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Five ways to future-proof your startup

Five ways to future-proof your startup

You launched your own business to make money. So as long as you’re generating cash, everything’s fine, right? Well, not quite. The fact that you are successful in business today does not mean you will still be succeeding five years from now. Markets are in constant...

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Planning a trip to San Diego

Planning a trip to San Diego

From the latest in authentic street food to blazing sunshine, there are a hundred and one good reasons to visit California’s southernmost city, San Diego. With an average temperature of 70 degrees and 70 miles of sun-bleached beaches, San Diego just oozes good times....

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Analysis

Sharing is the new shouting

Sharing is the new shouting

What works when people are busy online is remarkable content, shared by someone they value Worldwide social media revenue will grow by 50% year on year in 2012, led by advertising sales, according to Gartner research. Gartner estimates the figure will rise from a...

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The scramble for Africa

The scramble for Africa

Will Tesco buy Pick n Pay? Now that the authorities in South Africa have cleared Walmart's acquisition of a controlling stake in Massmart, the CPG world is abuzz with speculation about further retail incursions into the Sub-Saharan region and South Africa in...

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You are what you watch

You are what you watch

Can a child really get fat from advertising?   No one really denies that obesity is a growing problem. In the US alone, 64% of adults are “overweight or obese” today, while 26% are classed as “obese”, according to the North American Association for the Study of...

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On feeding the world

On feeding the world

"The end of food" In February 2011, wholesale food prices jumped up 3.9%, the biggest one-month increase in 36 years, causing scare headlines about the end of cheap food to be brought out of storage, where they have been since 2008, when they were put away in favour...

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Is green over?

Is green over?

Will consumers pay more to be green? Sales of eco-friendly products are fading as economic troubles pull consumer confidence down. But are we telling the green story in the right way? A few years ago, I went for an espresso in a London branch of one of the many coffee...

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The end of hypermarkets

The end of hypermarkets

Is it over for hypermarkets? Increasingly urban, time-pressed and tech-savvy, consumers are shopping ever smarter and closer to home. In this context, has the hypermarket become irrelevant? We ask three senior retail analysts. Spend enough time poring over company...

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Why Marmite matters

Why Marmite matters

Unless you grew up in the UK, a news story claiming that Denmark had banned a British product called Marmite from sale, because its fortification with vitamin B fell foul of Denmark's regulations, will probably leave you cold. But for Unilever, the company that now...

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Insolvent retailers

Insolvent retailers

More retailers are becoming insolvent Are we paying attention to the warning signs? The decline of the CD has been a long train coming. The first publicly-available MP3 converter appeared in 1994. MP3 music files immediately began to circulate across the internet. The...

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Opinion

Why small businesses stay small

A power culture is crucial for startups, but you can't scale when power is concentrated. Things break because, at scale, owner-managers can't decide everything in real time. To scale without breaking you need a role culture with devolved expertise and power. Letting...

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Why things don’t get done

Have you ever been in a meeting when it becomes apparent that all anyone in the room is going to do is describe problems? People around a table will compete to describe things in increasingly obfuscatory language until others recognise in that language terms they have...

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This process is broken

Process 1. Diagnosis — Broken You're in Starbucks. You order your coffee. They ask you your first name. Reluctantly you give it (OK, I confess I always say my first name is Mr Customer). The barista writes your name on the cup and passes the cup down the production...

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Futurology is so last year

The future isn't what it used to be. Someone sent me one of those "future trend" reports. As with the majority of such reports, it's not a view of the future so much as a summary of existing (in some case, long-existing) trends. But past performance is no indicator of...

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Quality is a feeling

The great irony about quality is that, as soon as someone asks you to conform to a benchmark, they are forcing a product that is by definition generic. That leaves the space open for someone to compete with something genuinely outstanding. Quality is why the...

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Gotcha marketing is over

But did anyone get the memo? Two sales promotions caught my eye recently. One was from French retailer Relais, who offered “Your choice of sandwich plus any drink for 5,20€”. When the cashier asked me for 7,30€ I mentioned the offer and he pointed to some tiny print...

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The coffee entitlement

Why prices are elastic Here’s one. A friend complains on Facebook that it costs 14 dollars for a coffee from room service in the small hours at his luxury Chicago hotel. To be fair it's just a humblebrag. But someone bites: “Why not just go out to an all-night diner?”...

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30 Ways to Say Nothing

Our seasonal guide to hiding your poor holiday trading from the press ... It's Christmas and I don't feel like working. Sorry, what I meant to say was: I'm experiencing some softness around blog-posting during a challenging trading period. Given current consumer...

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Life without Steve

I don't want to clutter the web with my addition to the obits for Steve Jobs, who died earlier today. As I sit typing on my MacBook Pro, listening to iTunes in a café in central Paris, using a wifi connection I found using an iPhone app, I hardly need remind anyone of...

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