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Tag Archives: Growth

Selling to customers overseas could make a big difference to any small business - taking your turnover to new heights.

But it can be daunting to get started. There's a lot to learn - from researching your overseas customers and competitors to understanding customs rules, legislation and tax.

This toolkit is produced by Donut in association with TNT, one of the world’s largest delivery companies and logistics experts.

It is packed with real-world tips from UK small businesses who have made a success of selling overseas.



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Sainsbury’s Argos HRD Ella Bennett shared the lessons she learned from the merger of Sainsbury’s and Argos.

Speaking at the 2018 HRD Summit in Birmingham, Bennett explained what happened when, three months into her new role as group HRD of Home Retail Group (HRG), the board decided to sell Homebase.

“I knew this would radically change the work world that I was in, and I think that was my point of complete shock. It became clear that once we’d sold Homebase, Argos would become vulnerable,” she said. “We’d really in Argos faced up to the digital challenge and we were in the midst of a big digital transformation.”

Two months after selling Homebase, in the middle of the demerger, Sainsbury’s declared its interest in Argos. While initially receiving much scepticism from the City and the media, the merger has so far been a success.

In the past 18 months nearly 200 Argos outlets have opened within Sainsbury’s stores, and almost 90% of Argos store colleagues have been retained. Argos has continued with its digital transformation throughout the M&A activity.

“Some of the key planks of the integration work are now complete and I think we’re reaching a point where we’re starting to feel like one company,” Bennett said.

Her five key learnings from this experience were:

1.Define integrated goals. “HR sits at the heart of any merger or acquisition but one of my biggest learnings is that actually, the cross-functional working becomes more and more important,” she said. It wouldn’t have been possible to simply combine the commercial functions from each separate business as they had different systems and processes. “One of the reasons I think we’ve been so successful in our digital transformation is because we’ve established these cross-functional teams – we call them ‘digital trading cells’ – with digital and IT and commercial working together on what the customer issues are,” added Bennett. (more…)

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Benchmarking is a systematic tool that allows a company to determine whether its performance of organisational processes and activities represent the best practices.

Benchmarking models are used to determine how well a business unit, division, organisation or corporation is performing compared with other similar organisations.

A benchmark is a point of reference for a measurement. The term 'benchmark' presumably originates from the practice of making dimensional height measurements of an object on a workbench using a gradual scale or similar

The term 'benchmark' presumably originates from the practice of making dimensional height measurements of an object on a workbench using a gradual scale or similar tool and using the surface of the workbench as the origin for the measurements.

Traditionally, performance measures are compared with previous measures from the same organisation at different times. Although this can be a good indication of the speed of improvement within the organisation, it could be that although the organisation is improving, the competition is improving faster...


  1. Internal benchmarking (benchmark within a corporation, for example between business units)
  2. Competitive benchmarking (benchmark performance or processes with competitors)
  3. Functional benchmarking (benchmark similar processes within an industry)
  4. Generic benchmarking (comparing operations between unrelated industries)
  5. Collaborative benchmarking (carried out collaboratively by groups of companies (e.g. subsidiaries of a multinational in different countries or an industry organisation).


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Can Scorpions Smoke? Creative Adventures in the Corporate World by Steve Chapman.

Imagination, creativity, improvisation and play are not words that adults normally associate with their work, but many secretly lament their absence in everyday life.

They are also words that many of us wouldn't put at the top of our curriculum vitae either. However, the world is changing and the emergence of an Age of Applied Artistry is calling for modern organisations to take the development of these skills more seriously, as they become capabilities that are not just nice-to-have but essential for survival in the corporate world of the future.

This book crashes together ideas from the world of Organisation Development (Od), gestalt psychology and improvisational theatre and distils them into some simple stories, concepts and practices that anybody and everybody can experiment with in order to awaken and unleash their own creative spirit.

It is an unusual, entertaining and insightful mix of biography and field guide that helps defrost the little creative genius inside of us all.

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Companies run on good ideas.

From R&D groups seeking pipelines of innovative new products to ops teams probing for timesaving process improvements to CEOs searching for that next growth opportunity—all senior managers want to generate better and more creative ideas consistently in the teams they form, participate in, and manage.

Yet all senior managers, at some point, experience the pain of pursuing new ideas by way of traditional brainstorming sessions—still the most common method of using groups to generate ideas at companies around the world.

In this McKinsey insight brainstorming becomes “brainsteering,” and while it requires more preparation than traditional brainstorming, the results are worthwhile: better ideas in business situations as diverse as inventing new products and services, attracting new customers, designing more efficient business processes, or reducing costs, among others.

The next time you assign one of your people to lead an idea generation effort—or decide to lead one yourself—you can significantly improve the odds of success by following the seven steps explained in this report.


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