Topic Name Description
Course Introduction Page Course Syllabus
1.1: Business Basics Book What is a Business?

Read this article for an overview of basic business concepts. This article will give you a solid foundation for the course material to follow. While the goal of business is to make a profit, there are many other goals. These sections will explain the various types of goals, how they are assessed, the markets they serve, and their impact on society. As you read these pages, make sure to click on any embedded hyperlinks for additional definitions and explanations of the concepts.

Book Getting Down to Business

Read this section learn about internal and external factors that affect the success of businesses. Pay particular attention to Figure 1.2 to gain an understanding of where each of these factors falls.

Book Corporate Social Responsibility

Read this section, paying particular attention to the sections on communities, financial contributions, volunteerism, and supporting local causes to learn more about the positive impact of businesses.

Book Environmentalism

Read this section to gain an understanding of the environmental impacts of businesses and the importance of sustainability.

Book When Coal Plants Shut Down, What Happens Next?

Read this article for a fascinating look at the environmental impact that changes in an industry can have. While many would argue that the shift away from coal as an energy source is good for the environment, one must also consider the lasting impact coal plants can have on the environment even after they have closed.

Page Case Study

Now that you've read about some of the positive and negative impacts of businesses, complete this activity on whether Nike was responsible for compensating Honduran factory workers. Consider how Nike impacted society, and determine whether you think their impact was positive or negative.

1.2: Productivity and the Business Cycle Book Understanding Economic Systems

Read this explanation of the United States economy. American workers are considered some of the most productive in the world. Productivity is the final output after you have considered the hours worked. Productivity in this country has grown because technology has lowered the cost of producing goods and services.

Page Striving for Economic Growth

Read this explanation of the United States economy and its relationship to the GDP. The combination of expansion and contractions is called the business cycle. The United States GDP has had slow, steady growth, allowing citizens to have a high standard of living. Over the last two decades, China's GDP has been growing much faster than most other countries.

Book The Business Cycle

Read this article, and then summarize what you consider the three most viable causes of business cycles.

1.3: Economic Indicators as Components of Economic Stability Book Understanding Economic Influences

Numerous economic indicators help business leaders determine what the future might hold. These might include the unemployment rate, housing statistics, the consumer price index, and more. In a 2-3 page essay, discuss what the data seems to be showing in the results of your research. Rank or order the economic indicators you consider most important, especially what the indicators say about the economy. In your conclusion, share where you believe the economy is going.

URL The Consumer Price Index

Go to the CPI Inflation Calculator and perform two calculations. First, compute what a pair of denim jeans cost the year you were born if they cost $80 today. Then, compute what a car cost during the year you were born if it sells for $23,000 today. Feel free to explore the inflation rate of interest by performing additional calculations on this calculator.

Book The Rate of Inflation

Read this article about the pattern of US prices and inflation rates from 1913 to the present. Pay particular attention to the charts that show the comparison between US rates and those of other countries worldwide.

Book Gross Domestic Product

Read this section, which explains Gross Domestic Product. The GDP is the dollar value of goods and services produced in a given country in a year. What is the significance of GDP as an economic indicator?

Book Measuring the Health of the Economy

Read this section to understand more about economic growth. Looking at GDP alone does not give much of an indication of the health of an economy. It is the change in GDP that is relevant. If GDP goes up, the economy is growing. This positive movement is what we want as we leave behind the most recent recession. Complete the exercises at the end of the section.

Page GDP Per Capita

Carefully review this chart, which compares the GDP per capita of several countries around the world. Note the date of the information provided. Studying GDP per capita will allow you to compare one country to another. Why is the US GDP per capita higher than China's? How is GDP per capita found?

Book Inflation and Consumer Spending

Read this section for an in-depth look at the relationship between inflation, the economy, and how we spend our money. As you read this material, consider the effect of inflation on your purchasing power and buying habits. As the rate of inflation increases, there is a decline in your purchasing power as a consumer, but a decrease in inflation and lower prices can also affect what we buy. For example, as gas prices decline, we see an associated decline in the rate of hybrid car purchases. List three ways that inflation might affect your life.

Page Keeping Prices Steady

Review this section on inflation. Inflation is essential for the US consumer because it affects buying power and how far the income dollar will reach.

1.4: Components of Economic Policy Page Budget Deficits (Expenses Exceed Revenues)

Read this section to learn about revenues and expenses in the federal budget. In the year of an election, the candidates promise to reduce government spending. Usually, this does not happen. The yearly deficit continues to add to the national debt. Some U.S. citizens think that government spending helps the economy grow. Others believe that government spending comes out of the hands of consumers and business owners, thereby slowing growth. After you read, write a paragraph that expresses your thoughts on this argument.

Book Budget Surpluses (Revenues Exceed Expenses)

Read this section to learn about budget surpluses. It is pretty unlikely that the United States will see a budget surplus in the near future. This situation is present when the tax revenues collected are greater than the expenses of the United States government. Complete the exercise at the end of the section.

Page Government Regulation

Read this page to learn about the monetary policy. Monetary policy manages the money supply under the control of the Federal Reserve Board.

Book The Role of the Federal Reserve

Read this article to learn more about the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

1.5: Doing Business Globally Book Competing in the Global Marketplace

Read this chapter, which discusses the importance of global trade.

Book The Drive for International Trade

Read this section to learn about why businesses are going global and the difference between imports and exports.

Book Methods for Business Entry into the Global Marketplace

There are a variety of methods businesses can use to enter the global marketplace. Some carry heavier risks than others, and some require firms to give up some of their control. Read about the types of international business and rate them based on risk and control.

Book Global Trade Restrictions

While international trade seems like a win-win situation for businesses, many governments impose trade restrictions such as tariffs or quotas to control how much foreign product is introduced into their country. Often, these trade restrictions are put in place to protect domestic industries or ensure a working population. Read about the trade restrictions and reflect on what would precipitate a government imposing one trade restriction rather than another.

Book Global Trade Facilitators

It can be daunting to start a business in the United States. One must learn how to navigate through the bureaucratic red tape. Can you imagine how much more difficult it must be to navigate the bureaucratic red tape for more than one country? Luckily, for a business entering the global marketplace, organizations such as the World Bank and International Monetary fund, trade agreements such as GATT and NAFTA, and economic communities make the process easier to navigate.

Page The Financial Crisis of 2008

These lectures discuss the 2008 financial crisis in the United States. In the first, we see how we can plot early warning signs for a financial crisis. The second gives an insider's view of how banking practices led to the 2008 financial crisis.

2.1: Legal Forms of Business Book Forms of Business Ownership

Review this overview of the various forms of business ownership, including advantages and disadvantages, to learn about some of the factors that go into deciding which form is best for any given situation. No hard and fast formula helps an entrepreneur pick the proper form. However, there are some important considerations, such as risk, taxes, transferability, and even image. After you read, complete the concept check questions about the different types of business structures: sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporations.

Page Factors to Consider

Read this section for a more in-depth look at these factors and some questions entrepreneurs can ask themselves to help them decide which form is right for them. Then we'll look at each of the forms in more detail.

Book Sole Proprietorship

Many new business owners choose the sole proprietorship because it is the most straightforward form to initiate and provides the most control since only one person makes the decisions (for good or ill). Read this section and pay particular attention to the discussion on unlimited liability, as this is a significant drawback for sole proprietorships. It might be interesting to try the exercise at the end of the section and find a sole proprietor in your area.

Book Partnership
Now let's look at partnerships: Just like in any other element of society, when more than one person is involved, things become a little more complicated. As you'll see, unlimited liability is an issue with partnerships as well. Read this section and in light of what you learn, think about what advice you would give Jason in the exercise at the end of the section.
Book Corporations

Corporations are the most complicated form of business ownership. Remember, while it is more complex, it provides safeguards that sole proprietorships and partnerships do not. Read this section to learn about the most common type of corporation, the C Corporation. You'll also learn some important information about purchasing ownership in a publicly traded corporation in the form of stocks.

Book Other Types of Business Owners

While C-corporations are the most common type of corporate ownership, there are other forms that you should be aware of. Read this section to learn about S-corporation, Limited Liability Companies, cooperatives, and non-profit organizations. Completing the exercise at the end of the section will give you a table to use as you prepare for the final exam.

Book Business Structures

Review the various options and select two business structures to compare and contrast. Review the different options and choose two business structures to compare and contrast.

2.2: Entrepreneurship and How Small Businesses Affect the Economy Book What is an Entrepreneur?

Review this section to learn about entrepreneurs.

Page Is Entrepreneurship for You?
Read this brief webpage to determine if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Then, write a summary paragraph explaining the characteristics of an entrepreneur that you believe you have and ones that you feel you could improve.
Book Importance of Small Businesses to the U.S. Economy

Read this section to learn more about the importance of small businesses to the US economy.

Book What Industries Are Small Businesses In?

Read this section to gain an understanding of the industries you are likely to find small business operations. You'd be surprised at how much of the US economy is driven by small businesses.

Book Advantages and Disadvantages of Business Ownership and Starting a Business

Read these sections for more detail about starting a business and some of the advantages and disadvantages in store for small business owners.

Page What SBA Offers to Help Small Businesses Grow

Read this article for a detailed explanation of what duties are assigned to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Page Small Business Development Programs

This article goes into more detail on specific programs the SBA offers, including a guaranteed loan program.

2.3: Analyzing the Potential of a Business to be Profitable Page The Challenges of Starting a Business

Read the introduction section to gain an understanding of the challenges facing business owners.

Book The Business Plan

Read this section to see why business plans are essential and what sections should be included.

Book Entrepreneurship

Read this section about developing a business plan.

Page Write Your Business Plan

To see some examples of already written business plans and learn how to write a business plan of your own, review this article provided by the SBA.

Page Breakeven Analysis

Read this section and complete the exercise at the end for a more detailed look at how break-even analysis calculations are performed.

Page Taxes and Growth

Read this article about the impact taxes have on the U.S. economy. Be sure to view the short video within the text for additional information.

3.1: Marketing Defined Book Creating Products and Pricing Strategies

Read these sections to learn more about the marketing process.

Book Providing Value to Customers

Read these sections to get another perspective on marketing and the marketing mix. Complete the exercises at the end of the sections.

Page The History of the Marketing Concept

Read this section, which describes the various marketing orientations through time. As you read, think about how this evolution has impacted products or services you may purchase.

3.2: The Product Book Innovation and Prodcut Development

The first element is the product. A product is a good or service intended to meet the needs of consumers or society. Read the introductions of each section to gain an understanding of products and product development.

Book Pricing a Product

Once a business has a product to sell, the next consideration is how to price the product. The business wants to price the product high enough to make a profit, but not so high that a typical customer wouldn't buy it. Read this section to learn about various pricing strategies.

Book Placing a Product
Once a product has been developed and a pricing strategy has been chosen, the business must consider where it should place the product and how to get it there via placement and distribution. Read this section to learn about product distribution strategies and supply chain management.
Book Promoting a Product

The final P in our marketing mix is promotion, which people often think about when they hear the term marketing. But, as we have seen, it is only a part of the entire marketing mix. The promotion mix includes advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, and publicity. Some of these elements are paid for, with the business having direct control over the message. Some are not. Read this section to learn more about promoting a product.

3.3: Consumer Behavior Page Consumer Purchasing Behavior

Read this section. This material provides an overview of consumer behavior. Be sure to click on the tabs within the Key Points and Terms sections for a more in-depth look at the elements that influence what we buy and why we buy.

Page Customer-Relationship Management

The customer should be the focus of all business endeavors; there would be no business without the customer. In fact, without repeat customers, most businesses would be hard-pressed to keep going. Because of this, creating a relationship with the customer is extremely important to businesses in general and marketers in particular. Read this short piece describing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and what it means to businesses.

Page Pricing and Product Strategies

Review this section about customer satisfaction and building long-term relationships with customers. Without customers, there is no business. Develop a PowerPoint presentation that addresses why it is so important to develop these relationships with customers, how to develop relationships, and what a business can do to retain existing customers.

Page Introduction to Electronic Commerce and E-Business

First, we need to understand the difference between electronic commerce and e-business. Read this short excerpt that explains the terms and how they came about.

Page Categories of Electronic Commerce

Read this short excerpt to learn the various forms e-commerce could take.

Page Key Motivators Behind Taking a Business Online

Most businesses now have an online presence ranging from informational websites to full-blown buying and selling online. Read this short excerpt for some key motivators for taking a business online.

Book Interacting with Your Customers

Now that we've learned a little about e-business and e-commerce, read about the importance of interacting with customers paying particular attention to the section about social media marketing. You'll better understand why businesses are using social media to promote their products and what their goals may be.

3.4: Marketing Segmentation Page Defining the Target Market

Rather than selling their products to every possible consumer, businesses will concentrate their marketing efforts on a target market. The target market is the consumer who would be most likely to purchase a product. Re-read this section to learn more about target markets paying particular attention to the examples of Marriott hotels and the target market for each type of hotel.

Page Marketing Research Process

To accurately arrive at a target market, businesses must research who their typical customer is. Read each section to learn about conducting marketing research. Try to summarize these lessons and write a brief reflection of how you would research if you were the owner of an upscale retail clothing store in a major metropolitan city with several competitors.

Page The Product Life Cycle

Earlier, we learned about products and product development (in the marketing mix). Businesses must consider where a product currently is in its lifecycle so they can create appropriate marketing strategies. For example, a product in the introductory stage would require heavier advertisement than a product in the decline state. Read this section and look carefully at the product lifecycle. Answer the concept check questions. For this assignment, use two products as examples and indicate where each product is on the product lifecycle chart. Be sure to explain your reasoning.

Page Branding

Selling its products to make a profit is something businesses desire, and the next level up is making the business a household name or a brand. Read this case study about branding and answer the critical thinking questions. Then, write a 700-word essay reflection about creating a brand using social media.

Page Marketing Plan

Review the definition of a marketing plan. A marketing plan will include an analysis of a companies strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). A SWOT is typically conducted during the strategy stage of developing a business. It is essential to analyze the SWOT regularly to ensure the business is still current in the marketplace. The SWOT analysis becomes part of a marketing plan because the strengths of a product or business are what marketing will focus on for advertising.

Page SWOT Analysis

Watch this brief video about how a business can apply SWOT analysis in various business scenarios. After watching the video, select a company and develop a general SWOT analysis for that organization. Based on your analysis, consider two actions the company could take to improve its market position. After developing your new strategies, re-create the SWOT analysis for the company and consider how the company's situation has been affected by these changes.

4.1: Business Accounting Book Using Financial Information and Accounting

Read this overview of accounting and the financial statements used by managers and financiers to determine the financial health of a business.

Book The Role of Accounting in Business

Now, read this section on the difference between managerial and financial accounting.

Page Understanding Financial Statements

Read this section for an overview of the functions of the basic financial statements: income statement, balance sheet, and statement of owner's equity. These documents serve as guidelines for making intelligent business decisions.

4.2: Components of an Income Statement Page Income Statement

Let's look at the income statement in more detail in this section. The income statement shows sales, expenses, and net profit or net loss.

Book Accrual Accounting and Financial Statements

Read the following sections to learn how to evaluate your company's success based on the income statement and ratio analysis. Focus on the income statement, and work through the business scenario with the College Shop. This activity will give you a chance to determine this company actually made any money.

4.3: Components of a Balance Sheet Page Assets, Liabilities, and Stockholders' Equity

Read about the balance sheet and answer the concept check questions. It is essential to understand financial analysis and be able to read a company's financial statement. It is also important to remember that financial ratio guidelines may be different in different industries.

4.4: Financial Ratio Analysis Page Financial Ratio Analysis

Now that you've had a chance to look at the income statement and balance sheets and see some of the financial ratios that can be calculated from the individual statements, let's take a look at profitability ratios that can be developed by using data from both statements. Read this section and pay attention to the net profit margin, return on equity, and earnings per share.

4.5: The Role of Banks in Finance Page The Role of the Federal Reserve

Read this section about the Federal Reserve System and answer the concept check questions. As you answer these questions, consider the causes of the 2008 banking crisis. Also, what does the FDIC do for you if you deposit your money in a bank?

Page The Federal Reserve System

Read this section. What are the three tools used by the Federal Reserve System to regulate the money supply in the United States? How does the usage of these three tools affect you as a consumer? Who is at the head of the Federal Reserve Board?

Page Monetary Policy and Central Banks

Watch these two videos to bring it all together.

Page The Federal Reserve's Involvement in the Recent Financial Crisis

Review this section on customer satisfaction and quality. In an essay of 1,200 words, answer the critical thinking questions at the end of the case study.

4.6: Financing Options Page Financing Options

Read this section to see where businesses can get capital to start up and operate their businesses.

Page Understanding Securities Market

Read this section to take a closer look at equity financing in the form of buying and selling stocks.

Page Financing the Going Concerns

Read this section to look at the advantages and disadvantages of equity and debt financing.

Book Personal Finances

This unit wouldn't be complete without giving you a look at how individuals manage their money. Read the entire section to see how you might be able to provide advice to someone who has too much debt or whose monthly bills are too high.

5.1: Defining Management Page Management and Leadership in Today's Organizations

Read this section for an overview of management. We will look at this section in more detail as we delve deeper into the process of management.

Page Managing for Business Success

Read this section to get a clearer view of how important effective management is for a successful business and an overview of the functions of the management process.

Book Planning

Read this section to understand the process a business would use to develop and implement a strategic plan.

Book Organizing

Read this section about the levels of management, functional organizational structures, the span of control, and how organizational charts are created.

Page Directing

Read this section about the different leadership styles.

Page Controlling

The last function we'll look at in this section is "controlling". Having all of the other management functions working together is the goal, but how do you know they are working? This is where controlling comes in. The controlling management function is all about monitoring and assessing performance. This is the piece that lets you know what is working and what needs corrective action.

Page The Skills Needed for Management

Read this section for a brief discussion of the leadership styles we looked at in the last section.

Book Managerial Skills

To help answer the question about pay differences between managers and other employees, read this section. Managers have to have many skills that put them at the top of the pay scale, including problem-solving skills the average worker doesn't need.

5.2: The Role of Human Resource Management Book The Role of Human Resource Management

Human resource management (HRM) could be the most critical managerial duty for a business. Consider this: if a business cannot recruit, train, develop, motivate and appraise their human resources (read employees), they are likely wasting money and cutting into their profit. Read this section and pay close attention to the introduction to get an overview of the scope of HRM.

Book Employee Recruitment

Read these sections about recruitment and employee selection to get a sense of the depth of information an HR person has to have to hire and train new employees. Over the last few decades, it has become essential to also focus on employee retention. It is costly to replace an employee, and if the focus is on retention, the employee may stay.

Book Developing

What happens once an employee has been hired? This section discusses training and developing employees and the importance of having a diverse workforce.

Book Motivating

Drawing on older theories of motivation such as Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and Herzberg's two-factor theory, and newer theories such as expectancy and equity theories, HR managers can gain insight into what might motivate employees to do their best work. Read this section to see how these theories can be used.

Book Appraisal
It's not enough for HR to recruit, train, develop, and motivate employees. It is also important for employees to be assessed or reviewed to know how they are doing. Read this section to learn about some methods for employee performance review.
Page Employee Compensation and Benefits

Another important duty of human resources is creating a compensation or benefits package that is sufficiently robust to keep employees from leaving but not so extravagant that the business goes bankrupt in trying to compensate their employees. Read this section to see a few types of employee benefits.

Book What Makes a Great Place to Work?

Read this section to look at benefits and some factors that make a business a good place to work.

Page Catching the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Review the Starbucks case study about employee benefits and answer the critical thinking questions.

Page Joining Labor Unions

A discussion of human resource management would not be complete without including some information on labor unions. While it would be nice to think that business owners would have their employees' best interests at heart, this is not always the case. To provide employees with some power to negotiate for their benefits, labor unions use collective bargaining to get employees what they deserve. Read this section to learn some key terms in labor unions and labor negotiations.

Book Labor Unions

Now, let's look at why unions exist, how they are structured, and how the collective bargaining process works.

5.3: Teamwork and Communications Book Teamwork and Communications

Communication is a vital part of any human interaction, and business is no exception. Read this section to learn about teams, teamwork, and communication in general in business environments. Complete the exercises at the end of each section to better understand the importance of communication.

5.4: Forming a Corporate Mission and Culture Page Trends in Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

Review the summary of Twitter's mission statement. Develop your own mission statement; it may be helpful to find mission statements online for similar companies. Summarize your findings in a 500–700-word report.

5.5: Forming a Corporate Mission and Culture Page Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics

While a business's primary goals are to provide a product society needs and make a profit, they do not operate in a vacuum. They are an integral part of society and have a certain amount of responsibility to the society they operate in. Review this section to refresh your memory about corporate responsibility.

Book Business Ethics and Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility also includes a mandate for businesses to act ethically. While businesses themselves are neither ethical nor non-ethical, the people that run them are. Read this section to see how ethics plays a role in business operations, then complete the three ethical dilemma exercises at the end of the chapter.

5.6: Concepts in Business Law Book Risk and Risk Management

There is so much that is risky in operating a business, shouldn't there be ways to manage the risk? Read the Wikipedia entry on risk management to get an overview of how businesses can manage risk.

Book Introduction to Contracts, Sales, Product Liability, and Bankruptcy

Contracts are an integral part of doing business. Managers in all areas of a business should have a basic understanding of what constitutes an enforceable contract. Finally, while business managers would hope not to be in a situation where they had to consider bankruptcy, they should still be aware of the options available to them, from complete liquidation to reorganizing or renegotiating part of their debt.

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