Advanced Certificate In Applied Management (Small Business)

Course CodeVBS001
Fee CodeAC
Duration (approx)900 hours
QualificationAdvanced Certificate

Distance Education Course for Small Business Managers

  • Learn about management, marketing and communications
  • Learn about small business
  • Combine these skills and discover opportunities for employment and business in small business
  • 900 hour, self paced practical course with options to upgrade to a diploma

This is a flexible, relevant course for those wanting to train to move into supervisory or managerial positions.

....for Entrepreneurs, Small Businessmen, or anyone seeking to improve their career prospects in the world of Commerce.


This course offers core study options (including Office Practice, Management, Business Operations and Marketing Foundations), as well as specialist subjects, which focus on those areas highly applicable to small business. These are: Bookkeeping I (the successful completion of which enables you to join the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers), Entrepreneurship and Advertising and Promotions. In addition, this course offers further specialisation specific to your field of interest, in the form of an Industry Project.

This course is internationally accredited through I.A.R.C




Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate In Applied Management (Small Business).
 Business Operations VBS006
 Management VBS105
 Marketing Foundations VBS109
 Office Practices VBS102
Stream ModulesStudied after the core modules, stream modules cover more specific or niche subjects.
 Bookkeeping Foundations BBS103
 Advertising and Promotions BBS202
 Entrepreneurship BBS204
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 2 of the following 5 modules.
 Industry Project BIP000
 Industry Project II BIP001
 Research Project I BGN102
 Workshop I BGN103
 Workshop II BGN203

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate In Applied Management (Small Business) is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.



Office Practices 

Develops basic office skills covering use of equipment, communication systems (telephone, fax, etc) and office procedures such as filing, security, workplace organisations, etc. 
The course consists in eight lessons.

  1. The Modern Office
  2. Communication Systems
  3. Interpersonal Communications
  4. Phone Skills
  5. Writing Letters and Other Documents
  6. Computer Applications
  7. Office Organisation and Procedures
  8. Health and Safety in the Office 

Business Operations 

The aim of this course is to provide you with the building blocks for a successful career in business planning and operations. Covering topics such as business law, the money market, taxation, business plan writing and mistakes to avoid, it is a solid foundation, developed by highly qualified and experienced professionals.
Develops knowledge of basic business operations and procedures (eg. types of businesses, financial management, business analysis, staffing, productivity, etc) and the skills to develop a 12 month business plan. 

There are 6 lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction
    Business law
    types of businesses
    starting a business
  2. Finance
    The money market
  3. Financial Records
    Simple Bookkeeping procedures
    cash flow
  4. Financial Management
  5. Business Planning Developing a 12 month business plan.
  6. Mistakes to avoid
    Reasons for business failures
    improving productivity


Make sure your management style is grounded in the 'tried and true'. This course outlines management theories and procedures, problem solving and decision making tactics, staff management, supervision, recruitment and workplace health and safety.
Developed by professionals with a substantial amount of industry experience, it is the perfect foundation for a successful career. 

There are 6 lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction & Organizational Structures
  2. Management Theories & Procedures
  3. Problem Solving & Decision Making
  4. Management Styles & External Influences
  5. Employing People & Interview Skills
  6. Staff Management

Marketing Foundations

Develops a broad understanding of marketing and specific skills in writing advertisements, undertaking market research, developing an appropriate marketing plan and selling. The course consists in ten lessons, as follows:

  1. Marketing and the Business -What is marketing, and its significance, Considering alternative approaches to business & marketing, Alternative enterprises (eg. goods or services based, sole proprietor or partnership etc).
  2. Scope of Marketing -Understanding basic economics (eg. supply & demand); the difference between the potential market, available market, target market, and penetrated market for a product/service of your choice; Different advertising approaches, Controlling Growth, Improving Results in Business, etc
  3. Target Marketing -Understanding the market place; Stages that sellers move through in their approach to a market, What is targeting, Advantages of target marketing as compared to mass marketing and product-differentiated marketing
  4. The Marketing Mix and Managing the Marketing Effort -Product, price, place, and promotion; Affects and interactions between marketing and other operations of a business.
  5. Product Presentation and Packaging -Importance of product knowledge, Core, tangible and augmented products; Differences in packaging & presentation for different products.
  6. Promotion -Communication skills, Merchandising, Shop Floor Layout, Displaying Products, Signs, Understanding Selling and Increasing Sales, Sales Methods, Publicity Marketing,
    Structuring an Advertisement or Promotion, Advertising budgets, etc
  7. Product Pricing and Distribution -Pricing, Profitability Ratio, Increasing Turnover, etc
  8. Customer Service -Methods of assessing customer satisfaction; Significance of Customer Service; Different types of customers in the market place, and how best to approach each; Difference between selling, publicising, marketing and advertising, etc
  9. Market Research -The research process, What to research, Surveys, Developing and conducting a market research program, where to find useful statistics,
  10. Organisations - Structures and Roles Business law; Financial Management, Business Structures, Business terminology, etc.



The course consists of thirteen lessons, as follows:

1.   Introduction
2    Balance Sheet
3.   Analysing and Designing  Accounting Systems
3.   The Double Entry Recording Process
4.   Cash Receipts and Cash Payments Journal
5.   Credit Fees and Purchases Journal
6.   The General Journal
7.   Closing the Ledger
8.   Profit and Loss Statement
9.   Depreciation on Non-current Assets
10.  Profit Determination and Balance Day Adjustments
11.  Cash Control:  Bank Reconciliation and Petty Cash
12.  Cash Control: Budgeting


There are 10 lessons in this module as follows:

1.   Scope & Nature of Entrepreneurship
2.   Is Entrepreneurship Right for You?
3.   Assessing opportunities
4.   The Role of Market Research
5.   Intellectual Property
6.   Legal & Ethical Concerns
7.   Operating a Business
8.   The Business and Financial Plan
9.   Marketing
10.  Launching a Venture


The course contains ten lessons, outlined below:

1.  Analysing the Market
2.  Target Marketing
3.  Display and Display Techniques
4.  Advertising and Promotions Strategy
5.  New Product Development
6.  Sales Techniques – General
7.  Writing Advertisement
8.  Electronic Marketing -Telephone & Email
9.  Direct Mailing
10.  Exhibitions & Shows



To be awarded this advanced certificate, you need to complete all assignments and one exam each, for the seven core and elective modules. If your first attempt at any of these things is unsatisfactory, you will be given opportunities to try again.

After completing these requirements, you also need to undertake Workplace or Industry Oriented requirements as outlined below:

Industry Project or Work Experience

This is the final requirement that you must satisfy before receiving your award.   There are two options available to you to satisfy this requirement:


Alternative 1.

If you work in the industry that you have been studying; you may submit a reference from your employer, in an effort to satisfy this industry (ie. workplace project) requirement; on the basis of RPL (ie. recognition for prior learning), achieved through your current and past work experience.  The reference must indicate that you have skills and an awareness of your industry, which is sufficient for you to work in a position of responsibility.

Alternative 2.

If you do not work in the relevant industry, you need to undertake a project as follows.


Procedure for a Workplace Project

This project is a major part of the course involving the number of hours relevant to the course (see above). Although the course does not contain mandatory work requirements, work experience is seen as highly desirable.

This project is based on applications in the work place and specifically aims to provide the student with the opportunity to apply and integrate skills and knowledge developed through various areas of formal study.

Students will design this project in consultation with a tutor to involve industry based activities in the area of specialized study which they select to follow in the course. The project outcomes may take the form of a written report, folio, visuals or a mixture of forms. Participants with relevant, current or past work experience will be given exemption from this project if they can provide suitable references from employers that show they have already fulfilled the requirements of this project.

For courses that involve more than 100 hours, more than one workplace project topic may be selected. For example, 200 hours may be split into two projects each of 100 hours. This will offer the student better scope to fulfill the needs of their course and to meet the number of hours required. Alternatively, the student may wish to do one large project with a duration of 200 hours.

Students will be assessed on how well they achieve the goals and outcomes they originally set as part of their negotiations with their tutor. During each 100 hours of the project, the students will present three short progress reports. These progress reports will be taken into account when evaluating the final submission. The tutor must be satisfied that the work submitted is original.

If the student wishes to do one large 200 hour report, then only three progressive reports will be needed (however the length of each report will be longer).

Start A Business, or Work in Business Management

  • What is Successful?
  • What is the future?
  • How to make money?
  • How to improve?
  • How to sell?

Whatever your need, you can learn how to move forward in the business world through this course. If you have a particular area of interest and would like some Free advice first, take advantage of our free Business Advice Service -click here

Starting a Business Tips from our Principal: John Mason

Any one starting a new business has to deal with five things -

1. Getting a product that can be sold.
2. Establishing systems to manage the business.
3. Finding potential customers.
4. Selling to those potential customers.
5. Delivering the product.

This may be a simplistic view of business, but it is a very helpful way of understanding what needs to be done, and doing it properly.

Think of these as the “five key areas of business”.

Businesses Don’t Need to Fail
It is often said that many new businesses fail. Different figures are quoted indicating that approximately 10% of new businesses fail.  They usually fail for one reason - because they don’t attend to all five areas of concern above.

It may be that they don’t deal with all of these things because they do not have sufficient resources, for example:

1. Getting a product that can be sold – They choose a product that is already sold well by another large and well-established company. They can’t compete financially or offer comparable service.
2. Establishing systems to manage the business – They are so busy looking at the product and finding customers that they don’t also take an overview of how they are going to run the business effectively and efficiently.
3. Finding potential customers – They can’t afford the marketing required to reach their potential clients and don’t know enough about how they can market for free to do so.
4. Selling to those potential customers – They haven’t conducted enough market research to see who they can sell to. For example by advertising their skateboards and roller skates in Saga magazine (a magazine for over 60s). This may be a massive generalisation, there may be people over 60 who like to skateboard, but the demographic would suggest that their market is likely to be  better aimed at children, teenagers and those in the early 20s.
5. Delivering the product – They may not have taken postage charges into account when pricing their product. They may find that other similar businesses are offering free delivery and they can’t afford to.
And so on.....

These are just some examples of where potential businesses may fail simply because they haven’t really considered some things in enough detail.   These things may not be massive, they may only be small – for example – not including the cost of free delivery in their product cost, but over time that can seriously affect how much (if any) profit they are making.

Imagine you are selling pens for a cult television series, such as Doctor Who or Thunderbirds. The pens cost you £1 to buy. You are selling them for £1.50.  It costs you 30 pence to post the product. Leaving you 20 pence profit per item (you think). You haven’t taken into account the cost of actually packaging the item, which actually costs you 10p. That leaves you 10p profit. But what about your time, getting the order off the internet or in the post, packaging the pen, writing the customers address on the package, going to the post office at the end of the day to post it, buying the stamps, writing the order in your accounts, keeping track of stock you have available, paying for premises if you have them, paying for other staff members, advertising costs, the cost of your website. The list goes on and all of that has to be funded in 10p per pen. Can you see my point?

Some businesses don’t attend to these things because they don’t have the resources to deal with the things that need doing. For example, it is not good enough to develop a fantastic product and expect the marketing, sales, customer service and other aspects to just look after themselves.

When starting a business, the business men/women involved need to be aware of the resources they have at their disposal.  These resources may include –

  • Time
  • Networks
  • Equipment
  • Money
  • Property etc.

Deciding on the product may well be the first step in starting any business; but that decision must be tempered with an awareness of the systems required to manage that product, the market potential of that product, how well you will be able to sell that product and what is required to deliver that product to customers.  If your product is not matched with your capacity to handle it; you may well be entering a business doomed to failure.


More about the school:

  • Established in 1979
  • Offices in both Australia and the UK
  • We are stable and sustainable.  In a world where many institutions are subject to financial and political pressures, ours is a fully independent and privately owned education system
  • Our mantra has always been to make the students learning our top priority -to this end, access to tutors via email and phone is unrestricted and much easier than through many other colleges.
  • We collect feedback from students and industry, and respond with continual updating of course notes (We often hear of other unis and colleges handing out notes that have remained unchanged for decades).
  • Courses are unique -we write them, and offer through a small select network of affiliated colleges in 5 countries.
  • A faculty of over 40 academics -all have university degrees or degree equivalent qualifications, plus significant industry experience; many have Masters degrees or higher qualifications -compare this with other schools
  • We believe you cannot take short cuts if you want a "quality" education.  This is why our courses are often longer than elsewhere; but it is also why our graduates learn better, retain what they learn for longer, and are often more successful after they graduate.
  • We believe strongly in the need for Diversity in education. We have a long history and highly respected track record among the sort of people who are bringing about change and innovation around the world. ACS courses are not for everyone; but what a boring world it would be if everyone studied the same thing in the same education system. Humanity advances by having a diversity of opinions and lots of variety in the way people think about and see things.
    •  Our qualification system offers more options and flexibility than most
    • "Standardised curriculum tends to produce clones; but diversity produces creativity and innovation" 


  • Develop Your Business Ideas
  • Make a Business Plan
  • Small Business, Online Business, Retail, Service, Production
  • Start any type of Small business here


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ACS is an Organisational Member of the British Institute for Learning and Development
ACS is an Organisational Member of the British Institute for Learning and Development

Member of Study Gold Coast, Education Network
Member of Study Gold Coast, Education Network

ACS is recognised by the IARC
ACS is recognised by the IARC

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  John Mason

Writer, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner. John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over seventy books and of over two thousand magazine articles.
  David Crothers

Extensive international experience in business and finance. Chartered Accountant with 20 years experience in corporate and financial roles. David has a FCA, GAICD, B.Sc.Econ (Hons), Cert IV TAA.
  Gavin Cole

Former operations manager for highly reputable Landscape firm, The Chelsea Gardener, before starting his own firm. Gavin has over 20 years of industry experience in Psychology, Landscaping, Publishing, Writing and Education. Gavin has a B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA.
  Christine Todd

University lecturer, businesswoman, photographer, consultant and sustainability expert; with over 40 years industry experience B.A., M.Plan.Prac., M.A.(Social). An expert in planning, with years of practical experience in permaculture.
  Business Operations
Covers things from running a business from finance and forecasting to staffing changes and legal issues. Chapters include: People, Law, Finance, Risk, Product Management, and Daily challenges.
  Modern Marketing
This book explores new approaches to marketing, how to adapt to a continually changing world both through online marketing, and more. Some aspects of marketing never change; but many of the well established approaches used in the past simply do not work any more. This book lays a foundation for thinking about marketing in a different way
  Starting a Business
Businesses don't need to fail! This is concise, easy to read, and alerts you to all of the things that commonly make a difference to business success or failure. Seven chapters are: “A Reality Check”, “The Product or service”, “Managing a Business”, “How to Find Customers”, “How to Make a Sale”, “Delivering the Product or Service”, “Pitfalls to Avoid”.
  Starting a Garden or Landscape Business
Expert advice on how to get started in your own garden or landscape business! Packed with valuable business advice, horticultural and landscaping knowledge, and practical ideas - this book is a must have for garden lovers. It is great for anyone thinking about (or already involved in), a horticultural, landscaping or garden business. This updated re-print is only available as an ebook.