I came across Sarah Kay who is a Poetess and Storyteller and it reminded me of the power of story telling. The human brain has been programmed for millions of years by listening and remember stories. We all love to sit and listen with great interest at stories and I would like to thank her for reminding me of it.
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.
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
Entrepreneurs are brilliant at looking at a problem and adding resources from various areas to create a solution. They don’t care where it was created and even who owns it, they just know they have a problem to solve. After reading the news papers this week, I see that Google has purchased Motorola for its patents and in another article, independent games developers are being sued by patent holders for providing in game links to buy more of their games. Entrepreneurs and software developers need the space to create new revenue models and opportunities, using everything that could possibly be available. Especially in a recession!
Many academics are the opposite, if there is a problem they must own this problem and solve it in pure independence, leading to potent disregard for other solutions. This has led to organisations that have not changed their business model, their internal structure or the products they provide, in cases for almost a thousand years. The opportunity to innovate this education industry is so much over due that new businesses are moving fast into the sector to take on these paralysed educators.
Again, this week in the papers the University of Buckingham achieves one of the best results in student satisfaction. This university is a private one, not government funded. It has a flexible four inductions per year, four ten week semesters, two and three year degrees and career focused courses which clearly its students love. This focus on customer satisfaction has made it look around the industry to find what works and how could we make it better. It’s a good job that Oxford and Cambridge didn’t patent the courses they started almost a thousand years ago.
I am very interested in how industry sectors re-invent themselves, especially when faced with challenges based around an evolving business model or new technology. Within education, the use of remote course access and e-learning is the clear advance which will occur in the coming decade. We have seen the first generation, which as always is, take what you do and just make it digital. Now this hasn’t worked, filming a one hour lecture was never a good idea and only shows the lack of interaction certain tutors allow. However, we can start to see some amazing developments, using mixed media, learning styles and combinations of self and organised learning timetables being offered.
The business model will also change with more internationally franchised course offerings and introduction of loyalty price reductions (Foundation, Degree, Master, Doctorate), discount pricing strategies through enterprise or other types of engagement and sponsored places which just taken off with the introduction of higher fees. Universities will also start to develop less capital-intensive infra-structures and lower salary overheads. This will ensure a business model that is centred on a variable cost per student and not a fixed campus cost.
Only one thing in business should be assumed and that is things are always changing, this ensures the fittest are able to move with the market, developing new ways of surviving problems that their industry is presented. This is why Motorola was purchased, Nokia have moved to Second division and teamed with Microsoft. We will see how our university brands are able to adapt to our new world order, business model and delivery mechanism.
Over the last two weeks I have been developing a new online service for Entrepreneurs, an eLearning site providing courses in Sales, Marketing and how to start a Business. Further course are planned in the Autumn 2011.
Entrepreneurs are amazing people, yet have certain traits that make them hard to work with. First of all they are time limited, by the very nature of starting a business and also very geographically diverse. Secondly, they tend to have very little money and I feel wrong in taking too much money from people who should be investing in their businesses. Thirdly, they tend to learn in different ways.
So we have designed these courses to fit their entrepreneurial needs…
The design of the courses ensures the pace of the course is dictated by the entrepreneur. The can take as long as they desire and also review, redevelop and re-understand the course element in the context of their business.
The core cost of running course is training, venues and organizing everyone and everything to be at the right location at the right time. ELearning allows us to have the course starting any time and always open. The entrepreneur also does not have to travel and therefore has more time to spend on their business.
One aspect we do lose with online course is the loss of the real face-to-face networking which is so important when learning, knowing there are others who have the same problems. This we will fix using LinkedIn.
One important lesson which the internet is very aware of, if content is free it has no value. Everything known to mankind is available on the internet, however it’s the application of knowledge is where value lies. As an entrepreneurs we understand this. The courses develop knowledge through the application of this knowledge, in an entrepreneurial way.
For many years I have know that there are three type of learning styles (Fleming’s VAK/VARK) model:
- Kinesthetic or Tactile
Kinaesthetic learning is a learning style in which learning takes place by the entrepreneur actually carrying out a physical activity. This means we have incorporated an element of developing their business in every course.
These courses are now in beta release and having our first set of beta-entrepreneurs from UK Universities through and if you would like to join then please email me.