• Course Introduction

        Have you ever wondered what the billionaire Warren Buffett, visionary Steve Jobs, and entrepreneur Jeff Bezos have in common? After you finish studying business practices in this course, you may discover you have many of these same qualities.

        This course will expose you to business terminology, concepts, and current business practices. We will help you establish a viable business vocabulary, foster critical and analytical thinking, and refine your business decision-making skills. You will acquire these skills by the reading materials, exercises, and research assignments that simulate today's workplace. By delving into the five units of this course, you will fine tune your direction and choice of career in business.

        Since your education should help you contribute and compete in the global business environment, we will also focus on multicultural aspects of markets and business. We will examine how the business models other countries adopt often reflect their most salient characteristics.

        After familiarizing yourself with the following course syllabus, enroll in this course using the "Enroll me in this course” button. Once enrolled, navigate to Unit 1 of the course to read the Unit Introduction and Unit 1 Learning Outcomes. Links and instructions for all unit specific course resources will follow the introductory materials.

      • Unit 1: The Context of Business

        This unit covers basic concepts which provide a context for business. We explore economic and historical information governments use to make decisions, which provides a foundation for future decision-making. You will learn about productivity, the business cycle, the impact of business on society, economic trends and policies, and elements of global business. We will examine the financial meltdown of 2008, including the government bailout of AIG and General Motors, and the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which provide teachable moments in economic policy and business cycles.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 16 hours.

        Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

        • identify foundational business practices;
        • describe economic indicators;
        • identify positive and negative impacts of business on society;
        • use economic indicators to describe the state and health of an economy;
        • identify and explain current economic trends;
        • identify the four phases of the business cycle in real-life situations;
        • use economic indicators to predict where a business is heading in the business cycle;
        • describe global trade restrictions;
        • identify factors affecting the success of businesses;
        • evaluate the feasibility of doing business in a foreign country;
        • describe methods for business entry into the global marketplace; and
        • identify trade facilitators.


      • Unit 2: Entrepreneurship and Legal Forms of Business

        In this unit we explore various forms of ownership (sole proprietorship, partnerships, and corporations) which affects how businesses are taxed, how profits are distributed, and what regulations must be followed. The form of ownership you choose corresponds to the growth, taxation, and future of your company. In this unit we examine some techniques business owners use to analyze profitability. We review the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs, how small businesses impact the economy, and the role of the Small Business Administration in the United States.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 10 hours.

        Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

        • Describe the following legal forms of businesses:
            • sole proprietorships
            • partnerships
            • corporations
            • limited-liability corporations
            • subchapter S corporations
        • Evaluate the appropriateness of the different legal forms of business for various business contexts;
        • Identify and describe the function of the major components of a business plan;
        • Analyze the potential of a business to be profitable, when considering:
            • legal form of business
            • tax rates
            • break-even analysis
        • Analyze the impact of small business on the economy.


      • Unit 3: Marketing

        Marketing encompasses more than simple advertising and selling, it describes the activity businesses engage in to create, communicate, deliver, and exchange their products to their customers, clients, partners, and society at large. Business owners not only aim to provide customers with the goods and services they want and need, they need to convince them to make a purchase and come back for more. It involves the product, price, distribution, and promotion in the form of advertisement, publicity, public relations, and sales promotion. We will touch on the area of ecommerce and explore ecommerce, ebusiness, and use of social media marketing.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 10 hours.

        Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

        • Identify the major components of the marketing mix;
        • Describe how segmentation and research foster an understanding of consumer behavior;
        • Describe the marketing concept;
        • Describe the evolution of marketing;
        • Differentiate among the components of a marketing strategy;
        • Analyze consumer decision-making processes to predict buying behavior;
        • Identify the implications of marketing research on marketing strategy;
        • Describe elements of customer-relationship management, including:
            • customer life cycle
            • customer value proposition
        • Identify the marketing implications of customer-relationship management;
        • Describe brand, product development, technology adoption cycle, and product life cycle;
        • Use product life cycles to determine marketing strategy; and
        • Identify the marketing implications of e-business.


      • Unit 4: Accounting, Finance, and Banking

        Every day business owners make financial decisions that will impact every phase of the business operation, including such as payroll, cash flow, and projecting future growth. A thorough understanding of accounting and financial management allows business owner to find the best sources and use of funds. For example, you can derive and accurate measure the health of your business from the income statement, balance sheets, and financial ratios. We investigate financing options, how to analyze credit, and the time value of money. We also examine how banks, such as the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, affect the ability of businesses to obtain financing.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 15 hours.

        Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

        • Describe the role of accounting and finance in the business process;
        • Describe and analyze components of the income statement and balance sheet;
        • Differentiate among key financial ratios for making business decisions, including:
            • profit margin
            • return on equity
            • debt to equity ratio
        • Assess the implications of financial ratios for the future performance of a company;
        • Describe the roles of the Federal Reserve, banks, interest rates, and credit analysis in respect to decisions of financial lending;
        • Describe different options for financing;
        • List and explain the tools available to the Federal Reserve during financial crises;
        • Analyze the causes and implications of the 2008 financial meltdown; and
        • Calculate the time value of money.


      • Unit 5: Management

        The management practices a business adopts will inform how well it is able to achieve its goals and respond to changes in the workplace. For-profit and nonprofit businesses achieve their goals through the four steps of management: planning, organizing, controlling, and leading. Technical, conceptual, and interpersonal skills are essential to the management process. It also involves using human, financial, and informational resources. In this unit we explore how successful business management involves teamwork, communication, creating a clear corporate mission and culture, following good business ethics, and a commitment to social responsibility. 

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 17 hours.

        Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

        • Define the management process;
        • Describe how management contributes to the success or failure of a business;
        • Differentiate among various management styles;
        • Identify the business implications of:
            • corporate mission
            • corporate culture
            • corporate social responsibility
            • human resource management
            • labor unions
        • Describe the steps in conducting labor negotiations; and
        • Describe business law concepts that apply to business.


      • Study Guide and Review Exercises

        This study guide will help reinforce key concepts in each unit as you prepare to take the final exam. Each unit study guide aligns with the course learning outcomes and provides a summary of the core competencies and a list of vocabulary terms. Our study guides are not meant to replace the readings and videos that make up the course.

        The vocabulary lists include terms that may help you answer some of the review items, and terms you should be familiar with to successfully complete the final exam for the course.