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Business Studies: Course Outlines

Business studies is the study of the management of individuals to maintain collective productivity, which accomplishes particular creative and productive goals, usually to generate profits.

Course outlines

Business Activity

  • The stages and purpose of business activity   including a simple understanding of profit 
  • The concept of adding value and how business might add value   including USP
  • The factors of production   land   labour   capital and enterprise 
  • The dynamic nature of the business environment 
  • The qualities of a successful entrepreneur 
  • The role of private sector and public sector organisations in a mixed economy 
  • Primary   secondary and tertiary sector businesses activity 
  • The organisation of business by function I e   marketing  finance   operations and human resources    

Business Legal Structures

  • The main features   advantages and disadvantages of sole traders   partnerships   private and public limited companies  cooperatives 
  • The concept of limited liability 
  • The main features   benefits and limitations of franchises and joint ventures 

Measuring Business Size

  • Number of employees  revenue   apital employed   market share   market capitalisation   
  • Note   Profit is not an acceptable measure of business size 
  • The inter-relationship between the functional areas of business 

The Nature of Marketing

  • The marketing process   including an understanding of the elements of the marketing mix 
  • Market orientation versus product orientation 
  • Marketing objectives and the integrative nature of the marketing function 

Market Analysis and Positioning

  • Types of markets including consumer and industrial markets   local   regional   national and international markets 
  • Concepts of market share   market size and market growth  including the measurement of market share 
  • Market positioning including the advantages and disadvantages of mass and niche markets and the benefits of establishing a unique selling proposition/point the need for market repositioning 

Market Segmentation

  • Methods of market segmentation including demographic  geographic and psychographic methods  
  • Advantages and disadvantages of market segmentation and how it relates to the marketing mix 

Market Research

  • The importance of accurate and reliable market research information for business success 
  • Primary  research and secondary research 
  • Methods/sources of primary and secondary research data  including their advantages and disadvantages 
  • Qualitative and quantitative market research 
  • The nature and purpose of sampling including random  stratified and quota sampling methods 
  • Interpretation and analysis of market research results

The Marketing Mix


  • The nature of products   including the augmented product 
  • Stages of the product life cycle 
  • How stages of the product life cycle influences marketing activities 
  • The nature and purpose of extension strategies 
  • Product portfolio analysis   including the Boston Matrix 


  • The relationship between price and consumer behaviour 
  • Types of pricing strategies including skimming   penetration  competitive and loss leader   Cost based versus market based pricing 
  • The concept of Price elasticity of demand   including how a product’s PED might influence pricing decisions 
  • Selecting a pricing strategy for a given situation 


  • The aims of promotion 
  • Above-the-line and below-the-line methods of promotion  including their advantages and disadvantages 
  • Methods and use of digital marketing in product promotion 
  • Measuring the effectiveness of promotional activities using the advertising/promotional elasticity of demand 
  • The importance of branding in product promotion 
  • Selecting appropriate promotional methods for a given situation 


  • The different channels of distribution available to businesses   including the role of intermediaries 
  • Selecting an appropriate channel of distribution for a given situation 
  • The role and importance of E-commerce 

Marketing Strategy

  • The factors that influence consumer demand for a product 
  • Developing a co-ordinated marketing mix for a given situation 

E Books

Course outlines

Business Finance

  • The need for finance in business 
  • The main internal and external sources of finance available to businesses   including their advantages and disadvantages 
  • Factors affecting the choice of finance in a given situation including   use to which it is to be put   the business’ legal structure   cost  need to retain ownership/control and the level of existing borrowing
  • Selecting an appropriate source of finance for a given situation 

Costs Revenue and Contribution

  • Types of costs including fixed   variable and semi-variable costs   direct and indirect costs   total and average costs 
  • The concept of revenue including total revenue and average revenue 
  • The concept of contribution   including total contribution and contribution per unit 
  • Accept or reject special order decisions 

Break-Even analysis

  • The concept of break-even 
  • The interpretation of break-even graphs  
  • Numerical methods used to determine the level of output required to break even 
  • The concept of margin of safety in break-even analysis 
  • Uses and limitations of break-even analysis 

The Analysis of Financial Statements

  • Contents of a simplified income statement including  revenue   cost of sales   gross profit   profit for the year and retained earnings 
  • Contents of a simplified statement of financial affairs including   non-current assets   current assets   current liabilities   net current assets  net assets   non-current liabilities   reserves and equity
  • The main users of accounting information 
  • Interpretation and analysis of financial statements including ratio analysis
  • The concept of working capital and the liquidity cycle 
  • Problems caused by insufficient liquidity 
  • Ways of improving the management of working capital 
  • Limitations to users of ratio analysis and published accounts 

Managing Cash Flows

  • Interpretation and use of cash flow forecasts
  • How a business might improve its cash flow 


  •  Role and use of budgets 
  • The meaning and calculation of adverse and favourable variances 
  •  Outline how businesses may use variance analysis 

Organisational Structure

  • Understand how to interpret a simple organisation chart to explain the concepts of hierarchy   chain of command  wide/narrow spans of control and delayering 
  • Centralised versus decentralised organisation structures 
  • The advantages and disadvantages to managers and subordinates of delegation 
  • The difference between authority and responsibility 

Management and Leadership

  • The roles of management   for example   planning  organising   controlling and directing 
  • The characteristics of a good leader 
  • The main features of leadership styles   autocratic  paternalistic   democratic   laissez-faire and McGregor’s theory X and theory Y 


  • A general understanding of the motivation theories of
  • Taylor   Maslow and Herzberg 
  • The benefits to business of having a well-motivated workforce   higher productivity better quality/reduced waste ower absenteeism lower labour turnover 
  • The calculation and importance of labour productivity and labour turnover 
  • The main financial and non-financial incentives used by businesses to motivate workers 

Human Resource Management

  • Role of HRM including recruitment   selection   training  induction   advice   guidance   workforce planning
  • The benefits to business of training employees   including induction training 

Labour and Management Relations

  • The role of trade unions and the benefits they provide to both members and employers 

Consumer Laws

  • Outline how UK consumers’ rights are protected by the following legislation   sale of goods   trades descriptions and consumer protection

Employment Laws

  • Outline how UK businesses and their employees are affected by the following legislation   health & safety at work   equal pay   National
  • Minimum Wage and legislation that promotes equal opportunities and protects workers against‚Äč

Competition Laws

  • Outline how UK businesses are affected by the legislation to promote competition in markets

Business Aims and Objectives

  • The nature and purpose of business objectives including the hierarchy of objectives MOST and SMART objectives 
  • Consideration of specific business objectives survival   profit maximisation   growth (including market expansion) social responsibility and ethics 
  • Factors influencing business objectives such as corporate culture business size legal form age of the business and the industry a business operates 

Business Stakeholders

  • The individuals or groups interested in the activities of business e g owners/shareholders employeesb customers suppliers lenders  government and the local community 
  • Stakeholder objectives and how these might conflict 
  • How stakeholders influence and are influenced by business 

Strategic Analysis

  • The nature and purpose of SWOT analysis 
  • How the outcome of a SWOT analysis might inform strategic objectives
  • How SWOT analysis might be used in a given business situation 
  • The nature and purpose of PEST analysis 
  • How PEST analysis might be used in a given business situation  

Text Books

Reference Books

E books