Unit 1: Unit 1: Introduction to Business Strategy - Discussion
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Business Strategy

Watch the case study here of Susan and her friends Frank & Jimmy. (view the case study script)

After you watch the case study, please answer the questions:

    What critical errors do you see in the initial planning phase of the Clean-Air Carpet Cleaning Company?
    What economic factors do you think Susan, Frank, and Jimmy should have included in their plans for the Clean-Air Carpet Cleaning Company?
    What operational improvements would you have suggested for the Clean-Air Carpet Cleaning Company?
    What do you think were the main factors contributing to the failure of the Clean-Air Carpet Cleaning Company?






UNIT 2


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Discussion Topic: Operations

The concept of best practices is simple: Do not recreate the wheel.

For this week's Discussion, please research and find an article relating to best practices that you find truly interesting. Find a company or situation that created a best practice that others follow, or find a best practice that was implemented and proved effective, efficient, and innovative.

Answer the following questions relating to the article and your own experience with best practices:

    Please describe the background for the article you researched and explain why this particular best practice scenario appealed to you. What did you learn from the situation that you could apply to your own life?
    Best practices are for not only our professional lives, but our personal lives as well. Please describe a situation in your life that needed some type of improvement and, after observing someone else in a similar situation handle things differently, how you decided to implement your own best practice. Is this best practice still effective, or have you improved it?







Unit 3: Unit 3: Marketing - Discussion
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Discussion Topic: Marketing

We have all seen them. Some of us love them; others wish we could live without them – the television commercial. Companies realize that in order to catch and hold your attention, convince you to buy their product or use their service, they need to do this in 60 seconds or less. Advertisers are willing to pay millions of dollars for 30 seconds of airtime during the Super Bowl.

Share with the class your favorite or most memorable commercial or website commercial. Explain why this particular 30 to 60 second advertisement meant so much to you.

    Did the advertisers accomplish their purpose?
    Did you buy the product or service because of this commercial?
    Are there products or services that you refuse to use because of advertisements you have seen?



Unit 4: Unit 4: Marketing Plan/SWOT Analysis - Discussion
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Discussion Topic: SWOT Analysis

Conducting a SWOT analysis is essential in developing a good marketing plan. Business owners and managers must focus on the strengths and opportunities to maximize resources and gain competitive advantages.

The strategic goal involves accomplishing these objectives while avoiding weaknesses and threats. Please read the company profile article on Spartan Stores®, Inc. (found in Kaplan Online Library).

In this Discussion question, briefly discuss the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) noted in the Spartan Stores, Inc. article and discuss some areas that could be improved.

Reference:

SWOT Analysis. (2012). Spartan Stores, Inc. SWOT Analysis, 1-9. Retrieved from Business Source Complete database.






Unit 5: Unit 5: Information Management - Discussion
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Information Systems in Business Settings

As we move farther into the information age, what factors should business owners consider in using information technology? What are some differences that will exist relative to the type of business? What are some areas within organizations that could be improved using information technology? What are some negative aspects of using information technology, if any?

Discussion checklist:

Compare the organizational and procedural process needed to manage information in a:

    Small and medium size service organization
    Small and medium size manufacturing organization
    A multinational organization (operating in multiple countries)




Unit 6: Unit 6: Finance - Discussion
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Finance

In this discussion, please reflect on your comprehension of financial management and knowledge gained from the media concerning financial real world activities and events occurring in the US.

    What actions and behaviors of leaders and managers in corporations could influence the market value and price of stocks?
    In reflecting on the creation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to increase accountability through new mandatory standards, what are some possible explanations as to why unethical conduct occurs in financial management?
    What are some activities corporations can do to decrease overall unethical practices and promote good business ethics in the organization?



Unit 7: Unit 7: Cash Flow Analysis - Discussion
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Cash Flow Analysis

After reading Chapter 4: “Statements of Cash Flow & Analysis of Ratios,” along with any other research conducted, please discuss why comprehending and managing cash flow is important for financial success.






Unit 8: Unit 8: Management Summary - Discussion 1 of 2
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Topic 1 of 2

High Performance Teams

In the 21st century, more organizations are moving to the team concept to maximize overall organizational performance through the combined efforts of people. The old adage, “Two heads are better than one” has proven to be a valid statement, as organizations strive to face the many challenges in the internal and external environments.

In this discussion question, please find an article in the Kaplan Library relating to high performance teams. If possible, try to find an article on high performance teams in the type of business you selected for your business plan. Answer the following questions relating to the article and your own experience with business teams:

    Please describe the background for the article you researched and explain why this particular best practice scenario appealed to you. What did you learn from the article that you could apply in your business?
    What are some characteristics of high performance teams? What are the strengths and weaknesses of business teams? Please share your experiences as a team member in either a business or non-business environment.


Unit 8: Unit 8: Management Summary - Discussion 2 of 2
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Topic 2 of 2
Career Planning

When you start a business you need to be able to sell yourself as well as your business ideas and plan. In order to get yourself on the right path to success, complete and answer the following:

Visit the Kaplan Career Services by clicking here. Review career skills in the field of business and management and then create a 1-year action plan as to what specific actions you will take that will guide you towards realizing your ideal job.

Please include the following in your 1 year bulleted action plan: (In addition add your 1 year action plan to your Career Portfolio)

    Specify the ideal job you want.
    Determine what skills you need to get that job.
    What steps you will take to obtain the additional skills you might need?
    What networking avenues will you use to understand your field of interest, obtain advice, and help you increase professional development?
    How would you use a mentor or coach to assist you in personal branding?

In your response to two classmates, please share your feedback as to whatever information might assist classmates in furthering their career action plans.






Unit 9: Unit 9: Business Ethics - Discussion
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Business Ethics: Contracts with foreign businesses

Currently, limited international laws exist in areas such as copyright/patent protection and confidentiality of information. Labor and environmental laws may vary significantly between the United States and many developing countries. In addition, although all countries have laws against bribery, there are some countries where corruption is quite common.

In this Discussion question, you are the owner of a manufacturing company, and you are considering a contract with a clothing manufacturer in Bangladesh. (Please keep in mind that you will use some of this information in your ethics policy in the final project.)

Please address the following in your response:

    In reflecting on the limited international laws and regulations and the differences between the US and other countries, briefly discuss some guidelines (principles and concepts) that you would have in your code of conduct (ethical/social responsibility policies).
    Describe the ethical decision-making framework (What will shape your code?).
    What are expected behaviors and how will you address poor behavior?
    Given the existence of regulations and laws by the United States, international governing bodies, and global organizations, list the major concerns and issues that you will need to be mindful of in developing a code of conduct for working with a foreign business.