About the subject

A Level Business provides an exciting insight into the dynamic world of business. It examines business through topical news stories and case studies and develops skills in data analysis, calculations, group work, critical thinking and problem solving.

Businesses of all sizes and types are studied from sole traders to multi-national conglomerates. The first year focuses on the key functional areas of business – finance, marketing, operations and human resource management as well as looking at business forms, leadership and decision making. The second year builds on first year content and looks at strategy and how businesses have to respond to the external environment to decide on their strategic direction. Other topics include international trade, organisational culture and managing change.

Your tasks to complete

Please complete the following tasks which form part of Unit 1 – What is Business. The work can be handwritten or word processed. Please bring to your first lesson.

Task One – Introduction to Business

Access and read the powerpoint presentation called ‘Introduction to Business’. Make notes/create a mind map to cover the following:
• Definition of a business
• Why businesses exist
• The four main business sectors
• What are business objectives
• Function of objectives
• Typical corporate (business) objectives
• Difference between corporate and functional objectives
• What a mission statement
• What makes a good mission statement

Task Two – Business Forms

Access and read the powerpoint presentation called ‘Business Forms’ and watch the BBC Clips on Mud, Music and Making Money (links below). Create the following table and complete it with the features, advantages and disadvantages of different business forms.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p016kbqq – Sole Traders
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p016jtjc – Private Ltd and Public Ltd companies

Business Form Features Advantages Disadvantages
Sole Trader
Private Limited Company
Public Limited Company

Task Three – Not-for-profit organisations
Explain what is meant by ‘Not-for-profit’ organisations and how their aims and objectives may be different from other business organisations. Give examples of at least two not-for-profit organisations

Task Four – Research Task

Choose TWO organisations that are involved in different industry sectors, different activities or perhaps one that is for profit and one that is not-for-profit. Produce some information on these – this can be a powerpoint presentation or a word document or it can be handwritten.

The information should cover the following:

• What the business does – its key activities, what products/services it sells
• What sector it is in
• Size of the business – eg number of employees, number of branches/stores/factories etc
• Where it operates eg which countries
• Key financial data – eg annual turnover (sales), profit
• Its mission and key objectives.
• How the business contributes to wider society i.e. its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities
• Recent news stories and developments about the business eg new product launches
• What its plans for the future are.

The best place to start will be the organisation’s website. If it is a plc access their Annual Report which will be available online via their website. Check the business news regularly to keep up-to-date with any developments in the organisation.

Pre-course reading

The recommended course textbook is the CGP A Level Business Revision Guide. If you are able to please purchase prior to starting your course.

Title : A Level Business Complete Revision & Practice for Exam Board AQA
Publisher : CGP
ISBN: 978 1 78294 351 8

Follow the business news on a regular basis. This really helps to bring the subject to life and you can apply theory learnt to real life businesses. Perhaps select 2/3 businesses that interest you and follow them in the news. Here is a link to BBC Business News.

Extended reading

You are not expected to read these books but if you are interested in business then you may wish to read one of these. Copies can be bought for as little as a few pence sometimes from Amazon. If you are interested in a particular business leader/entrepreneur consider reading their autobiography eg Alan Sugar, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Steve Jobs (Apple).

How I Made It : 40 Successful Entrepreneurs Reveal How They Made Millions (Rachel Bridge)

The Google Story (David A Vise)

The Tipping Point : How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (Malcolm Gladwell)

Useful websites and other resources

https://www.tutor2u.net/business/collections/aqa-a-level-business-study-resources-what-is-business – Unit 1 resources (Videos and Study Notes)

There are some really interesting and relevant programmes on TV related to Business. Watching these really helps to give insights into the real world of business and to apply business theory learned in the classroom. They may be available on iPlayer or YouTube.

Inside the Factory
What Britain Buys and Sells in a Day
Dragons’ Den

Channel 5 often shows programmes on companies. Recent ones have focused on Aldi, Sainsburys, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer.

Meet the tutors

Jill has a BA (Hons) degree in Sociology from the University of Leeds, a Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Level 6 qualification, and PGCE in Business Studies from the University of Huddersfield. She has a substantial amount of teaching experience and before moving into education held senior roles in procurement and supply chain management. Jill teaches Economics and Business.

Any questions?

Email us on info@barnsley.ac.uk

Call us on 01226 216 123

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