tutor2u has partnered with Chelsea FC to create a fantastic new visit for Business Students. The Business of Football at Chelsea FC gives business students the inside track on one of the world’s leading sporting brands. Here’s how to arrange a visit for your students…read more...»
The first Biz Quiz of 2009 is here. Good luck everyone.
Another excellent piece on the changing nature of UK retailing - this time in the Independent - charts the rise of “fixed-price retailing”...read more...»
There is an excellent analytical piece in the Observer this morning which looks at the challenges facing the UK retailing market…read more...»
A great example of supply and demand + sources of finance, all rolled-into one…read more...»
A timely and hugely relevant article in the Guardian today about how Britain’s banks are squeezing the life out of the UK’s small business sector…read more...»
The labour market is changing and according to The Economist it’s likely that the people who are in for the biggest shock are the so called “Millennials”, “Generation Y” or “the Net Generation” by social researchers. “Net Geners” are, roughly, people (like a lot of tutor2u blog readers) born in the 1980s and 1990s. Those old enough to have passed from school and university into work are used to a world in which jobs were plentiful and firms fall over one another to recruit them. Now their prospects are grimmer. Industries such as finance, technology and retail, which employ lots of young people, look likely to axe thousands of jobs.read more...»
JJB is one of several struggling national retail chains. It has just appointed new senior management in a last-ditch attempt to recover profitability and generate enough cash flow to service its large bank debt burden.read more...»
Which business is featured in the picture above? Find the answer by clicking “read more”read more...»
The business news in 2009 has got off to a pretty grim start. A revised economic forecast from the British Chambers of Commerce sees unemployment rising to 3.1 million during 2009, or approximately 10% of the workforce.read more...»
To all readers of tutor2u’s Business Studies Blog, and to all our other customers, friends and supporters….can I wish you all a very peaceful and healthy 2009. May all your new year resolutions be SMART ones
Best wishes to you and your families in 2009
A great piece in the Independent this morning does some crystal ball-gazing for ten of the UK’s leading retailers. As the economic downturn bites with vengeance in the Spring, which of the retailers featured are best placed to take advantage of the opportunities arising in a tough retail environment? Which retailers face more threats than opportunities?
There is an old saying that “profit is a matter of opinion, cash is a matter of fact.”
How true this is as the economy staggers into a damaging recession. Well known high street retailers, airlines, numerous soccer clubs, farmers, suppliers to the building trade and multi-national car manufacturers have all been featured in the media recently as examples of “cash strapped” businesses whose future is in doubt because of rapidly draining cash balances.read more...»
I really like this recent piece in the Telegraph in which one of the co-founders of Dolphin Music outlines the key stages in the development of his business. Some great learning points in there, even though the article is relatively brief. You can learn more about Dolphin Music here.
The most common source of finance for start-ups and small businesses is a credit card - either that of the entrepreneur founder or provided by the business’ bank. So it comes as little surprise that small business leaders are calling on the government to prevent credit card companies from charging penal interest rates during the Credit Crunch. This article in the Telegraph explains more about the FSB’s campaign and also has some useful commentary on other initiatives to ease SME cash flow problems during 2009.
Recessions put businesses under enormous pressure for example to cut back on training and marketing - but both can be costly mistakes in the medium term when an economy starts to recover…read more...»
Here are ten questions on the business news during 2008. Can you score top marks?
Retailer Zavvi (formerly Virgin Megstores) finally went into administration yesterday afternoon after prolonged speculation that it was in financial difficults. The statement made on Zavvi’s website says much about the reasons why this business failed. This is a good example to use for centres preparing for the new AQA AS Unit 2 (working with suppliers, managing cash flow etc)
On 27 November 2008 Entertainment UK Limited (EUK), the Zavvi UK’s main supplier, went into Administration. Since this time, the Group has been unable to source stock in the usual way and has been forced to enter into new trading arrangements. The Directors understand it is unlikely that EUK will be sold as a going concern and the Group has continued to experience significant difficulty in obtaining stock on favourable credit terms. In addition, the Group has recently experienced a material fall in revenues due to the abrupt downturn in consumer spending. As a result of the above factors the Group began to experience significant cash flow pressure and ultimately became unable to pay its debts as they fell due.
I love mine - couldn’t do without it. But it will be firmly out of sight and out of mind on Christmas Day at least…read more...»
I remember from my time auditing the Nestle Chocolate factories in York that December to February is the peak period for Easter Egg production. The Christmas selection boxes and gift products were long gone by the time the festive season came around. The moulds were changed and production soon geared up to get those Easter Eggs into retailers warehouses for January. Here is a useful article from the Daily Mail which illustrates some key aspects of Easter egg production + including the use of flow production and quality control.
There is a significant media focus on the problems facing high street retailers in the UK. The intensity of the media scrutiny is bound to increase further after the Christmas break. Which retailers will fail? Which will survive? Which retailers will do better than the competition and perhaps even grow their sales? And how on earth do we get a feel for the overall level of consumer spending in retail outlets?read more...»
One of the highlights of Christmas will surely be the new 30 minute production from Wallace & Gromit, and it promises to be packed full with business studies material…read more...»
A big thanks to Peter Simpson for suggesting this story about how changes in the Sterling / Euro exchange rate are having signficant effects on the retail market on the Northern Ireland / Republic of Ireland border.
A fabulous case study of a start-up business has recently been published which describes how Paul Meyer defied the start-up odds to make a success of his indoor wind tunnel business idea.read more...»
I was shopping for some Paul Smith merchandise for a certain member of the Riley clain yesterday. And then just today I picked up on this super BBC video clip on the recent expansion by Paul Smith’s business, based in Nottingham. A great example to use when illustrating how production / distribution capacity needs to rise to keep pace with increasing global demand.
A bold (perhaps reckless) prediction in the Sunday Times today. “Up to 15 national retail chains are predicted to go bust before the middle of January 2009”...read more...»
A fascinating, though brief article in The Sunday Times today about a Yorkshire entrepreneur who has created a stunning success story with a product much in demand in some of the most dangerous places on earth…read more...»
The business news is full of reports on firm’s that are suffering (or worse) during the credit crunch. But as we’ve reported a few times recently (e.g. Poundland), there are many firms that positively thrive when consumers are minded to look for discounted or bargain products. A great example is Betterware - and this short video explains how Betterware has prospered through recessions several times before!
This is a great video to use as a way of illustrating how a sudden change in market demand can reduce the returns made on business investments. In this example, many dairy farmers have invested into turning their operations into organic milk production (to win a share of the growing and higher margin organic milk market). However, the credit crunch has led to a sharp fall in demand and the main milk wholesaler (Dairy Crest) has reduced the farmgate price paid to its suppliers.
We’ve often looked at ways in which firms are being affected by the looming recession. One obvious impact is on marketing, and promotion in particular. One widely quoted belief is that advertising budgets are the first to be axed in a downturn. A recent article in The Economist seems to back up this view, but the picture is more varied than you might think. Yes, TV advertising in the United States is taking a beating. But the use of other media and growth in emerging markets is taking up some of the slack.read more...»
I’m preparing for an enjoyable and relaxing morning Christmas shopping with her Ladyship, and I’m pretty sure we’ll pop in to a couple of Leeds’ department stores. But our visit will be to pick up those last few present ideas rather than work our way through a long list. For, in our household, online shopping is the “go-to” method of ensuring we get what we need.
The tutor2u office is currently piled high with deliveries from a variety of online retailers (Amazon.co.uk probably accounting for about half of the total pile). The presents were delivered on time, at great prices. No car parking charges or stress from an evening jostling with crowds of late-night shopping. For us - and perhaps like you - online shopping has created much more time and space to enjoy Christmas.
According to retail sales data released by the ONS on Friday, it looks like one of the big losers from the migration to online shopping is the traditional department store. Despite the allure of heavy price discounting, customer numbers (measured by the retail concept of “footfall”) are well down. Sales made predominantly at low margin spell trouble when it comes to calculating the profit made in a crucial Christmas trading period.
This week sees the traditional quarterly rent payments due by retailers to landlords (Christmas Eve I think). Watch out for some high profile business failures amongst retailers who just couldn’t persuade enough of us to swap the comfort of our kitchen table, laptop and Internet connection for a 5-hour shopping marathon on the high street.
Two pieces of contrasting news from well-known retailers provide a telling insight into the effects of the economic slump…read more...»
A few weeks ago, we introduced a new tutor2u resource designed for delegates at our AQA AS Business Unit 2 Teacher Workshops. Cash Flow Clue-Doh! is a cash flow-based murder mystery game which encourages students to discover the clues that help solve the question “why did Peston Plastics go bust”...read more...»
Another cracking short video from the BBC website provides an overview of the planning, marketing and operational processes at one of the UK’s leading gift sellers. Not surprisingly, Christmas is an incredibly busy period, which is where the IT systems and automation come in handy.
Many thanks to Penny Brooks for spotting this useful discussion in which Lord Digby Jones discusses whether the Government is right to consider bailing out Tata-owned Jaguar/Landrover. The video goes onto a more general consideration of the overall fiscal stimulus and whether it will work
My last train journey of 2008 was from York to Newcastle and back. I must have started and finished the working day at York station more than 20 times this year. The quality of some things there vary day to day (e.g. the reliability of the car park payment machine) but one thing has maintained the highest standards - the AMT coffee kiosk at the York station concourse.
A great-tasting fairtrade latte (always with an extra shot) + a fresh blueberry muffin, with enough change from a fiver for a newspaper too. What really attracts me to the AMT kiosk too is the friendly, energetic style of the staff. The coffee is served instantly, always with a smile. There always seem to be at least two staff in the tiny kiosk (sometimes three) working flat out to serve a constant stream of rail passengers. The sandwich/coffee bar across the kiosk is usually empty, whilst customers prefer to take their place in the AMT queue.
So for me, the York AMT is my choice of coffee shop of 2008. Do you have a favourite?
A train journey yesterday gave me the chance to catch up on some background reading - or so I thought…read more...»
We’ve just reached the end of a hectic few weeks preparing and delivering student workshops, teacher INSET days and a complete series of revision toolkits for pre-release materials.
The good news is that all the workshops and conferences are finished and all the pre-release materials are now completed and shipped. We wil continue to process new orders over the Christmas holiday, although you should allow an extra day or two for the Royal Mail to deliver our parcels - which are all sent first class post. We’ll be processing these orders offsite - the main tutor2u office will be closed from lunchime today (18 December) until 3 Jan 2009. Our telephone answering team at Moneypenny will, however, be available to take any messages from tutor2u customers over the entire holiday period. We get all messages texted through to us, so we should be able to deal with anything particularly urgent.
A couple of resources remain to be completed - the AQA Unit 2 and OCR Unit 1 teacher material. Both these two resources will be completed and shipped by 7 January and will be with you for the start of term.
With our best wishes for a enjoyable and relaxing Christmas and New Year break
The tutor2u team xxx
An absolutely fantastic video has just arrived on the BBC website - ideal material to demonstrate the use of technology in operations, business planning and a host of other curriculum topics. A huge hat tip to the BBC for producing resources like this - absolutely invaluable.
This excellent series on the BBC website has a new update. The idea is a clever one - track the monthly views of 10 small businesses, operating in a variety of sectors. As we progress through the coming difficult months, it will be interesting to gauge the mood of the 10 entrepreneurs concerned. The November reports (now available) make very useful reading for Business Teacher and Students. I particularly like the selection of a “key current concern”. These vary from hoping that suppliers will remain in business to finding the right quality staff. Much to discuss with students simply from these brief insights.
Are you searching for that Christmas stocking filler that is just a little bit different? Would you like the fragrance of freshly chargrilled burger clinging to the festive atmosphere this year? Here’s just the gift idea for you then...
Here is the link to the promotional video for “Flame by BK”. Give the product a click a few times for some fun! Something tells me though this is a short-term product/brand extension. But you never know - it might catch on
Another good example of a start-up business prospering in its small niche, even when the mass-market is suffering. This video clip looks at how demand for real ale is growing despite the decline in pub trade and the effect of increasing beer taxes.
Delegates to our AQA AS Business Unit 2 teacher workshops got the chance to try out our new Headhunter resource, and then to take the whole thing away with them to use in their teaching.
During the workshops we explored alternative uses of Headhunter and ways in which it could be embedded into effective business teaching. Here, as promised for the delegates, are those great teacher suggestions…read more...»
This super little short video from BBC Scotland introduces story of a start-up in Edinburgh that is having to add extra capacity to met increasing demand from its main customer. A sweet story of success amid the prevailing economic gloom
A terrific 2-minute video here that takes us inside the Amazon distribution centre at the busiest time of the year - the weeks before Christmas. Perfect for illustrating technology in operations!
The last weekly Biz Quiz before Christmas - good luck!
Not only is my wife disapproving (we are a Barbie – or even Sindy household) but so is a judge in California. Barbie’s makers Mattel have won a landmark copyright-infringement case against Bratz maker MGA Entertainment. A Bratz designer was found guilty of developing the Bratz brand while still working for Mattel.
This news is pretty disastrous for MGA who have been told that after Christmas they must begin removing dolls from the shelves. They are banned from selling and making all 40 multi-ethnic dolls in the Bratz line.read more...»
An interesting short piece in the Observer this morning highlights how government can get involved in providing finance to technology-based start-ups. So called “pre-revenue start-ups” are struggling to raise finance to complete their product development and bring their technology to market. It is hoped that a new £1bn venture capital fund will help address this funding gap.
A famous retailer pushed into administration. A glut of stock in store and in the warehouses. Administrators desparate to turn stocks into cash. You can see why Woolworths went for a high profile 50% off sale as a way of grabbing the cash from shoppers looking to make savings on their Christmas shopping….read more...»