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Business Studies

Business Studies


  • Entrepreneurship
  • Starting A Business
  • Marketing A Small Business
  • Financial Control In A Small Business

  • This is about two young people who set up their own high-tech business - and did it their way.

    Alex Eyres and Roxanna Barnard set up Sound Technologies Ltd in 2015. The business supplies and installs audio visual equipment for domestic customers and corporate clients - that includes home cinema, also sound systems. Sound Technologies also installs security systems such as intruder alarms and CCTV systems.

    Although the business text books talk about the importance of making a business plan, including detail cash flow and profit projections, Alex and Roxanna did none of that.

    For a start, they have never required start up finance, therefore no one asked them for a business plan. They did lots of planning, they said, but it was informal, in their heads and by discussion. They feel, in any case, that is far more realistic and useful as it takes on board what's happening in the real world.

    Roxanna says: 'We plan as we go along, in the light of real events. That's far more helpful.'

    Market research, for example: the best market research, they say, is done when you're out there, actually doing jobs for clients. It's also a good way of learning about what competitors are doing.

    Their start up Alex calls a 'soft start up' or a 'soft take off'. It was based on Alex's skills and experience in the field of electronics and sound engineering. They started off doing 'labour-only' jobs for friends and contacts, which they used also a learning platform for the other aspects of running a business.

    Rather than seek a loan, or try to sell shares, they were able to finance the growth of the business out of profits from jobs. 'It was slower that way,' says Roxanna, 'But far safer. It meant that we were always covered financially. We never spent more than we'd earned. It also meant we weren't saddled with interest payments, or having to pay dividends to shareholders.'

    If their route to success has been somewhat unconventional, it's worked for them. And the other disciplines of running a successful business still apply, such a strong financial discipline - that means tight credit control and keeping a firm handle on costs.

    But what about future expansion?

    Alex admits that self-funding may not be always possible, if he wants to continue to grow. In that case we might try to get a loan - in which case we will definitely need a business plan. But the directors are also keen to keep the business within their control, and not to grow too much, at the risk of losing the 'personal touch' with customers and compromising quality.

    DVD / 2020 / 39 minutes

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    The rise and rise of Amazon.com is the classic case study in disruptive innovation.

  • Disruptive Innovation
  • On-line retailing
  • Business cultures
  • Amazon.com

  • The rise and rise of Amazon.com since start-up in 1994 is the classic case study in disruptive innovation. First an on-line retailer, broadening into a platform for other sellers, Amazon has been guided by the restless spirit of its founder Jeff Bezos. Bezos thinks long term - he expects his people to challenge, to constantly embrace change. Amazon is at the cutting edge of technology - but it's also based on old-fashioned values: a wide range at a keen price - and good service. The key, says Bezos, is focus on customers, not competitors.

    Disruptive Innovation. Amazon.com fits into the mould of classic 'disruptions': cases where new products or business models revolutionised the market - leaving old businesses in ruins. We give examples (Model T Ford, Kodak, Nokia, CD players).

    Internal Culture. To achieve such success Amazon needs the internal structure and culture to support that - that means empowering teams to get quick results. For Amazon, the enemy is bureaucracy, not the competition.

    Also covered: how a change project is organised, the importance of leadership and follow-up.

    Too Challenging? But Amazon has its critics - who point to the zero-hours contracts of its warehouse staff, and the pressure it puts on its managers: an experiment in so-called 'purposeful Darwinism'.

    DVD / 2018 / 28 minutes

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    The history of change in the car industry is a mirror to the history of capitalism itself.

  • Globalisation
  • Doing Business in China
  • Supply chains
  • The Global Car Industry

  • PART 1 Introduction

    Globalisation in the car industry is nothing new. By 1928, General Motors and Ford were making vehicles in 24 countries. The 50s and 60s were the golden age of US and European car makers - but that was challenged by the arrival of the Japanese in the 60s and 70s. Over the decades the car industry has been constantly forced to change in order to survive. We trace these upheavals, how business responded, and who suffered. We explain the modern global car industry, which sees many makers sharing parts and suppliers, with manufacturing going on all over the world via multi-tier supply chains. Above all the emergence of new markets and new competition in India and China means that western car makers need to adapt to local needs in local markets.

    PART 2 PSA Case Study

    By 2014 PSA, owners of the Peugeot and Citroen brands, was in deep financial trouble. It had failed to keep up with the demands of the global market. Its costs were too high, it lacked brand identity, with too many models.

    2016: new CEO Carlos Tavares launched recovery plan called Back In Race, followed by a company-wide change project called Push To Pass. The change plan was to revolutionise every aspect of the business. The key: better focus on customer needs and a move from 'car maker' to 'provider of mobility services'.

    China The Key: but if PSA is to succeed, it has to succeed in China, the world's fastest growing car market. Here, PSA has a partnership with the Chinese government owned Dongfeng Motors. We go into one of their giant plants in Wuhan to see how the co-operation works. There's no doubt that the Chinese know what they want out of the partnership, and they know how to get it.

    DVD / 2018 / 28 minutes

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    It's change or die in the modern business world. But do you manage change?

  • Resistance to change (Kotter, Schlesinger et al)
  • Drivers of change
  • Change Projects: Why they fail, why they succeed.

  • PART 1 Introduction (21 mins)

    Change in business is nothing new - it's the pace of change. The digital revolution has destroyed old businesses and created vast new empires. To survive, organisations must be quick to adapt - but people, generally, don't like change. How can change be best managed?

    Drivers Of Change Change these might be threats or opportunities, they may come from inside or outside the organisation, they may involve a merger or restructuring - often it will require a cultural change.

    Change Projects may be limited to one department or bold, company-wide initiatives - either way they will involve a change project. But the stats are not good: over 70% of change projects fail. Following the guidelines of Kotter and Schlesinger we look at why change projects fail - and how to overcome resistance. We hear other expert voices.

    Also covered: how a change project is organised, the importance of leadership and follow-up.

    PART 2 Change Management Case Studies (14 mins)

    Amazon.com: Amazon has been called the world's most disruptive company. It's put a bomb under conventional retailing, publishing and cloud storage services. But to achieve such amazing external success, Amazon needs the internal culture of constant challenging, constant change. How do they do it?

    PSA: By 2014, PSA, owners of the Peugeot and Citroen brands, was in deep financial trouble: we outline new CEO Carlos Tavares' plan to transform the business. Will he succeed?

    DVD / 2018 / 36 minutes

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    A sobering case study in unethical behaviour at the heart of the auto industry.

  • Corporate Ethics
  • The Car Industry
  • Cars and Pollution
  • Diesel Technology

  • 'Dieselgate' is the scandal that made world headlines when, in the USA in 2015, Volkswagen were discovered to have installed defeat devices in the pollution control software of their diesel cars. Although the cars conformed to emission standards in laboratory tests, on the road, in actual driving conditions, emissions were off the chart. VW were forced to buy back vehicles from American customers - resulting in 'VW graveyards' of new cars across the US. Compensation and fines amounted to over $20 billion.

    But the scandal has far more important ramifications outside the USA, where less than 2% of vehicles are diesel-powered. Diesel is a technology originating in Europe, where there are millions of cars - and the implications for air pollution are far more serious. As one campaigner says: 'People don't see the victims, but they're there.'

    And the fault, it seems, is not just with Volkswagen. French manufacturers PSA Group (owners of the Peugeot and Citroen brands) and Renault are also in the spotlight.

    Dieselgate is a sobering case study in the way corporations will cynically look to use any trick - at the expense of its customers and public health - to maintain profits and market share.

    DVD / 2018 / 28 minutes

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  • The Internet
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Human Resources
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Behaviour Of Multinationals
  • Artificial Intelligence

  • Google has grown from nothing in 1998 to a multinational tech giant. We tell that story, we identify the drivers of success. Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin didn't want to sell advertising at first - now Google search is a giant advertising cash cow.

    MODEL EMPLOYER We go inside the Googleplex near San Francisco to find the people and projects. Google prides itself on being a model employer, offering great pay and benefits to its staff whose average age is 29. Google encourages its staff to work on their own ideas, funding all kinds of futuristic projects with 'the courage to fail'.

    MARKETING STRATEGY Google has used its enormous advertising revenue to develop into the online media and mobile phone markets - exploiting the converging technologies of internet, mobile phones and media - as well as exploring countless projects in the field of artificial intelligence. Google goes in for 'semi-organic growth', buying other businesses but to make them fit into existing product development teams.

    DON'T BE EVIL? Google says its focus is to make the world a better place. It supports worthy projects in the developing world. But critics say, in the areas that matter, Google acts like any other multinational - in its own interest.

    There have been attacks over tax, data privacy and abuse of dominance. Famously, the founders said 'Don't Be Evil' but have they lived up to the early motto?

    DVD / 2016 / 28 minutes

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    This updates the original 1996 film, going back to the original issues and finding out the new ones. The Lake District is one of Britain's most popular tourist honeypots. The basic challenge: how to encourage tourists without spoiling the natural beauty they come to see.

    MAN-MADE VERSUS NATURAL The speed limit for power boats on Lake Windermere goes to the heart of whether the Lake District should be preserved in its 'natural' state or allow 'man-made' attractions - such as water skiing. The speed limit has been imposed, but the row rumbles on.

    BLOTS ON THE LANDSCAPE Should garden centres and supermarkets be allowed to build and expand in the National Park? And what about pylons and windfarms?

    TOO MUCH TRAFFIC? Traffic congestion is as bad as ever, despite efforts to get people out of their cars. Plans for a relief road for Ambleside, proposed over 20 years ago, have still not gone through.

    CLIMATE CHANGE The floods of December 2015 highlight how much damage climate change may bring to landscapes as well as communities.

    DVD / 2016 / 50 minutes

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  • Marketing Strategy
  • Retailing
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • External Factorst

  • Tesco was the retail success story of the 90s and early 2000s. By 2007 it came close to capturing a third of the UK retail market, and was a true international retail giant - but by 2014 profits were falling and scandals were brewing. It seems the wheels came off the trolley. What went wrong?

    STACK 'EM HIGH... Founder Jack Cohen's aggressive growth policies in the mid 20th century set the pattern: his successors had grander plans: to make Tesco all things to all people - selling everything to all sectors of society. Branding, own-label goods, overseas expansion and technology were vital planks of its strategy. But was Tesco over-reaching itself?

    THE PERFECT STORM: The 2008 world economic crash was a signal for a profound change in the retail landscape: new discount stores could beat Tesco on price, and Tesco had acquired a reputation as a bully towards rivals and suppliers. With the horsemeat debacle and financial reporting scandals by 2014 it was "the perfect storm". Tesco had a fight-back plan, but was it enough?

    DVD / 2015 / 27 minutes

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  • Marketing Strategy
  • Retailing
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Globalisation

  • Starbucks is the essential success story of the American capitalist dream. From humble beginnings in 1971 as a Seattle coffee store, it's become a multinational with over 21,000 outlets in 63 countries. Its brand is universally known.

    HOW DID THEY DO IT? Starbucks' success owes a lot to the vision of its guiding light, CEO Howard Schultz, who preaches an almost evangelical brand of caring capitalism, at the same time focusing relentlessly on the customer experience. Acquisition, brand-stretching, social media, and new channel development have all played a part. They put a lot of stress on caring for their staff and the in-store atmosphere. They want customers to feel it's "their Starbucks".

    GOOD CITIZEN? CEO Howard Schultz talks about creating "a philosophically different business" but is it really? Critics point to low pay and scheduling pressures for staff, tax avoidance and, above all, the pittance developing world farmers receive for the coffee beans.

    DVD / 2015 / 27 minutes

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  • HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa
  • Effects of poverty in Africa
  • Effects of structural adjustment in Africa
  • Swaziland

  • 70% of the world's HIV infections occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Swaziland, for example, has the highest HIV infection rate in the world. As many as 1 in every 2 young people has the virus. Why has this happened? The reasons are complex and may challenge western assumptions.

    CULTURE TO BLAME? Many commentators have put the blame on low condom-use, some even say that Africans are more sexually promiscuous by nature than people in the developed world. Others point to a culture of denial regarding AIDS. Therefore the main solutions put forward have been awareness campaigns geared towards encouraging behaviour change. But is this the point?

    OR IS IT STRUCTURAL? Other experts argue that the causes come down to poverty. They point to labour migration in men and pressures for transactional sex in women, brought about by economic policies forced on Swaziland by international finance, with the cooperation of local elites, including the Swazi King, the last absolute monarch in Africa.

    DVD / 2014 / 28 minutes

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  • Tourism In Egypt
  • Tourism And Civil Unrest
  • Egyptian History

  • Tourism has been vital to the Egyptian economy for decades. Despite setbacks, the 20 years up to 2011 seem like a golden era in the light of subsequent events. Since the revolution of 2011 and the political and social upheavals that followed, tourism numbers and income have nose-dived.

    TOURISM: BLESSING OR CURSE? Egypt was one of the earliest Thomas Cook destinations in the mid 19th Century. Tourists were lured by the ancient pyramids - and they're still coming. But these attractions that made Egypt so popular have also made it vulnerable, as terrorists know well.

    ENVIRONMENT The downturn may be a blessing in disguise -- for the environment. Egypt's waste disposal system is at breaking point: lower tourist numbers will ease the strain. Is there a future in a more sustainable brand of tourism?

    TOURISM: WHO BENEFITS, WHO SUFFERS? The dramatic slump in tourism has affected the tourism companies, but as ever it's the small traders who have suffered most - just as, in the good times, the large business, often foreign-owned, reap the profits. We go behind the scenes of the Nile cruises business, where workers work long hours for low pay - those who can even get a job. Some critics argue that tourism is a new form of colonialism, trading on "commoditised" myths of ancient Egypt.

    Features an interview with Hisham Zaazou, Egyptian minister of tourism.

    DVD / 2014 / 30 minutes

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  • The European Union
  • History
  • The EU Institutions
  • Arguments For And Against

  • Conceived as a noble cause, to prevent another war in Europe, the EU has become embroiled in controversy. But what is the EU? How does it work? Should we love it or hate it?

    THE HISTORY, THE STRUCTURE We trace the EU from its beginnings as a coal and steel trading agreement, through to the structure and institutions of today: the Commission, the Council, The European Parliament. Enlargement, and the single currency, have brought great changes - and crisis.

    CRISIS AND CONFLICT The world financial crash highlighted the divisions between the rich and poor members - and put great strain on the Eurozone. Why is there such a surge of euroscepticism across Europe and in UK especially? How will the EU fare against charges of corruption, bureaucratic waste and lack of democracy? We put all the arguments for viewers to decide.

    DVD / 2014 / 30 minutes

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  • Globalisation Of Food
  • Migrant labour in the EU
  • European Union

  • How the clean, bright displays in our supermarkets hide a murkier story of exploitation in the supply chain.

    ITALY'S ROTTEN TOMATOES If you buy a tin of tomatoes chances are they come from Southern Italy - picked by migrant labour usually from Africa. They're paid a pittance, have no rights and live in shacks. It looks like a third world scene, but this is in the heart of the EU. The Italian authorities are beginning to act against the gang masters, but the exploitation goes on.

    SLAVERY AT SEA Chinese and South Korean trawlers work the coast of East Africa, hiring local labour who work in slave-like conditions. The fish is not supposed to go to the EU but it does, by changing the labels on the boxes! EU officials say they try their best to guarantee the quality and source of the fish - but they are understaffed and admit that the law is frequently flouted.

    A BAD CASE OF BANANAS PHP is a French multi-national producing bananas for Europe - they claim their workforce is happy, but the crops are being sprayed with chemicals that have been banned in the EU. Local towns and villages have been affected - some workers have gone blind. What chance of change when the local politicians are working for the company?

    DVD / 2014 / 32 minutes

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  • Car Manufacturing
  • Robotics
  • Jaguar Land Rover

  • Jaguar is a world-famous name for quality cars for the rich and famous. This film takes us inside the famous Castle Bromwich factory in the West Midlands, UK, to see how they make one - in this case, the Jaguar XJ.

    PRESS SHOP: First stage is pressing the various body panels out of the metal "blanks". Aluminium is used, for lightness and strength.

    BODY IN WHITE: Next, the parts are put together in the Body In White shop, using robots and skilled manpower, resulting in completed shells for the XJ coming off the line, one every 4.1 minutes.

    PAINT, FINAL TRIM & ASSEMBLY: The shells are painted, then go to "Final Trim" to be made into completed cars, each customised to particular orders. Each car has a bar code number that contains all its unique features and destination. Quality Control is also a vital element, through the whole process and at final checking stage.

    JAGUAR: A VERY BRITISH COMPANY? Jaguar is "Made In Britain", part of Jaguar Land Rover, but the company is owned by Indian car makers Tata. Its biggest market is China, where Jaguars are the status symbol for the new moneyed classes. Jaguar sales are on the rise, providing more UK jobs, proving it's possible to thrive, even in a recession.

    DVD / 2013 / 30 minutes

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    An exploration of what most marketers would regard as the most important element of the Marketing Mix: Product.

    PART 1 (15 mins): All About The Marketing Mix: Product. An introduction into the essentials of "product". What is value analysis? How is it done? What is the product life cycle? How can a business extend the life of a product? What is meant by brand extension? Also includes the Boston Matrix as a way of analysing a product portfolio.

    PART 2 (8 mins): Case Studies In Value Analysis. Apple iPad compared to the Panasonic Toughpad. Tesco's Everyday Value range.

    PART 3 (8 mins): Cash Cows, Stars & Dogs: Coca Cola is the cash cow that has funded new products, including "dogs" such as New Coke and Dasani in UK. Apple's come-back cash cow was the iPod, but that has been superseded by iPhone and iPad. McCain Foods' Oven Chips are the cash cow that has funded many variants.

  • Value Analysis
  • Product Life Cycle
  • Product Portfolio
  • Boston Matrix
  • Product Differentiation
  • Brand Extension/Product Extension

  • DVD / 2013 / 31 minutes

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    PART 1 (7 mins): Extension Strategies: Skoda: how did Volkswagen reinvent the Skoda brand? Famous Failures! How some brands went "a stretch too far", including Harley Davidson perfume, yoghurt from Cosmopolitan magazine and mountain bikes from gun makers Smith & Wesson.

    PART 2 (9 mins): Long Lives, Short Lives, Reincarnations: The Mars bar. What is the secret of its longevity? Cadbury's Fuse went off like a rocket but fizzled out - but Wispa came back from the dead. Lyle's Golden Syrup has hardly changed in 100 years!

    PART 3 (6 mins): New Product, Same Brand: Call Of Duty is the masterbrand for a range of products - critics accuse Activision of "diluting the brand". Activision says: just look at sales! Special Editions is another way of getting new life out of an old product - but for the Queen's Jubilee 2012 not everyone was amused.

  • Extension Strategies
  • Famous Marketing Failures
  • Long Lives, Short Lives, Reincarnations
  • Masterbrands

  • DVD / 2013 / 22 minutes

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    PART 1 (15 mins): Pricing Strategies. Price & income elasticity of demand explained. Also covered: penetration, promotional and premium pricing, with examples. What is meant by "skimming the market" and "price discrimination"?

    PART 2 (18 mins): Pricing Case Studies. The recession and rising costs has hit the catering trade: how does this affect pricing strategies? Innocent Drinks once commanded a premium price, but have new products undermined their usp? 99p Stores have used price as a strategic weapon, and are benefiting from recession. Ryanair had also used price to gain market share and as a brand identifier. Diesel uses its brand image to charge premium prices. But price can have damaging social effects: we look at cheap alcohol sales in supermarkets and energy sector pricing. Is it effectively a monopoly?

  • Pricing Strategies
  • Price & Income Elasticity Of Demand
  • Penetration Pricing
  • Promotional & Premium Pricing
  • Skimming
  • Price Discrimination

  • DVD / 2013 / 33 minutes

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  • The Promotional Mix
  • Advertising
  • Direct Marketing
  • PR & Sponsorship
  • Point Of Sale Promotion
  • Above The Line/Below The Line
  • Marketing Ethics
  • Internet v Conventional Promotion

  • An exploration of a key element of the Marketing Mix: Promotion.

    PART 1 (15 mins): Introduction To promotion/advertising. Why do businesses promote their goods? To sell more, of course - but it's not as simple as that. There are different reasons requiring different solutions: a different "promotional mix". In this part we look mostly at advertising, in all its forms including TV, radio, billboards, cinema and press - and also the internet, which now threatens the existence of some of the old media. What does the internet offer compared to older media?

    PART 2 (15 mins): Other parts of the promotional mix. In this part we look at the other elements in the promotional mix (apart from advertising, covered in Part 1): including direct marketing (mail, email & social media), public relations, sponsorship and point of sale. Above the line and below the line: what do these terms mean? Do they apply these days? Marketing Ethics: large companies are very hot on "responsible marketing", but how much is real, how much PR whitewash?

    DVD / 2013 / 30 minutes

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