# What to include in a training on maths for business people?January 14, 2014 3:56 PM   Subscribe

I've been asked at work to come up with a list of topics that could be included in a training course around basic maths for business people, and I am finding it hard to find suggestions for topics.

It should all be structured around business examples and use cases, so mean, medium and mode probably make sense whereas an intro to calculus doesn't. Anything I put in is supposed to be something they can actually use, either at this stage of their career or later, but the assumption is they remain in sales/marketing and don't go on to be an analyst or anything like that. I think I may just be mentally blocked on the topic. Any thoughts from the hive much appreciated.
posted by StephenF to Education (12 answers total)

I think many business people would benefit from seeing how a simple balance sheet is laid out and then showing them how it's balanced, including what is considered a liability and what is an asset, and how shareholders' equity/deficit works. I have to admit that I've been astonished by how many people make it into the business and/or legal world and don't understand what equity is or how corporate ownership is structured. At the very least this would be useful for personal investments. You might also consider showing how different parts of a company could be valued, whether on an asset sale basis or on a going concern basis.
posted by janey47 at 4:01 PM on January 14, 2014

I bet half of them do not know how to do ratios and percentages. I'd definitely "review" that, and teach it as needed.
posted by thelonius at 4:04 PM on January 14, 2014 [5 favorites]

Compound interest?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 4:05 PM on January 14, 2014

"Business people" is vague. What kind of business are these people doing?

Ratios, percentages, present value, future value, the time value of money, compound interest, exponents, square roots, and simple statistics are a good baseline.
posted by dfriedman at 4:08 PM on January 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Percentage, esp. as it relates to taxes.
posted by theora55 at 5:06 PM on January 14, 2014

Introduction how to read a chart.

Normal curves and confidence intervals (understanding stats better/sampling modelling)

And for the business side more:
Difference between cash flows and profit/loss. (This blew people's mind first time my class was introduced to it)

nth-ing compound interest.
posted by troytroy at 5:57 PM on January 14, 2014

Seconding (very) simple statistics. And show 'em how to do the CORREL function in Excel!
posted by mittens at 6:17 PM on January 14, 2014

Margin versus markup.

Show them how decreasing by a percentage and then increasing by the same percentage doesn't get you back where you started.

Cash basis versus accrual basis.

Tax bracket versus tax rate.
posted by alms at 9:01 PM on January 14, 2014

Discount rates and NPV.
posted by pompomtom at 9:11 PM on January 14, 2014

Best answer: I am a "business person." Some fictional examples from sales/marketing, especially online stuff, which is what I know:

- Conversion rates on web sites: If 36,846 people view my landing page and 1,453 click the button to sign up for my newsletter, what is the conversion rate for my page?

- Of the 1,453 people who signed up for my newsletter through the above landing page, within 6 months, 256 bought my \$37 ebook and 63 bought my \$187 DVD. How many people do I have to drive to that landing page in the next six months to gross \$40,000?

- A/B testing and significance: We post two versions of the same landing page, with one difference: one has a red "buy now" button and one has a green "buy now" button. We send the same number of people to each page. 4657 people clicked the red one and 4423 clicked the green. Is the difference significant enough that we should change all our "buy now" buttons on the site to red?

- The typical conversion rate for my industry is 3%. It costs me \$1.85 in advertising to get one visitor to come to my landing page. I net \$112 for each product I sell through that page. How many people do I need to drive to the site to net \$50,000?

- I pay a salesperson \$67,500 per year plus a 20% commission on sales. I offer three service packages with the following values: \$10,000, \$17,000, and \$23,000. My net for each package is usually 60%. The salesperson is currently focusing on selling the least expensive package because he thinks that's easiest. How many of the cheap package would he have to sell in one year for me to break even? If instead he sold the same number of the most expensive package, how much would I profit?

- Churn and monthly recurring revenue: I sell a subscription service. Every month, 8% of the subscribers cancel. We currently have 1,765 subscribers who are paying \$15 a month. Our monthly operating costs are \$18,400. Our marketing brings in about 30 new subscribers a month. What will our profits look like in 3 months? If paying \$10 per customer will bring in 50 additional new subscribers per month, should we do it?
posted by ceiba at 10:25 PM on January 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

Also: customer lifetime value and return on advertising investment
posted by ceiba at 10:32 PM on January 14, 2014

Response by poster: Wonderful thanks everyone, super suggestions.
posted by StephenF at 1:45 AM on January 15, 2014

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