• University of Leeds

Starting a Business 3: Customers and Competitors

Find out how understanding and targeting your market can help your business stand out from the crowd.

51,946 enrolled on this course

  • Duration

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours

This course is the third in a series of six about ‘starting a business’. You can sign up to the other courses in this series through the Going to University collection.

To run a successful business you need to understand who your customers are and importantly, how you are going to reach them. Whether you have an idea for a venture in the future or you already have a side-line business whilst studying, this course will help you to recognise and understand your target market. It will give you the time to plan, share your ideas with others and start to document your thoughts in a structured business plan.

Note for students

This course is part of a collection from the University of Leeds which have been specifically designed for those studying at school or college. All of the courses will help to enrich and extend your knowledge in a specific topic and develop your transferable skills. These courses will help you with making decisions about which subject to study at university and will give you examples and evidence when developing your university application.

Throughout the course you will join a community of online learners, providing an opportunity for interactive learning with other students both in the UK and internationally.

Each course is designed to complement your existing studies and aims to:

  • provide evidence for UCAS applications and prepare you for university
  • help you to gain new skills, think critically and learn independently
  • encourage online / social learning
  • develop collaboration and analytical skills
  • embed current research into your online learning

For information about degrees available at the University of Leeds, please visit our course finder website.

Note for teachers

Aimed at prospective Undergraduate students both in the UK and internationally, our online courses provide a ‘taster’ of Undergraduate study at the University of Leeds.

Our courses benefit from being shaped by the latest research from the University of Leeds and are presented by leading academics who are actively engaged in pioneering research. They will inspire your students to think critically and develop their knowledge and analytical skills.

The course can be used as a wider classroom or enrichment resource or can be used independently by students to discover more about the subject area. Each course provides flexible study and benefits from online discussions with other learners.

If you would like to know more about this course or the range of courses from the University of Leeds designed specifically for schools and colleges, please visit our teachers’ pages for further information and resources.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds This is the third course in a series of six, designed to help you on the journey of entrepreneurship. In this course, we focus on the importance of understanding customers and competitors when starting a business. To run a successful business, you need to understand who your customers are, and importantly, how you’re going to reach them. You will learn how to understand the difference between a market and an industry. This will help you to define your market and the product or service you can offer to that market. Through videos, activities, and quizzes, this series of business courses introduce case studies of young entrepreneurs who are already only on the journey.

Skip to 0 minutes and 46 seconds They share their business challenges with you and a panel of business advisers. Through discussion and activities, you have plenty of opportunity to define and work on your business plan, as well as helping others.

Skip to 0 minutes and 59 seconds Sign up now to “Starting a Business: Customers and Competitors.”

What topics will you cover?

  • Define a market: identifying customers and competitors
  • The theory of understanding markets: the differences between a market and an industry
  • Analyse a market: the market size and its potential
  • How to determine a business’ target market
  • Competitor analysis
  • How to target specific customers
  • The business plan: customers and competitors

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Assess the importance of understanding customers and competitors when starting a business.
  • Discuss the difference between a market and an industry to help define the market and the product or service to offer to that market.
  • Evaluate the entrepreneur’s business challenge: Which markets should Ashleigh target for her product?
  • Explore the market for a business plan.
  • Discuss the size, scale and characteristics of your market.
  • Summarise your key competitors or those of another business by performing a competitor analysis.

Who is the course for?

No previous knowledge or experience of business or enterprise is required, just an interest in businesses and how they emerge. If you are new to learning online you will find it helpful to join Learning Online: Learning and Collaborating prior to joining this course.

Who will you learn with?

Associate Professor of Enterprise at University of Leeds.

Passionate about supporting and developing creativity and entrepreneurship.

Who developed the course?

University of Leeds

As one of the UK’s largest research-based universities, the University of Leeds is a member of the prestigious Russell Group and a centre of excellence for teaching.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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