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Business Simulation - The Trading Game

Friday, September 12, 2014

There is nothing that better epitomizes 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 developed by tutor2u.

To request your free copy of The Trading Game simulation, please submit the following form and we will automatically send you the download link

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The Business of Religion

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

As an interesting way to introduce 3 of the 4 functional areas (and illustrate to students that business studies concepts are everywhere), I used these 3 news stories about how different religions have changed their strategies this year.

Pope Francis stamps out corruption in the Vatican Bank - By refusing to “do business” with certain unscrupulous customers, the profit at the Vatican Bank has dropped from £68m euros to just £2.3m. A strong move from Il Papa, but should a church make any profit at all?

Jehovah’s Witnesses change their marketing strategy - Instead of the door-to-door approach, Jehovah’s witnesses are trying to increase awareness of (and recruitment to) their “brand” by targeting train stations and shopping centres. Will this new tactic prove successful?

Church of England vote for women bishops - Traditionalist believed that as Jesus only “employed” male apostles, only men should lead the church. A recent vote has put an end to this misogyny, but one member of the church said “This is a show for the media. It's the end of the Church as we know it”. Should the church be exempt from the Sex Discrimination Act?

The lesson has now ended. All go in peace.

The Perfect BUSS1 Video – Steve Jobs Billion Dollar Hippy

Monday, September 08, 2014

The story of Apple, from inception up until 2011, is told beautifully in this 50 minute BBC documentary (available on Netflix or via this link) and literally covers all 15 sections in the BUSS1 specification (and quite a few from BUSS2 too). As an added bonus, I’ve created this 30-question worksheet to keep students focused.

A fantastic insight into one of the biggest companies in the world, a ready-made lesson... and chance for you to put your feet up for an hour!

Hope it helps!

Technology & Manufacturing - Innovation in Diesel Engine Design & Production

A great video here from the Royal Institution which illustrates how technology and manufacturing move together through the process of new product development.

The location for the video is a JCB engine factory and our guide explains how technological change impacts on the development of the next generation of high-powered diesel engines.

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BUSS4 research theme and the impact of technological change on businesses manufacturing in the UK

Monday, September 01, 2014

With brilliant timing to coincide with the first bullet-point for the new AQA BUSS4 research theme, today's Deloitte Monday Briefing focuses on Technology and Human Welfare. The piece considers the paradox between the very considerable effect that communication technologies have had on our daily lives, and the far less noticeable effect on output; measured productivity – effectively the efficiency of production – has improved far more slowly than the capacity of computers.

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What do you mean by ‘Business Class’?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Which airline boss has said for many years that “an airplane is nothing more than a bus with wings on”?

Of course, the answer is Michael O'Leary, the CEO of Ryanair - Europe's biggest budget airline. 

But, as Ryanair's passenger figures show that 25% of their customers are actually travelling on business, they have decided that now is the time to introduce a 'Business Class' service.

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Gallery of Entrepreneurs

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The first lesson of the year with any group is always difficult – usually by the time I get to know their names, hand out the textbooks and go over the course outline we are all in need of a fun activity.

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Growth with Inflation

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Over the last couple of days I have been watching balloons take off at Bristol's Balloon Fiesta. An evening out with friends, and a few pints may have inspired Don Cameron to take a risk, but a love of aeronautics or flying helped.

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CSR - Unilever’s Strategy & Culture of Sustainability

A superb article here from The Economist that should be essential reading for all students required to develop their understanding of corporate social responsibility (“CSR”) and, specifically, the concept of sustainability.

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Marketing Strategy - Twins Add Value to Humble Homewares Through Design Innovation

Monday, August 04, 2014

The use of innovative design as a source of competitive advantage lies at the heart of this entrepreneurial success story - detailed here in an excellent Guardian interview.

It is always good to see twin brothers succeeding in business! And the Joseph twins seem to have combined their talents very effectively to help re-invigorate their family business.

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Takeovers: Morrison’s Disastrous Investment in Kiddicare

If you are looking for a good recent example of how takeovers can destroy returns for shareholders (of the investing business), then add Morrison’s purchase of Kiddicare to the list!

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Strategy: Retrenchment for the Co-op Group to Reduce Gearing

The Co-operative Group, which has endured a pretty horrific period recently, is now firmly on a path of retrenchment. It is starting to take some substantial steps to dispose of business units in order to reduce the group’s high level of debts (gearing) and to focus the group on core activities.

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Revision Presentation - Business Ethics

This updated and extended revision presentation introduces the concept of business ethics. The distinction between ethical and legal behaviour is examined as are the potential benefits and drawbacks of ethical behaviour. Some topical examples of business ethics in action are also provided.

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Marketing Strategy - P&G Takes the Axe to its Brand Portfolio

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Are there too many brands chasing the available demand of households and other consumers? That's the view of AG Lafley, the CEO of Procter & Gamble ("P&G") - one of the world's leading multinationals in the fast-moving consumer goods ("FMCG") sector.

P&G has announced that it will look to focus on a much smaller number of consumer brands and cull up to 100 brands from its extensive product portfolio. In a classic example of product portfolio management, P&G wants to focus on those 70-80 key brands that have existing strong market shares and/or fast growth prospects.

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Leadership & Change: Sergio Marchionne Drives Culture Change to Turnaround Chrysler and Fiat

If business students are looking for a different example of how effective leadership can drive successful change, then they should add Sergio Marchionne to their research.

Sergio Marchionne was initially best-known for leading the turnaround of the Italian automotive group Fiat. More recently, Marchionne has led the transformation of US automotive group Chrysler, taking Chrysler from the brink of bankruptcy at the lowest point of the financial crisis in 2008/9 to profitability.

Marchionne took over as CEO of Fiat in 2004 and was able to return the struggling Italian car manufacturer to profitability with two years. He first connected with Chrysler when a strategic alliance was formed between Chrysler and Fiat (who took a 20% shareholding) as part of a US government-backed rescue of Chrysler as it tried to avoid bankruptcy. When Chrysler was able to pay off various US government loans in 2011, Fiat was left with a stake of over 50%. Since then, Fiat have been negotiating with a Chrysler employee trust in the US (which holds a substantial remainder of the shares in Chrysler) to complete a full takeover. A deal was finally agreed in early 2014 with the formalities now being completed. 

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Strategy – Multinationals Should Beware the “Local Dynamos”

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The world’s largest multinationals are in a constant search for revenue and profit growth, with many targeting emerging markets as the best source of growth that will satisfy their shareholders.

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Strategy - Tata Group Sets out its Conglomerate Vision

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The headline above from the FT really caught my eye this morning. Tata Group, perhaps best known in the UK for its ownership of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Corus, has set out ambitious plans to invest $35bn in capital spending over the next three years as part of its vision for the next 10 years.

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Marketing Mix - When the Whole Industry’s Prices are Too High

There is a huge amount of business studies in this news story from the BBC in which a senior executive from private healthcare provider Bupa suggests that the whole industry in the UK has set its prices too high.

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Technology - Delays in Fast Broadband Threatens the Competitiveness of UK Business

"Nowadays every business is a digital business" claims the FT's Jonathan Moules in this useful video clip about the importance of fast broadband speed for UK business.

However, not every business has access to fast broadband and there is evidence presented here that the lack of acceptable bandwidth is reducing the competitiveness of businesses who rely on access to the Internet.

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Strategy: Foxconn Pursues Diversification as it Attempts to Move up the Value Chain

Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer best known for building Apple products, is increasingly adopting a strategy of diversification in response to rising labour costs in China.

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Entrepreneurship - How Failure Drove the Success of Dropbox

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

We're all big fans and users of Dropbox here at tutor2u - and the story of how Dropbox has developed into a hugely valuable business is a great example of how failure can inform and inspire successful entrepreneurial activity.

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Vertical Integration - Benefits Street and Baking Bought by Sky

Here is a small, but good example of vertical integration in action with a takeover by Sky of the production company behind the likes of Great British Bake-Off and Benefits Street.

Vertical integration arises when a firm buys a business at an earlier or later stage of the supply chain. In this case, Sky is undertaking "backwards vertical integration" - by investing in a controlling stake in one of the many television production companies that provide programming for Sky and other channels.

It looks like there may be some significant revenue synergies available to Sky as a result of its investment.  For example we are told that "Sky's distribution business, Sky Vision, will promote Love Production's formats and programmes to networks overseas.".

New Leadership - Can the Soap Man Save Tesco?

This will be a dynamic business story that will be essential for business students to follow closely over the coming months. Tesco has announced the appointment of Dave Lewis to replace Philip Clarke as CEO with effect from 1 October 2014.

This decision is significant for many reasons, not the least that Dave Lewis has never been a retailer, nor has he ever been a CEO. Nevertheless, Lewis was the man that Tesco wanted (he was headhunted) and he has a superb track record at Unilever, one of the world’s leading multinationals in the FMCG sector (“fast-moving consumer goods”).

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Retrenchment - Nadella Axes Jobs in a Bid to Simplify Microsoft

Satya Nadella, the new CEO of Microsoft who has taken over from Steve Ballmer, has announced that 18,000 jobs will be cut by 2015. These are the largest job losses in Microsoft's history and represents around 14% of Microsoft's total workforce. This is the classic action of a new CEO opting for a strategy of retrenchment as a way of imposing his/her views on the appropriate strategic direction.

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How did Aldi crack Tesco’s hold on the market?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Some news in the same week as Philip Clarke's high profile departure from Tesco, is that Karl Albrecht, who founded German discount supermarket chain Aldi  with his brother Theo, has died. The success and growth of Aldi (an abbreviation of Albrecht discount) is one of the thorns in the side of Tesco, and one reason for the profits warning that they announced yesterday, along with several other problems that Clarke inherited when he took over from Sir Terry Leahy three years ago. There is plenty to analyse in the criticism of Tesco's strategy, but also worth considering what it is that has enabled Aldi to break into the market, and how they have moved to a position of having 19% of those in the AB socio-economic catergory shopping in their stores.

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The do’s and don’t's of pitching for business investment

Here is an article which might be worth hanging on to for the start of next term, when new students start on their Business Studies course. The BBC has spoken to three venture capitalists - not the well-know Dragons, but some different names: the founder of Google Ventures, and managing partners of two funds based in India and in New York. They compare what they look for in a startup, what they avoid, and the best way for businesses to approach them.

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Vending Machine Pizza

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

This could be an excellent starter activity for a group discussion September?

Ask students to consider whether this is a good idea? Is it worth the price? What is its USP? Wonderful for getting students who havent studied business before (and those who have) to start thinking about many business concepts. I find that students tend to engage well with the concept of enterprise when they find the idea interesting?! And who doesnt love pizza???

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Barbie, you’re hired

Monday, June 30, 2014

"Entering the entrepreneurial world, this independent professional is ready for the next big pitch. Her "smartphone," tablet and briefcase are always by her side."

Sounds like one of the contestants to take part in the next series of The Apprentice? Actually no, it's the latest Barbie doll - Entrepreneur Barbie.

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Marketing, with a hint of Brazilian flavour

Thursday, June 19, 2014

As far as I know, Pot Noodles don't usually feature as a typically Brazilian dish, but they are just one of the products jumping on the World Cup bandwagon.
There are plenty of other examples to add - Domino's have new Fiesta and Rio pizzas, Tilda have 'sweet and spicy' rice and Lucozade have a new Brazilian variety. These and others all feature in an article about the range of Brazilian-themed products appearing in the supermarkets.

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Ikea in China - The Classic Long-term Success Story Built on Localisation

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I suddenly realised that, whilst we've featured Ikea prominently in our exam coaching workshops for a couple of years, we haven't linked to the wealth of resources that are out there to help tell & explain Ikea's strategy!

Here is a selection of the best - certainly contains everything you need to gather relevant evidence for why Ikea is such a timeless case study.

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Revision Presentation - Problems of Takeovers and Mergers including Integration

Sunday, June 15, 2014

This streamed revision presentation examines the problems of takeovers and mergers including difficulties integrating businesses successfully

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Revision Presentation - Impact On and Reaction Of Stakeholders to Takeovers and Mergers

This streamed revision presentation outlines some evidence of the impact on, and reaction of, stakeholders to takeovers and mergers

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Revision Presentation - Impact of Takeovers and Mergers on Business Performance

This streamed revision presentation looks at the impact of takeovers andmergers on the performance of the businesses involved.

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Revision Presentation - Factors Influencing the Success of Takeovers and Mergers

This streamed revision presentation considers the factors influencing the success of takeovers and mergers

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Revision Presentation - Motives for Takeovers and Mergers

This streamed revision presentation considers the motives for takeovers and mergers and how these link with corporate strategy

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Starbucks’ Long-term Investment in Leadership of the Chinese Coffee Shop Market

Friday, June 13, 2014

How on earth is Starbucks making a success of its push into China? China is a tea-drinking nation. In fact, China has the world's oldest and largest tea-drinking culture. Chinese people hate coffee – they say it tastes so bitter it is like tasting medicine.

But, look at the evidence. Starbucks has been in China for 13 years, with an initial presence in the major tier 1 cities Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Starbucks expects China to become its second-largest market by 2014 aiming to have 1,500 outlets throughout China by 2015. The number of staff employed by Starbucks in China is forecast to rise from 12,000 to 30,000.

According to the latest Euromonitor report, Starbucks has a 60 per cent share of China's emerging coffee house market, well above its closest competitor.

That sounds like a success story. So how has it done it?

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GSK - The Only Way is Ethics?

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Has it all gone horribly wrong for UK-based global pharmaceutical giant GSK? Profits might be rising, but there still seems to be a nasty smell about the way GSK does business.

That’s bad news for GSK shareholders and stakeholders, but good news for business students. GSK has quickly become one of the very best examples of the potential costs and reputational damage that can arise when business ethics are seemingly ignored by parts of a complex multinational organisation.

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From Startup to Global Competitor - Insights into Xiaomi

This is a terrific article from BusinessWeek on the growth strategy of Xiaomi, a Chinese business that is fast-becoming one of the countries best-known global brands.

Lots in the article (and the related video which I have added further below) for business students to note - I have jotted down some of the things I spotted below.

We've written before about Xiaomi and it is certainly an important business to watch - take a look at the other business blog articles on Xiaomi.

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BUSS4 China - China-Britain Business Council

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) partners with UKTI to promote trade between the two countries. Their mission is “...to help UK companies of all sizes and sectors, whether new entrants or established operations, access the full potential of the fastest growing market in the world.”

They publish a regular magazine called Focus, and I have been through a few recent editions looking for nuggets of information to add to the files of research for BUSS4 Section A answers. Here is a summary of what I have found – I hope that some of it is useful:

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BUSS4 China - Selling TV to the Chinese consumers

Friday, May 30, 2014

There was a great radio programme on today, For all the TV in China. As Chinese consumers become TV owners, there is a vast market for entertainment shows, and as this is one of the UK's biggest exports (see this recent report from the UK's Department of Culture, Media and Sport which sets out how creative industries are worth a whopping £8million per hour to the UK economy), there are plenty of UK production companies who are keen to sell their products to China.

It turns out that the Chinese can't get enought of shows like Take Me Out, and there are plenty of ways of adapting their formats so that they reflect Chinese tastes and cultural sensitivities. The programme is 28 minutes of BUSS4 gold dust, with a good sprinkling of cultural awareness scattered over it as well.

Tesco in China “20% of something is better than 100% of nothing”

Thursday, May 29, 2014

My students and I invariably use Tesco as our shining example of failure in China (and failure after the departure of a long-term leader, and failure due to over-diversification, and failure due to neglect of their core market, and failure due to complacency over smaller competitors). However, Tesco today finalised the deal with China Resource Enterprise which gives them 20% of the largest food retailer in China. This BBC article could be used as a nice evaluation point to show that in the long term, Tesco could still be winners in China.

Tesco have kept a healthy foothold in the world’s largest food market, and due to China’s efforts to rebalance the economy towards consumption, the market is due to grow by 50% over the next three years.

More interestingly, Tesco appear to have learnt from their error and won’t try to “go it alone” in India. They have announced a joint venture with JLR’s parent company Tata Group to initially open 12 stores. From what we know of Tata (and the Indian market’s rapid growth forecast), it seems possible that Tesco may still recover from their recent slump.

Organisational Culture - Problems of Changing Organisational Culture

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The key problems in changing organisational culture are outlined in this brief revision note:

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Organisational Culture - Ways of Changing Organisational Culture

In this revision note, we summarise some key points that students might consider when looking at ways of changing organisational culture:

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Organisational Culture: The Reasons for Changes in Organisational Culture

We've summarised below some key points that students should consider when revising the reasons for changes in organisational culture:

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Organisational Culture: The Impact of Organisational Culture on Business Strategies and Performance

This revision note summarises some of the key points that students should consider when looking at the impact of organisational culture on business strategies and performance:

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Organisational Culture: Factors influencing the Culture of an Organisation and Cultural Differences

We've summarised below some key points that students should consider when revising the the factors influencing the culture of an organisation and cultural differences within an organisation:

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Organisational Culture: Tony Hsieh on Zappos, Core Values, Culture and Organisational Structure

If students are looking for a research example of a business that is truly built around a deliberate attempt to create and nurture a strong organisational culture, they need look no further than online shoe retailer Zappos.

Tony Hsieh - the founder of Zappos (bought by Amazon in 2009) wanted to build a business based around a simple idea. That it - if you get the organisational culture right - then everything else that you need to be successful will fall into place.

Is he right?

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The surprising effects of Barclays retrenchment and Dixons merger

Friday, May 16, 2014

2 perfectly contrasting and counter-intuitive articles that show how “the markets” can favour retrenchment over growth.

Barclays announced it was slashing 19,000 jobs and reducing the size of its Investment bank. The immediate result? Share price surged 8%.

Carphone Warehouse announce a £3.8bn merger with Dixons that will “create a seamless experience” for their customers. The result? Dixons share price closed 10% down and Carphone Warehouse’s dropped by 8%.

By comparing and contrasting the 2 strategies (and the reasons for the resultant change in share price) students can show good analysis of the benefits of retrenchment.

Anthony Jenkins, in an interview in the Sunday Times, said it best by echoing/paraphrasing/plagiarising Howard Schultz after he closed almost 1000 Starbucks stores in the US - “Growth is not a strategy, it’s the by-product of good strategy”.

I hope the revision is going well!

Women make better shoppers

Thursday, May 15, 2014

It's official - women are better at shopping than men. I have just finished listening to a brilliant edition of Peter Day's 'In Business' called Price Conscious, and one of the revelations was that men can be fooled into thinking they are getting a bargain simply by using red price stickers, whereas women are much more analytical about pricing and can look beyond the colour used on a label. Far be it from me to comment on this any further.....

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Is China’s slowdown good news?

There is plenty of concern about the slowdown in China's growth, and what this might mean for businesses looking at expansion via China. To what extent should those businesses be worried about slower growth? The issues here are very relevant to the external environment in China, and could be useful for bullet points 1 and 6:

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