Skip to 0 minutes and 1 secondNARRATOR: When considering business finance, cash is king. Without a steady flow of cash, a business cannot expand and develop. So what happens when a business isn't generating enough? Well, often businesses turn to external sources of finance, seeking out investors or lenders who will inject cash and help them develop further. But since the financial crash of 2008, banks have been unwilling to lend to small businesses because they pose a higher risk - and small businesses are important. According to the Enterprise Research Centre in 2015, 99 per cent of all UK businesses were classified as falling into the category of SMEs - small and medium-sized enterprises. And these accounted for 60 per cent of private sector employment.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 secondsThis course explores some of the sources of finance available, from traditional bank lending to equity markets and crowdfunding, and will help you develop a funding strategy. Whether your business wants to expand its product range, invest in new production facilities, or provide additional services, knowing what's available and how to choose the right type of finance for you could make all the difference.

Finance for business growth

Whether you are managing a microbusiness, a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME), or a large corporation, knowing your current cash position and how liquidity and solvency affect your business is essential.

This course is one of four available in The Digital Economy program. Successful completion of all four courses (as evidenced by upgrading and then receiving a Certificate of Achievement for each course when you become eligible) can lead to 15 UK credits towards The Open University Business School’s flexible MBA by passing a linked Open University assessment course (requiring separate OU registration and fee). Find out more about Managing in the Digital Economy, the linked Open University assessment course.

In the first week of this course, you will consider the importance of managing cash and the flow of cash in your business.

You will look at how to meet the cash flow challenge by identifying appropriate sources of cash for both day-to-day business activities and longer-term investments. Along the way, you will start to explore the difference between debt and equity and how each appears in financial statements, as well as what financial statements tell potential lenders. Being able to assess the liquidity and solvency of a business is critical for making a business successful.

Who will support your learning?

The lead educator on this course is Dr Jane Hughes. Jane is a lecturer in accounting and finance at the Open University. She is a professional accountant, with over twenty years of business experience in both corporate and financial services.

To support this process we will have two mentors, Stephen Henderson and Paula Peden. You can access the FutureLearn profiles of those supporting your learning and follow them.

A key feature of the learning experience on a FutureLearn course is the idea of social learning. Our learning is at its best when we share and debate ideas with fellow learners, and we therefore encourage you to ask questions and engage with others via comments and participation in the discussions that take place.

If this is the first FutureLearn course you have studied, you might find it useful to visit the Using FutureLearn page.

Get extra benefits, upgrade your course

You can now get extra benefits by upgrading this course, including:

Unlimited access to the course: Go at your own pace with unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn.

Access to tests: Ensure you’ve mastered the material with access to tests on the course.

A Certificate of Achievement: To help you demonstrate your learning we’ll send you a Certificate of Achievement when you become eligible.

Find out more

Introduce yourself

Before you move onto the next step, click the ‘comments’ icon and spend a few minutes introducing yourself, including a brief outline of your motivations for joining this course. Find out about your fellow learners by reading and replying to other comments.

When you’re ready to move on, mark this step as complete before selecting ‘next’.

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The Digital Economy: Finance for Business Growth

The Open University