Mr Marcus McGowan MSc PgDip BA (Hons)

This Business Education Learning Blog is aimed primarily at Higher Business Management students/teachers and ICT students/teachers.

The aim of this blog is to provide you with interesting articles, news, trivia as well as resources or links to materials which will help in your course of study.

I am a Teacher of Business Education and I have written for Education Scotland and BBC Bitesize.

If you'd like to contact me please click on the link to: email me

Business Books on Amazon

What do you want to be when you grow up?!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Innovate or Die!

 

Great article on how businesses need to keep moving forward or face extinction.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-28865268

 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Rollable TVs

This was from earlier in the year, the advent of paper thin, rollable TVs:

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28245659

 

The arrival of the smartwatch

It has been long in the offing but now Samsung and LG have introduced their new gadget: the smartwatch.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28966866

 

Apple are due to enter the fray with the launch of their own smartwatch sometime next month.

 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

De La Rue

A fascinating article looking at De La Rue, the company who has the lucky job of printing money!

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27888665

 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Polar Explorer Craig Mathieson

Today our pupils met Scottish Polar Explorer Craig Mathieson. Craig told of his experiences and ordeals as he led the first ever Scottish Antarctic expedition to the South Pole. He was incredibly interesting and motivating. Our pupils were enaged for the entire time and you could hear a pin drop when he told of some of his more difficult challenges… which he just brushed off with a steely determination.

 

 

I will not spoil the talk here, but I am sure you can find more about Craig and his charity Polar Academy at his website: http://mathiesonexplorer.com/

 

Changi Airport - Singapore

Some new features have been added to Changi Airport in Singapore as it is involved in the race for the title of the best airport in the world.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-26097348

 

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Great Quotes

 

“Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude. “

 

-Ralph Marston 

 

Monday, 9 June 2014

Business Speaker: Derek Wyllie

 

Today our new Higher Business Management pupils met Mr Derek Wyllie, Head of International Distribution for Rockport.

 

Derek has worked abroad for over 9 years and has lived and worked in Kuala Lumpur and now Hong Kong in various senior roles at major international corporations.

 

 

Derek spoke about his career and how he ended up in his current role, as well as a very interesting and entertaining look at some of the characteristics of markets in the Far East.

 

Our pupils were engaged and highly interested in Derek’s experiences and we had a lively Q & A at the end of both presentations… which is unusual! I said to Derek that receiving a number of questions at the end is a sign of a good presentation!

 

Hopefully, Derek’s story and his life experiences will inspire some of our pupils to broaden their horizons and think about the vast opportunities that lie in the Pacific Region.

 

 

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Seattle raises the minimum wage

The full article is here:

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-27674474

 

What are the implications then for small businesses?

 

It certainly seems good news for employees, but it could have a massive impact on smaller firms who may struggle with the increased labour costs.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Exam Day

Good luck today to all the pupils across Scotland sitting Higher Business Management and National 5 Business Management.

 

If you have studied and revised you will do well. Preparation is the key to success!

 

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Tesco's new smartphone

The UK’s biggest supermarket are diversifying once again:

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-27285787

Friday, 2 May 2014

Zero Hour Contracts

A ‘positive’ article about zero hours contracts. But the uncertainty they cause for employees surely cannot be good long term?

 

http://news.sky.com/story/1252478/are-zero-hour-contracts-easing-unemployment

 

Monday, 28 April 2014

Walmart facts that will amaze

And some astonishing facts about Walmart!

 

http://www.businessinsider.com/crazy-facts-about-walmart-2012-11?op=1

 

Facts about McDonald's

Some interesting facts about the World’s Biggest Fast Food restaurant.

 

http://www.businessinsider.com/19-facts-about-mcdonalds-that-will-blow-your-mind-2012-4?op=1

 

Hawick Knitwear

Watched the new Troubleshooter series with Lord Digby Jones. The episode concerning Hawick Knitwear was interesting, but not too entertaining.

 

http://www.drapersonline.com/news/hawick-knitwear-plots-global-growth-following-bbc-show/5059066.article#.U14WDkZwa5c

 

It did however highlight some issues which are taught in our lessons. The need for growth and expansion especially in the Japanese and Chinese market. It also briefly showed production processes and mentioned premium pricing.

 

It wasn’t a patch on the classic original series which starred Sir John Harvey Jones. I still remember seeing the Triang episode at University, and the poor beleaguered Sydney, the MD, who can’t come to terms with the future. It was the first time I had ever seen baffling diversification… a toy company involved in garden furniture! Oh how I wish I could show that to pupils! Perhaps with the wonder of Youtube I can.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

The End of the Oil Era?

Could it be that Solar Power will overtake the fossil fuels as the most common energy source shortly?

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/10755598/Global-solar-dominance-in-sight-as-science-trumps-fossil-fuels.html?fb

 

If this is the case, think of the implications for the Middle East in particular. Dubai are already well on the way to diversifying and preparing for life after the oil, as is Qatar. What of Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries?

Revision syllabus for National 5 Business Management

I have put a revision syllabus for the exam on my relatively new N5 blog:

 

http://national5businessmanagement.blogspot.co.uk/

 

Business of Football - Why Manchester United had to sack David Moyes - Part 2

Following on from talk of the finances which played a part in the dismissal of David Moyes comes this article which implies the same:

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2611067/David-Moyes-sacking-saved-Manchester-United-financial-meltdown.html

 

Leadership Lessons from the Manchester United

Forbes magazine have identified Ten Key Leadership Lessons that should be learned from the crisis at Manchester United.

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewcave/2014/04/22/ten-leadership-lessons-from-manchester-uniteds-hiring-and-firing-of-david-moyes/?utm_campaign=forbestwittersf&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social

 

It is great to come out with this sort of thing in hindsight, however, personally I do believe they needed someone more experienced and with a more glittering CV. I do also think that for both the Manager Sir Alex Ferguson and the CEO David Gill to stand down at the same time was perhaps misguided.

 

The situation at Manchester United is fascinating both students and myself due to the fact we went there in November for the Stadium Tour and received an excellent business presentation. The club are trying to be like a Fortune 500 company and perhaps they are now seeing all the inherent problems such size and expectation brings once the successful leader moves on.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Business of Football - Why Manchester United had to sack David Moyes

It is no surprise to any of our school trip that went to Old Trafford in November to see that Manchester United have parted company with David Moyes. To finish outside the Champions League spots is just unthinkable. Not because United have a divine right to European football, but more in terms of the money situation.

Man Utd are a money machine. They are the world’s biggest sports brand. Okay so they still had a debt of £436.9 million as at 30 June 2012, but they have deals with AON bringing in £20 million a year, Nike (£23 million) and Chevrolet, another £28 million to name a few. But the Broadcasting Revenue the club makes from Europe and the Premier League (as well as endorsements because they could say they were the Champions is somewhere in the region of £60 million plus.

 

However expenses and costs go up to, as witnessed by Wayne Rooney signing an incredible £300,000 a week deal.

 

Basically, a business like United need to maintain their success in order to keep the income streams coming in. After a poor year like they have had on the pitch, no other big firm would keep things they way they were. Imagine if Coca Cola dropped from being number one to seventh? It is unthinkable. Or if Apple had a terrible year of sales for iPhones and iPads? The CEO would step down. Football at this level is no different.

 

And I am sorry to say, it is the financial side of football which has done for Moyes. Managers cannot and indeed will not be given the time that perhaps they need to build a winning team. Instant success is needed by the big clubs and in Manchester United’s case, the big businesses.

End of the iPod?

Times change quick in the electronics business and indeed in the music business:

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25927366?ocid=socialflow_twitter

 

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Friday, 28 March 2014

Office for iPad

At long last Microsoft are going to produce Apple friendly versions of their all conquering Office software such as Word, Excel and Access. This will be a direct competitor to Pages and the other Apple versions of word processing, spreadsheets and databases.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-26766995

 

Toyota's Indian Industrial Action

Two of Toyota’s Indian plants are in disarray after workers have refused to go back in to work after a lockout. The employees are wanting improved conditions and a pay increase – but Toyota are holding firm.

 

The Japanese car manufacturer locked the workers out on March 16th but now are letting back in over 4,000 workers – but they are now refusing to go back in.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-26780829

 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

When David beat Goliath

It is the staple of many Hollywood movies, though in reality Big Business doesn’t often get bettered by the small town person who is up against the odds.

 

Here, however, are some tales of when the little guy beat “The Man” so to speak.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26758385

 

Footfall in Scotland down

Not such good news for the Scottish high street.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-26578833

 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Show business: The Twilight Movies

Ever since Stephanie Meyer wrote her Twilight novels which were very successful, Hollywood came calling. It was left to small production company, Summit Entertainment, to bring the movies to the masses. Adapting existing medium is crucial for studios as it lessens the risk slightly due to a book having a built in core audience. But then when the casting is announced book fans always complain about who is picked to play the roles in any movie version!

 

If we look at the 5 film saga we can see patterns common to Hollywood film series’ which they often call franchises – but we know that has a different meaning when relating to the likes of McDonald’s and Subway.

 

So if we look at the table we can see the first film was a relatively low budget movie in Hollywood terms, and it raked in a $356m profit. As the budgets for the sequels increased so did the profit margins, which were around double of the original movie.

 

Film

Year

Budget

Box Office

Profit

Twilight

 

2008

$37m

$393m

$356m

New Moon

 

2009

$50m

$710m

$660m

Eclipse

 

2010

$68m

$698m

$630m

Breaking Dawn Part 1

 

2011

$110m

$712m

$602m

Breaking Dawn Part 2

 

2012

$120m

$830m

$710m

 

Of course rising costs will play a factor in the budget going up, as actors become successful their agents will negotiate larger salaries, and advertising and promotional costs will also rise. In addition, expectation of fans normally mean that sequels will have to be bigger and have more of a spectacle which in the case of using special effects means more money to be spent.

 

There are different ways of judging the success of the movie. In terms of sheer profit, then the final movie made the most, but in terms of profit in relation to budget then New Moon’s profit worked out as approximately 13 times the budget.

 

These margins are excellent for Hollywood and indeed again spell out the popularity of the vampire movies with the general public.

 

One potential study point or discussion point is to compare the success of the Twilight movies with the likes of Harry Potter, Avatar, and the James Bond series of movies. It would be interesting to see the profit made and also the return on the actual budget.

 

But as we know when Hollywood spends big on budgets it is a huge gamble and if it goes wrong it can sink a studio (Heaven’s Gate and Ishtar are notable box office disasters which crippled or closed studios). So that is why studios like a variety of movies – a bit like diversification – so for every big summer blockbuster they will have a mix of low budget romcoms, teen movies, and other low risk movies.

 

But at the end of the day, as William Goldman, the Oscar winning screenwriter once said about trying to predict the success of movies: “Nobody knows anything.”

 

Customer Satisfaction and Disney

Here are some of the very oddest lawsuits brought against Disney by disgruntled customers:

 

http://www.themeparktourist.com/features/20140324/17110/10-strangest-lawsuits-brought-against-disney-theme-parks

 

For more interesting ones you should also look at http://www.businessinsurance.org/10-ridiculously-frivolous-lawsuits-against-big-businesses/ which includes the infamous Stella Liebeck versus McDonald’s lawsuit over hot coffee!

 

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