Billionaire Tilman Fertitta on identifying the next billion-dollar idea

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.finance.yahoo.com — Wed, 28 Dec, 2016) London, Uk —

Imagine coming up with the next Uber, Airbnb, Instagram or Snapchat. How do you know when you have thought of the next billion-dollar idea?

Hospitality mogul and star of CNBC’s “Billion Dollar Buyer” Tilman Fertitta, who meets with entrepreneurs nationwide looking for the most innovative products to add to his portfolio, told Yahoo Finance’s Seana Smith in the video above the key characteristics he looks for when identifying the next big business idea.

“Look at edgy products,” said Landry. “There are so many young millennial entrepreneurs out there right now coming up with different products…. You’re looking for somebody that can scale up, that has a unique product that people want. It can be anything. Being in casinos, restaurants, hotels, aquariums and amusement parks, we buy everything, so we’re just looking for that one unique product.”

Fertitta has a proven track record of success over the last four decades. He’s the sole-owner of dining, entertainment, gaming and hospitality group Landry’s, which is comprised of more than 500 properties including the Rainforest Café, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Chart House and McCormick & Schmick’s. Fertitta’s a self-made billionaire with an estimated net worth of $2.8 billion.

Don’t be fooled though, it takes much more than just a “unique” product to turn a billion-dollar idea into a prosperous business. Fertitta says key traits that separate successful entrepreneurs from those that fail include passion, perseverance and effective management.

“It’s really about knowing all facets of your business,” he said. “Know your numbers and never give up. And when you get kicked down, keep picking yourself up.”

Seana Smith

Crowdfunding faces crackdown by Watchdog

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Tue, 13 Dec, 2016) London, Uk – –

Crowdfunding platforms need tougher rules and restrictions in order to protect investors, the Financial Conduct Authority has said.

The financial watchdog has raised concerns about loan-based businesses, which allow borrowers and lenders to join up without involving banks, and investment platforms, through which members of the public invest in a business or campaign directly.

The FCA said it was difficult for investors to compare crowdfunding investments with other assets given it was often unclear exactly what was being offered.

As a result, investors struggle to assess the risk and returns of giving their money to crowdfunding platforms, and there were some conflicts of interest that were not being managed properly.

Additionally, crowdfunding schemes did not always meet the FCA’s requirements to be “clear, fair and not misleading”, it said.

Firms’ plans for winding down in the event of their failure were also insufficient to allow for repayment of loans, it warned.

According to research by AltFi Data released last month, there have been just five successful ‘exits’, where investors’ capital was returned plus a premium, out of 955 funding rounds across 751 companies and six platforms analysed.

The FCA said it would consult on strengthening rules for wind-down plans, and tighten restrictions on cross-platform investment.

For loan-based platforms, the FCA said it would look to impose standards currently applied to mortgage lending in order to more tightly monitor the conditions in which loans are made.

Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the FCA, said: “Our focus is ensuring that investor protections are appropriate for the risks in the crowdfunding sector while continuing to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers. Based on our findings to date, we believe it is necessary to strengthen investor protection in a number of areas.”

Mr Bailey said the FCA planned to consult next year on new rules to address the problems it had found.

It is the second market intervention by the FCA in a week, after it announced major plans to crack down on spread betters amid fears ordinary investors are losing money. Shares in spread-betting firms – which sell so-called contracts for difference that allow people to trade on price movements in financial markets – slumped after the announcement.

By Rhiannon Bury

The David Rubenstein Show: Features Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates

The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations” explores successful leadership through the personal and professional choices of the most influential people in business. Renowned financier and philanthropist David Rubenstein travels the country talking to leaders to uncover their stories and their path to success. The first episode features Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

Possible future for 3D printed cars

At the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago, Local Motors 3D printed a plastic car called the Strati.

Local Motors printed the car's chassis and body all in one piece, and also printed the fenders separately. The first phase of the process took just 44 hours.

Then the non-printed components (engine, seats, steering wheel, etc.) were attached in the last stage of the assembly.

“A 3D printed car like ours will only have dozens of components,” Local Motors engineer James Earle told Business Insider. In the near future, he says, it could cost only about $7,000 to manufacture, perhaps the start of what will become a niche market for customized cars.

Thousands of UK restaurants could go bust due to a higher cost of importing food and wine

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com/UK – – Mon, 5 Dec, 2016) London, Uk – –

Higher cost of importing food and wine – due to weaker sterling – and rising wage bills could hit over 5,000 companies

Food Wine
aJ Gazmen/Flickr

Thousands of restaurant businesses in Britain could go bust because the fall in sterling since the Brexit vote has sharply raised the cost of imported food and wine, an accountancy firm has warned.

Moore Stephens says that 5,570 restaurant businesses have at least a 30% chance of insolvency in the next three years, due to inflationary pressures and stagnating disposable incomes.

The UK imports 48% of its food, according to government figures, and many restaurants rely heavily on imported food and wine. The cost of labour has also gone up, after the government raised the national minimum wage from £6.70 to £7.20 in April, with a further rise to £7.50 to take place next April.

The restaurant sector is fiercely competitive, with 200 new restaurants opening in London last year alone. This gives consumers a lot of choice and forces restaurants to cut prices or come up with special offers.

Many diners are also suffering from flatlining disposable incomes – the amount households have left to spend after tax and bills have been paid. The average gross disposable household income increased just 0.5% over the last year, from £17,872 to £17,965, Moore Stephens said, quoting official data.

Even some of the biggest restaurant companies are struggling. For example, The Restaurant Group is closing 33 outlets across the UK, including 14 Frankie & Benny’s and 11 Chiquito branches. It also plans to close its flagship Garfunkels restaurant on the Strand in London.

The company, which also owns Coast to Coast, has blamed its poor performance on unpopular new menus, higher prices and poor customer service, and vowed to listen more to its customers.

The business’s new chair Debbie Hewitt, who took over in March as part of a boardroom shake-out, has said the drop in the value of the pound following the referendum would push up the price of imported food next year but added that the company cannot afford to pass this on to customers.

There have been a growing number of warnings over dearer food prices, from Britain’s biggest supermarket, Tesco, and others, and the impact on poor families. The Bank of England, the International Monetary Fund and City economists all believe that inflation will rise to at least 3% by the end of next year, from 0.9% in October.

Mike Finch, restructuring partner at Moore Stephens, said: “It’s been a tough year for many restaurants in the face of rising costs and fierce competition. It is unrealistic to expect UK restaurant groups to avoid the impact of the fall in the pound by substituting for UK produce – they are going to face a big hit. Restaurants have to make tough decisions as to how much they try to pass on to consumers; too much and they risk losing business, too little and they lose margin.”

He said that sterling’s wild swings in the currency markets had hit small and medium-sized restaurant businesses particularly hard as they operate on tighter budgets and are less likely to negotiate long-term supply contracts. All this comes at a time when many consumers are likely to be very price conscious.

Food Wine
Uncalno Tekno/Flickr

“The high number of potential insolvencies over the next year shows just how fragile finances can be in this sector and demonstrates the importance of careful financial management,” Finch added.

“There may be further challenges to come as the UK’s trading agreements with Europe remain uncertain. Many in the restaurant industry would consider the idea of additional import tariffs on foodstuffs with horror.”

A separate report showed the strain many UK consumers are under. The number of those who have taken on more debt over the last five years has risen to 37% from 27% a year ago. The findings come from a survey of 2,008 consumers with debt, including 804 defaulters who have fallen behind with payments, by FTSE 250-listed Arrow Global, which buys and manages debt portfolios.

The most common form of personal debt is credit cards that are not paid off in full every month. The fact that credit cards have overtaken mortgages as the most frequent form of debt, alongside an increase in overdraft borrowing, suggests that the nation’s habits have changed to favour short-term borrowing. More people than ever are renting as they cannot afford to buy a home.

Almost half of borrowers (48%) have a credit card which is not cleared in full each month, compared with 39% a year ago. Almost a third have an overdraft, up from 23%, while the number of those with a mortgage has fallen to 42% from 46%.

One in 10 debt defaulters who fall behind on repayments never catch up.

The latest Bank of England figures showed credit-card borrowing reached an all-time high of £66.2bn in October.

Arrow Global has arranged an industry roundtable this Friday to discuss what the industry can do to support debt defaulters. Tom Drury, the firm’s chief executive, said: “Consumer credit is vital for the smooth-functioning of the economy, but it is clear that British consumers are taking on a heavy debt burden at the moment that is not going to be sustainable for some.

“The low interest rate environment means that debt is cheap, but that doesn’t help consumers who have struggled with their monthly budgeting or suffered from a shock event like losing their job. When borrowers do fall behind on repayments, it is vital that they get all the support they need to rehabilitate their debt.”

By Julia Kollewe

Scientist and entrepreneur Ruopeng Liu turning science fiction into reality

Chinese scientist and entrepreneur Ruopeng Liu is turning science fiction into reality. From cutting edge computing to space-faring technology, there’s no project too far-fetched. He’s been dubbed China’s Elon Musk and now: he wants to take you to the edge of the atmosphere.

True Benefits of Shared Office Space

Qlm referencing: (qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Fri, 2 Dec, 2016) London, Uk – –

Shared Office
doryfour/flickr.com

From pooling resources to using a hive mind: co-workspaces can prove fruitful for enterprises.

If running a small business sometimes feels like a lonely pursuit, shared working spaces could be for you. From networking opportunities to joining forces with university research teams, there are many advantages to communal working.

Kelly Molson found the Cambridge Business Lounge to be invaluable when she first moved to the city and set up her design agency, Rubber Cheese.

Following a Facebook advertisement, she found a mix of professionals from a variety of industries, the opportunity to run and take part in workshops, and spaces for networking, meetings and quiet time. It was affordable and had good biscuits.

Ms Molson says: “The owners are incredibly supportive and made a big effort to get to know me and why I was using the centre. Every time I worked there, they were able to introduce me to new people that they thought I’d get on well with, and potentially could work with too.”

Make the most of networking opportunities

“One introduction led to co-founding a networking group, Grub Club Cambridge, which has been incredible. I’ve met amazing people, gained new clients, raised my profile in the city, been a judge for the Cambridge Food & Drink awards, been interviewed on BBC radio and made fab new friends,” she recalls.

Ms Molson advises asking questions of co-workers and taking an interest in their activities. “I’ve met new suppliers, friends and new clients sitting right next to me, along with a valuable support network.”

Barnaby Lashbrooke, founder of virtual assistant platform, Time etc, is a big believer. When his company evolved to a model more reliant on remote workers, he offered his unused office space free of charge to start-ups and entrepreneurs in Birmingham.

Mr Lashbrooke says: “It's nice to be in a position where we can give something back. I'd have loved someone to offer me a free co-working space when I was 18 and running my first business from my very cramped bedroom at home, as it does get lonely at times.”

He’s in no doubt that working alongside new people can be highly motivating. “Entrepreneurs tend to be inspiring, go-getting types that are good to have around.

Think about collaboration, not just your own needs

“You can get so much out of shared office space if you view it as a community of people rather than simply a service available to your business. The knowledge and ideas stored in that community can be the difference between your start-up succeeding or not,” he says.

Some communal working spaces are open to all, while others are tailored towards specific needs. Hubble, an online marketplace for finding and renting office space in London, offers sector-specific shared working spaces.

Varun Bhanot, head of business development, explains: “The hope is that these companies help each other, and benefit from the perks of the environment such as access to industry resources, workshops and talks by thought leaders in their industry.”

He has advice for making the most of your working arrangement. “Shared spaces are designed to engineer fruitful networking and ‘collisions’. Take advantage of those around you, as the chances are they are working on a similar problem to yours, or your company might be a solution they are looking for.

“Spend time in breakout and communal areas. Go to events in the space, or host your own. The best thing about shared space is that there is already a captive audience which is likely to want to listen to your pitch or useful advice.

He also suggests approaching companies about pooling resources. This can go far beyond comestibles such as the milk and coffee, there can be an opportunity to share printing, whiteboards, TVs and meeting room space. It could work out most cost-effective for all the companies to pitch in.

Give yourself room to grow

Mr Bhanot’s key factors in choosing your perfect working space include scalability: is more space available when your company grows? Are there enough meeting rooms so you can book time whenever you need it? Also look for local amenities, such as coffee shops and bars which are great for out-of-the-office meetings with colleagues and clients. And don’t forget the perks, such as weekly fruit drops and pet-friendly areas.

Universities can provide a wealth of resources to SMEs. Lancaster University has business hubs dedicated to technology, the environment and chemistry. Among its £35m investment is the new Collaborative Technology Access Programme, which gives businesses access to a suite of cutting-edge instrumentation and facilities worth almost £7m.

Companies can relocate their entire company, or just their research and development staff, onto campus, or take a hot desk or lab space as and when required.

Dr Mark Rushforth, head of business partnerships and enterprise at Lancaster University’s Faculty of Science and Technology, says: “Renting offices and integrating all or part of a business onto the campus enables faster business growth by providing easier access to our research, knowledge, events, training and facilities. Company staff, academics and research groups are able to interact on a day-to-day basis, co-design new opportunities and have direct access to knowledge exchange staff.”

Each business is allocated a relationship manager, who acts as a link between businesses and academics, facilitating joint research projects and ventures. Companies can also benefit from student placements, access to international markets through a collaborative working scheme, and access to other campus facilities such as libraries and sports centres.

Dr Rushforth adds: “Ask questions, share ideas, get involved, test new employees through student placements, tap into everything you can. There’s a lot of support out there.”

By Tim Aldred

Geraldine Roche Of Citirecruit: Great Incites On Hospitality Recruitment

http://www.citirecruit.co.uk Geraldine Roche Of Citirecruit London England +44 (0) 207 866 5463: Covers the area and gives Brilliant Insights On How To Obtain A High-quality Hospitality Recruitment Service In London England

For additional information on this topic can contact Geraldine Roche at:

Citirecruit
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+44 (0) 207 866 5463

Using Smart Billing Strategies to Increase Profits

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.finance.yahoo.com – – Fri, 25 Nov, 2016) London, Uk – –

Ken Teegardin/Flickr
Ken Teegardin/Flickr

I used to work at a writing mill, churning out page after page of promotional material on technical subjects. I was not, thank you very much, a “tech writer.” Business writers view tech writers as failed engineers or talentless hacks who are one economic downturn from working at Taco Bell. Tech writers, in turn, think business writers to be technological maladroits who could not pour water out of a boot if the instructions were not written on the bottom.

I was new to the job and eager to impress. I was designing a training program, and I asked the program managers how many hours had been billed to the project; he looked at me blankly and shrugged. He didn’t know. Not to be dissuaded, I went to the CFO who told me, “We don’t track that.” When I asked him how many hours they based the quote on, he was equally clueless.

Ask me no questions.

So there I was working on a project without knowing how many total hours had been bid and how many of those had been used. Madness. By now self-conscious because I believed my questions sounded more accusatory than inquisitive, I gently inquired how in the living Hell the company knew whether or not it was making a profit. I was informed with withering condescension that we billed customers, and that was called gross revenue, and then we subtracted our costs, which revealed our net profit. Madness; all around me, madness.

I grew to accept that loosey-goosey accounting method that they don’t teach you in accounting classes. There were no lofty terms like depreciation and debits, and no such pesky acronyms as FIFO and LIFO inventories. No, this was something easier and somehow more pure. Truthfully, it removed any and all accountability: I was absolutely at peace with it. Still, this company did eventually collapse, largely because of its amateurish cash-flow system, but I had abandoned ship long before.

There can't be two.

I had another job in a velvet sweatshop writing training. I was sure the first company was an outlier: there couldn’t be two companies that didn’t manage profit and labor on an individual basis. I was wrong.

I was again plunged headlong into a world of madness where nobody kept score until the game was over. This time the company only tracked overhead, code for: You useless fool! You aren’t working making money for the company. Here, to have over 10 percent overhead on your timesheet was to put a bullseye on your back, although everyone quickly learned how to game that system.

If you are an entrepreneur — whether you are a sole proprietor or the owner of a medium- to large-sized company, you must know how much each project is costing you relative to how much you are billing for it. This is easier than it seems, but there are some rules you should follow:
Spell out exactly what is billable and what is not.

In your quotes to prospective clients, detail what's billable. Is travel to and from the customer site billable? How about kickoff meetings? A clear understanding of exactly what constitutes billable activity is essential; what’s more, it avoids disputes over billing.

Share the quote with the team.

Too many business owners are paranoid about their billing; in their minds, they don’t dare share that information with their employees. They fear that if their employees knew the rate at which they were being billed to a client, they would demand a raise. If you fear that, explain to your employees the concepts of burden rate (how much it costs a business owner to actually employ a worker) and profit (the reason you’re in business). Most people will get it, and the conversation will end well — except for ones where the employer is actively ripping off everyone in the equation. (You know who you are. So, in that case, you might want to fix that first, you greedy, dishonest pig.)

Don’t schedule mandatory nonbillable meetings and events.

Too many employers fill employees schdules with nonbillable meetings and then punish employees for being nonbillable. Now, assuming a 40-hour week (HA! LOL … sorry, I couldn’t even type that with a straight face), an employer scheduling a daily, two-hour staff meeting instantly cuts employees' billable time by 20 percent. Think about that, but also know I’m being kind here. I have worked for companies that harp on people for the level of their overhead billing and yet routinely schedule 20 hours of nonbillable activities (meetings, training, employee birthday parties, etc.). This practice puts the employee in an intolerable dilemma: either he or she can cheat and bill the customer for that time, or the employee can log an extra 20 hours or so of work outside the workweek to retain a high, useful billability rating.

Keep good time sheets.

Everyone hates doing timesheets. Show me someone who enjoys doing timesheets and I will show you someone who probably eats food they find on the side walk (“Oooh, street pizza”). Good time keeping allows you to understand how much effort a project really takes; it differentiates between people who are good at their work and those who aren’t.

Learn from your failures.

Just because you lost money on a project doesn’t mean you’re workers failed to perform. When you lose money on a project ask yourself why? Was it scope creep (where the project slowly grows but the price stays the same)? Was it poorly quoted? Did you miss listing key assumptions that affected your ability to bill the project more? By knowing exactly why you lost (or for that matter, why made money), you can correct the error and do better next time.

By Phil La Duke

Calling in sick – The best excuses, according to your boss

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Tue, 22 Nov, 2016) London, Uk – –

Employees suffering from a migraine might want to think up a better excuse when phoning in sick from work, as just one in five bosses consider the headache serious enough to warrant a day off.

Back pain, injury caused by accident and even elective surgery such as a cataract operation or hip replacement fail to arouse sympathy out of managers, with around 37pc considering these ailments adequate excuses for missing work.

The medical insurance provider AXA PPP Healthcare surveyed 1,000 business owners, managing directors and chief executives about their attitudes towards employees' sick leave.

The research found that flu is the most acceptable ailment for staff to stay at home – even though it won sympathy from just 41pc of bosses.

While mental illnesses such as stress, depression and anxiety were not viewed more or less kindly by managers, employees were significantly more likely to lie about non-physical health.

A survey of 1,000 non-executive employees found that 7pc would tell their boss a lie if they had to miss work for a physical ailment such as back pain, flu or accidental injury.

However, they were almost six times more likely to lie if they called in sick due to stress, anxiety or depression, with 40pc saying they would not tell their manager the truth.

The survey also found that 22pc of employees would not give the honest reason if they phoned in sick due to a cold, while 12pc would lie about having a migraine.

“Employers need to challenge this blinkered attitude, both for their own benefit as well as that of their employees,” said Glen Parkinson of AXA PPP Healthcare.

“In many cases it is more productive for an employee to take a day off to recover from a spell of illness rather than to come into work, with diminished productivity and, for likes of colds and flu, the potential to spread their illness to workmates.”

When asked to explain why they would withhold the truth from their managers, 23pc of employees said they preferred to keep their health issues private.

A further 23pc admitted they were afraid of being judged, 15pc said they were concerned about not being believed, 7pc said they were afraid of their manager's reaction and 3pc confessed they would feel ashamed to reveal the true reason.

Mr Parkinson added: “Showing sympathy and flexibility when employees are unwell is crucial to maintaining a healthy and committed workforce, which in the long term creates a healthier business.”

By Lauren Davidson

Google, Facebook aiming to stop spread of fake news

 

People who got election news on Facebook might have been looking at more fake stories than real ones. BuzzFeed reached that surprising conclusion after analyzing the last three months of campaign coverage. The website studied how Facebook users engaged with bogus news stories, as compared to authentic ones. Jericka Duncan reports on what it means for voters.

Multi-national suppliers warned by Tesco not to raise prices following a drop in the pound

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com – – Thur, 17 Nov, 2016) London, UK – –

Tesco
Clive Darra/flickr

Britain's biggest retailer Tesco has warned its multi-national suppliers against pushing up prices following a drop in the pound just so they can maintain their reported profits.

In his first public comments since last month's “Marmitegate” row between Unilever and Tesco over who should take the hit from the weaker pound, the supermarket's Chief Executive Dave Lewis said that when there is a currency devaluation, multi-national businesses present results in both constant and current exchange rates.

“And the City (investors) completely understands it, they don't devalue a stock because of that, they understand it's part of the volatility of being in many countries,” Lewis told reporters on Thursday during a briefing at Tesco's headquarters at Welwyn Garden City, north of Londo

“The only thing we would ask of companies that are in that position is they don't ask UK customers to pay inflated prices in order that their reporting currency is maintained. They don't do that for countries outside of the UK,” he said.

The pound has fallen around 16 percent against the U.S. dollar since Britons voted on June 23 to leave the European Union, making imports more expensive. It is also down to a lesser extent against the euro.

Tesco scored a public relations coup in October when it briefly halted online sales of goods produced by Unilever after the Anglo-Dutch group sought to lift prices of popular brands such as Marmite. The two quickly reached an agreement, the terms of which have not been disclosed.

Last week, Mike Coupe, CEO of Sainsbury's, Britain's No. 2 supermarket group, said multi-national suppliers should take some of the pain of sterling's fall, arguing their profitability was higher than UK grocers'.

Lewis, who worked for Unilever for 28 years, recognised some suppliers were facing legitimate cost pressures. Under such circumstances, Tesco could try to offset this by, for example, changing recipes or finding cost savings.

“There's (inflationary) pressure. Some of it is justified and if we can't offset it then we work out how it is we can accommodate that between ourselves and indeed our partners,” said Lewis.

Though Britain's grocery market has seen two years of deflation, Lewis noted inflation coming through in some areas, calling out pork as an example.

“It's selective. By no means is it completely flat and across the board, it's very much commodity by commodity, product by product.”

The media briefing was held the day after Tesco hosted a seminar for investors and analysts which detailed the strategic drivers of its recovery.

Shares in Tesco have risen 43 percent this year after three straight quarters of underlying UK sales growth and a rise in market share following five years of losses.

Industry data published on Tuesday showed Tesco's sales rising at the fastest pace for three years.

Last month, the firm reported a 60 percent rise in first half operating profit and raised profitability targets.

By James Davey       (Editing by Mark Potter)