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You will be amazed at how much you can learn on a short course. These stimulating and rewarding courses are ideal for developing your existing commercial skills, improving specific subject knowledge, pursuing a personal interest or just trying something new. Short courses are run in London throughout the year and vary in length from one day to several months. Programmes tend to be very flexible and are taught through intensive day, evening or weekend sessions by experienced teachers in a relaxed learning environment. Their structure and convenience makes them ideal for fitting around a busy individual’s work or social commitments.

Business courses are a combination of academic expertise and industry experience, which means that they are geared towards practical outcomes and related to the day-to-day and strategic operations of real organisations.

This page aims to assist potential student by showing them how to get real value from a business course. It does this by providing accurate information about the content and structure of short business courses and also details of leading and reputable course providers in the Greater London area.

Choosing the right business course
Some courses will be better for you than others, so deciding on the right course at the start is very important. Its vital that you know what you want to do and why, meaning you should have very clear reasons for wanting to study a particular subject and a understanding of what you want to achieve from it. For instance you may want to learn specific commercial skills, obtain a qualification or simply just gain a broad education in business matters. Whatever your reasons its good practise to make a list of them that you can refer to when deciding on the suitability of a particular course.

When deciding on a university or college look for one that provides a stimulating and supportive study environment and has a has a high reputation for its programmes. All of these factors combined can provide you with an excellent grounding and preparation for any future career.

The list below is just a few of the areas you can study on a business course

  • Accountancy
  • Business Administration
  • Business Information Technology
  • Business Law
  • Economics
  • Financial Planning
  • Human Resource Management
  • Marketing & Communications
  • Operational Management
  • Retailing
  • Starting a business

Course structure
Despite being condensed short business courses are highly focused, well organised and designed to achieve results. Rather than sitting in a classroom and being bombarded with information, business courses are structured so that students are encouraged to actively participate in sessions. There is a misconception that modules can be ‘bit sized’ to the detriment of students, this is not true. Although the course material is condensed in a class room environment, students are give a certain amount of studying and coursework that they will have to do in their own time, this ensures that no corners are cut.

Advantages of short courses
They are becoming increasingly popular for a number of reasons, first and foremost because they offer busy professionals with little free time a flexible alternative to full-time on campus study. Secondly in these tough economic times some people are increasingly reluctant to commit the money to expensive full time degree courses, the low cost of many short business courses offers cash strung potential students a cost effective solution. Impressive enough as the above list is the benefits don’t end there, other advantages are;

  • They can help you to gauge the full extent of the commitment required before applying for a full programme of study.
  • Will give you a sample of a particular subject without having to commit to a full time degree or diploma.
  • Are ideal for mature students who want to return to education.
  • They can boost an individual’s confidence by giving them a sense of achievement.
  • Expose students to different ways of thinking, best practise techniques and the latest business thinking.
  • They can help to boost your CV.

The skills you will lean on a business course can help you to

  • Come up with solutions to real life business problems.
  • Stay more competitive.
  • Keep up to date with the latest business techniques.
  • Start your own business.
  • Run an existing business or department more efficiently.
  • Be better prepared to meet future commercial challenges.
  • Learn valuable transferable skills.

Disadvantages of short courses

  • Some people question whether anything of enduring value be learnt on rapid courses which have a quick turnaround of a few weeks or months.
  • They may not cover topics as comprehensively as full time courses do.

When you register for a short course some institutions may give you a ‘certificate of registration’. However all universities or colleges will award students who successfully complete the course a ‘certificate of completion / achievement’ which will include the number of hours studied, the subject matter and the level attained.

If you need help picking the right short course
If after reading this page you still need guidance then you are advised to contact the student recruitment department of your preferred university or college. They will have experienced registration staff you can meet who will listen to your plans and objectives and then advice you on your best options.

Business course terminology

Business plan
This is essentially a decision making tool. It is a formal written document that gives details of a proposed or existing business venture. It should be realistic and focused on specific goals and a company’s strategy for achieving its objectives. Other key points that should be included are; a comprehensive description of the company, product or service, market, forecasts, management team, and financial analysis.

A business plans content and format are determined by its objectives and audience. Key sections of a business plan are:

  • Mission statement
  • Break even analysis
  • Market analysis
  • Human resources
  • Competitor analysis
  • Financial plans
  • Cash Flow analysis
  • Profit & loss
  • Balance sheet

Start ups
For entrepreneurs who are thinking about starting up a new business a well researched and structured business plan can help them to decide whether to proceed with the venture. They are essential when trying to raise bank loans or attract partners or financial investors.

Existing businesses
Many established and running organisations use business plans to help them raise finance, launch new products or as part of a feasibility study. In any of these cases the plan must give extensive background information on a company’s strengths, experience of its management team and its financial history.

They can be targeted at a external or internal audience. When writing one you should always remain focused on who will want to see it and in what circumstances.

Benefits of a business plan

  • Can help you identify problems before they happen.
  • Ensure you remain focused on your key objectives.
  • Help you to monitor your performance and work as a measure of your success.

Cash Flow
It means the movement of money in a business over a specific period and can be used to refer to past, present or projected monetary flows. It can also refer to the actual money generated by a business from selling its products and the money it spends on all aspects of production.

Healthy cash flow is the lifeblood of a business and essential to its solvency, survival and prosperity. Having ample cash on hand will ensure that a businesses creditors and employees can be paid on time. If it does not have enough cash to support its operations then it can be said to be insolvent a situation which if left to continue can potentially lead to bankruptcy. For these reasons and for financial security cash flow needs to be carefully monitored and managed.

By being on top of its cash flow a business can accurately forecast the peaks and troughs in the amount of money it has available to spend. This in turn can help it to plan its borrowing requirements more accurately and also know how much surplus cash their likely to have at a given time.

This refers to the decrease in the value of a business’s assets. Measuring the loss in value (in monetary terms) of an asset is known as depreciation. In business accounts it can be considered an expense, for instance in any profit and loss statements or income statements it can be listed under expenses.  Depreciation usually happens to tangible assets that have a presence and which can wear down over time i.e. a company’s vehicles, machinery, stock, properties, office equipment or office furniture.

To accurately calculate depreciation you need to have an assets :

  • Purchase date
  • Estimated useful life
  • Cost
  • Any possible value it may have at the end of its use.
  • Costs that may be related to disposal.

Some business owners avoid trying to work out any depreciation on their assets as they feel its complicated and difficult to understand. However it is certainly worth looking into as over time a company can save a considerable amount of money by taking deductions for depreciation on their company tax returns.

This term refers to an ambitious individual who starts up a new business venture, usually in a niche market which is either too small or too new to have been noticed by established businesses. They are business people who are willing to use risk and initiative to make money. Successful entrepreneurs are good at spotting opportunities and tend to have the abilities and experience to take advantage of them. They also tend to be highly creative individuals with valuable commercial qualities such as leadership, vision and business acumen.

The actual word derives from the French “entre” (to enter) and “prendre” (to take). The characteristics of successful entrepreneur typically include;

  • A risk taking personality.
  • Creative ability to come up with ides.
  • Ability to make quick decisions (even in the absence of solid data).
  • A desire to build something new.
  • Persistence and determination.
  • Ambition.
  • Hard working.
  • High energy levels.
  • Effective communicator.
  • Independent.

This is an accounting concept meaning the value of an business over and above the value of all its current assets. It is typically used to reflect the value of intangible assets such as a strong brand name, good customer relations, longevity in the marketplace, good employee relations and any patents or proprietary technology. If it exists in the valuation of a company then it will normally be found in the assets section of a company’s balance sheet.

Inventory management is the process of efficiently overseeing the constant flow of units into and out of an existing inventory. In practise this means making a precise list of the total amount of goods, stock or materials stored in a factory or warehouse at a particular time. Having an accurate list is vital to help businesses control losses and identify low stock levels, thereby avoiding running out of in demand items and being unable to fulfil customer orders. Having effective and regular inventory management procedures is also essential to identify shrinkage / employee theft or bad accounting practices. One of the most common ways this is done is by physically counting items and producing lists of stock, which are then compared with administrative records.

Market share
This can best be defined as ‘a particular company’s percentage of a market’s total sales.’  It is a metric that can help managers and business owners to measure the proportion of a particular market that their firm is able to capture. Trying to get accurate figures is important as in the business world market share is often associated with profitability and competitiveness.

Formula for working out market share:
Market share  = Company’s sales / Total market sales


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