Course at a glance


This course teaches how businesses work; the different types and how the world around them affects decision-making within a business. What leads to change and how do businesses respond to these issues; and the range of perspectives that can be taken on business activities such as the services on offer.

This course will help develop a range of important and transferable skills such as data skills; presenting arguments and making recommendations on the basis of the available evidence, and problem solving to help a business maximise their potential. A broad variety of business related topics ranging from finance, keeping records to operations and resource management will be provided.

The course is divided into 10 units of study, you can read a detailed summary of each unit in the ‘Content’ section at the bottom of the page.

To help spread the cost of the course, you can opt to spread the course fees over an interest and credit check free instalment plan. To do this, select the option for instalment payment from the drop-down box above the ‘Enrol’ button.

Business Studies Short Course Diploma Entry Requirements

All students must be 16 years of age and above to enter into our Business Studies Short Course Diploma (Level 3).

Short Course Diploma courses require a minimum prior learning to GCSE standard in order that students can manage their studies and the assumed knowledge within course content.

Study Hours

200 hours in total. Or 20 hours per week over 10 weeks.


Written assessment at the end of each unit of study.


Please note that you can enrol on this course at anytime.

Business Studies Short Course Diploma Course Content

The course is broken down into ten units as follows:

Unit 1 – Starting a Business

The course starts by asking how an innovative, original and creative enterprise can be set up or build an already established business such as a market stall, a shop, a factory or a service provider. The first step requires generating and protecting business ideas, and transforming resources into goods and services. A business plan is developed by conducting start up market research, understanding markets, choosing the right legal structure for the business, raising finance or adding money to an established business, locating/ changing or expanding the business, and employing people. Many people start by working at home or providing services on-line, but thought needs to be given the same as if establishing an external business, and this requires a similar model with planning, organising and delivery tactics. A key requirement is to look at what works, learn from what does not work and look at recent trends to capture anything missing or topical or popular.

Unit 2 – Financial Planning

Nothing happens without money and calculating costs. Initial plans involve using break-even analysis to make decisions about profit margins and how much to charge for products and services. Using cash flow forecasting, budgets can be set to help assessing business start-ups. Thought is given to where the money comes from and how to raise necessary funds.

Unit 3 – Finance

Closely linked to the previous module, how to manage money by using budgets, improving cash flow in order to measure and increase profits. Some business employ different staff to deal with each area of business, however small or new business with little turn-over or the need to manage all aspects of the job themselves, will hire staff to multitask. There are some great finance packages and support both in books and on-line. Legal requirements include the paying of taxes and contribution to the health and pension care of employees. As profits grow, so the finances need to be audited. An understanding of finance is key to maintaining balance, meet legal duties and transparency of a business.

Unit 4 – People in Business

The performance and attitude of people in business is key to success. It is said that a great leader has a competent team or workforce behind them. Often the Human resource task is allocated to one staff with responsibilities for managing their needs and maintaining legal duties e.g. through training and personal development. They are involved in setting up and managing the staff. If the business has only one or two staff, it still needs to be aware of the roles and responsibilities of each staff member. These can be written down in a handbook or managed through meetings and discussions. All businesses need an organisational structure so everyone is clear what they are doing, they know their place in the business structure and that they are being effective. Roles change and develop so this can be updated. As the number of employees grow, so this becomes complicated, but many examples of different organisational structures can be found.

Unit 5 – Operations Management

There are several ways that businesses are managed both on a daily basis and through long-term planning and formulating strategies. Making operational decisions helps to maintain and promote quality, offer the best Customer service and ensures good working relationships with suppliers. This is made easy through the use of technology in operations. Nowadays invoices are made, paid and managed through the finance package. Profits are maximised if a business is kept in stock that is needed, readily available, that a service is offered with employees having the tools and materials to do their job easily.

Unit 6 – Marketing and the Competitive Market

It is pointless having a product or service if no one is aware that a business is offering this. Also one cannot become complacent, even if the company has been successful, it is important to be aware of the market trends, what people want, how they want it and where the place of your business fits into the market trends. Effective marketing starts with research and keeping abreast of current market trends and this helps in designing the marketing mix, the product, how to promote and price in order to be competitive and maximise profit. Ideally a business wants to be known as the best in its field and this is achieved through trust, quality of service, good reputation and ensuring the highest, but fairest standards at a good and affordable price.

Unit 7 – Marketing Strategies and Operations Management

Smaller and larger business obviously have different needs, but both must have a strategy in place. As business grow the way they organise, form strategy and market their work is crucial. The best business will not work unless it is efficient and has the stock it offers, even if it is people offering a service such as in a Doctor’s surgery or a shop. If staff are not present with good attitude, then customers will go elsewhere or complain, and time can be wasted solving problems instead of offering the best service. Understand marketing objectives concerns analysing markets to develop a good plan and strategy. Business models can teach many examples of what works and what does not. Similarly close to this is the need to understanding operational objectives, scale and resource, innovation, location and lean production. A classic example is the location of Hypermarkets where supermarkets moved to cheap areas outside towns and cities to offer every product under one roof, offer free parking and a greater range of goods. This has been the reason why smaller shops have closed and high streets are becoming redundant. High Street shops are now being innovative and niche, and competitive.

Unit 8 – Human Strategies, Financial Strategies and Accounts

Whether a business has one person responsible for managing all its bureaucracy or several departments, it needs to meet legal requirement s of HR objectives. A HR strategy is developed using tried and tested models and implemented into workforce plans so that staff are aware of their rights and responsibilities such as hours of work, holiday allowance, and training opportunities. It ensures that there are effective employee/employer relations, good working conditions which helps productivity and makes for a competitive organisational structure.

Unit 9 – The Business Environment

Even the smallest business must be aware of its businesses environments and the economics, politics and legal requirements of business. Experts predict what will happen by studying and analysing past and present business environments, to make possible projections. We can also learn from other markets such as that happening in Asia at the present. Such models help us determine how businesses are competitive in the present social and technological environment. In the past large empires had great influence over the global business environment, but with immigration and free/easier travel the global environment has huge impact on work.

Unit 10 – Managing Change

In the past businesses often passed down in the family or in a village or town and continued to run successfully. We know that families have surnames after the business they were known for. Today businesses cannot afford to be complacent, many have closed down, but many have opened or grown and done extremely well. This final module will look at different models to investigate internal causes of change, how businesses need to plan for change by recognising the key influences on change. As mentioned already business plans and strategies to reflect the markets involve decisions that implement and help manage change successfully and efficiently. Students are encouraged to look at the financial pages of major newspaper and even watch television programmes like ‘The Apprentice’ to learn about the business environment and modern changes on conducting business effectively. There are no guarantees, even successful business like Banks and Traditional firms are having to change to meet trends and demands, e.g. M&S, Clarks, restaurants, Pubs, supermarkets and food chains with the onset of easier availability of competitive, cheaper brands on the internet.


This Business Studies Short Course Diploma can be used to gain entry to a Level 4 Diploma or higher.