The OBK Blog

By Paul Kennedy

Many businesses provide what one commentator calls “black box services”. That is to say their customers may understand the inputs and outputs but have no idea what happens in between. Accounting and legal services are classic black box services although there are many other examples including motor garage repair services. These businesses have customers who …

Read more

By Paul Kennedy

Differentiation and the smaller business In this month’s obk mba class we have been looking at differentiation as a competitive strategy. Competitive strategy is concerned with outperforming the competition. It is therefore concerned with relative performance rather than absolute performance. Performance in most mature, fragmented industries tends to be normally distributed with a disproportionate number …

Read more

By Paul Kennedy

When most people think of wealth they think of a surplus of assets over liabilities, and this is one definition of wealth. But wealth is not just what you have but what you can do with it. A multi-millionaire in the 1800’s had limited wealth compared to one in 2015 because the multi-millionaire now can do so much more with their wealth. There are many more things you can spend your money on. Goods, services and experiences are all more widely available. Imagine being a multi-millionaire on a desert island where there are no shops and nothing to buy. Assuming you can’t leave, would you really be wealthy?

Read more

By Paul Kennedy

If you are a student of orthodox financial management theory, which, if you are reading my blog is unlikely, you will be aware of the theory of marginal costing. It goes something like this …. If a business can be marginally better off by making an incremental sale it should do so. In a competitive …

Read more

By Paul Kennedy

Superior business performance comes from being different. You can’t stand out if you run with the herd. Sure, every business says they are different. Websites claim exceptional customer care and allude to going the extra mile but often these are just … “marketing slogans that will not withstand competition” (Michael Porter)* When it comes to …

Read more

By Paul Kennedy

“Change is the process by which the future invades our lives” Alvin Toffler

You may have heard the saying, “if you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got!” This is not a view I subscribe to. Your circumstances are a product of both your behaviour AND your environment. Outcomes will change if either of these change.

Read more

By Paul Kennedy

Like me, you are probably one of those people who are just too smart to be influenced by marketing or to be hoodwinked by brands. Other people may be drawn in but we’re far too smart! Unlike other people, surely we make logical decisions unclouded by emotion. Perhaps we alone make perfectly rational judgements based …

Read more

By Paul Kennedy

Developing and growing a business requires leadership. Successful businesses are a collaborative venture. Businesses are built through people, and the bigger the business, the bigger the team (usually). Businesses need a team to get things done and teams need leadership. Despite this most business owners do not consciously think of themselves as leaders and, more …

Read more

By Paul Kennedy

Having just returned from watching Ric Payne speaking at the OBK MBA* reunion event I have been thinking about some of the things he said. The question in my mind is: ‘do we really understand our own business model?’ Most small businesses do what they did yesterday without a seconds thought. But if someone asked you to articulate your business in some detail along the lines of Osterwalder’s business model canvas– could you do it?

Read more

By Paul Kennedy

From the desk of Paul Kennedy We recently had the pleasure to welcome Steve Cram MBE to our offices (see news). I was asked to speak on the subject of “What can business learn from sport?” and I thought I would publish some of thoughts and research as a blog. In this first posting I …

Read more