Tag Archives: Enterprise

Top 10 Enterprise Movies of All TIme

During the Christmas holiday I got asked to name my top ten films and as always its hard to bring it down to just ten, but then I thought about what have these movies teaches me about business or enterprise.

So here goes…

Stardust (2007)

“having a dream, passion and a little determination is all you need”

Our hero needs to track down a fallen star, living in a small village in Kent, he heads over the local boundary wall only to find its a magically world. Its a great movie and Robert De Niro plays a cross dressing captain is just a surreal part.

Its the story of EVERY entrepreneur I have ever meet, they have a dream, some passion and didn’t really know what the end game would be, but they were determined to see it through. We celebrate those that succeed but we should encourage everyone to have a go, as these people create wealth, innovation and more importantly experience.

Godfather (1972+)

“Pivoting an established business is extremely hard, so do it early on”

Michael tries to change the business activities of his family business and even with all his wealth and influence he fails.

I have seen this so many times in my career. Motorola was the greatest mobile phone manufacturer in the world, developing first generation phones (1G) and then Nokia started developing 2G phones and Motorola never really got into the digital game. Then Samsung took the 3G market with bigger screens and apps and Apple is the current power house with 4G phones. This is not even a pivot its an upgrade to me and you, but these businesses can not do it, so learn early on in your business and get it right. It may be your only chance.

Star Wars (1977+)

“The small business has more opportunities than the larger “death star” businesses, however its in the execution”

Lean methodology is key to setting off but for today’s business small is best. Think of Arm or Superdry which are amazing companies who outsource or create business models which mean they don’t employ thousands of people installed in the “death star”. Get yourself an Millennium Falcon and just keep the hyper drive working.

Apocalypse now (1979)

“Know your enemy better than yourself”

I just love this movie, its about a journey that we all take, a physical and mental one. Each journey changes us and that change is inconceivable at the start.

The best line in the movie being “I love the smell of napalm in the morning” which alway reminds me on the business mantra “Eat a toad every morning”. This is a Mark Twain saying and aims to get you doing the worst job first every day, then the day can only get better.

This analysis of your enemy and then eventual destruction of them is a very common business theme, however the real message is that by learning their strengths and especially their weaknesses we can become better entrepreneurs. Its sometimes hard to learn other people’s weaknesses but certainly we should identify our own and seek the support they need.

Avanti (1972)

“In every business there is value”

Jack Lemmon did some great films, such as “Some like it hot” but this one is my favourite, bit of a romcom set in Italy. The comedy is just excellent and the settings are just breath taking. The story line is that Jack Lemmon must go to the Italian island of Ischia to claim the body of his millionaire father, only to find his father took more than the local spa each day.

It really shows how cultures clash and that different business methods may seem odd or just outdated, yet just taking the time to understand the culture and the business methods allows you to then extract the true value. We are very keen to adopt new technology and business methods without understanding the processes and methods which have worked for thousands of years.

Pulp Fiction (1994)

“Sometimes you need someone else to help you”

Everyone should spend time with hitmen who have a penchant for philosophical discussions, especially around the foody topic of Hamburgers. However when they get into trouble its Mr Wolf they turn to.

Every entrepreneur should have Mr Wolf, “I solve problems” who they can call on. This may be a mentor, a consultant or advisor who can come in and just sort out the issue. Everyone has a skills gap in one area, a thing that bugs them or they just can’t get their head around. You have to have one of these “Mr Wolf” people who can come in and solve it. Your’ll never look back.

Hairspray (2007)

“You don’t have to ever grow your business”

Everyone loves a musical, a man playing a dame and a dance off. Its the secret ingredient for a great movie. Mr Wilbur Turnblad has been running his joke shop for a lifetime and yet he is still enjoying every day of it. Making it bigger will take the real fun out of it and also create a set of issues which he doesn’t want to present to his family. So small is beautiful in this case for him.

The incredibles (2004)

“Family businesses are stronger”

Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl never worked together as superheroes until they have to protect the family. Each family has a different super power which enhances the whole team to beat off Syndrome. This is true for every team, everyone have something to offer, sometimes mundane is the most important skill to have. (e.g a good cup of tea when sailing in a force 10 gale is just awesome)

The best quote from the movie is “Everyone can be super. And when everyone’s super, no one will be.” which shows we need everyone to be different otherwise we have nothing special.

Avatar (2009)

“Go in prepared”

You can have the best trained soldiers, biggest guns and latest technology and you still may lose the fight. Sometimes its more about the hearts and minds which win the battle, so you need to prepare these to fulfil your goal. Just don’t forget it.

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)


This movie shows you can create a business which is solely focused on sales and there are still a large number of these around, the modern day call centre is an example. However the loyalty you get from looking after you staff is a major mantra for this movie.

The number one thing you have to do in a business is sell, no matter what business it is, a Charity, Religion, Social Enterprise or PLC. You have to get people to part with their cash on a regular basis to ensure you are solvent.

Also it shows that the name of your business is everything “Stratton Oakmont”. These people travelled across on the Mayflower and thus can be trusted.

Hopefully you have enjoyed hearing my top 10 enterprise movies.

Entrepreneurship – In Context

Enterprise and entrepreneurship is a key driver in economic growth and can be a huge part of the solution to unemployment. Its impact also affects the whole of civilization because of the advancement in innovation technology as well as the creation of jobs that in consequence reduce poverty, according to Ernst and Young’s (2011).

“Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with less than 250 employees make up two-thirds of total employment in OECD countries. The European Commission showed in its SME Performance Review that the number of jobs in SMEs had increased at an average annual rate of 1.9%, while the number of jobs in larger enterprises increased by only 0.8% between 2002 and 2008” Ernst and Young (2011).

Ideally, governments should take an all-inclusive approach, which promotes the strengthening of the entire entrepreneurship environment. However, doing this first requires accurately measuring the multi-layered phenomenon that is entrepreneurship, as well as understanding the impact of a host of different factors on the level of entrepreneurship in a country. “These include the quality of the physical infrastructure, the health of the population, the level of education, the pace of adoption of new technologies and many other macro and micro factors” Ernst and Young (2011).

Therefore, is it essential that a ‘framework’ that can measure entrepreneurship accurately whilst analysing KPI’s (key performance indicators).

Among the key findings in Ernst and Young’s (2011) report:

1. Self-confidence is key
Our overall analysis provides a clear overview of where the G20 member countries stand with respect to fostering entrepreneurship. Combining two of our key findings — entrepreneurs’ confidence in their own country, and new business density

2. Entrepreneurship culture
The culture of a country can affect entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship on many levels. Our perceptions survey was central to our analysis of whether the culture of a country is conducive to Entrepreneurship.

3. Education and training
We go beyond looking at the overall performance of the educational system, to take a closer look at entrepreneurship specific education and assess how important this is for encouraging entrepreneurship.

4. Access to funding
Securing access to funding, both at the start-up phase and at later stages of enterprise development, is one of the biggest challenges for young entrepreneurs. We analyze the experiences of entrepreneurs in accessing funding across the G20 countries, and find some dramatic differences and valuable lessons.

5. Regulation and taxation
The regulatory and taxation environment is one of the areas in which governments have a key role in providing an enabling environment for entrepreneurial growth.

6. Coordinated support
There are typically a number of different agencies involved in facilitating and supporting entrepreneurship within a country. The level of support these agencies provide — and the extent to which they coordinate with one another — can make a crucial difference to the entrepreneurship Environment.

This increasing entrepreneurship and recognition of small enterprises in the health of the economy is also highlighted in recent reports.

According to the UK National Statistics (Nation. Stats 2012), the actual increase in the total business population between the start of 2011 and the start of 2012 will lie between 200,000 (4.4 per cent) and 253,000 (5.6 per cent).

The 4.8 million private sector businesses employed an estimated 23.9 million people, and had an estimated combined annual turnover of £3,100 billion.

The majority (62.7 per cent) of private sector businesses were sole proprietorships, 28.0 per cent were companies and 9.3 per cent were partnerships. At the start of 2012, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)3 accounted for 99.9 per cent of all private sector businesses, representing no change since 2011 and almost unchanged since 2000. SMEs also accounted for 59.1 per cent of private sector employment and 48.8 per cent of private sector turnover at the start of 2012.

For (Heseltine 2012), the prize is potentially huge. There are about 3.6 million self-employed people and sole traders in the UK, and 1.2 million businesses with at least one employee. That is 4.8 million in total. It is a fact, often noted, that if just one in 10 of these businesses took on an employee, or an additional employee, that would increase employment by 480,000.

In (Young 2012), it is estimated that if the UK had the same rate of entrepreneurship as the US, there would be approximately 900,000 additional businesses in the UK and that’s the real context for our stakeholders.

Experience , Employability, Enterprise

Having worked with a number of universities over the last five years, the motivation for providing any sort of entrepreneurial development is coming down to three core KPIs.

When we consider the student within a university, they seek these three important indicators.


This aspect some years ago was the key reputation of the university. Now its about the enjoyment provided by the student’s union and the quality of the lecturing staff in providing an educational service. When you analysis the recent survey, the clear winners are those regional city universities which have professional on campus student services. The bottom of the table are those in major cities whose can not compete with the volume of other activities which the city offers.

However, the table shows interesting deviations which when you compare with enterprise support at that university. For an increasing number of students the size of the student bar or the availability of a 24/7 hockey pitch are not on their radar.


The curriculum and the offered courses are sliding against the sledge hammer of change to accommodate the holy grail of employability and the consequential Destination of Leavers survey. Promoting and recruiting students which have less than a 50% chance of employability is an impossible task for the majority of universities.

So embedding the opportunities to engage with business, gain valued experience and create a dialogue with employers which seek your students has to start, as always at fresher week and progress to the milk round and end with the much valued but of of reach alumni.


Everyone who goes to university should work in an enterprise. It may be government, social, charity, self employment, startup, SME or even a FTSE 250. In every case our students should know where they provide the value, which pays them their wages. Around this concept we develop our students with enterprise awareness and skills.

I was listening to BIS minster who stated when Warwick University started their business school and student and staff tried to stop this, stating that universities and business should be separate.

  • Education and Business should always be aligned.
  • Research and Business should not always be aligned.

Enterprise in education should accommodate the student requirements to service their desire to fulfill their career ambitions.This may be to work in business, government, freelancing or starting a business. Every single one of them should be entrepreneurial in their outlook to ensure they seek the opportunities available to them and the country.

Virtual Enterprise saves Christmas

Virtual Enterprise saves Christmas

When I read the news that online retail is the winner for Christmas 2012

“According to research from e-commerce software company ChannelAdvisor, eBay sales were up 36.6 per cent year-on-year on Christmas Day 2012, while Amazon UK sales increased by 27.7 per cent.

On Boxing Day, eBay saw sales rise by 49.3 per cent year-on-year and Amazon recorded an increase of 44.7 per cent.”

I come to the following conclusions,

The small retailer won in 2012 with the small virtual companies in the UK wining over the larger stores. So Tesco increased by 18% and ebay sales by 36.6%.

“Tesco : Online sales increased 18 per cent driven by multichannel initiatives such as click and collect and grocery ‘drive thru’ that lets customers order online and pick up shopping from the local store at a chosen time.“

The high street has become an leisure experience centre, where buying is just one small aspect, an not the most important one. The first reason to go into the high street during Christmas was to see the lights, have some mulled wine with friends and family.

The small virtual businesses in the UK is more efficient than any physical shop.

  • They don’t have fixed overheads, which those cementing their business on the high street do. The high street provide little or no flexibility for a business.  Those providing leases (pension funds and equity) want too much and base their revenue on increased property value.
  • They don’t pay massive business rates which are just another tax on property and makes the high street a none starter for the majority of business.
  • They don’t have to pay business electricity, gas and high insurance for a high street property.
  • They don’t’ worry about security or riots which occurred in the UK a few years ago. Ebay and Amazon look after all the security.
  • They have a worldwide market, which ensures you have a global reach and not just your local town.

They are on trend and therefore it’s a good time to start a business selling your products and services in 2013.  Take a look at http://virtualent.co.uk/ which is a conference for those considering or have started a virtual business.

Why are Mexicans richer than British Entrepreneurs?

I was looking through the Forbe’s rich list (http://www.forbes.com/billionaires/list/) and noticed a few trends.

The first is that the majority of richest people in the world are self made entrepreneurs.

1. Carlos Slim Helu
2. Bill Gates
3. Warren Buffet

In fact the list is split into new world and old world wealth, the majority of the successful self made entrepreneurs are based in the new world. This is because the majority of the growth in the world, the majority of the worlds population is in the developing world. Its also easy to start a business, no tax, red tape or health and safety to learn, manage and report on a monthly basis.

However, its doesn’t stop you starting a business in the UK which sells into these markets.

The second point is that Carlos Slim Helu, a mexican can become richer than any British person. The richest British person is at number 78 which is Gerald Cavendish with $11b. Forbe’s write about him “The sixth Duke of Westminster, Gerald Grosvenor, remains the U.K.’s wealthiest landowner, with his fortune increasing this year along with the property market in London.”

So the richest person in the UK is not a self made entrepreneur, its old money which is inherited, in fact old world wealth based on the value of land and property in London.

So during 2013, I am going to find out…

So why don’t we have more entrepreneurs?

Have we lost our entrepreneurial spirit?

Have we become happy to earn the minimum wage?

Have we all been educated past starting our own business?

Have we made it too difficult to do?

Do we know how to run a service business