Small Business Management Course Details

Learn key foundational business concepts in this program, including how to write a business plan, financing your business, putting your business online, and more. Study the topics outlined in the small business management syllabus and prepare to take the first steps toward the career of your dreams at Penn Foster Career School!

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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Resources and Requirements


  • 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.
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.
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

Additional Details

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 in the Penn Foster Program. Prospective students should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where they plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in this Program. Click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

Penn Foster Career School Accreditation & Licensing Details

Penn Foster has been accredited for over 50 years. Penn Foster Career School has been thoroughly reviewed and has earned several important accreditations, certifications, and licensing. Most importantly, Penn Foster Career School is both regionally and nationally accredited.

Surround Sound Support

A Committed Support System

While you can study independently, you’re not alone! With a dedicated Student Services department, the Student Community, and instructors just a call away, you’ll have access to the support you need.

Progress Tracking and Goal Setting Tools

Our customizable goal-setting tools will help you create a schedule and stick to it. Need some extra time to complete a lesson? Not a problem — you can adjust your study plan at any time to set a pace that works for you.
Progress Tracking and Goal Setting Tools
Penn Foster Student Community

Student Community

Looking to connect with other Penn Foster students? Our Student Community is the perfect place for you to interact with your peers — as well as Penn Foster faculty and staff — to discuss your online learning experience, congratulate fellow students, and share your Penn Foster experience.

Sample Small Business Management Lesson

Penn Foster courses are written in a way that is easy to understand, and materials are broken down into manageable lessons. Take a look at what a Small Business Management course would look like.
Penn Foster Dog Trainer Sample Lesson
Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 10® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running macOS® or later, and an email account to complete this program.
We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and macOS are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
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