This module provides the basic structures upon which the business world is built: how it is organized, what outside forces influence it, and where it is heading. It also explores how the world’s economies and governments shape economic activity. Each day in the United States, thousands of new businesses are born. Only a rare few will become the next Apple, Google, or Amazon. Unfortunately, many others will never see their first anniversary. The survivors are those that understand that change is the one constant in the business environment. Those organizations pay attention to the business environment in which they operate and the trends that affect all businesses and then successfully adapt to those trends. In this module, we will meet many businesses, both large and small, profit and not-for-profit, that prosper because they track trends and use them to identify potential opportunities. This ability to manage change is a critical factor in separating the success stories from the tales of business failure.
We begin our study of business by introducing you to the primary functions of a business, the relationship between risk and profits, and the importance of not-for-profit organizations. We’ll also examine the major components of the business environment and how changing demographic, social, political and legal, and competitive factors affect all business organizations. Next, we’ll explore how economies provide jobs for workers and also compete with other businesses to create and deliver products to consumers. You will also learn how governments attempt to influence economic activity through policies such as lowering or raising taxes. Next, we discuss how supply and demand determine prices for goods and services. Finally, we conclude by examining key trends in the business environment, economic systems, and the competitive environment.