Business Operations

Course CodeVBS006
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment
BUILD YOUR KNOWLEDGE FOR A SUCCESSFUL HORTICULTURAL BUSINESS CAREER!

The purpose of this course is to provide you with the building blocks for a successful career in business planning and operations.  It covers topics such as business law, the money market, taxation, business plan writing and mistakes to avoid.  It is a solid foundation, developed by highly qualified and experienced professionals.

This is an extremely solid foundation course to develop skills and knowledge in various aspects of business operation and planning, needed to ensure success in business. This course does overlap with Business Studies and Starting a Small Business, so you should choose to do one or another, not ant two of these.

Lesson Structure

There are 6 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Business law
    • types of businesses
    • starting a business
  2. Finance
    • Liquidity
    • The money market
    • terminology
    • insurance
  3. Financial Records
    • Simple Bookkeeping procedures
    • cash flow
  4. Financial Management
    • Taxation
    • costing
    • budgeting
    • investing
  5. Business Planning
    • Developing a 12 month business plant.
  6. Mistakes to avoid
    • Reasons for business failures
    • profitability
    • improving productivity

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

  • Define the business community, the types of businesses involved and the interaction which occurs between different businesses.
  • Explain the difference between goods and services based businesses.
  • Define a range of commonly used business terms.
  • Research and analyse business opportunities by studying activities in the business world.
  • Assess the feasibility of a business opportunity and allocate resources to this business.
  • Carry out the basic procedures of recording and interpreting financial records and statements including the cash book, balance sheet, profit and loss statement.
  • Explain liquidity and productivity
  • Calculate profit and determine assets
  • Calculate the real cost of labour in a business.
  • Determine pricing based on costs calculated for providing a particular service or product.
  • Develop a budget for a simple business operation.
  • Develop a simple 3 year business plan (real or hypothetical).

Business success depends upon a strong foundation of skills and knowledge in various aspects of business operation and planning.  This course is a good choice if you're wondering where to start. It covers vital topics such as finance, financial record keeping, financial management, business planning, mistakes to avoid, and more.

The business world is like a complicated machine where there are lots of different parts, all interacting with each other and all dependent upon those parts they are interconnected to. To be successful in business requires an ability to see the broad picture as well as a more precise view, and to foresee the implications of developments in the broader marketplace. Changes in political leadership in one part of the world can eventually have repercussions on the other side of the globe. A downturn in the economy in one place, can eventually affect the marketplace somewhere else. Everything is interconnected in the business world, and the first step towards success is to begin to develop an awareness of the broader marketplace and an ability to foresee changes in your business before they occur.

 

Businesses are setup by individuals or other businesses for generating a return on equity (ROE). Normally, ROE is generated by running business operations which utilize economic resources like land, labour, money and time and generate a return in terms of profit or other economic value addition. Before starting a business it is essential that you review and read the laws that govern business in your area to make sure that you don’t waste resources if the business will not be able to legally run.

 
Getting Your Finances Under Control is a Big Part of Good Business Operations
 
Know what you are spending!  Budgeting is extremely important.  Ensure you have budgets for all contingencies, planning for yearly costs. For example, if the tax bill is annual, then save each month for the tax bill. Save for accountancy bills. Ensure there are sufficient funds for staff payments, and so on.

Borrowing is acceptable if you have assets that can be sold to increase liquidity. You may need to offer business premises, other properties or your main home as security for loans. It is essential that you seriously consider what you could lose before taking out any loan. If your home is used to secure a loan can you live without it if things don’t work out?

If your business is experiencing difficulties you must have a very tight control on spending – you should cut out all unnecessary expenditure and reduce all expenses generally. You should call in all your debtors – some cash flow problems arise from the lack of debtor control. If you discover this is the issue, then you may wish to improve your credit control or employ outside debt collection agencies.

Bookkeeping

Keeping good financial records is critical in today’s business world.

Small business owners sometimes employ a bookkeeper or accountant on a regular basis to help with financial records. Others may keep their own records, and perhaps only outsource work once a year when they prepare a taxation submission.

Large businesses may employ in-house staff or outsource most of their financial accounting
 
Business owners who are involved to at least some degree in their own bookkeeping will be less likely to encounter financial difficulties because they are more aware of the financial happenings in their business.

If You Have a Problem, Don't Delay taking Action

If you do face significantly financial problems; you should consider some or all of the following:

  • Changing the way you collect payments – do you send products and then invoice for payment? Do you accept online payments? Do you need to improve your credit control? Do you need shorter periods for payments to be made?
  • Change your terms and conditions so that customers have to pay faster. 
  • Start insisting on deposits when work is booked rather than charging for everything at the end. For example, if you run a bed and breakfast and receive a booking, you could insist on a deposit to secure the booking. This keeps money coming into the business and also means if the customer does not turn up for any reason, you still have some money coming in.
  • Reorganising or changing financial services you use – can you change your bank account and get reduced charges? Can you use a different provider for credit card payments and reduce your costs?
  • Selling Assets – can you sell any of your assets – buildings, vehicles, office equipment? Are there any assets you no longer need? Could they be sold?
  • Could you downsize? If you own an office space, could you sell it and start to rent instead? Do you need an office at all? Could you work from home? Could you rent office space a few days a week? Could you sell part of your business off?
  • Could you take on a partner or investor?
  • Refinancing can be an option - but it is important to consider this carefully as you may be digging a hole for the future.
  • Can you change how you pay bills? If your customers are slow in paying your bills, but you are quick in paying yours, this can affect your liquidity. Consider not paying your bills so quickly. We are not saying pay late, as you could obviously incur late fees. But perhaps pay them just prior to the payment date rather than two or three weeks early. 
  • Ultimately, if there appears to be no other option, you may also have to consider receivership or declaring bankruptcy. If you reach this point you will most certainly need professional advice. Bankruptcy lasts for a number of years as prescribed by the government of your country or region. You may lose your assets and be liable for repayment of debts if your earnings exceed a specified limit.

 

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