Get Summer 2014 Right First Time with tutor2u Exam Coaching & Revision Workshops
In 2012 Anthony Jenkins (nicknamed “Saint Anthony”) succeeded Bob Diamond and promised to clean up Barclays and eradicate the worst excesses of the banking industry. Speaking to those who received huge bonuses for unscrupulous behaviour, he said “my message is simple: Barclays is not the place for you. The rules have changed. You won’t feel comfortable at Barclays and, to be frank, we won’t feel comfortable with you as colleagues”.
Despite this, profit dropping 32% to £5.2bn, and making 3,700 jobs cuts last year:
- Jenkin’s himself pocketed just under £5m in shares
- Staff paid over £1m increased from 428 to 481.
- The bonus pool increased 10% to 2.4b
The justification for this? Many senior traders have left, or threatened to do so, and to keep hold of the top earners, he had to offer top pay. Had he not, the investment wing of Barclays would have plunged into a “death spiral”, with staff and high-value customers going elsewhere.
This is part of the bigger issue regarding European Commission’s rule to reduce banking bonuses, how George Osborne is fighting the decision and why, it would seem, he really didn’t need to as bosses of RBS (81% owned by tax payers) and HSBC also side-stepped the rule by giving large “fixed pay allowances” in the form of shares.
This story always provides great impetus for emotive debate on BUSS4 topics such as government intervention, culture, pay and leadership.
“students never really cognitively understand something until they can create a personal metaphor or model”
To help students understand how a business can overcome the many barriers to success in China, we used the metaphor of trying to gain the affections of a beautiful, foreign (but very high-maintenance) woman… called China! The analogy worked surprisingly well and we compiled the pros and cons on the attached PowerPoint.
To summarise, everybody loves China because…
- She’s beautiful
- She’s popular
- She’s rich (14% of global GDP in 2010)
- She has over 1 billion “things” to offer you
However, the problems are that…
- She’s very picky and discerning (48% of foreign businesses have failed within 2 years - WeberShandwick)
- She likes designer goods (“will purchase 20% of world’s luxury goods by 2015” - McKinsey)
- You don’t speak her language or know what she wants
- There are a lot of locals who do (35% of businesses feel comp from local is the 2nd biggest threat - The Economist )
- Her parents are strict and probably won’t like you (Hostile government - 32% see the Chinese government as the 3rd biggest threat)
- Her parents seem to prefer the locals (Protectionist approach – local businesses nurtured with fiscal and financial help)
So what do you do to succeed? The answer seems simple; learn why so many have failed, make sure you’re better than the rest, learn the language, culture and habits, give her what she wants and keep the parents happy!
This then led to application to businesses such as JLR, LinkedIn, KFC and Starbucks and what they did to build strong long-term relationships with the beautiful China.
This lesson worked as a nice way to consolidate students’ understanding of finance (and engaged the lads in the class more than ever). The Deloitte Football Money League ranks football’s top earning clubs and gives various infographics, reports and videos about their financial success. Very interesting in itself, but coupled with the fact that most of the teams listed are racking up millions in debt, it made for an interesting discussion about profit, loss, short term investment and long term success.
The PowerPoint (Football_finance_2013.ppt) is a research task and can be used as a lesson or homework. There are various extension questions and then a discussion about UEFAs Financial Fair Play (FFP) rule, which will supposedly "level the playing field" and stop the big clubs running up the kind of debts in the table below.
Does the inclusion of the image below breach copyright laws? Paramount Studios think so.
A young man (obviously with time on his hands) has had his Twitter account closed for tweeting individual frames of the film Top Gun, along with captions, every 20 minutes.
The BBC article explains that whilst it seems heavy-handed and mean-spirited, in terms of the law, even the frames are classed as the film. However, it does ask how the tweets could affect Paramount financially, and why YouTube accounts don’t face a similar fate.
In a previous blog I listed some other contentious copyright courtroom quarrels, could this be seen as the most absurd, as far from detracting from the studio finances, it potentially advertises and promotes the films further?
The attached PowerPoint (In_the_news_last_week_Gov_Int.ppt) links three current stories from sport, media and education and asks “should governing bodies intervene or should the invisible hand of free markets be left unchecked?”. In each case, students can discuss the merits and shortcomings of regulation in the respective industries, and explore the reasons for intervention in the first place.
The lesson works as a nice starting point and leads naturally to further research on Adam Smith and Milton Friedman.
Hope it helps!
This article about Mothercare asks whether it can be reborn, following a series of errors and decisions which have gone wrong. So it makes a very good case study from which students can identify decisions which were made, and turned out to be mistakes, and also actions which were not taken, and probably should have been. Their sales have been falling for years, they have restructured and reduced staffing, they issued a profits warning in January which led to £112mn being knocked off their share value, and now their Chief Executive has resigned - and yet they have a well-respected brand and the nature of their market means that their products are in constant demand.read more...»
My students were particularly interested in Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp for the ridiculously high $19billion. We used the previous blog, then delved deeper and found a few great related articles; one explaining why it was a good price ($42 dollars for each of the 450m customers) but bad strategy and the other predicting that WhatsApp will not help them succeed in China. To summarise the two:
- WhatsApp is pro-privacy and data-free
- WhatsApp CEO Jan Kuom is sticking to his “ad-ban”
- WeChat – China’s domestic messenger service already has 300m customers and better functionality
- WeChat helps China’s economy and is subject to Chinese law (meaning “they” can keep tabs on the content).
- Chinese government banned Facebook, linked them with an act of terrorism and state media claimed that “80 percent of China’s net users felt Facebook should be punished”
- The government don’t want Facebook siphoning money and talent away from China’s domestic social media industry, most notably Weibo (China’s Twitter), whose profits have just jumped from $2.4m to $44.5m!
Segueing seamlessly to a social networking firm that seems to have secured a way into China; LinkedIn is trialing it’s Chinese language site via joint ventures with Sequoia China, China Broadband Capital and the aforementioned Weibo and WeChat!
Chief Executive Jeff Weiner said the deal has raised “difficult questions” for him, and has been forced to make various concessions in order to adhere to the Chinese Government’s censorship requirements, but believes that “LinkedIn's absence in China would deny Chinese professionals a means to connect with others on our global platform,"
Overall, these combined articles give students relevant ammunition for each of the research “bullets” as it covers success, failure, methods of operation and ethical implications of entering the Chinese market.
It would appear that social network firms need to network with Chinese social network firms if they want to become social network firms that operate in China. Simple really.
After Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp, I thought this made an interesting exam question. I've compiled a PowerPoint (Facebook_Whats_app.ppt) with graphs and hyper-links and asked students to research the facts behind the purchase. The main reasons seem to be:
- WhatsApp exponential growth was becoming a threat
- Facebook’s “determination to be the 'next' Facebook”!
- WhatsApp's comparative success in Europe
- Messaging companies becoming the social networks of choice for the young
- Google tried and failed
Whilst Facebook's share price fell and then recovered after the purchase, analyst Ian Maude stated "expensively buying every competitor does not feel like a long term strategy". Are Facebook, like Apple, losing their competitive edge?
Hope it helps.
Did you know that most train operating companies will refund 50% of your ticket for a delay of 30 minutes or more, and will double that if the delay is for an hour or longer? And that, if you are travelling by tube, Transport for London offers refunds if your journey is delayed by 15 minutes or more (although you won’t get a refund if the delay is caused by a security alert, “third party action” such as a strike or bad weather)? Most probably you didn’t, as a survey by the Office of Rail Regulation has found that more than 75% of rail passengers know “not very much” or “nothing at all” about what they are entitled to when services are disrupted.
The report also found that 74% of passengers felt that train companies do “not very much” or “nothing at all” to proactively provide information about compensation when there are delays. As Simon Gompertz found in this video report, there are plenty of ways in which the train operating companies could make the information available, whether through instructions on the back of the tickets and announcements on trains to use of technology through their websites or apps.
This poor standard of information for customers is now to be improved. The ORR will now oversee the development of a code of practice on provision of ticket retail information, which will be in place by the end of 2014 and will provide clarity on what information passengers can expect from their train companies, including information on the different types of fares, restriction, and key terms and conditions, such as compensation and refund rights.
The government are also making compliance with these requirements part of their new franchising arrangements, to add to the regulation of the industry.
In the meantime, if you have had a journey delayed recently and want to claim compensation, here’s some guidance on what you might be entitled to.
We all know that the statistics about China's growth are awe-inspiring: a new power station every week, a new skyscraper every five days, and 30 new airports and 26,000 miles of motorways have been built in China in the last five years. Chinese outbound tourists are set to spend over £310bn on their travels this year - and that alone is a huge injection into the economies of other countries. A report last month showed Chinese investment in London real estate has risen more than 1,500 percent since 2010, increasing from 54 million pounds to more than 1 billion pounds at the end of the third quarter of 2013.
While Britain has been in the grip of the worst recession in a generation, China's economic miracle has surged forward.
Without this extraordinary growth, the depth of the slump in the developed economies would have been even worse; China's low cost output and their foreign exchange reserves have helped to keep the global economy growing at a time when any stimulus has been most welcome.
But, as Robert Peston explains in 'How China Fooled the World', the vast majority of this expansion has been built on credit from the 'shadow banking' system. There are huge developments of housing which have been built and bought up by investors at inflating prices, but which lie empty. As a result, the Chinese economy now has huge debts and there are doubts as to whether much of the money can ever be paid back. This sounds horribly reminscent of the bubble which built up immediately before the credit crunch in 2007-8 - but on an unimaginably bigger scale. What will happen to the rest of the global economy, if China is no longer there to support it?
There is only another 7 days to watch this excellent programme on i-player, and it is really worth devoting an hour to at the end of half term - could be very useful for several of the bullet points for June's BUSS4, particularly the second - the risks and rewards involved in trading with or operating in China - and last - how business strategy might be affected by developments in China.
Robert Peston's blog also has a supporting article. - which you can find here.
We’re busy working on brand new support resources for the BUSS4 Exam Coaching Workshops for June 2014. It already looks like we'll have packed houses for the intensive days dedicated to supporting students as the get ready for the BUSS4 exam on 18 June 2014.
The outline content of the five BUSS4 exam coaching sessions is shown further below.
How to book places (subject to availability)
Email Janet Cahill with your confirmed numbers , or
Order online(including private individual students / groups), orread more...»
What do Kanye West, a Flappy Bird and American footballers have in common?
I had no idea either, but it was interesting to have a go. I saw these three news stories this week and they seemed to cover the full gamut from money, sport, culture, fashion, business and (most importantly for the students) trainers.read more...»
Here are some practice BUSS4 Section B Essay Questions which could be used for revision / essay planning practice.
Here they are. If I come up with any more, I'll add them to this blog!read more...»
We have blogged about Huawei several times recently. Huawei is a terrific, though controversial example, of a fast-growing Chinese business with global ambitions which poses an increasing competitive threat to established multinationals.
For example, in this blog entry we reported on how Huawei is investing heavily in innovation and new product development: 62,000 of its 140,000 staff work in research and development, and it has 23 R&D centres around the world.
Two recent news articles highlight how this investment in R&D is starting to bear fruit, even if (in the case of 5G the returns are still a few years away)
There has been much media attention recently about the roll-out of 4G mobile networks (thing Kevin Bacon strolling through the streets extolling the virtues of EE). However, Huawei already has its eyes on the next (5G) generation of mobile networks which offer the prospect of data speeds up to 1,000 times faster than the current performance. That's some prize for the successful developers and Huawei is investing over $600m into the research necessary.
5G mobile networks might be 5-6 years away, but a more short-term opportunity looks like the impending competitive battle for wearable technology. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday on plans by Huawei to take on Samsung and (potentially) Apple by launching a smartwatch at an upcoming technology convention in Barcelona. Another example of Huawei's ambition to compete on the global stage, particularly in consumer electronics.
Our BUSS1 exam coaching workshops in January 2014 were a sell-out, with over 2,000 students working their way through a comprehensive series of exam-style questions to practice and improve their exam technique.
We have a couple of spare boxes of the full-colour printed booklets left after the workshop tour and we've made these available for sale in our online store (whilst stocks last) at just £5 (including P&P) each. There is a minimum order of 5 copies.read more...»
To develop students’ evaluation skill, I try to start most lessons with a question based on interesting news stories, from Miley Cyrus’ shock marketing techniques, to Google’s driverless cars. Attached is a PowerPoint with 20 headlines and pictures (some are sooo 2013) along with a business studies related question. Ideal for bellwork, or as a way of introducing a certain topic.
In my classroom, I have 4 pin boards (Finance, Marketing, Human Resources and Operations) and ask students where the specific question belongs; this then serves as a quick reference point to help students make the links between topics and businesses.
Hope it helps!
Whilst quoting Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is normally reserved for market traders and Gordon-Gekko-types, I’ve used the attached PowerPoint (Sun_Tzu_The_Art_of_Business.ppt) as a nice introduction to Strategic Planning (and, quite appropriately, expansion into China) with A2 students, and Business Planning with AS (a little tweaking may have to take place for the different year groups).
I’ve picked out a few choice quotes from the 2500 year old text and asked students to write down the business implications (or advice it gives) to businesses. Finally, students need to plot all of the factors a manager/general must take into account to ensure a strategy of success.
It can take as little or as long as required, but is an interesting way of getting students to understand that strategic planning is the key to success in war, competition, business and life.
Hope it helps.
Here are 20 more multiple choice questions which have been selected from across the AQA BUSS1 specification. Our weekly BUSS1 revision quiz is designed to keep you on top of the BUSS1 content - even whilst you are studying other units.
Here is the third in our series of regular revision quizzes which test the whole of the AQA BUSS3 specification. This quiz has 20 multiple choice questions.
There have been eight sittings of the BUSS4 exam now, based on the first five research briefings (Emerging Markets, UK Recession, Corporate Social Responsibility, Takeovers and Mergers, Corporate Culture).
Here is our AQA BUSS4 Exam Paper Topic Tracker which allows colleagues to see how the BUSS4 topics have been examined so far.
We also recommend that BUSS4 students make use of the following resources:
We've had quite a few BUSS4 exam papers now and it is always interesting looking back over the choice of essay titles for Section B to get a feel for the style and focus of what is on offer! It is also interesting to note which topics have been covered by the essay options in Section B!
Over the lifetime of the specification, you would hope that all the major topics in BUSS4 would feature in some way. After the June 2013 paper, there are still three core topics that have not yet been the focus of at least one of the three Section B essays, namely:
- Retrenchment (touched on briefly in the Section A research theme in 2010 on strategies in a recession)
- Takeovers and mergers (Section A research theme for 2012)
- European business (the forgotten child of BUSS4?)
Does the combination of Apple’s falling sharing price and market share, their perceived lack of innovation post-Jobs and Samsung’s cross-licensing deal with Google spell trouble for Apple?
Attached is a 10 slide PowerPoint (Apple_V_Samsung_Research.ppt ) with infographics, hyperlinks, videos and questions that can be used to help students research the two tech giants.
As with the “Will Google rule the world” post, the lesson covers most of the following BUSS4 topics:
- Mission statements & corporate objectives
- Globalisation and emerging markets
- Technological change
Hope it helps!
Each year we attempt to pick a manageable selection of businesses which offer the potential for AQA BUSS4 students to combine some Section A (China) and Section B research.
Here are our suggestions for 10 firms to follow for BUSS4 students wanting to deepen their understanding of real businesses as they prepare for the two essay questions this summer. In a couple cases we’ve grouped firms together, so the total number of businesses is actually more than 10!
The tutor2u 10 is chosen entirely subjectively, based on the following criteria:
Each entrant should ideally have;
- Accessible media coverage
- Good mix of written, audio & visual research materials
- An international/global dimension
- Potential for “compare and contrast”
- Rich sources of relevant evidence for AQA BUSS4 research theme for 2014 (China)
- Reasonable expectation of examiner familiarity
The list is shown below, with a brief comment on the reason for selection.read more...»
OUP is one of the country's major academic book publishers, and naturally enough it has commissioned and published new studies on the outbreak of the First World War. A new book 'Saving the City', by Richard Roberts, covers the financial crisis which broke out in Britain, after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914.read more...»
It's time to try 20 more multiple choice questions which have been selected from across the AQA BUSS1 specification. Our weekly BUSS1 revision quiz is designed to keep you on top of the BUSS1 content - even whilst you are studying other units.
Here is the second in our series of regular revision quizzes which test the whole of the AQA BUSS3 specification. This quiz has 20 multiple choice questions.
Google’s $3.2 billion purchase of Nest and current shopping spree into all things futuristic has made for an excellent BUSS4 case study. Attached is a 10 slide PowerPoint (Google_mergers_and_acquisitions.pptx) with videos, articles, hyper links and questions that can either be used as a homework task to start students on the road of research, a lesson in which students work independently and focus on the sections they find most interesting, or a catalyst for discussion about the similarities of Google, 1984 and Brave New World.
Whilst it focuses on acquisitions, by the end of the lesson all students were able to analyse Google in relation to the following BUSS4 topics:
- Mission statements, corporate aims and strategy
- Government intervention (or Google’s intervention with the government)
- Managing change
Most amusing is the Daily Mash's vision of a world run by Google... as if we have a choice!
Here are some notes from a talk given by Liu Xiaoming, Chinese ambassador to the UK at the Marshall Society economics conference in Cambridge in January 2014.read more...»
Yesterday, David Cameron told the Federation of Small Business conference that more than 3,000 rules affecting business are to be scrapped or amended, saving more than £850m a year. BUSS4 students need '...a broad understanding of the scope and impact of legislation relating to business', and will be well aware that the legislation adds to business costs. Cameron is proud to say that his government would be the first in modern history to end a term in office with less regulation on the statute books than when it came into power.read more...»
My students often struggle to fully apply their knowledge to the case, so to demonstrate the importance of application, I do the following:
1) Set up the YouTube clip of Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal with volume DOWN to zero. (If, understandably, you’re not a fan of MJ, choose another music video in which they dance in time to the music).
2) On another webpage, set up the YouTube clip of Michael Jackson’s BAD with volume UP.
3) Show the silent Smooth Criminal video whilst playing the Bad song.
4) Ask students what the problem is.
They soon realise that it doesn't quite "go". I play the video with music as it was intended and ask how this links to their exam answers. The most perfect answer I've had is "it doesn't matter how well you "dance", you have to dance to the tune of the case study"!
Tom White's superb revision and teaching toolkit for the OCR AS Business Unit F292 pre-release case study - All About the Baby Ltd (AAB) - is almost ready. Just a few more days to check over the comprehensive analysis of the case study and the supporting revision materials that make this the best teacher support resource for F292.
The F292 toolkit for All About the Baby Ltd (AAB) can be pre-ordered from our online store - we will ship it to you the same day the files are finalised.
You can also download and send us this printable order form.
Here we go with the first in a weekly series of revision quizzes for students preparing for the summer sitting of AQA BUSS1 (Planning & Financing a Business). Each quiz has 20 questions drawn from the whole of the BUSS1 specification. Try this quiz each week as a great way to test on a regular basis knowledge and understanding of the core topics that underpin BUSS1.
Download question answers (teachers only!)
This is the first in a weekly series of revision quizzes for students preparing for the summer sitting of AQA BUSS3 (Strategies for Success). Each quiz has 20 questions drawn from the whole of the BUSS3 specification. You'll find all the four main functional areas covered in each weekly quiz - a great way to test on a regular basis knowledge and understanding of the core topics that underpin BUSS3.
Download question answers (teachers only!)
This was an interesting advert from The Guardian that can be used to introduce a lesson on exam technique and evaluation.
Before showing the 2 minute video, ask the class to evaluate whether or not the wolf from the fable was guilty. The answer is invariably one-sided and the wolf is painted as a mindless tormentor who blew down houses for fun.
Show the clip and then ask the class how the case was made against the little pigs. They should explain how the specifics of the case are examined and analysed (as is the misrepresented antagonist) and a range of quantitative and qualitative evidence is used. The “evaluation” makes a decision, gives the reason, considers the financial and social implications and examines the long term ramifications…. everything the students need to do to get top marks!
Hope it helps.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”
This is the perfect quote to accompany the story of Shaun Pulfrey and the Tangle Teezer. Despite failing (quite miserably) on The Dragon's Den in 2007, he went on to sell millions of products in over 60 countries.
Here is the link showing parts of his 2007 pitch, and a This is money article from last week. There are lessons in market research, patents, marketing, sources of finance and growth, but most striking is the power of perseverance.
The announcement of Google's takeover of smart home-appliance maker Nest for $3.2bn is potentially hugely significant for Google.read more...»
In this six minute interview with The Economist, our good friend Tim Richards, CEO of Vue Cinemas, discusses the strategies the company has adopted as VUE has completed its massive investment in digital projection.read more...»
These two pieces of video evidence on South Korean multinational giant Samsung are pure business studies gold - particularly for students preparing their evidence for AQA BUSS4.
Samsung is a highly diversified multinational that is the most significant firm in the South Korean economy. It has achieved a strong record of improved profitability, quarter after quarter, as demand for its product portfolio has grown, particularly mobile devices. However, in January 2014 it announced that it expected to suffer a fall in profits, It expects to make an operating profit of 8.3 trillion won ($7.8bn; £4.8bn) for the last quarter of 2013, down 18% from the previous three months.read more...»
How does a young man buying a drink in England help a young man in Uganda achieve his dream?
Innocent Smoothies' new advertising campaign explains the connection, and in doing so, it helped my class to understand how to fully develop a point, this led to deafening applause from the whole class and a subsequent call of "Oh Captain! My Captain" whilst most students climbed onto their desks! An ancillary benefit was that they could justify which was better, Innocent's Corporate Social Responsibility or Innocent's Marketing Campaign.
I am nothing if not current and bang up to date! I watched this 1997 classic for the first time last week and found a gem of a scene in which Matt Damon surprisingly demonstrates some impressive analytical skill. As films are invariably more interesting that me, I used this to drive home the importance of fully developing a point!
Section A Research Theme Briefings: Two Extra Days Added
We have added two extra overflow days for colleagues wanting resource-packed support for the AQA BUSS4 Research Theme on China (June 2014). These are in London on February 5th and Manchester on February 6th.
Our BUSS4 Section A CPD Briefing Days follow the popular and successful approach adopted in recent years, to include:
- Teaching resources designed to introduce and develop the research theme, focusing on relevant examples and effective sources of student research materials
- Activities designed to develop essay writing technique
- Suggestions for ways in which the 2014 research theme can be integrated into the teaching of the remaining Section B topics
- Other ways in which a linear approach can be taken, integrating some elements of BUSS3 with BUSS4 Research Theme and Section B
The dates and locations for our BUSS4 Section A China Briefings are:
LONDON (A) Monday 30 September 2013 SOLD OUT
LONDON (B) Tuesday 1 October 2013 SOLD OUT
BIRMINGHAM Wednesday 2 October 2013 SOLD OUT
MANCHESTER Thursday 3 October 2013 SOLD OUT
LEEDS Friday 4 October 2013 SOLD OUT
NEWCASTLE Monday 7 October 2013 SOLD OUT
LONDON (C) Wednesday 5 February 2014
MANCHESTER (B) Thursday 6 February 2014read more...»
The operations statistics look so impressive for parcel delivery firm Yodel which delivers parcels for a host of major online retailers including Amazon, Argos, Boots and Tesco Direct.
Yodel handled over 14 million parcels in the run-up to Christmas 2013, sorting over 860,000 parcels on its busiest day. It moved to seven day a week deliveries throughout December 2013 and operated an additional 13 sites to add capacity. It delivered over 52,000 bouquets of flowers on 23 and 24 December alone.
Yodel's Chairman has been quoted as saying:
"Feedback from our clients has been extremely positive and we are delighted that our partnership approach has worked so well".
So, what went wrong with Yodel's customer service last Christmas?read more...»
For students preparing to take AQA A2 Business Unit 3 (BUSS3) it is always worth remembering that the "case study is your friend". Indeed, all the answers to the four questions set are in the case study - you just need to draw them out.
It is well worth reading through the previous BUSS3 exam paper case studies to get a feel for the kinds of businesses featured and the strategic and functional issues they are trying to address.
Below, we've provided a brief synopsis of each exam case study so far. Can you spot some similarities?read more...»
You read the books; you watched the movies; you've visited the theme park. Next up - the Harry Potter Musical?read more...»
The global pharmaceutical industry is under threat, like never before, for the way that it markets its products.read more...»
A terrific example here of how a return to core, basic retailing skills has enabled fashion retailer Bonmarche to turn around its performance and future.read more...»
This is the tag line of a US start-up business whose story appeared on the BBC website this week, and it is a great story.
It has all the best elements of entrepreneurialism, and would be very much at home on Dragons Den. Matthew Griffin, a US soldier spots a rather obscure similarity between two markets which could not be more different - the US and Afghanisan; a change of career gives the opportunity to start up a business; he gains funding and support from family and friends; he makes successful prototypes but then has stumbling attempts to find a reliable manufacturer - which result in setting up production at home in the garage; he has orders but difficulty in finding the capacity to meet the current level of demand; and the set-backs he meets result not in abandoning hope but in seeking alternative solutions to the problem.
Ultimately the business has strong social entrepreneurship objectives, as it aims to bring jobs and security to factories in Kabul. It is selling, and has many orders on its books, which it cannot fulfil from the garage at home. The idea is to find funding to take a mobile flip-flop factory to Afghanistan, and it that is successful, Mr Griffin hopes the concept can "be extended to other former combat zones, to help provide employment and boost their economies". In the meantime, Combat Flip-Flops continues to also sell both sarongs and scarves that are made by Afghan women.
If you are still looking for a Christmas present ideas, this could be the answer. Although at around $70 a pair they are not cheap!
The state of employee / employer relations in the UK was highlighted by the recent industrial dispute at the Grangemouth oil refinery. The Unite trade union was forced to back down in a dispute over pay and conditions. If the Grangemouth dispute is typical, then it looks like the balance of power between unions and employers has shifted decisively towards the employer.
This excellent FT video looks at how Britain's trade unions are having to adapt to a changing labour market structure and employee enthusiasm for joining a trade union.
Employers don't have it all their own way, however. For example, the growing use of outsourcing has meant that employers have to pay much more attention to potential industrial disputes throughout their supply chain rather than just with their own employees.read more...»
This is a perfect video to test understanding of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Terry has been drafted in to increase productivity at Felcher & Sons, and does so via American-Football-style tackles for anyone deemed to be working below Terry's exacting standards.
Did Robin Thicke rip off Marvin Gaye? Should Nestle be allowed to use the colour purple? Is there anything wrong with calling your business Obama Fried Chicken? Is Wozniak's idea of cross-licencing a good one?
This a fun, differentiated and ready made lesson in which students become IP lawyers and examine the evidence for 7 different intellectual property courtroom spats.read more...»