In this month’s edition of Business Bookmarks, we take a look at the family business taking over Thomas Cook, how to prepare your business for Brexit, and how to make the tech industry more accessible.
The family-run SME taking over Thomas Cook
Family-run Hays Travel has swept up Thomas Cook’s 555 stores and many of its staff members. Here’s a look at how this independent travel business plans to prosper.
The demise of Thomas Cook has been widely covered by the UK media, and many point to the business’ inability to adapt to changing customer demand as the reason for their collapse. To contrast, Hays has spent many years establishing itself as an ethical and customer-focused travel brand that prides itself on its agility and ability to adapt to changing customer needs. The husband and wife team that leads the business sees this as an opportunity for positive growth, and specifically, a way to expand their store presence into areas such as Scotland and Wales. Read more to find out how they plan to expand. (Via Real Business)
A guide to the Christmas general election
The BBC provides a no-nonsense guide to everything you need to know about the upcoming general election.
Just days before the UK was due to leave the EU, MPs voted for another general election to resolve the Brexit deadlock. The 2019 Christmas election will be the third general election since 2015, and the first December poll since 1923. If you want to refresh your understanding of how the general election will work, and what happened at the 2017 election, this guide provides you with a summary of the details, along with insight into how the public's opinion on the most important policies and issues has changed drastically in the last three years. It's worth taking a quick look ahead of the election on 12th December to ensure you're up to date. (Via BBC)
How to approach international trading in the lead up to Brexit
As uncertainty around Brexit continues, Paul Beard of Creditsafe shares his expertise on how UK SMEs should approach international trade in the lead up to Brexit.
Businesses across the United Kingdom are anxiously awaiting more news on the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. As a Christmas general election looms, many small businesses will be wondering how they should prepare their business, if at all. In this article, Paul Beard, an expert in commercial contract management, shares four steps that UK SMEs can take to ensure they are as prepared as possible in regards to international trade and Brexit. If your small business deals with overseas trade, the article is a must read, including covering how to assess the processes and systems set to change, and how to adjust your business model accordingly. (Via The Knowledge Hub)
What will Brexit mean for your contracting business?
Real Business explores what contractors can do to ensure that their small business remains resilient in the face of Brexit.
Although the UK construction industry is booming, small contractors are reporting that clients are stalling signing new contracts until the future of Brexit is decided. And with the government showing no signs of providing businesses with a clear outcome any time soon, it’s difficult for small contractors to know exactly how to prepare themselves. This 'wait and see' approach is costing contractors time and money and is affecting many of the sectors within the UK construction industry. This article shares the details of what Brexit means for the construction industry, and small contractors in general, from sourcing competitively priced materials to dealing with a reduction in demand. (Via Real Business)
Could freelancers help your small business?
Hiring full-time staff is a big commitment for start ups and microbusinesses with fluctuating demand and funds. Entrepreneur explores how working with freelancers could be the perfect solution.
In this article, Entrepreneur speaks to growing businesses to understand how leveraging the gig economy has helped them to achieve big results whilst keeping profit margins in mind. Specifically, the article delves into how hiring freelancers could be a great way of tapping into rare skillsets for specific projects and keeping training costs down. In addition, it also works as a fantastic way to increase the diversity within teams, so you have access to a variety of approaches when facing challenges or adversity. If you’re a small business owner who’s unsure about how to grow your workforce, this article may provide some good insight into a potential solution. (Via Entrepreneur)
How small is the world?
Network scientist Kristina Lerman discusses how the world is more connected, and smaller, than it may seem.
The Erdős number and 1963 experiment by Stanley Milgram (who coined the term 'six degrees of separation') are both cited in this insightful article for Fast Company, which discusses how we're more connected to one another than we think. Kristina explores the maths and logic behind how this actually works, and how this is relevant to business owners in terms of networking and even tapping into new customer groups. In addition, Kristina explores how this decreasing social distance can be both a gift and a curse, as it contributes to the fast spread of false news, but can also reward us with 'discoveries of connectedness'. Read on to find out how. (Via Fast Company)
Making tech more diverse
Wired speaks to Iddris Sandu about how he's taking steps to diversify the tech industry, and in particular, how he's making tech accessible to those in impoverished areas of LA.
At the age of 13, Iddris was discovered in a library by a Google designer who offered him an internship. Since, self-taught Iddris has worked with the Obama administration and local politicians to launch STEM education programmes and offer coding classes to LA's inner city. He's even turned down a place at MIT to instead focus on ways to offer mentoring and training to students from impoverished backgrounds, including founding a school in Ghana to increase tech literacy. Find out more about Iddris' initiatives, from posting reading lists on social media for youngsters, to educating Africa's youth on tech, by reading the full article below. (Via Wired)
How Fairphone's social mission impacts gender balance
Fairphone, a Dutch social enterprise company, boasts an almost equal gender split across its workforce, with a majority of women in leadership positions. The Guardian explores how the business' social mission may have something to do with this.
Fairphone was built off the back of the hacker's movement and an activist campaign around human rights abuse in the supply chain of large mobile phone manufacturers. Interestingly, the Chief Executive of the business, Eva Gouwens, points to the company's progressive and gender-blind policies in regards to pay and promotion as the reason for the gender balance, but it seems like their mission statement has a part to play too. This is backed by Fairphone's employees, who cite the firm's ethical ambitions as the reason they're attracted to and invested in their roles. This is also supported by the British Council's own research, which revealed that women make up 66% of the workforce in UK social enterprises. It's worth considering if you're looking at your own business' mission statement and wider corporate social responsibility. (Via The Guardian)
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