Module 1. Code of Ethics
This workshop is a required introduction to the APEC IBIZ certification program. It is designed to make the learner counselor aware of their responsibilities to their client, their profession, and to themselves in relation to professional conduct and ethics.
The learner must:
- Understand the role of the small business counselor
- Maintain professional development
- Abide by the code of ethics that guide the small business counselor
The content of this module will cover topics designed to enhance the professionalism of the small business counselor by clearly understanding the role, ethics and conduct required of small business counselors in providing counseling services to the small business client. The content includes:
- Role of the small business counselor
- Maintain professional knowledge
- Code of ethics/professional conduct
- Trends and challenges in the profession
- Emerging small business issues
- Client/counselor relationships
- Different roles of counselor and consultant
- Best practices in small business counseling
Module 2. Counseling & Interpersonal Skills
This is module identifies the wide number of functions of the counselor such as counseling, preparing reports, attending meetings, networking, etc. Time demands require the counselor to organize their time efficiently, particularly as it relates to clients. To be an efficient counselor s/he must demonstrate the importance of communication skills, coaching techniques and a positive attitude. The small business counselor must be a ware of the impact of nonverbal communications specifically as they relate to the owner operator so as not to convey the wrong message. Similarly, verbal communication expressed in the broadest sense involves such skills as empathy, conflict management and listening. It is important for the small business counselor to communicate effectively both orally and in writing. Empowering the client is a vital function of the small business counselor.
The objectives of this module are to assist the learner counselor to:
- Identify the counseling techniques required by the small business counselor;
- Understand the importance of coaching the small business client
- Recognize the need to refer clients to specialist when necessary
- Be aware the importance of communication skills such as empathy and listening while recognizing sensitive issues including cultural differences
- Understand the importance of effective time and information management and the interpretation of nonverbal communications and communications in writing
Module 6. Marketing
This module addresses marketing as the corner stone for the initiation, growth, and profitability of a small business. Without marketing and a marketing strategy, a business is unlikely to survive and prosper. Marketing involves identifying the consumer, the product, the methods of distribution, advertising, and promotional programs, pricing strategy, location analysis, etc. This module will enhance the counselors' skills with respect to assisting the client to understand marketing and to develop a marketing strategy for their business. The module content includes marketing research, marketing strategies, developing and implementing a marketing plan and includes templates for use by the counselor when assisting a client in these areas.
Module 7. Financial Analysis
This module identifies a range of financial skills that are needed by the small business counselor to assist clients in the area of financial management and control. The module will assist the counselor in the understanding of:
- Financial statements in order to assess or assist the client to assess their financial position
- Cash flow forecasting and its importance
- Bookkeeping and accounting and how to assist a client in selecting an appropriate system, and
- The importance of maintaining an inventory of financial institutions and a network of expert resources.
The module applies topics such as record keeping, business finance, source of funds cash flow forecasts, gross profit and liquidity in the counseling context.
Module 8. Human Resource Management
This module provides resources to the counselor to assist the small business client in human resource planning. The counselor should be able to assist in client preparation of a human resource plan encompassing hiring, firing, training, compensation, motivation and staff relations. The module introduces such HR functions as recruitment, induction, training, industrial relations, employment law, team building etc.