Small Business Management - Online Training | Penn Foster Career School

Small Business Management Training

Why Penn Foster Career School?

  • Regionally & Nationally Accredited
  • Self-Paced
  • Supportive
  • Low monthly payments

Program Overview

Penn Foster Career School’s Small Business Management career diploma program will teach you how to market your products or service, find the right sources to finance your business, and write an effective business plan. Small business managers are able to independently run a business, with responsibilities that include market research, financing and budgets, and maintaining business records. Penn Foster Career School offers online training courses to help you take the first step towards a career as a small business manager. You can complete this program in as little as three months.

Curriculum Details

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

The program goal for Penn Foster's Small Business Management program is learn how to plan for success, market products or services, find the right sources to finance a business, and write an effective business plan step by step in order to start your own small business or manage a small business for someone else.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Identify the typical qualities and behaviors of successful entrepreneurs, and the benefits and drawbacks of starting one's own business, buying a franchise, and purchasing an existing business.
  • Develop clear, measurable goals and a comprehensive mission statement for a business.
  • Comprehend techniques used in successful networking, including how to make a good first impression, how to introduce your business to a potential contact, listening skills, and how to follow up with a promising contact.
  • Distinguish between primary and secondary research and determine appropriate question types for various research situations.
  • Establish an effective marketing strategy which includes an advertising platform and a public relations campaign.
  • Develop and draft a business plan according to a five-part comprehensive structure.
  • Identify an appropriate business structure to match the business plan, including considerations for hiring management and staffing.
  • Recognize the features and benefits of different types of funding in order to identify the right money sources for a particular business.
  • Understand the range of legal regulations that affect starting a new business, including licenses, zoning approvals, and basic tax knowledge, and apply these to a business plan.
  • Identify the components of a solid business team such as employees, suppliers, and distributors, and techniques used in identifying personal and business characteristics that will enhance a business.
  • Comprehend the scope and function of the Internet, the advantages and hazards of an online presence, resources for developing an online presence, and features of successful commercial websites.
  • Differentiate between types of pricing strategies and business evaluations, and use cost and expense data to prepare a budget as part of a business plan.
  • Recognize the features and advantages of well-organized business records and how business records can be used to inform major business decisions.

Unit 1

Starting Your Program

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.


  • Understand how to use your Student Portal.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
Preparing for Business Success


  • Learn the pros and cons of starting a small business.
  • Learn how to avoid the 10 most common mistakes in small business.
  • Explore online resources.

Unit 2

Choosing Your Business


  • Learn about the different types of businesses.
  • Get facts and figures about the types of businesses.
  • Learn legal points and special considerations about small businesses.
Keys to Success


  • Discover how to create a mission statement.
  • Set measurable goals for your small business.
  • Learn about the stages of growth in business.
Business Connections


  • Learn where and how to begin networking.
  • Start building and maintaining your network.
  • Discover tips for successful networking and how to develop community contacts.
  • Learn how to find a mentor and why you need one.

Unit 3

Market Research


  • Study the benefits of market testing.
  • Learn how to use demographics when searching for your target market.
  • Learn how to make adjustments for market changes and interpret data.
  • Study customer buying behavior and values.
Basics of a Business Plan


  • Learn about your industry, your operating plant, and your financial plan.
  • Learn how to do background research by using the library and online sources.
  • Research costs and pricing and find business plan software.
Writing a Business Plan


  • Write the introduction and overview, business section, background, and mission statement.
  • Describe products, services, target customers.
  • Explain product differentiation.
  • Describe your market position and competition.

Unit 4

Your Business Structure


  • Learn about plant and equipment needs.
  • Describe your inventory and learn about management structure.
  • Study total quality management.
  • Learn how to develop processes and learn about staffing considerations.
Financing Your Business


  • Learn how to find the right financing and study the different types of financing.
  • Study equity financing and learn about banks and other lending institutions and agencies.
  • Learn how to avoid undercapitalization and find financial resources online.
Legal Requirements and Resources


  • Identify the types of legal requirements, resources, and important legal regulations.
  • Understand licenses and permits.
  • Know federal, state, and local requirements.
  • Understand zoning laws and business taxes.

Unit 5

Marketing that Works


  • Develop a marketing plan for your business and get tips for effective marketing.
  • Learn about advertising campaigns and public relations campaigns.
  • Locate marketing resources.
  • Understand promotions and publicity. 
  • Find the right strategy for your business.
Building a Team


  • Learn how to hire and keep the right people.
  • Identify the best suppliers, distributors, and experts for your business.
  • Discover referrals and recommendations.
  • Study internal customer service.
Putting Your Business Online


  • Understand what E-commerce is.
  • Establish a web presence.
  • Understand security, credibility, and the consumer.
  • Create a web page.

Unit 6

Preparing a Budget


  • Estimate costs and expenses.
  • Use software and online resources.
  • Forecast sales volume and learn pricing strategies.
  • Study how to make financial projections and learn about financial analysis.
  • Learn performance measures.
Keeping Business Records


  • Learn about the importance of keeping records.
  • Study the basics of bookkeeping and computerized accounting.
  • Determine how to keep records for tax purposes and analyze financial statements.
  • Study line item descriptions and income statements.
  • Identify how to determine your business status.
Graded Project

Creating Your Business Plan

Additional Unit Material

Learning Aid: Start Your Own Business CD

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 7® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to participate in and complete your program.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft, Windows, and Windows XP are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Sample Lesson

To view a sample lesson from our Business Management courses online curriculum, click here.

Small Business Management Course Details

In the Penn Foster Career School Small Business Management training program you’ll cover topics such as:

Study small business management and prepare to take the first steps towards the career of your dreams at Penn Foster Career School. Contact us today to learn more.

State Licensing Information

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered by your Penn Foster Program. You should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where you plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in your Program. Please click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

Small Business Management Training Courses Online

Small business managers can start their own business or manage one on their own in a variety of fields. Here are a few qualities that effective small business managers have in common:

  • Flexible: You are productive despite changes to your business.
  • Organized: A business has a lot of moving pieces to keep on track.
  • Honest: A manager must make decisions that are ethical and responsible.
  • Detail oriented: It’s important to have a sharp eye and check things twice.

For people seriously thinking about having their own business, I would definitely take this program. My instructors were great. I want to thank Penn Foster for giving me the opportunity to improve my lifestyle.

- Beverly D., Small Business Management student

I would encourage anyone to enroll in the Small Business Management Program at Penn Foster. The one thing that I really enjoyed is that the program is career focused and up-to-date. I was able to gain the knowledge that I need in order to start, run, and maintain any type of business that I decide to open. Not to mention, I will be able to transfer all of my credits into my Business Administration degree program as this program is accredited. I am very happy with Penn Foster!

- George W., Small Business Management graduate

Your program includes:

  • Customized payment plans with 0% interest
  • Learning aids included: Start Your Own Business CD
  • Goal-setting and progress-tracking tools
  • Instructional support from our experienced faculty
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online community, plus immediate membership in the Small Business Management academic group
  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising

Does Penn Foster Career School have any tips or hints for Small Business Management students?

Contact your local Chamber of Commerce and ask for the free Small Business Startup Package, which contains a great deal of information on topics such as population statistics, license requirements, and taxes.

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