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Tag Archives: Trends

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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Successful projects start with a good, quality project schedule. Creating a schedule is one of the first tasks you should do when given a project to manage.

The temptation is often there to get on with the work and worry about the schedule later - this is a mistake. You will be left exposed and, if challenged, will have no evidence of whether your project is on time or running late.

This article looks at a simple, practical approach to creating project schedules. After reading it, you will have a sound approach to creating schedules that you can use for future projects. Without further adieu, here's the 8-step guide to creating project schedules that drive project success

1.Plan with the Team: Team planning is more effective than planning on your own. It ensures everyone has a stake in the schedule and ownership of the outcome. The project team must account for all the phases, milestones and tasks, so the project can reach a successful conclusion.

I like to create a basic high-level schedule to kick things off. Even if it's wrong, it helps the session start moving. It's better than sitting in a meeting with your team staring at a blank sheet of paper.

2.Cover the Project Scope: Use the scope statement from your Charter to ensure you include everything the customer expects you to deliver. List all the activities needed to deliver the scope.

Look at the order of activities. It's often best to start with the most difficult tasks. The type of project may dictate the order. Clearly, you cannot build a house until the foundation has been laid. Think about the work you can do in parallel. What is dependant on other activities being finished first? Make sure you include those dependencies in your schedule. (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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Google has expanded far beyond its original claim to fame as a search engine. Alphabet owns Google, as well as many other companies.

However, Google itself owns companies. The reach of this technology giant is so vast it is hard to imagine an area of modern life it has not touched.

Google owns more than 200 companies, including those involved in robotics, mapping, video broadcasting, telecommunications and advertising. Google is growing through acquisitions, but it is also increasing revenues in each of the companies it owns. In cases where an acquisition cannot grow revenues, Google tends to sell that company.

We have selected four companies to highlight based on their ability to produce consistent revenues. Each of these companies has a history of attracting customers and monetizing their services. All figures are current as of December 11, 2017.

1. Google Maps

You can look up any location in the world using Google Maps. The views are aerial for the most part, but Google also provides street-level views of many cities. Google Maps is embedded in real estate sites, as well as sites for businesses that want to make sure you can find them. And that's how Google Maps makes money.


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