Online ExpertTrack in Business & Management

Start Your Own Business

Gain the knowledge and practical skills to turn your small business ambitions into reality, with The Open University.

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The Open UniversityThe Open University

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Build critical skills to set up a successful small business

You’ve got a great idea for a small business, but how do you turn it into a reality?

This ExpertTrack will arm you with the skills to develop your business idea into a commercial proposition, supported by a viable business plan.

Popular TV shows such as Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank have shown how easy it is for budding business owners to make mistakes. Over eight weeks, experts from The Open University (OU) will guide you through the tools and techniques to create a robust business plan that will prepare you for business success and address key challenges faced by entrepreneurs when embarking on new ventures.

Learn how to influence stakeholders and access resources

Starting a new business is different from running an existing one because it’s likely that you’re bringing something new or unique to the market. This means you’ll need to convince stakeholders, whether that’s customers, investors, employees, or friends and family, that your ideas will work.

On this ExpertTrack, you’ll learn how to create a robust business plan that presents a consistent, credible and compelling case for anyone you approach for advice, funding or any other assistance.

Discovering the power of networking to acquire resources, customers, and opportunities, you’ll learn how to use accessible, low cost or free information to justify the choices you make and help gather information about your marketplace.

Develop entrepreneurial skills to achieve business success

Your journey as an entrepreneur will throw you many challenges. You’ll need a wide set of skills that would usually be performed by several different people in an established workplace. The four courses in this ExpertTrack will equip you with key knowledge in areas including finance, marketing, and networking so you can assess the financial implications of your plans, design a distinctive brand, and develop resilient plans that keep pace with the changing business environment.

The courses have been designed by academics from the OU’s highly respected Business School which has vast experience in the delivery of online business modules. It is one of only 100 business schools in the world to hold triple-accredited status with EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA.

By the end of the courses, you’ll be able to create a robust, achievable plan and make your business dreams a reality.

Key skills you will learn

  • Developing an effective business model 
  • Designing your product or service 
  • Networking and creating business opportunities 
  • Acquiring resources for business success 
  • Producing a financial plan that wins credibility 
  • Branding your business 
  • Promoting your business and yourself 
  • Planning and utilising resources efficiently
  • Analysing Stakeholders and the marketing environment 

Learning outcomes

By the end of the ExpertTrack, you’ll be able to...

  • Develop your initial business idea into a commercially successful proposition
  • Engage in networking activities effectively to acquire resources, customers and opportunities
  • Assess the financial implications of your plans and adjust them as necessary
  • Design a brand that is distinctive and promotes yourself as an entrepreneur
  • Develop resilient plans that consider the changing business environment

Experience required

This ExpertTrack is for budding entrepreneurs who are looking to start their own small business or set up self-employment for the first time. It is suitable for those who have an initial idea for a new venture, but don’t know where to start.

It will be most valuable for people who would like help to develop their new business ideas, so it will be helpful for learners to have some background knowledge of the industry in which they hope to compete. This could be from industry specific education, work experience, or prior research.

Getting started

Whether you plan to create a full-time venture or part-time ‘side-hustle’; you’re starting a brick-and-mortar business or online venture; or you plan to use established platforms such as Etsy, Amazon and the like, this course will teach you how to get started.

It is suitable for learners at all levels, whether you haven’t ventured into self-employment and entrepreneurship before or have previously run a business and wish to refresh your skills for the current landscape.

The ExpertTrack has a UK focus, but the majority of content will be useful for learners around the world.

ExpertTrack course overview

Prove you're job ready

Highlight the new, job-relevant skills you’ve gained and supplement existing qualifications with a hard-earned, industry-specific digital certificate – plus one for every course within your ExpertTrack.

  • Learn the latest in your chosen industry or subject.
  • Complete each course and pass assessments.
  • Receive certificates validated by the educating organisation.
  • Impress employers with learning outcomes you can add to your CV.
  • Make your career dreams a reality.

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How ExpertTracks work

Join an ExpertTrack to master new skills in your chosen specialist area. Work through a series of topic-focused courses at your own pace, and pass the final assessment to earn a digital certificate award which proves your expertise.

Join a free 7-day trial

Decide if the ExpertTrack is right for you with free access to the full suite of courses and assessments for a week.

Keep learning for $39/month

Pay a monthly subscription fee of $39 for as long as it takes you to complete the ExpertTrack. You can learn at your own pace and cancel at any time.

Earn digital certificates

Receive a certificate for every completed course and pass the final assessment to earn a digital certificate.

Become an expert

Use your specialist training to progress further in your career or build expertise in areas you’re passionate about.

World-class learning with The Open University

As the UK’s largest university, The Open University (OU) supports thousands of students to achieve their goals and ambitions via supported distance learning, helping to fit learning around professional and personal life commitments.

  • Established

  • Location

    Milton Keynes, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

Meet your instructor

Haider is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at the Open University and a visiting Professor at other Universities. He has consulted & taught globally and published in the Journal of Marketing Management.

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

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Start learning today - free 7-day trial

After your free trial you can:

  • Pay $39 per month to keep learning online
  • Have complete control over your subscription; you can cancel any time
  • Work at your own pace and set your own deadlines at every stage
  • Only pay while you’re learning; the subscription will cancel automatically when you finish
  • Complete online assessments to test your knowledge and prove your skills
  • Earn digital course certificates and a final award that you can share online, with potential employers, and your professional network
  • Keep access to the content of courses you complete even after your subscription ends


ExpertTracks are a series of online courses designed to help you master new skills in specialist areas. You pay a monthly subscription fee which includes access to all courses within the ExpertTrack, as well as assessments and the final digital certificate.

Each ExpertTrack comes with a 7-day free trial period. You may cancel your subscription at any time and your subscription will automatically cancel when you finish the courses and assessments in your chosen ExpertTrack.

Yes. All of our ExpertTracks come with a 7-day free trial. You may claim one free trial period per ExpertTrack.

You have seven days before you will be charged your first monthly subscription fee. When you join an ExpertTrack you automatically receive a 7-day free trial period. You can cancel at any time during the trial period and no payment will be taken from your account.

Please see our full refund policy here.

No, all of our ExpertTracks consist of fully online courses. This means you can take an ExpertTrack from anywhere in the world.

No. ExpertTracks are designed for you to master new skills in a specialist area. You will earn a digital certificate that proves your learning, but it does not carry accreditation.

If you’re looking for certified or accredited courses, many of our microcredentials offer university credit or professional certification.

Have more questions about ExpertTracks? Read the ExpertTracks FAQs, or contact us.