What Makes a Small Business Course So Important?
Many people dream of running their own business – from flower arranging through to plumbing, copywriting, mechanics, driving and anything in between; small business owners love the freedom they have to work their own hours, choose which customers they serve and can shape their goods or services as they think best.
Across the country, there are more than two million small businesses, including cafes, restaurants, takeaways and other hospitality ventures as well as professional service givers, tradesmen, freelancers and much more. The small business possibilities are almost endless!
What’s the Small Business Industry Like in Australia?
Unfortunately, starting a small business in Australia can be a challenge. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, around 60% of Australian small businesses cease trading within three years. One of the reasons for this high failure rate is that many people go into business without fully understanding everything that’s involved – as well as having a good grasp of the goods or services they wish to trade, small business owners also need to be at ease with business planning, financial reporting requirements, the legal differences between the various types of self-employment, health & safety legislation, professional indemnity insurance, employment law and a variety of other factors. Often, small business course/s can be the best way to acquire this vital information
It’s hard to generalise regarding the income and prospects for small businesses, as obviously this is affected by the nature of the business, its location, size, customer base and owner experience.
However, around 97% of businesses in Australia are small businesses, so even with the high failure rate, it’s clear that many small businesses can both survive and thrive. Here are some interesting facts around starting a small business:
- More than half of small businesses in Australia have a turnover of less than AU$100,000. They tend to be income poor, but asset rich.
- The average weekly income for a small business owner in Australia was AU$1,975 (in 2010), which is slightly below the average income for an employee (AU$2,173).
- Research indicates that generally, small business owners are more optimistic and happier than wage earners, despite the additional work and insecurity which being a small business owner can bring.
Small Business Courses
A Business Management course or Small Business Course can provide a good grounding in the basic skills needed to run a business, no matter what its nature might be.
One of the most popular TAFE small business course is the Certificate IV in New Small Business. Available from a number of different providers, the course offers learners a nationally recognised qualification as well as providing a firm basis of skills and knowledge which can increase the chance of your small business succeeding. The Certificate IV covers topics such as legislative codes, financial planning, regulatory requirements, marketing, customer care strategies and performance monitoring.
This small business course equips learners with the skills they need to test the market, plan their business and check that their operational goals are being met, particularly with respect to finance and cash flow. Given that a lack of cash flow or simply a bad business idea are two of the key reasons why small businesses fail, this course can help potential business owners to refine and develop their ideas to maximise the chances of success.
The Certificate IV in New Small Business is a business management course that’s one of the online courses offered at this level. Courses online have the advantage that they can be accessed anywhere and can be fitted flexibly around existing commitments.
Once the Level IV has been successfully completed, some students go on to take a Diploma in Small Business Management. This qualification provides more specialist skills and knowledge – it can be useful for people hoping to run a more complex small business where additional training could be useful. Small business requires a lot of know-how in areas such as bookkeeping, payroll and management, all areas that are typically covered in a Diploma of Small Business. This makes it a fantastic qualification to have if you want to take control of the operations of your small business or to compliment a qualification you might already.
What Skills are Needed for a Successful Career in Small Business Management?
- Working knowledge of business
- Understand laws, such as employment and contract law
- Highly organised and can multi-task
- Skilled communicators
Businesses can also be enormously time consuming and there’s almost invariably a period where the business is going well, but not yet generating enough income to afford additional staff – at this point, the amount of work needed can be enormous. Business managers need to be adaptable, versatile and able to prioritise, all the while acting in a reasonable, honest and dependable manner.
Skilled communicators and diplomats, running a small business also requires a degree of confidence and the ability to sell what you do. It also requires the ability to accept a fair level of risk, as small businesses may fail, even if the idea is a good one and the business owner works exceptionally hard.
Although the list of qualities needed for a small business manager is extensive, research shows that small business owners overall tend to be happier and more satisfied with their work than wage earners.
What Does Running a Small Business Involve?
The nature of the small business dictates the exact nature of the activities, but typically a business manager will have to:
- Undertake some of the service provision
- Check balances
- Process invoices
- Analyse financial information
- Check legal compliance issues
- Resolve staffing problems
- Negotiate with difficult or demanding customers
- Check progress against agreed objectives
- Undertake procurement and the commissioning of services (for example finding an agency to undertake a marketing campaign)
If you’ve always had your sights set on running your own business, explore small business courses today and take your first step towards turning that dream into reality!