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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...»
“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.
To improve its chances of success, a new business needs to take care positioning its product in the market. That involves market research, segmentation and a process some call “market mapping”...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!
During our EntrepreneurLIVE 2013 roadshow we've been delighted to have been accompanied by the team from WildHearts and their superb enterprise competition Micro-Tyco.
We've provided some details below for schools and colleges that would like to get involved.read more...»
Entrepreneurship, finance, research, corporate culture, marketing, product development, changing management structures are all part of the ingredients in this BBC entrepreneurship feature about the development of Charlie Bingham's Foods.read more...»
Innovation turns business markets upside down, it alters the price and use of resources, it creates and destroys revenue flows and profitability as well as the way we work.
Peter Day a former BBC presenter considers a significant changes in a BBC Radio 4 series this weekend. Consider how the internet, search engines and 3D printing or additive manufacturing might alter market production processes, job opportunities marketing and economies.
There is much to discover and discuss in his superb introductory article linked above. The broadcasts are linked here.
There is nothing that better epitomises the concept of being entrepreneurial than trading - buying and selling - hopefully profitably!
That's the idea behind The Trading Game - an interactive teaching and learning resource that tutor2u have developed to support OCR's new qualification in entrepreneurship - Being Entrepreneurial.read more...»
What skills are required to be an entrepreneur? Many entrepreneurs achieve success without a hat full of formal academic qualifications - so what skills have they used along the way? How important is it for entrepreneurs to have a broad portfolio of skills they can apply?
Those are key questions that we consider in the Being Entrepreneurial qualification through a series of structured learning activities and resources.
Each resource approaches skillsets in a slightly different way and students are encouraged to consider other skillsets that might be important and examples of how and why they play a part.
Set out below is a brief summary of some of the key entrepreneurial skillsets - can you think of some others that might be included? Add your suggestions to the Disqus box further below!read more...»
How do entrepreneurs think? What ideas and beliefs influence the way that they identify and then pursue entrepreneurial activity?
Those are key questions that we consider in the Being Entrepreneurial qualification through a series of structured learning activities and resources.
Each resource approaches mindsets in a slightly different way and students are encouraged to consider other mindsets that might be important and examples of how and why they play a part.
Set out below is a brief summary of some of the key entrepreneurial mindsets - can you think of some others that might be included? Add your suggestions to the Disqus box further below!read more...»
There is profit to be made in the diet and fitness industry. But, do the risks outweigh the rewards for franchisees looking to run local classes?
This article in the Daily Mail will not make pleasant reading for the Rosemary Conley Diet & Fitness franchise, particularly if they are looking to recruit new franchisees. We should always question the validity of the data included in the article and perhaps the motives for publishing it. Nevertheless, for business students it contains some very useful insights into the risks involved in investing in a franchise.read more...»
Collaboration and innovation are often fast-tracked by creating the right spaces for people and ideas to mingle.
This seven minute video from the Economist is deeply interesting - it looks at the Artisan's Asylum near Boston, Massachusetts in the USA which is host to a number of new hardware businesses. They are built around cheap work space, high-tech tools and crowd-sourced funding. The project has spawned some notable success stories many built around digital 3D printing - is there anything like an equivalent Maker Movement in the UK?read more...»
This is well worth watching A fantastic 20 minute speech & Q&A by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com.
Lots of great insights into the early entrepreneurial journey of Bezos and Amazon, including an admission that his parents gambled a large proportion of their life savings into his high-risk start-up.read more...»
Setting up a business is hard enough. Setting it up in this economic climate is nearly impossible. So entrepreneurs are having to seek out some imaginative solution. With banks seemingly reluctant to lend to new and smaller businesses, start ups are having to be more imaginative in how they raise cash to get going. This Channel 4 news report looks at the growth of unregulated peer to peer lending such as Zopa, Rate Setter, Funding Circle and KickStarter.
The UK’s peer-to-peer lending market remains small in the context of total commercial bank lending but it has trebled in size in just three years. According to a new report from the Open Data Institute, "lenders have been attracted by the relatively high rate of returns available by lending in this market, given the current low yield in bank and other conventional debt instruments."
A terrific video here from Jonathan Moules, the Enterprise Editor of the FT, which showcases some creative choices of business location in London.
This would make a great stimulus piece for a lesson on startup business location - what are the attractions of some of the unusual locations featured?read more...»
I’ve come across a great article and video clip about the problems faced by a company whose business boomed overnight. A nice problem to have, and an interesting problem too!read more...»
What happens when we pop our digital clogs?
I'd like to think that my collection of Tweets and Blogs might be acquired by the British Museum and placed in a special room that you could all visit. My collection of fascinating photos on Facebook are surely destined to become a national treasure - possibly.
Or possibly not.
But what happens to everything you do online once you've passed to a different kind of social network in the cloud?
There are an increasing number of businesses who spot an opportunity here. And now Google has decided that it has the ability to offer services to help people manage their "Digital Afterlife".read more...»
A great video to share here with your students and pose the question - can a fast food chain based on healthy eating succeed?
Students at tutor2u's EntrepreneurLIVE 2012 events met Vincent McKevitt, the entrepreneur behind Tossed, a healthy-eating fast food chain based in London.
It looks like Vincent might soon be facing some competition from an ambitious Canadian startup Freshii which is also testing the idea that fast food can be healthy by building a chain of healthy fast-food restaurants in the U.S. and around the world.
Can the concept work? Why not? But what will it take to encourage more of us to switch from the instant satisfaction of a burger or fried chicken.
And can businesses like Freshii and Tossed compete with established multinational fast food giants like McDonalds and Subway who may simply alter their product offering if significant numbers of customers decide to start looking for a healthy-eating alternative?read more...»
Look at the personal background of successful entrepreneurs and you will often see evidence of achievement against the odds. Around the globe, many entrepreneurs overcome adversity, building a successful business after migrating from their home countries to a different country.
This excellent video from the FT explains how many of the world's best entrepreneurs have been immigrants and examines what links being an outsider to business success?
Ravi Mattu, Business Life editor, talks with three immigrant entrepreneurs at different stages of their careers to hear what has driven them and the challenges they have faced.read more...»
This is a useful short video from the BBC which illustrates the process of business angel investing.
There is a strong flow of entrepreneurs who attempt to raise capital by pitching their companies to so-called angel investors. So what are the investors looking for before they part with their cash? And how helpful is the process for the entrepreneurs themselves?read more...»
As reported in Private Eye, when is a small business not a small business? At first glance, Teapigs looks like a small company on a mission to introduce quirky, premium teas to the mid-market segment. The company’s website tells a reassuring story of Nick and Louise who “met while working for a really big tea company”. What you won’t find out by reading the website is that the really big company is in fact…read more...»
This revision presentation looks at the key concepts of business costs. What are the main types of business cost and how can they be categorised? Why is the distinction between variable and fixed costs so important? Why do new businesses often find it hard to estimate the costs of the business - particularly in the startup business plan?read more...»
Every startup should consider the likely future cash flows of the enterprise in the first few weeks and months of trading. This revision presentation takes students through the basics of the cash flow forecast.read more...»
Many new businesses or start-don’t recruit people until the enterprise has become reasonably well established. Others need to recruit people before trading can begin. This presentation looks at the basic employment options for a new business and some of the employment challenges facing an entrepreneur.read more...»
This revision presentation looks at the options and issues for a new business looking to raise finance.read more...»
Entrepreneurs taking calculated risks expect to enjoy suitable rewards for their endeavour. But what are these risks and rewards? And how can an entrepreneur minimise risk? This updated revision presentation provides an overview…read more...»
The important concept of limited liability is explained in this revision presentationread more...»
This revision presentation examines the choices of potential business structure for a startup.read more...»
Angus Thirwell the co-founder and CEO of Hotel Chocolat is immensely grateful to Joanne Harris and Juliet Binoche. respectively the author and star of the hit film Hotel Chocolat. The movie educated a generation of aspirational chocolate lovers in how to pronounce Hotel Chocolat and has helped millions of consumers in Britain and around the world advocate the hit chocolate retail brand without committing a pronunication faux-pas! I wonder how many satisfied customers realise that Hotel Chocolat does not exist? Perhaps they have typed the name into Trip Advisor hoping for a review of a retreat flowing with rather wonderful chocolate made from a St Lucian plantation?
Amongst the various qualities required to succeed as an entrepreneur, persistence in the face of setbacks and disappointments has to be one of the most important. This interview with Rachel Lowe in the Guardian provides students with an excellent example of the role persistence plays. Rachel was one of the first-ever contestants on Dragons Den and although Rachel failed to gain investment (in fact, she took a mauling from the original dragons) her idea for a board game proved popular with the viewing public and went on to become a huge success.
However, a poor business decision at the wrong time resulted in her business failing and Rachel being declared bankrupt. Rachel's response? She picked herself up, handled the significant personal disruption and had the courage and tenacity to try again. That, my friends, is known as persistence. They say that starting and building a successful business is 2% inspiration and 98% perspiration. Hard work, in the face of adversity, is what it is about.
I must admit this came as something of a surprise, albeit a very pleasant one! Management Today Magazine today announced their "Top 50 entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter". There are some pretty predictable names on the list, with Sir Richard Branson (or "Branston" as a recent BUSS4 candidate wrote) coming out on top of the list. There's a listing for the Dragons, Martha Lane Fox, Richard Reed and two good friends of tutor2u - Will King and Kirsty Henshaw. But then....at number 45...well. A surprise!
All business teachers and students really ought to be on Twitter. It is a fantastic way to connect directly with people in business and many of the names on the Top 50 have a good track record of responding to student/teacher tweets. Why not give it a go!
This isn't meant to be depressing, just a possible stimulus for a discussion about businesses that have failed already this year.read more...»
This mini case study activity deals with the subject matter of ownership status but is more focussed on developing students skills at writing answers for Business Studies and demonstrating that business is not an exact science.
This Powerpoint can be used as a discussion starter to look at what makes bad and good business or product ideas and what elements are essential for a business or product to be a success.
With the launch of Rovio Entertainment's new game Bad Piggies this interview looks back on the early days of the technology and marketing phenomena that is Angry Birds. This case study provides a good discussion topic for entrepreneurism and business start ups with a business the students have a good understanding of.
This worksheet will hopefully get students thinking about which source of finance is suitable to specific situationsread more...»
Entrepreneur Richard Reed looks for the next generation of start-up superstars, setting aside up to a million pounds to invest in three of the big ideas pitched by 500 hopefuls. Episode 1 of the excellent Be Your Own Boss was shown on BBC Three and well worth recording to use as part of any unit on entrepreneurship and enterprise.
500 people have been given £100 each by Richard Reed. That's a very speculative investment of £50,000 by Reed to gain some insights into potential business ideas that might start to generate a return on the risk he's already taken.
What do you think of some of the business ideas featuredread more...»
Read on about a couple of new shows ideal for business studentsread more...»
The banks still refuse to lend. Venture capital (by and large) won’t touch startup finance with a bargepole. So should startups look to source the finance they need from complete strangers? The answer for many might now be yes - through crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding is a fast-growing approach to raising finance for business startups. This BBC article and video provides a great example of crowdfunding in action and also some data on the rise of crowdfunding in the UK.read more...»
A good starter idea for enterprise - starting a business - cutting out the middle man.read more...»
Hopefully you’ll be in a situation either in school, college or real life in which you have to make a product “pitch”. And there’s a good chance your audience might hate your ideas!
Here’s some reassurance. The experts don’t get it right every time, and there is room for innovative ideas that eventually do find a market.
It must be awful to become personally bankrupt. So awful in fact that it’s widely believed that potential investors must be afforded some protection against the risk. That lies behind the idea of the limited liability company.read more...»
As a follow up from the recent blog entry on sources of finance in the internet age comes the story of “Pebble” - a watch that connects to the iphone. Their quest for finance on kickstarter.com was successful beyond their wildest dreams! This is a great example of the use of “crowd-sourcing” as a means of raising finance.read more...»
This is a light hearted one, aimed particularly at those of you preparing for exams. It’s got nothing to do with exams really, just reflections on Disney’s mega flop “John Carter” in The Economist, which is said to have made a loss of over £200m and cost the boss his job.
Are there any common patterns behind famous marketing failures?
The Guardian on Friday featured an independent report on the sandwich market served as a “Get up and go” supplement to coincide with the 250th anniversary of the humble sandwich and the start of British Sandwich Week. It would make useful stimulus material for a low-budget research activity for a BUSS1 start-up.read more...»
The Daily Mail reports that a 66p sausage roll in Hull sells for 85p in Hammersmith – that’s almost 30% more. That finding won’t surprise you perhaps, although the size of some price differences is quite a shock.read more...»
Google Campus, a building designed to offer technology start-ups desk space and mentoring in east London, was opened to much fanfare by UK chancellor George Osborne. But is the government right to look to the tech sector for economic growth? In this excellent FT video Daniel Garrahan reports from inside Google Campus. Some good teaching points here, including:
- The role of government support for technology startups
- Non-financial benefits of a suitable location for startup entrepreneurs and their employees
- Use of a location to bring together entrepreneurs and venture capitalists
- The cost savings for startups of locating in a venue like Google Campus
The recession has brought the troubled High Street onto the front pages of the business news over the last few years. There’s the very bleakest news stories: Shop vacancies rise to highest level in four years as retail sales plummet or Up to 40% of high street shops ‘could close over next five years’. Just last week Game came up in a blog. Another story without a happy ending.
But its not all doom and gloom, and there are fantastic retail opportunities for firms to cash in on. It might be something experimental like ‘pop up shops’ or another growing trend: railway retailing.
The problems on the high street, and our changing shopping habits have been much discussed recently. But “bricks and mortar” retailing isn’t dead yet. Combine landlords with vacant shop sites (often in desirable locations), entrepreneurs (perhaps active online, but not used to face-to-face contact with customers) and an appetite for experimentation - and you get the phenomenon of the ‘pop up shop’.read more...»
If smartphones have become mass-market, then is there now a gap in the market for a niche phone - perhaps one made from bamboo? This excellent video examines the innovative idea of Kieron-Scott Woodhouse, a final year Product & Design student at the Middlesex University in London. He’s just turned 24 and is already running his own company. This is his debut design - the world’s first smartphone made from wood….read more...»