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Business Fundamentals

Understand How Value is Generated and Progress your Career

Rick Adams

Businesses are large, complex entities, and what happens within them can seem too complicated to understand, yet understanding how they work is key to your professional success. Participants will explore the fundamentals of how businesses function, starting with first principles of what businesses are, why they are formed, who is involved in managing them and how business decision making is formulated. The course will explain key business concepts relating to corporate growth, competitiveness and profitability. In particular participants will learn how business strategies are formulated, how business capabilities are created and utilized to fulfil those strategies, and how the different departments of an organization combine to generate value for its customers, its employees and its owners.

Understanding these fundamentals of how businesses really work will help professionals of all levels both in fulfilling their manager’s requirements within their current roles and in progressing their career towards more senior levels.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live, hands-on, online course, you’ll understand:

  • Why businesses exist and who they generate value for
  • How businesses are managed and who is involved in their management
  • How business strategy is formulated and enactioned
  • The relationship between the business and its customers
  • How business capabilities combine to generate business outcomes
  • The role of business finance and the basics of financial decision making
  • How businesses strive to remain competitive in a changing world
  • The role of owners, senior leaders and departmental managers
  • Why businesses fail and how failure can be avoided

And you’ll be able to:

  • Perform basic research and analysis of a particular business
  • Use industry standard concepts to understand and explain core aspects of a business
  • Use industry standard tools to understand and analyze a company’s business model
  • Explain how business capabilities combine to deliver business outcomes
  • Explain how business strategy is formulated and enacted
  • Explain the role of business finance and how a return on investment is measured

This training course is for you because...

  • Your role requires you to understand and communicate with business leaders
  • Your role requires you to understand and analyze businesses
  • You wish to develop your business management and leadership skills
  • Your role requires you to sell business outcomes to your customers
  • Your role requires you to support customers in attaining their business outcomes
  • You aspire to advance your career by taking on more senior roles


  • Experience working for a company in any role

About your instructor

  • Rick Adams is a consultant, trainer, and writer. Growing up in the '70s and '80s, when IT was in its infancy, Rick studied to be a systems engineer and eventually became a technical director for a startup that helped blue-chip companies with their business challenges, such as workforce productivity, understanding customer needs, reducing time to market, and efficiency savings. However, he soon realized that understanding people was more fascinating than the technology itself. This began a career-long passion for helping people in both their personal lives and careers, leading him to form a personal health and well-being software-as-a-service company. The company developed and sold an online stress management tool called the Wellbeing Portal, which offered personalized assistance to employees as well as management information for HR and Health and Safety professionals. Customers included the UK and international charities, local government, higher and further education establishments, and private enterprises from a number of different industry sectors. Rick helped C-level executive decision makers, middle management, and other key stakeholders understand their organizations' needs and developed, presented, and sold stress management solutions including assessment, training, and consultancy. He sold his company in 2012 to focus on writing, training and consulting. His first book, Practical Customer Success Management: A Best Practice Framework for Managers and Professionals, is now available. More information is available at http://practicalcsm.com/book.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Business Fundamentals (42 minutes)

  • Discussion: Why do businesses exist?
  • Presentation: The purpose of business and business types
  • Sum of the whole greater than its parts
  • Greater coverage/leverage
  • Soul trader, partnership, privately owned company, publicly traded company
  • Beneficiaries of a business (owners, employees, customers, government)
  • Discussion: What do businesses do?
  • Presentation: How businesses work
  • Business departments (Porter’s Value Chain)
  • Business capabilities (people, process, tools)
  • Business resources (expertise, equipment, stock, goodwill, finance)
  • Customer and supplier relationships (key partners, customer segments, direct/indirect models)
  • Exercise: Apple’s customer segments and key suppliers
  • Q&A
  • BREAK (5 minutes)

Business Management (42 minutes)

  • Discussion: How are businesses managed?
  • Presentation: Principles of business management
  • Owners, senior leaders, departmental managers and team leaders
  • External drivers for change (PEST)
  • Internal drivers for change (SWOT)
  • Vision, mission, strategies and tactics (Business Motivation Model)
  • Discussion: What makes a business successful?
  • Presentation: Principles of business success
  • The value proposition and competitiveness
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship (Agile, Lean, Design Thinking)
  • Business culture and working practices
  • Customer-centricity, customer experience and brand strength
  • Exercise: Apple’s vision, mission and value proposition

Business Finance (30 minutes)

  • Discussion: How do investment decisions get made?
  • Presentation: Principles of business finance
  • The need for growth and profitability
  • How ROI (return on investment) is calculated
  • How and why value is calculated
  • Creating and presenting the business case and the finance case
  • Exercise: The total value of an iPhone customer to Apple
  • Q&A