Fundamentals of Starting a Business

Know your stuff when it comes to business

Fundamentals of starting a business

Learn all the basic skills you’ll need to start your business, from testing out your idea with market research, to writing a budget and business plan, with this flexible six-week online course. 

  • Learn about marketing, sales, finance
  • Gain the confidence and clarity to start your business
  • Get off the ground in weeks, not months

Free places

Key features

  • Practical real-world guidance to get your business idea off the ground
  • From just two hours’ commitment a week
  • Study from home
  • Learn on demand
  • Live tutorials online
  • Flexible to fit around you
  • Expert tutors who eat, sleep and breathe startups
  • Friendly cohort of fellow learners
  • Free for some students (see T&Cs)

Register now

Find out how Learn Smarta can help you start your entrepreneurial journey

Business planning

Budgets and funding

Market research


Sales and selling

Social media


Before you start your course, our tutor will have a 1-2-1 session with you. They’ll discuss your confidence with maths and literacy, and explain how everything works. You’ll get a guided tour of Learn Smarta Online, our VLE (Virtual Learning Environment), and complete the paperwork to sign up for the course.

Time required: One hour

Format: 1-2-1 tutorial, phone or video chat

Module one: Get started

Duration: 3–5 hours plus tutorial

Time to complete: 2 weeks

People often doubt their ability to start a business, so this session explores what it takes to be a business founder, freelancer or entrepreneur.

From understanding what skills are needed to get a business up and running, through evaluating possible business ideas, to starting to get your very own personalised plan together, this module covers a whole host of stuff you’ve always wanted to know about being your own boss, but didn’t know who to ask.

And, you’ll have the chance to chat to fellow learners and discuss your business idea in our friendly and supportive group.

Sessions will cover topics including:

  • Working out your entrepreneurial style
  • Where do good business ideas come from?
  • How to choose the right structure for your business
  • What’s a business plan and why you need one

Module two: Get going

Duration: 3–6 hours plus tutorial

Time to complete: 2 weeks

Now, we’re ready to take that idea and translate it into REAL LIFE!

You’ll have a better idea of what your business is and what it does, so now we’re into the bit that makes it businessy, and that’s customers.

We’ll start to build a clearer picture of your ideal customer and what will make them buy from your business. Market research helps you work out whether your business has potential, by asking your target customers what they think of your product, what they might pay, where they shop, etc.

And then, we’ll be working on how you tell your customers about yourself – marketing – and how you make them buy from you – sales.

Sessions will cover topics including:

  • Customer personas
  • The marketing mix
  • Analysing your competitors
  • Choosing the right way to promote your business

Module three: Get paid

Duration: 3–5 hours plus tutorial

Time to complete: 2 weeks

Money talks.

You’ve created this brilliant business and done all the hard work to find customers. You absolutely deserve to be paid, and take (some of) that money home!

We know numbers are a love it/hate it subject for most, so we’ve brought in the big guns, and created lessons that will walk you through what you need, why you need it and how to make those numbers add up right.

Sessions will cover topics including:

  • Financing your business
  • Getting paid
  • Managing your cashflow
  • Pricing your products and services right

Exit interview

The final step is to discuss what you’ve learnt with your tutor and discuss your next steps. They’ll be able to point you towards further sources of advice and funding too.

Congratulations, you’re on your way to startup success!

Time required: One hour

Format: 1-2-1 tutorial

"I loved the really creative way the course was delivered and produced" Helen Stuart, Knitted Up North

Startup inspiration

The team behind Smarta have helped 10,000 people like you to start a business, and overseen £120,000,000 in Start Up Loans.

Here’s just a few of our amazing start up success stories


Next start dates

Start date: 13th September

Finish date: 24th October

Places remaining: 8

Price: Fully funded

Start date: 11th October

Finish date: 21st November

Places remaining: 13

Price: Fully funded

Start date: 8th November

Finish date: 19th December

Places remaining: 15

Price: Fully funded

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