropriate. 
There are many ways in which successful Global Sustainable Development can be encouraged. Following are ways that this may be achieved and encompasses: 
  • Ways to give all people a higher quality of life – i.e. eradicating poverty.
  • Ways that improve quality of life and protect human capital, without compromising the environment or the loss of natural capital.
  • Ways to protect and restore natural resources.
  • Ways to alter demand – ie. unsustainable over consumption which leads to unsustainable over production.
  • Community participation and equality – gender, social or cultural backgrounds should not be a limiting factor.  Training should be provided for poor communities in environmentally sensitive areas in ways to protect that environment. This is particularly relevant to the farming community. In urban areas people should be trained to prevent waste and contamination.
  • Biodiversity conservation.
  • Best practice –a standardized approach to the way things are done; a philosophical, but useful and flexible concept that engenders continuous learning and improvement of processes through time and evolution.
  • Recognition of risk.
  • Good governance.


People who may be interested in this course include those who are work in, or who hope to work in:

  • Horticulture retail
  • Horticulture wholesale
  • Plant nurseries
  • Landscape businesses
  • Garden maintenance
  • Self-employment

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