Our guide to business
Kristina K

Our guide to business

First published date September 26 2013 Amended date October 08 2013

Globalisation has had major effects on businesses throughout the world and with the rapid spread of IT and the wide use of the internet, companies have had to rethink their business models. From organising production and services to international marketing, it’s evident that there’s a huge demand for people with good business sense. If you don’t want to be left out, then study for a business course. Whether you’re hoping to study business at GCSE level or hope to turn it into a career, choose from a wide range of courses. Or, if you’re dabbling with the idea of starting a business, there are courses available that would suit your specific needs.  


Are you the next Lord Sugar?

Lord Sugar may be a global name synonymous with the business world, but he had very humble beginnings.  Although he ventured into business with no experience or qualifications, you on the other hand, can gain all the business know-how and essential skills before embarking on building your empire by taking an undergraduate or postgraduate business degree. You can choose from two paths: the generalist, if you’re interested in all areas of business, and the specialist, if you enjoy a particular area of business such as marketing, finance or human resources.  


Combine your interests

Don’t fret if you’re interested in other areas on top of business. There are loads of qualifications that allow you to combine business with other subjects like finance, economics, law, English, management and events. On some of them, you’ll not only develop your skills theoretically, but you’ll be able to carry out work placements as part of your practical work. Examples include Business with International Management, Business with Tourism Management, Information Technology Management, Mathematics with Business, Business Statistics, Intercultural Communication with Business and Language with Management Studies. 


Kick start your own business

Have you seen the popular satchel bags that have made a big impact in the fashion industry all over the world? The Cambridge Satchel Company was founded by Julie Deane, who first started her business at her kitchen table on a tight £600 budget. Her company has since become a major success. If you’d love to follow in Julie’s footsteps and have some great business ideas, stop building castles in the air and start your own business! Enrol yourself on a small business course to help you get started. You’ll learn all about crafting an effective business plan, business development such as the various marketing materials you can use to promote your business, build business partnering skills, and get clued up on investments, budgets and forecasts.     


First impressions count

In the business world, looking smart, presentable and being able to sell yourself are important. Why do you think briefcases, business suits, power heels – all packaged with a confident exterior are appealing to employers? Personal coaching workshops for job interviews to help control nerves, key preparation techniques and the use of body language are part and parcel of  business image courses which will help anyone who struggles with that first impression.


Can you face Duncan Bannatyne?

Facing the Dragons in the Den is definitely one of the most nerve-wracking situations any budding entrepreneur could face. Whilst not many of you will find yourself in a tight-spot like this, you’ll still go through something similar – like when you stand in front of your colleagues to do a presentation or when you pitch to clients. Why not improve your business skills at work and learn to produce stellar business proposals and improve your business speaking skills for presentations, meetings and interviews?  



You can take business courses at different levels; from GCSEs and A Levels to BTECs for a practical work-related approach as well as university degrees. City & Guilds’ Business courses are ideal  entry-level qualifications for those who are working in a business environment. The Association of Business Executives (ABE) qualifications are another option for those who wish to develop business skills on a successive level. You’ll learn about business, administration, marketing, human resources, law, IT, communication systems, operations, public relations and corporate social responsibility. You’ll also be given the chance to do apprenticeships and work placements. 

On an MBA, you’ll be exposed to the critical appreciation of business processes like strategic management, people management, organisational issues and contemporary management. This is a great course for those thinking of  serious career progression. 


Coca-Cola’s winning formula

Rumour has it that only two executives know half of Coca-Cola’s secret formula, so that they can release the formula together. However, this information isn’t accurate but it’s true that two executives know the real formula. The reason is not to keep the recipe away from competition, but more to do with hyping the drink as something special, and obviously, playing up to consumers’ interests. At the end of the day, even if someone guessed the correct formula, Coca-Cola Company would deny it, and no one would still really know. Coca-Cola’s brand name is enough to sell products. Even if a competitor used the exact same formula, they wouldn’t stand a chance.

Check out our Pinterest for some business tips and ideas.


Fun facts - How big businesses got their company names

IKEA – The initials of founder Ingvar Kamprad, plus the initials of the property and village he grew up in, Elmtaryd Agunnaryd.

Virgin Records – Suggested to founder Richard Branson by a friend, who claimed that they were complete virgins at business!

Starbucks – Named after a character in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.

Reebok – Stylised form of rhebok, an African antelope.

7-Eleven – Changed from U-Tote’m in 1946 when new 7am till 11pm hours went into effect. 

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