Small Business Management

Module description

Small Business Management is designed to give you an insight into how to manage your own Business. Many of you will have connections with small businesses, either because your family owns one, you have worked in one, or you might be thinking about setting your own up in the future. This module is designed to help you think about how you manage a small business from different perspectives. For a business to be sustainable it must learn to evolve and innovate within the market and the trading circumstances it finds itself in. Therefore this module will look at all aspects of the business from formulating an initial business plan, developing strategy, through to managing resources. The module framework is based around Porter’s Value Chain. Lectures will examine the support activities and how these interact with the primary activities of the business, it will help you assess how these impact upon the profit margin and add value. Course content will draw heavily on case studies of existing small businesses from a variety of sectors to help you learn from their experiences. There are many new and exciting ways to set up, run and manage a business, this module will give you an insight into managing and leading a small business enterprise.

Full module specification

Module title:Small Business Management
Module code:BEP3060
Module level:3
Academic year:2016/7
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Constantine Manolchev - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:


Module aims

Small business management will equip you with the knowledge, skills and understanding to help you make informed decisions about how to manage and innovate a small business. It will enable you to critically analyse a business model, which in turn will inform you about how best to mitigate against potential lost revenue and maximise, where possible, appropriate efficiencies that will benefit your profit margin. You will also learn how a small business fits into the wider economy and what role it can play in society. The module is based around Porter’s Value Chain framework which is a useful tool for small business managers who are looking to understand how they can maximise profit margin and create a unique value proposition in the market place. The module will be particularly relevant if you are planning at some point to return to a family run business, or start up your own small business in the future. It will draw upon prior knowledge from other modules and consolidate that learning through case study examples and guest speakers, all of whom are small business owners themselves. You will learn both the theory and practice of how to manage a small business successfully, in addition to the options around business acquisitions and exit strategies.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Engage with the debates around the importance of small businesses to a regional, national and international economies
  • 2. Critically appraise the theory of small business management
  • 3. Analyse a business model to identify the main purpose of the business and means of making a profit
  • 4. Apply Porter’s Value Chain Model to a small business context to explain the creation of a business’s USP and Value creation
  • 5. Reflect on real life business case studies and guest speakers about how to innovate a business offer and mitigate against profit loss

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 1. Develop creative solutions to business management challenges
  • 2. Utilise analysis techniques for examining the various components of a business model
  • 3. Develop a greater understanding of the need for integrated management thinking about all strategic aspects of small business management
  • 4. Use academic theory and models to inform critical thinking and analysis of potential business opportunities and future business scenarios
  • 5. Outline opportunities for collaboration in small business networks

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 1. Confidently apply relevant technical language associated with small business management
  • 2. Evaluate the skills set required to manage a small business
  • 3. Recognise the complexities and challenges facing small business manager and owners
  • 4. Develop a range of small business scenarios using appropriate modelling techniques
  • 5. Communicate a new business/product/service to relevant stakeholders

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities24Formal class room based lectures where you will learn the theory and examine case studies
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities4Practical workshops where you will undertake practical tasks and interact with business practitioners.
Independent study 122You will produce an independently researched and written theory paper plus a practical business plan based exercise. You will be expected to manage your time accordingly.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
A plan of the business plan based assessment 500 words1-14Written and verbal

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Independently written theory paper501,750 words1-14Written and verbal
Formulation of an independently researched business plan 50Business Plan of 2000 words plus an accompanying 10 minute presentation on your strategic plan for a small business 1-15Written and verbal

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Independently written theory paperIndependently written theory paper 1,750 words1-14August
Formulation of an independently researched business plan Business Plan of 2000 words plus a reflective essay of 200 words 1-15August

Re-assessment notes


A student will be referred in all components if the student fails the module with a mark of below 40% overall.


A student if deferred in a single component will be reassessed in that component only.

Syllabus plan

Formal Lectures


  1. Small Businesses and their role in the economy and wider society
  2. The Business Plan– how an enterprise makes money and Porter’s Value Chain, how value is created by the business
  3. Firm Infrastructure– what does it look like? What does it cost? Managing business finances within the infrastructure, VAT, TAX, Rates, Insurances, Raising Capital
  4. Human Resource Management– who works for you? What do they do? How do they do it? Hiring and firing who, when, where and how? How does the business create value out of this?
  5. Technology – what tech does the business need to do business profitably, how is it managed? Sourced? Resourced? How does the business create value out of this?
  6. Procurement – what does the business need to buy in? Raw materials? Services? Goods? What are the costs? How does the business create value out of this?
  7. Inbound Logistics– what are these? How are they managed? Where are they sourced from? How can they add value? How does the business create value out of this?
  8. Operations– how does the business operate? What does it do on a day to day basis? Are these effective and efficient? How does the business create value out of this?
  9. Outbound Logistics– what are these? Are they effective and efficient? How does the business create value out of these?
  10. Marketing/Sales/Service/ Export– how is this managed? Is it effective? Where is the businesses USP? Does it export? Does it want to? Opportunities? How does the business create value out of these activities?
  11. Profit Margin– what is it? Could it be larger? What risks are there to it decreasing? Where can the business innovate to increase the profit margin
  12. Buying or selling an established business– the options and the challenges – the business plan


Practical Workshops/Tutorials

a)     Designing a business plan

b)    Guest speaker 1 – The Owner/Maker Business (e.g. Food, Fashion or Jewellery sectors)

c)     Guest speaker 2 – The Service Business (e.g. Tourism Sector)

d)    Guest speaker 3 – The Tech Business (e.g. Alternative energy or Digital economy sector)

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Text Book –

Stokes D and Wilson N (2010) Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship, Cengage Learning


Recommended Reading -

Porter M.E. ( 2004) Competitive Advantage, creating and sustaining superior performance, Free Press, New York


Barrell A, Gill D and Rigby M (2013) Show Me The Money: How to raise the cash to get your business off the ground, Elliot and Thompson, London


Relevant Journals –

Journal of Small Business Management


Journal of Management Studies


Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice

Module has an active ELE page?


Origin date

January 2015

Last revision date

January 2015