Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

3 hours per week for twelve weeks or equivalent.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Small businesses such as start–ups contribute significantly to the wealth of people in the world, mostly in regional economic systems. The reality of business management within most small businesses (e.g., start–ups) is noticeably different from that found in many of large, on–going, and well–established businesses. For potential entrepreneurs who wish to commence their own business, it is critical (first) to acquire knowledge of managing small businesses and recognise the issues faced by these types of ventures, (Second) to develop an understanding of theories, models and concepts around small business management, in order to then (thirdly) develop the practical skills needed to apply this to the management and leadership of small businesses and coping with difficult situations throughout survival and growth stages.

This unit advances students' knowledge and skills on the management and leadership of small businesses and coping with difficult situations throughout survival and growth stages. In this unit, students relate case studies of real small businesses (e.g., start–ups) with theories and concept and implement important practical assignments to examine their skills and knowledge of managing small businesses.

The aim of this unit is to familiarise the students with the theory, research and practice of small business management.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Evaluate small business management models, theories and concepts to practice and real-world cases (GA5, GA8).

LO2 - Describe key problems faced by entrepreneurs throughout the development and management of new businesses with a focus on ensuring appropriate working conditions for founders and employees (GA2, GA5).

LO3 - Critically evaluate the factors (internal and external) impacting small businesses’ growth and survival (GA4, GA5).

LO4 - Devise and formulate solutions for small business management problems (GA5, GA6).

LO5 - Plan and communicate effective corporate-level strategies that accelerate the growth of small businesses (GA5, GA9).

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include:

  • Forms of small business ownership
  • Social responsibility of small businesses 
  • Employment consideration and working conditions in small businesses
  • Stakeholder’s well-being in small businesses
  • Small business feasibility analysis
  • E-commerce in small businesses
  • Margining teams in small businesses
  • Growth strategies in small businesses
  • Resource management in small businesses
  • Launching small businesses
  • Communication in the business management context

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The strategy for this unit integrates the use of active, case study, problem-based and experiential (expert keynote speakers) learning approaches simultaneously to help students in acquiring knowledge, development of requisite conceptual and theoretical understanding, and then the integration of skills related to small business management. Students will be able to learn the application of theories and concepts underpinning small business management in a series of face-to-face workshops along with the materials (videos, texts, exercises, and cases) provided through the online learning platform. In this blended mode of delivery, each workshop includes mini-seminars focusing on the core theories, models and concepts, and followed by practical/scenario-based exercises (group and individual). Few experienced entrepreneurs will be invited throughout the semester as keynote speakers to share their practical experiences in managing and leading their small businesses. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

To pass this unit, students must obtain an overall score of 50% or more, and a passing mark in Assessment task 3. Marking will be by a rubric specifically developed to measure levels of achievement of the learning outcomes for each item of assessment. Students will also be awarded a final grade which signifies their overall achievement in the Unit.

The assessment strategy for this unit helps students develop their knowledge, understanding and skills in managing small businesses such as start-ups to the point where they can present and provide solutions to the managerial issues faced by entrepreneurs in running and leading their start-ups. To accumulate this level of ability, students will examine their knowledge of theories/models/concepts associated with small business management in the context of start-ups through case analysis (Assessment 1), Students further advance their comprehension of the application of small business management theories and concepts by offering a presentation on a local Australian small business by using the analysis tools practiced in the class (Assessment 2), and further write and structure a formal business report in the form of a comprehensive business plan for their selected small business (Assessment 3).

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Case Study Analysis

This assessment task consists of a 1400 word written case study report. This task requires students to apply their knowledge of small business management models/concept/theories.

Students will be presented with a case study to which they are expected to present solutions to a small business management problem (s) faced by a new venture. Students will be expected to further-research around the topic(s) and answer the questions presented in relation to the case. This assessment will be alive case - a real-world entrepreneur with a small business management issue. An entrepreneur will be invited as a guest speaker to share some information about his/her small firm and elaborate on the problem the small business has been facing. While students have to think about a feasible solution(s), they also need to consider the impact of the suggested solution on the well-being of the stakeholders involved in the small business.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Case Study Analysis

Artefact: Written case study analysis


LO1, LO2, LO4

GA2, GA5, GA6, GA8

Assessment Task 2: Verbal presentation

This assessment task consists of a 8 minute verbal presentation. This task requires students to analyse the business status of a small and active new venture (could be their own business or an Australian small business). This assessment requires students to apply their knowledge of small business management models/concept/theories and suggest three key managerial strategies (corporate level, operational level and business level)  helping the small business adjust its operations to post COVID19 situations in the business environment  (the presentation has to incorporate the impact of such strategies on  working conditions for employees and founders as well as the small business performance).

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Verbal presentation

Artefact: Presentation notes and slides 


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 3: Business Plan

This assessment task consists of a 2000 word written business plan. This task requires students to formulate and structure a feasible business plan for a small business (their own business or the Australian business identified in assessment 2). The task is to prepare a new venture/ start-up comprehensive business plan that can be presented to incubators and investors. This assessment will be a live case.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Business Plan

Artefact: Written business plan


LO4, LO5

GA5, GA6, GA9

Representative texts and references

Required text

Scarborough, N.M. and Cornwall, J.R., 2019. Essentials of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management. New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.

Recommended references

Longenecker, J.G., Moore, C.W., Petty, J.W. and Palich, L.E., 2017. Small business management: launching and growing entrepreneurial ventures. Cengage Learning.

Further references

Hatten, T.S., 2015. Small business management: Entrepreneurship and beyond. Nelson Education.


Journal of Small Business Management

Journal of Business Venturing

Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice

International Small Business Journal

Small Business Economics

Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal

Journal of Social Entrepreneurship

Journal of Small Business Strategy

Entrepreneurship and Regional Development

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