Microsoft’s huge gamble

Steve Ballmer

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spied an opportunity to strengthen Windows

This piece about Microsoft’s $8.5bn acquisition of Skype showcases my ability to write stock-market news and about mid-market sales.

Although most of my writing for BusinessesForSale.com has covered small businesses – the newsagent, the pub buyer or the subpostmaster – we do cover million-pound plus revenue enterprises too.

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The secret millionaire and starting a marketing agency

I spoke to Liz Jackson MBE for this podcast interview about her experience on Channel Four show The Secret Millionaire and setting up Great Guns Marketing.

On Great Guns Marketing…

“We’re an outbound, business-to-business lead generation company, which means we makes sales appointments, book delegates into seminars, build databases, client engagement… that kind of activity.”

On the secret of her success…

“Predominantly I would say the talent within the business. The team of people we have here, both the leadership team and the telemarketers, who deliver projects for our clients, which makes a massive difference.

“For all entrepreneurs, we really covet a good team, and understanding who in our team has potential to go from good to great, and working out how you take that person from where they are to realising their full potential. So we work hard at that kind of stuff and it really does pay off.”

Listen to the podcast interview

Queen of Shops Mary Portas turfed out by stubborn baker

Read full article on BusinessWings.co.uk: Last night’s episode of Mary Queen of Shops culminated in the star, retail expert Mary Portas, being kicked out of the business she was tasked to turn around.

Despite having applied for her help, the subject of Portas’ business rescue operation was resistant to pretty much all her prescriptions to help reverse her tumbling profits.

The premise, in case you didn’t know, is that retail doyenne Mary Portas descends on struggling shops and restores them to rude health a la Gordon Ramsay with restaurants, minus the swearing, shouting and hectoring.

Read full article on BusinessWings.co.uk

on BusinessWings.co.uk

Sydney versus Melbourne: Australia’s epic rivalry

Living in London, I’m aware of how a country’s capital city can draw all talent and resources to it like a magnet. The UK capital’s sheer size attracts wealth, in turn accelerating its growth further. 

Which is why I was fascinated to discover that Australia’s largest city – which isn’t even its capital – was only marginally bigger than its nearest rival. Unsurprisingly, Sydney and Melbourne share an intense economic rivalry, which I examine in this  article for BusinessesForSale.com

881km apart, the two cities are actually comparatively close to one another in the context of an ‘island-continent’ spanning 4,000km from its western coast to its eastern seaboard. There’s very little between the two great metropolises, with one or the other marginally ahead on a range of measures relating to culture, sport, infrastructure, commerce and living standards.

From Singer to Subway: The history of franchising

Singer Sewing MachineFrom Elite Business Magazine: For many, franchising is synonymous with those iconic golden arches and the United States.

However, the origins of the concept, where franchisees pay a regular fee for the right to trade under a recognised brand with training and support, can be traced back way beyond the moment in 1954, when a milkshake salesman marvelled at the rapid turnover of customers at a Californian burger stand.

Read full article

Go into business with a plan for selling in mind

I did this podcast interview with Australian business broker Michael O’Connell at the tail end of 2011.

Concentrating on the business-sales process from the seller’s point of view, I quizzed him on planning your exit, business valuation and how to forge a constructive broker-seller relationship.

The Q&A format works well online: visually, with the bold questions alternating with the answers, it’s easy for the eyes to process, and it’s the easiest interview format to digest for the reader.

Worker Cooperatives: A Route To A Fairer, More Productive Capitalism?

From Bdaily: There used to be an unspoken bargain at the heart of western capitalism: bosses happily raised wages, which were then spent on goods and services, thereby boosting bosses’ profits.

Income inequality in the industrialised economies shrank sharply between the end of World War Two and the 1970s.

Read full article

The bikini-ready detox: earn your body’s forgiveness in two weeks

Published on The Vagenda: By Dr Goodweather (as imagined by Adam Bannister)

Tinnitus, twitches, hiccups, itches, pins and needles, in-growing toenails, self-loathing, the vague, uneasy feeling that you’ve left the oven on and cancer are all classic symptoms of toxins in your body. Even if you suffer none of these afflictions, summer is on the horizon and I’d hazard that your weakness for chocolate cake, double lattes and sauvignon blanc has left you bloated and bikini-shy.

Read full article on the Vagenda

“Viral hits can’t create sustainable sales alone”

Read article on BusinessWings.co.uk: Cadbury’s drum-playing gorilla is among many adverts whose long-term impact on sales is not commensurate with its huge impact as a ‘water-cooler hit’.

Tom Ellis of global branding agency 1HQ says that while a ‘viral’ hit can propel a brand briefly, durable success demands a broad-based branding strategy.

Speaking on a recent BusinessWings webinar, Ellis, who was brought to 1HQ last year from rival Big Green Door, cites McDonald’s as a prime example of a successful ad campaign buttressed by other innovations.

Read full article on BusinessWings.co.uk