Following Business Win’s post yesterday Shakespeareâ€™s economic legacy for the UK we continue our review of how the Bard is increasing the UK’s economy:
The area known as Shakespeare’s England (which takes in the towns of Stratford, Royal Leamington Spa, Kenilworth and Warwick) received 9.94 million tourists in 2014, according to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the charity that cares for Shakespeare heritage sites.
It adds that the total value of annual tourism to the local economy is in the region of Â£635 million, which supports some 11,150 jobs.
Alisan Cole, from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, says: “2014, the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, was our record year with 820,000 visitors, and we’re expecting 2016 to be on a par with it, if not exceed it.”
In terms of attracting hungry and thirsty tourists, Hathaway Cafe is perfectly positioned in the centre of Stratford, and is just a short walk from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
Manager and owner Rick Allen, 51, says that during the summer theÂ Tudor era teashop is packed with Asian customers, typically from China and Taiwan, playing Â£13 a head for afternoon tea (or Â£18 with a glass of prosecco).
“Off peak we get around 1,000 customers per week, but it’s well over 2,000 per week during the peak season of July and August,” he says.
Mr Allen adds that Birmingham Airport’s new runway extension, which caters for the growing number of flights from East Asia, has been a fillip for the business.
“We’re literally getting calls from people saying ‘we’ve got a booking for 24 and we’re on our way’. In August it’s mayhem – good fun, but mayhem.”
Down in London former actor Declan McHugh, 55, has been taking people on Shakespeare themed guided walks since 1999.
He says his business – Shakespeare in the City Walk – has grown thanks to positive word of mouth, and good reviews on websites such as TripAdvisor.
Mr McHugh adds that London is a rich seam for Shakespeare fans since the playwright spent most of his working life moving through the then murky and bohemian world of the Elizabethan city’s playhouses.
Declan McHugh’s tour takes in sites including The Seven Ages of Man sculpture inspired by Shakespeare’s As You Like It
Charging Â£10 per adult, he says the Shakespeare anniversary year is shaping up as a record one for his business.
“I’ve been doing this for 17 years and I’m starting to reap the rewards,” he says.
While he says it’s hard to give exact numbers, he normally gets between five and 10 people meeting him outside Blackfriars underground station every Friday at 11am. But that’s just for the public walks.
“Then I also do regular walks privately for colleges and universities from across the globe, plus there’s UK institutions and businesses. I have the Girl Guides coming next Monday, for example.Â Private walks usually are for 15 20 people but I have done the tour for 60 people before,” he says.
Mr McHugh says his fascination for Shakespeare began at 11 years old, and now he regards the Bard as pretty much “his guardian angel”.
September 21, 2016 Tags: Business Win, Exporting Businesses, growing business, Growing Sales, winning business Posted in: Business Communications, Business Exports, Business Growth, Business Win, Global Business, Growing Business, Growing Sales, Uncategorized, Winning Business No Comments
In the age of Brexit we often underestimate the UK’s economic advantage given to the current economy by our cultural heritage.
William Shakespeare may be widely regarded as finest playwright in the English language, but when he put his quill down he was also a savvy businessman.
In Elizabethan London, the original Globe Theatre could accommodate 3,000 people. Commoners or “groundlings” paid a penny to stand in the open air, while the gentry parted with as many as six pennies to sit on cushions in the covered galleries.
Notwithstanding the fact that the Globe burned down in 1613, Shakespeare’s share in the playhouse made him a tidy fortune.
He also part owned another London theatre and a production company. And back in his hometown of Stratford upon Avon in Warwickshire, he invested widely in land and property, and reportedly bought and sold grain.
By the time Shakespeare died on 23 April 1616 – 400 years ago – he was a very wealthy man. In today’s money he would have comfortably been a millionaire.
Fast forward four centuries, and Shakespeare would likely be rather pleased that his work and legacy continues to support a large and lucrative industry, which is far from being limited to the sale of theatre tickets and employment of actors.
Instead, Shakespeare supports a substantially wider business community – from hotels and restaurants in Stratford, to walking tours in London, bars near a balcony in the Italian city of Verona, sales of books and memorabilia, and even leadership classes for businessmen and women.
Piers Ibbotson says there are so many lessons from Shakespeare about the perils and pitfalls of power that it has provided him with an inexhaustible fund of material for his management and leadership workshops over the past two decades.
“The plays of Shakespeare are case studies for central human dilemmas,” says the 61-year-old, who is part of Warwick Business School’s Create unit.
“The plays are so rich, and so complex, that there are actual situations to examine. Acting things out is very powerful, people can physically get inside situations.”
Create uses Shakespeare’s plays to guide students, and business clients, through numerous difficult business situations.
Macbeth, for example, is viewed as a study into the limits of ambition, while The Tempest is seen as a metaphor for a perfect storm of workplace rivalry.
Meanwhile, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is used to explore business transformation, and the Merchant of Venice teaches contract enforcement.
Mr Ibbotson says: “Shakespeare is such a wonderful asset and of course you’re always using such powerful language – it allows people to articulate much more subtle and complex ideas than thin business language.”
Richard Olivier, 54, is another person who uses Shakespeare’s plays to teach good leadership and business practice. The son of Sir Laurence Olivier, the UK’s most famous 20th Century Shakespearian actor, Mr Olivier says: “Shakespeare is an amazing ethical teacher. Apart from the history plays, there is no play where the bad guy ends up in charge at the end.”
Clients of Mr Olivier’s company Olivier Mythodrama have included NHS management, the Metropolitan Police and Daimler-Benz. His charges range from Â£5,000 for a half-day session to as much as Â£40,000 for a six-day intensive course.
Mr Olivier adds: “There’s huge drama in leadership, and Shakespeare was probably the first playwright to portray the human drama of leadership in three dimensional form.”
September 20, 2016 Tags: Business Win, Global Business, Growing Sales, winning business Posted in: Business Communications, Business Development, Business Win, Global Business, Uncategorized, Winning Business No Comments
Music streaming sites are helping to drive sales of vinyl records- new research suggests.
The behaviour is more common for people who use ad funded services such as SoundCloud or YouTube, suggesting free music can drive real-world sales.
However, 48% of people who bought vinyl last month admit they have yet to play it. Seven per cent of those surveyed say they do not even own a turntable.
Younger fans increasingly discover on digital but collect on vinyl.Â Others say they buy records to support their favourite artists, while 50% of consumers identify themselves as “collectors”.
The resurgence in vinyl during a period of declining sales has been one of the music industry’s more surprising success stories.
In 2014, 2.1 million LPs were purchased by music fans as demand increased for an eighth successive year – climbing 64% to a 21 year high.
Official Charts Company figures suggest the rise has continued in 2016, with 637,056 records sold in the first three months of the year, accounting for almost 3% of the UK music market.
The vinyl revival has been spurred by Record Store Day – which started nine years ago as a means of supporting independent music retailers.
There were vinyl releases from artists including Justin Bieber, Abba, David Bowie, Alan Partridge, Foals, Chase & Status and the Dead Kennedys.
But the ICM Unlimited research shows that the majority of music (73%) is now bought online, with Amazon emerging as the top retailer, accounting for 27% of all sales.
Apple’s iTunes store is next, with an 18% market share, followed by supermarkets (10%) and high street record stores (7%).
Men are more likely to visit a bricks-and-mortar record shop than women, the figures suggest, but there has been an increase in the number of women buying vinyl.
“About 8% of men have bought vinyl in the last month, and that’s been fairly constant over the last three of four years,” says Andrew Wiseman, head of ICM Unlimited.
“Back in 2013, only 3% of women bought vinyl and that’s risen to 5% in the last year – so we’re starting to see that gap close.” However, he added: “It is still the case that less than 1 in 10 people are buying vinyl, and we shouldn’t forget that it’s still a relatively small part of the market.”
August 21, 2016 Tags: Business Win, Growing Businesses, Growing Sales, Online Sales Growth, Technological businesses Posted in: Business Win, Digital Business, Global Businesses, Growing Businesses, Growing Sales, Online Sales Growth, Technological Businesses, Uncategorized No Comments
Tesla founder and chief executive Elon Musk says preorders of the firm’s much anticipated Model 3 electric car currently total 276,000.
Pre-orders of the Model 3 will not necessarily all translate into actual sales when the car is released, with first deliveries in late 2017.
It can be ordered in advance in dozens of countries, including the UK, Republic of Ireland, Brazil, India, China and New Zealand.
Potential car owners need to put down $1,000 deposits to reserve their vehicles.
Such has been the interest that Mr Musk tweeted the company was “definitely going to need to rethink production planning”.
Mr Musk has said his goal is to produce about 500,000 vehicles a year once production is at full capacity.
The basic model will start at $35,000 (Â£24,423) and have a range of at least 215 miles per charge.
Tesla delivered 50,580 vehicles last year. Most of those were its Model S saloon, which overtook Nissan’s Leaf to become the world’s best selling pure electric vehicle.
But the firm still posted a net loss of Â£620 million for 2015, partly because it spent Â£478 million on research and development over the period.Â A significant proportion of that spend was on electric battery technology to enable longer life and durability.
It left Tesla with cash reserves of Â£800 million, down from Â£1.28 billion a year earlier.
The company is facing competition from other electric cars with a similar price and range that will become available first, including General Motors’ Chevy Bolt and BYD’s Qin EV300.
Accelerating Sustainable Transport is Tesla’s description of the Model 3.
The ModelÂ 3 combines real world range, performance, safety and spaciousness into a premium sedan that only Tesla can build. Our most affordable car yet, ModelÂ 3 achieves 215 miles of range per charge while starting at only $35,000 before incentives. ModelÂ 3 is designed to attain the highest safety ratings in every category.
August 8, 2016 Tags: Business Win, Green Businesses, Growing Businesses, Growing Sales, Technological businesses, winning business Posted in: Business Win, Global Business, Green Businesses, Growing Business, Growing Sales, Technological Businesses, Uncategorized, Winning Business No Comments
There is a growing realisation that humans’ success cannot be left unchecked- for the reason that we will ultimately impact on our ability to prosper.
And change is already afoot. A growing number of businesses, both big and small, new economy and old, are embracing the sustainable agenda.
If nothing else, the economic cost of inaction is simply too great. Indeed, a recent study backed by the United Nations put the cost to the global economy of the damage done to the natural world by humans at between Â£2 trillion-Â£4.5 trillion a year.
And these costs will increasingly fall to companies, and of course their customers, as they are forced to pay to protect or replace the natural resources upon which their business depends.
Trailblazers such as consumer goods giant Unilever and retailer Kingfisher were driven by visionary bosses, in this case Paul Polman and Ian Cheshire, who believed embracing sustainability was not just the right thing to do but was in the best long-term interests of the company.
Reducing costs is an obvious start, such as implementing energy efficiencies. Many have gone a step further, with established giants such BMW, Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, Google, H&M, Ikea, Nike and Walmart among many others that have committed to 100% renewable energy.
Equally, relying on finite and dwindling resources that will inevitably become more expensive is no recipe for long term success. Identifying these risks in the supply chain early is key to securing the long-term sustainability of the business itself.
Some companies, such as sportswear group Puma and its owner Kering, are pioneering so-called environmental profit and loss accounting, where the business’s environmental impact is costed precisely throughout its entire supply chain.
Increasing regulation is also forcing change, as governments use instruments such as pollution taxes and a meaningful carbon price, which is inevitable given the need to cut emissions from fossil fuels, to help achieve ambitious climate-change targets.
But it’s not just about avoiding business risks, it’s about embracing opportunity – the benefits of enhancing brand reputation in a world where consumers are becoming increasingly environmentally aware may be harder to quantify, but are no less rewarding long term.
In this way, more and more companies are finding that sustainability can be a key driver of revenue growth.
Indeed, many are engaging increasingly with both the sharing economy, where swapping, renting and sharing replace ownership of goods and services, and the so-called circular economy, where one company’s waste is another’s resource and where products are designed to be repurposed once their natural life comes to an end.
The financial community is also waking up to the sustainable agenda, with an increasing number of fund managers and pension funds engaging with companies to highlight the risks of inaction.
As long as company boards focus on short term profit and shareholder returns, the longer-term demands of a more sustainable business will suffer.
And despite widespread change in public attitudes, consumer inertia remains an issue, as value understandably remains a key priority in times of economic stress.
The long term health of their businesses, and the health of the planet that ultimately sustains us all, depends upon it.
July 19, 2016 Tags: business development, Business Win, Green Businesses, Growing Businesses, winning businesses Posted in: Building Businesses, Business Growth, Business Win, Green Businesses, Uncategorized, Winning Businesses No Comments
UK shares have continued to regain some of the ground lost in the wake of the Brexit vote as Dixon Carphone’s profiits jumped by 17 pc.
After rising on Tuesday, the Pound was little changed against the dollar at $1.3341. Sterling had risen as high as $1.50 before the referendum. On Monday, the currency had plunged to a 31-year low against the dollar.
In volatile trade following the referendum result, the FTSE 100 had dropped 5.6% by the end of Monday, while the FTSE 250 had slumped 13.7%.
“With no likelihood of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty getting triggered any time soon, it seems that the status quo isn’t likely to change in the short term.
Whilst that doesn’t remove the uncertainty with respect to the eventual outcome, it also means that markets are going to have plenty of time to settle into their new-found reality and equilibrium, as the extra time allotted could well see cooler heads prevail.”
Shares in banks – which had been particularly hard hit in the wake of the referendum – continued to recover, with Barclays up 4% and RBS 3.3% higher.
The increases come as Dixons Carphone announced that it’s profits have jumped by 17%.
Dixons Carphone chief executive has said the company expects to find “opportunities for additional growth” in the wake of Brexit as it announced a 17% jump in profits.
Underlying pre-tax profits in the year to 30 April rose to Â£447 million from Â£381 million a year earlier. Group like-for-like revenues were up 5%, with turnover at Â£9.7 billion.
The company was formed by a merger between Carphone Warehouse and Dixons Retail in 2014.
In the UK and Ireland the group trades as Carphone Warehouse, Currys and PC World.
Regarding the referendum result, chief executive Seb James said: “The nation has spoken and there has been a vote to exit the EU in due course. As you can imagine, we have been giving some thought to this.
“Our view is that, as the strongest player in our market and despite the volatility that is the inevitable consequence of such change, we expect to find opportunities for additional growth and further consolidate our position as the leader in the UK market.”
The company also has operations in Europe and trades as Elkjop and El Giganten in Nordic countries and Kotsovolos in Greece.
Mr James said they had posted record profits but it was vital the government struck a deal that ensured Britain continued to have access to the European single market.
“We’re going to see lots of screaming and shouting, but my message to my team is to absolutely make sure we do everything in our power to ensure our leaders get access to the single market and make sure we heal the rifts that this debate has caused in our society,” he added.
Mr James said despite last Thursday’s vote, business had continued as normal, with sales up and most customers carrying on with their lives as normal.
June 29, 2016 Tags: Business Win, Growing Businesses, Growing Profits, Growing Sales, Technological businesses, winning businesses Posted in: Business Exports, Business Growth, Business Profits, Business Win, Digital Business, Exporting Businesses, Growing Businesses, Growing Profits, Growing Sales, Technological Businesses, Uncategorized No Comments
Fever-Tree has said global demand for its premium mixer drinks has boosted profits in an “exceptional year” for the business.
Charles Rolls, the firm’s executive deputy chairman, said its success was due to their customers’ “desire to drink premium mixers to complement their premium spirits”.
Tim Warrillow, chief executive of Fever-Tree, added: “2015 was an exceptional first full year for Fever-Tree as a public company.”
The pair decided to become business partners after meeting for the first time in 2003 and launched the company in 2005.
The company is named after the colloquial term for the cinchona tree, from whose bark the natural anti-malarial drug and core tonic water ingredient, quinine, is produced.
About 65% of its sales come from overseas, with key markets in the US and Europe.
Fever-Tree has signed deals with Easyjet and British Airways, with Marks and Spencer also stocking its drinks.
It said its tonics continued to be its best-selling products and that it was benefiting from the popularity of premium gin products in western Europe and US.
Mr Rolls, 57, recalls their first meeting: “The conversation quickly turned from gin to tonic water, and the fact that while there had been a huge increase in the number of premium gins, when it came to the tonic water you added to them, you essentially only had two choices – the market leader Schweppes, or supermarket own brands.
“And these all contained artificial sweeteners. We decided there and then to launch a premium tonic water, with all natural ingredients.”
Mr Warrillow, 39, adds: “It was very apparent from our first few meetings that we seemed to understand each other.”
And so their business, Fever-Tree, was born.
But while it took Mr Rolls and Mr Warrillow just a few hours to decide to go into business together, it then took them 18 months to find a recipe they were happy with. As Mr Rolls had some money in the bank after selling his 25% share in Plymouth Gin, they were able to take their time.
In their efforts to formulate their recipe, they flew to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to source pharmaceutical grade quinine from a plantation, and hired plant hunters to help them find other flavourings, such as a bitter orange grown in Tanzania.
Mr Warrillow says: “The intention was to treat the launch like a premium spirit company would do – in the first instance try to get Fever-Tree stocked by the best hotel bars and restaurants.
With such venues quick to get on board, the company then got what it says was its most important break – upmarket UK supermarket group Waitrose phoned to say it would like to start selling Fever-Tree.
Mr Rolls says: “Tim thought this was a perfectly normal development, but I had to keep telling him that it is incredibly unusual for a supermarket group to chase you. It is almost always the other way round, and hard work.”
“Yet the buyer was incredibly enthusiastic, and just a few weeks after Waitrose starting selling us, she phoned to say we had a hit on our hands.”
With the UK’s other supermarkets quick to follow suit, exports then followed, and London-based Fever-Tree is now available in 50 different countries.
It has also introduced other products, such as a reduced calorie – but still all natural – tonic water, ginger beer, and lemonade. All are produced for it under contract by a company in the south west of England.
Fever-Tree now sells 65 million bottles per year across its range, and employs 70 people, but Mr Rolls says it still has substantial growth potential. He points out, for example, that it currently has only a “single digit percentage” of the UK tonic water market.
June 16, 2016 Tags: Business Win, Exporting Businesses, growing business, Growing Sales, winning business Posted in: Business Win, Exporting Businesses, Global Business, Growing Business, Growing Sales, Uncategorized No Comments
UK new car sales hit an all time record last year, the latest trade industry figures show.
Stronger consumer confidence, special deals and cheap finance drove sales with registrations in December are thought to have been the best December figures on record.
It is thought that some 180,000 new cars were registered. The previous record for sales in Britain was set in 2003 when 2.58 million new cars were sold.
Car registrations in the UK, Europe’s second biggest auto market after Germany, fell sharply after the 2007-8 financial crisis but have gradually recovered, returning in 2014 to pre-crisis levels at 2.48 million.
Consumers have benefited from low interest rates and the strengthening of sterling against the euro which has made it cheaper to import cars from countries such as Germany and France.
The expected new record high for registrations comes despite declines in sales for Volkswagen, which accounts for around 20% of British car sales. Sales of some of its brands fell sharply in October and November following the diesel emissions scandal.
Despite this VW saw full-year sales rise 4% across all its brands last year.
A big factor fuelling sales is the availability and cost of finance on forecourts. The SMMT says that 80% of cars are bought with some form of finance and around 60% are purchased using PCP’s.
These Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) plans mean customers can buy a new car for an affordable monthly payment in the same way that you might purchase a new mobile phone. As PCP’s work on a 3 year buying cycle, that keeps demand for new cars strong.
Before the downturn car sales averaged around 2.3m a year. The industry doesn’t know what the new norm for sales will be.
However, sales of Skoda brand ended the year down 1% and Seat finished 11% lower after a nearly 50% drop in sales in December.
The best selling car, for the seventh year running, was the Ford Fiesta.
More than 85% of Ford’s showroom sales are on finance plans known as PCPs – where customers in effect lease a car – and which are widely credited with having boosted vehicle sales across the industry in recent years.
May 24, 2016 Tags: Business Growth, Business Win, Growing Sales, Technological businesses Posted in: Business Growth, Business Sales, Business Win, Growing Businesses, Technological Businesses, Uncategorized, Winning Businesses No Comments
It took Mika Hakkinen seven years on the Formula 1 circuit to win his first Grand Prix. But he desperately wanted to be champion and he knew that he was close.
He went on to become a two time F1 champion, in 1998 and 1999, and credits his success in part to doctor and mentor, Aki Hintsa. Without him he wouldn’t have won, he says.
Mika explains that Dr Hintsa helped him sharpen his focus on the track by helping him to allay concerns he had off the track – in particular the well being of his family, who he didn’t see as much as he wanted because of all the travelling involved, as well as mentally putting behind him a severe accident he had had a few years previously.
What can they do to be better than their rivals? How can they really get the most out of a single day?
In the hope of finding out, The main message seems to be a simple one – get a good night’s sleep.
Dr Hintsa scoffed at the notion that you can function at full tilt on just five hours’ sleep a night. And competitive bragging about how little you need just isn’t helpful, he implies.
“Operating three nights in a row on just five hours’ sleep is equivalent to driving a car drunk,” he adds.
Mika agrees; you need to rest more than you train, he says, because you just can’t improve while you’re tired. The other message is not drinking alcohol before bed, or using your smartphone or computer.
None of this seems new, but Dr Hintsa says it’s surprising how few people actually implement this. He says such changes will make you function more effectively – whether you’re a top level athlete or work nine to five in an office.
A trained doctor, who also spent time studying long distance runners in Ethiopia, he now works for businesses as well as professional sports people.
“You need to learn to control your emotions,” he says, explaining that if something goes wrong, whether in a car or a business, you need to be able to control your emotions in order to deal with it.
It is important to control, not suppress your emotions, and Mika points out that sometimes it can take a while to process them after winning.
What Dr Hintsa is trying to stress is that to achieve your best you need to look at all parts of your life – physical activity, sleep, nutrition, biomechanics (for this do five minutes of Pilates or stretching every morning he suggests) mental energy and general health.
He calls this the “circle of better life” – and if we commit to slightly improving these aspects daily, we will function more effectively.
And that doesn’t always mean working harder. He worked with one multinational that was going through a period of big change, and the boss’s wife phoned him and thanked him because she felt she now had her husband back in her life.
May 4, 2016 Tags: Business Win, Technological businesses, winning business Posted in: Business Win, Flying Businesses, Global Business, Professional Services, Uncategorized, Winning Business No Comments
Blackberry has reported increased revenues of Â£377 million for the last three months – 12% higher than the previous quarter.
It was the struggling smartphone maker’s first quarter on quarter increase for more than two years. The better than expected results give the Canadian company some hope that its turnaround plan is working.
Revenue was 31% lower than for the same period last year, but losses narrowed to Â£61 million compared with a Â£102 million deficit a year ago.
Chief executive John Chen said he was pleased with progress, as growth in enterprise software gained momentum and revenue rose across its “areas of focus”.
“Blackberry has a solid financial foundation, and we are executing well,” he said.
Revenue from software – a figure being closely watched by analysts – more than doubled to Â£111 million compared with the same quarter last year.
Total software revenue for the first three quarters reached about Â£249 million – within striking range of the Â£350 million forecast for the full financial year to February.
Last month, the company launched a new smartphone called the Priv, the first to run on the Android platform rather than its own operating system.
The majority of the world’s smartphones run on the Google-developed Android.
Blackberry said the Priv combined Blackberry-level security with access to the 1.6 million apps in the Google Play app store.
Mr Chen said the device had been well received and would be available on more mobile networks globally next year.
Blackberry aims to sell five million of the handsets a year. The Priv costs about $700/Â£580 without a contract, putting it in line with the iPhone and premium Android devices.
The company sold 700,000 devices in the third quarter, down 100,000 from the previous quarter, but average selling prices rose from $240 to $315.
The company is valued at just Â£2.82 billion. In comparison Apple is worth more than Â£420 billion.
April 24, 2016 Tags: Business Growth, Business Win, Digital Business, Technological businesses, winning business Posted in: Business Win, Connected Business, Digital Business, Global Business, Technological Businesses, Uncategorized, Winning Business No Comments