Course Outline for Business Fundamentals

Week 1

Lesson 1- The Basics of Strategic Planning

In our first lesson, you'll learn the ins and outs of strategic planning. You'll find out why you need to define your business in terms of the customer and why you must have the right ingredients in place to meet customer demands. We'll discuss how environmental factors, such as technology and economics, shape your company. You'll also see how the internal environment determines how well your organization responds to opportunities and threats.

Lesson 2- Strategic Plan Implementation

I believe strongly in the phrase, "Plan your work and work your plan" because it has great applicability to strategic planning. We'll begin this lesson by discussing the elements you must use to effectively implement your strategic plan. We'll study vision statements, move on to purpose and mission statements, and discuss goals, objectives, strategies, policies, and procedures. Next, we'll focus on company culture and you'll find out why planning is beneficial. Finally, we'll look at the major strategic choices that you can choose from, ranging from core business focus to insolvency.

Week 2

Lesson 3- Organizational Concepts

Organizing is a critical topic that many companies struggle with. Once you have a good idea of how to develop and implement a strategic plan, you need to take the next step. In this lesson, we'll discuss how to organize resources so employees can perform job duties and relate to one another in the most effective way possible. I'll share the purpose of organization and present several coordinating principles, including authority, power, and span of control. We'll also spend time exploring the staffing function and evaluate the elements—recruitment, selection, appraisal, and development—and study six different forms of organizational charts.

Lesson 4- Motivation, Leadership, and Control

Today we'll discuss three key management principles: motivation, leadership, and control. Motivation and leadership, as compared to control, represent a more subtle side of business. While control focuses on concrete things such as analysis and procedures, motivation and leadership rely on less tangible factors. We'll begin the lesson by defining motivation, exploring four theories of motivation, and then moving into leadership. You'll learn about the types of leadership and see how delegation and empowerment differs. We'll finish up by investigating control and learning how to effectively use three different control processes.

Week 3

Lesson 5- Overview of Accounting

In this lesson and the next four to follow, I'll help you increase your mastery of financial fundamentals. It's important that you increase your readiness to use financial information to identify and understand problems and opportunities, and also make decisions. We'll discuss the elements of the general ledger, explore a few key accounting terms, contrast accounting and bookkeeping, and investigate the different types of accounting. You'll learn about vital accounting concepts, such as the accounting equation, debits and credits, and the cost principle.

Lesson 6- Statements and Cash Flow

Now that you have the basics of accounting safely under your belt, it's time to start looking at how to apply financial information. We'll start off by reviewing two financial statements that you find at nearly every organization—the balance sheet and the income statement. Without these two documents, it's impossible to determine how a firm is performing. After we cover the balance sheet and the income statement, you'll learn how to account for inventories and understand about the significance of cash flow. I'll explain why sound cash management helps any company stay on the right path.

Week 4

Lesson 7- Cost Concepts

Cost is the price you pay to acquire, maintain, produce, or use materials or services. Since most firms account for their operations at cost, it's essential that you understand how costs are determined and used. In today's lesson, we'll discuss the nature of discretionary, relevant, sunk, and variable costs, and many more. You'll also discover how managerial accounting differs from financial accounting.

Lesson 8- Financial Planning and Investing

The largest investment that many businesses make is in their land and buildings. Firms also make smaller, more frequent investment decisions for items such as equipment and fixture purchase and replacement. Today you'll learn about the different types of investment decision-making models, including average rate of return (ARR), payback period, discounted cash flow (DCF), net present value (NPV), and internal rate of return (IRR). We'll also examine the nuts and bolts of financial planning.

Week 5

Lesson 9- Budgeting

In our last lesson about financial matters, we'll wrap things up by examining budgeting. In order to be successful and make meaningful decisions about the future, you must look ahead. One way to do this is by preparing budgets. Accounting, as a major organizational function, supports a number of different types of budgets. I'll show you how to use the major budgets, including the department administration budget (also known as an expense budget), the production materials budget, the maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) budget, the capital budget, and zero-based budgeting.

Lesson 10- Performance Measurements

Today we'll examine performance measurements as a way to keep track of progress. Studies reveal that if you don't measure a process, you can’t properly manage it. We'll begin the lesson with a discussion on how human nature affects performance measurements. You'll learn about the attributes of effective performance measurements and see how traditional and progressive performance measurements differ.

Week 6

Lesson 11- Business Law and Contracts

The topic for this lesson is business law. Our objective is to help you develop a good overview of business law and also learn about some important concepts, such as the principal-agency relationship and the basics of contracts. We'll begin by talking about the nature of laws, move on to explore the basics of a legal system, and then discuss the essence of commercial law.

Lesson 12- Forms of Organization, Politics, and Ethics

Now that you have a basic understanding of business law, we'll take a look at the four most popular organizational forms: sole proprietorship, general partnership, limited partnership, and corporation. We'll spend some time in our final lesson talking about organization politics. Wherever people work together, you'll find politics. We'll go over "good" and "bad" politics and discuss how ethics relates to politics.

What do others think?

‘A well-rounded course. Touched on many of the essential aspects of business. Even though I have been in business for over 20 years, I found myself learning something new with each lesson.’

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