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This content is taken from the University of Leeds's online course, Starting a Business 3: Customers and Competitors. Join the course to learn more.

Welcome to the course

Welcome to the third course in the Starting a business series. In this course we consider customers and competitors.

This course is just one of a series designed by the University of Leeds for school-based learners and their teachers. As this is an open course, we do also welcome other learners; as you will have seen from the welcome area, we have a diverse cohort signed up. However, it is important to recognise that this course, and the content and activities within it, has been specifically designed to help those studying at school or college make the transition to studying at university or the work place.

We have provided a course map to help you navigate your journey through the course: click on the image to access, or you can download the map from the Downloads section below.

An image showing the course map - find the full version in the 'Downloads' section below

Whether you already have an idea for a business or you just have an interest in how businesses emerge, the first week of the course will be of interest. We hear from Dr Sarah Underwood a lecturer in enterprise. We also meet Ashleigh, an entrepreneur trying to determine her business’ target market.

A photograph of Ashleigh

Sharing your ideas?

During the second week of the course you will have the opportunity to share your business ideas with fellow learners. You can refine your thoughts and improve your business plans by asking others to challenge your ideas. You may find learners with similar ideas; collaborations might prove a possible route forward.

However, it is important to remember that we live in a competitive world – if you do have an idea for the ‘next big thing’, you may choose to keep some of the details to yourself.

You need to weigh up the risk involved by sharing your ideas against this great opportunity to receive feedback and learn from others. Whether you discuss your ideas in full or part is completely up to you; we just want you take a moment to consider the possible repercussions before you jump in.

To find out more about protecting your intellectual property, you can access the UK Government site in the See Also section below.

Have your say:

Now we’d like to hear about you. Please use the comments to introduce yourself and share your reasons for joining this course. Please also let us know where you are from; this course is open to learners world-wide.

Take some time to read the posts from other learners. If you come across someone with similar interests to you, you may choose to ‘follow’ them. You can then filter the discussions to only view the comments from those you are following. This can help to make discussions easier to manage.

Next steps

When you are ready to move on, click ‘Mark as complete’. You can monitor your progress through the course by selecting ‘Progress’ at the top of page.

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This article is from the free online course:

Starting a Business 3: Customers and Competitors

University of Leeds