Nine business lessons we’ve learned from each Star Wars movie

In honor of May the 4th, we’re ready to get in the spirit for Star Wars day! With its classic storyline of good vs. evil among the cosmos, Star Wars has inspired generations of fans both young and old… including business owners! Let’s take a journey through the story of Star Wars, with business lessons that we’ve learned from each movie that every entrepreneur needs to know.

phantom menace

1) The Phantom Menace – Be Willing to Take A Risk

In Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn goes with his gut and takes a chance on Anakin Skywalker, making the risky gamble of offering up his ship in exchange for the boy’s freedom. Despite the fact that many would have counseled him otherwise, Qui-Gon saw something in Anakin and was willing to risk it all in order to see his vision for Anakin’s future become a reality. For business owners, this is a reality that likely sounds very familiar.

In order to see your dreams for your business come to fruition, you often must take a risk first. Whether it’s quitting your day job, securing financing, or making a long-term investment, running a business can require taking leaps of faith. But, as many business owners would agree, the risk is often worth the reward.

attack of the clones

2) Attack of the Clones – Take Initiative

In Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Anakin Skywalker’s grown quite a bit since his last appearance inThe Phantom Menace. If there’s one thing he’s learned to do well in the timespan between the two movies (which take place ten years apart), it’s how to take initiative, sometimes to Obi-Wan’s chagrin. While this occasionally can lead to trouble, Anakin’s initiative is the catalyst for quite a few victories in the Star Wars universe, including chasing down and catching a bounty hunter and saving Obi-Wan from captivity on Geonosis.

A good business owner knows that sometimes, in order to see things done, one has to take matters into their own hands. Taking initiative to make that sale, purchase that new piece of equipment, or arrange that business partnership you’ve been thinking of will lead to big payoffs down the road for your business.

Read entire post Nine Business Lessons We’ve Learned from Each Star Wars Movie | Amerifund

What does GDPR mean for your supply chain?

What is GDPR and how will it impact my Supply Chain?

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the most important change in personal data privacy regulation in 20 years. It’s aimed at tech giants and small and medium enterprises alike.

As we count down the days until the GDPR enters into force on May 25, it’s important to recognize how your supply chain is affected and how it can become GDPR compliant.

I’d like to take this opportunity to point out a few critical issues that will have a direct impact on your business and supply chain.

Read entire article What does GDPR mean for your supply chain? | 21st Century Supply Chain | Nazli Erdogus

Finding the right synergy between going global and staying local

Conversely local businesses may be reluctant to ride the globalisation wave due to change which comes too much and too fast.

Published on Supply Chain Dgital
By Martin Dividian

Global for some is synonymous with efficiency but with that comes more standardisation. Meanwhile local business environments are seen as more agile and flexible but sometimes struggle to achieve global scale. It’s a tricky balancing act.

Working closely with a whole host of internationally savvy small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), FedEx understands that global brands can absolutely adopt a local approach, and vice versa. It’s time for businesses to rediscover local environments and understand how this can be the catalyst for further expansion.

Read entire article Finding the right synergy between going global and staying local | Supply Chain Digital

SMEs are still ignoring dangers of payments fraud

Payments fraud? What payments fraud? A lot of SMEs appear to be seriously relaxed about the risks of being swindled and the consequences for their business.

Posted on Express | By Maisha Frost

Over half (58 per cent) believe the impact would be minimal and they would only lose a small amount, according to the latest fraud report from MasterCard company Vocalink Analytics.More than 33 per cent had not even heard of the various types of payment cons, such as invoice redirection, mandate and email fraud, the research suggests.

Awareness had barely increased since 2016, although for firms that had been stung it was a different story, with 71 per cent citing it as one of the biggest risks and a continuing threat this year.

SMEs losses were estimated to be £18.9 billion a year according to Action Fraud a couple of years ago.

Read entire article Payments fraud: SMEs are still ignoring dangers of fraud |

Risk it for a biscuit

Risk management isn’t a risky business. Managing risks is a staple diet of any business, regardless of their size or complexity. But some businesses have teams of highly skilled, highly educated and qualified professionals to manage the organizational risk assurance process. Risks are project managed.

Some businesses on the other hand, have just one person in charge of everything. Billy no mates.

The Matrix

In ‘big businesses’, risk management is, big business. Without it there runs the risk of adverse impacts in addition to not adhering to relevant legislation and regulation. Reputational risk is incredibly essential of course.

There is always a trusty risk matrix at the core centre of the program with a risk assurance process that hopefully runs from the top to the bottom (and the other way around of course). And woohoo… a risk management meeting!

A beautiful combination of red, amber and green; perhaps the occasional black or blue.

Red light, spells danger

As Billy Ocean once sang, ‘red light, spells danger, can’t hold on, much longer’.. But so too, can some of the greens and ambers if they are not truly ‘managed’.

Big businesses and organizations have a wealth of knowledge and skilled people to tackle the risks. Identify, assess, eliminate, reduce and remove. Brilliant work team. But in the smaller to medium sized enterprises (SME), often the person in charge of managing the risks, is in a team of one!

Of course, risks vary in size and degree. But SME’s may only have the same person in charge of everything; the selling, the buying, the marketing, the ‘team development’, the putting out of the bins. The IT department, the ‘staff’ canteen; the business continuity management (BCM). The risk management.

Risk management in such cases remains a key critical component of the business survival, but it will compete with all of the other pressing factors.

Risk management on a day to day basis may well take second or third place behind an actual need to get the income in. This doesn’t mean risk management is ignored; it is just reality that it is less important to some degree to the ultimate need to bring money into the business.



This isn’t in anyway a case of ‘risk it for a biscuit’, a saying that was widely used as I grew up, when we were given a challenge for a reward. A dare so to speak. But risks are taken. They are taken in life for a gain or a chance of reward. Some you win and some you lose. That’s life.

In these hefty days of organizational resilience, business continuity, risk management, resilience et al, the needs of the SME are not entirely overlooked. It is simply misunderstood to a degree because, there is little money to be gained from the resilience providers in ‘mining at the SME coalface’.

So, the easy option is to ignore the SME plight completely. Keep resilience and risk management at a corporate level and bugger the rest! Blame the SME or add them in the endless survey results of ‘failed businesses’ or those without resilience, rather than doing something amazing to make it more attractive to the SME in the first place.

Most resilience providers wont risk it for a biscuit in the SME market. Show me the money is the cry. Business is business. ‘I’ll go, where the music takes me’.

The money isn’t in the SME market if they want to gain a bigger buck.

But I believe this is wrong in 2017. I believe the risk is worth taking to make a difference. To take resilience to a wider and more needier audience. To help the SME’s of the world, to have access to better risk and resilience capabilities.

Surely, that is worth the risk?

Paul Kudray eating a biscuit

Paul Kudray

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – A truly down to earth, grounded individual who is a resilience professional. Helping people and organizations to build and maintain their capabilities to respond to and recover from, crisis, emergencies or disasters. Paul is the ‘resilience maverick’ because he is not like the average resilience professional. He uses his great people skills to break down a complicated and often scary subject to make it easier to understand, want and need. Paul wants to help everyone be a bit more resilient because they can.

How standards help small and medium sized businesses

ISO International Standards help businesses of any size and sector reduce costs, increase productivity and access new markets. When it comes to SMEs, confidence has a nickname that’s recognized worldwide. Now you know it too. It’s ISO.

For small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), standards can help to:

  • Build customer confidence that your products are safe and reliable
  • Meet regulation requirements, at a lower cost
  • Reduce costs across all aspects of your business
  • Gain market access across the world

Obtain your ISO certification today!


New ISO handbook brings environmental management to SMEs

Implementing an environmental management system can be challenging for small businesses. ISO’s new handbook has been designed to assist SMEs in improving their environmental performance using ISO 14001.

The benefits of addressing environmental issues are not only linked to the protection of the environment, they can also be found in a company’s business performance and profitability. The handbook ISO 14001:2015, Environmental management systems – A practical guide for SMEs has recently been updated to take into account the latest edition of the standard, published in 2015.

d7eed55a-cbfe-4264-b380-c3576fe62829_a0d53f9e8354b8840762b1b0d591028aSusan L. K. Briggs, the author of the handbook and leader of the ISO/TC 207/SC 1/WG 5, the group that led the revision of this standard, says: “With the revised standard being issued, several new requirements were incorporated such as a focus on the organizational context, risks and opportunities, and leadership requirements.”

For SMEs, implementing an environmental management system can be a real challenge as technical and financial resources, in addition to staff time, is often limited.

“The key for SME success is to leverage their informal management structures and decision-making processes, not replace them with overly complex and bureaucratic methods.”

The author sums it up in a nutshell: “The standard provides the ‘what’, while the handbook provides the ‘how’. ISO 14001 is a set of environmental management requirements that an organization must satisfy. The handbook provides practical help, examples and guidance on how to meet those requirements.”

ISO 14001 is one of a number of International Standards that help support better environmental management and tackle climate change. Other ISO standards focus on the management of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and helping organizations report their GHG emissions or reductions in order to comply with applicable national regulatory requirements, participate in the carbon emissions trading market or demonstrate their commitment to corporate social responsibility.

The handbook is available for purchase from your national ISO member or through the ISO Store.


Read entire post grey  Related Training grey

ISO 50001 highlighted as key tool for climate action at Clean Energy Ministerial

With energy one of the most critical challenges facing the international community, the revision of ISO 50001 on energy management systems was given a major boost at the recently concluded Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM8), a high-level global forum working to advance clean energy globally.

Energy ministers and high-level decision makers, together with technical experts and private-sector leaders, gathered in Beijing, China, for the CEM8 to discuss how to scale renewables, improve efficiency and cooperate on clean energy initiatives.

Developers responsible for ISO 50001 also met in Beijing at the annual meeting of ISO technical committee ISO/TC 301, Energy management and energy savings. One of the main outcomes of the plenary was the revision of ISO 50001, which after six years of existence is being updated to ensure it remains a useful tool for all types of businesses and organizations around the world.

Sufficient progress and consensus were achieved to enable the revision of ISO 50001 to move to a Draft International Standard, which is expected to be completed and released within three months. Publication of the new edition of ISO 50001 as an International Standard is currently planned for November/December 2018.

Deann Desai, Convenor of the working group revising the energy standard, commented on its improvements: “One of the main changes for the 2018 version is in the incorporation of the High-Level Structure which provides for improved compatibility with other management systems standards. There are other improvements in the 2018 version to help ensure that the key concepts related to energy performance are clear for small and mid-size businesses.”


Published in 2011, ISO 50001 transforms the way organizations manage their energy, offering companies a comprehensive approach to continually improve energy performance, sustainability and their bottom line. It has value both as a best-practice model and as a global benchmark for climate and clean energy action. In fact, nearly 12 000 organizations were already certified to the standard at the end of 2015 – up 77 % from the previous year.

CEM analysis shows that implementation of the ISO 50001 standard across the commercial and industrial sectors globally could drive cumulative energy savings of approximately 62 exajoules by 2030, sparing nearly USD 600 billion in energy costs and avoiding 6 500 million metric tonnes of CO2 emissions. The projected annual emissions savings are equivalent to removing 215 million passenger vehicles from the road.

For further information on ISO 50001 and what stage it has reached in its development, see our page on energy management systems.


Read entire post grey  Related Training grey

GDPR: A quick start guide

We look at how UK organisations can prepare for the General Data Protection Regulation.

On 28 May 2018, the EU’s ambitious General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force, with the aim of strengthening data privacy and protection for all EU citizens.

The regulation puts individuals firmly back in charge of their personal information and what happens to it. From sole traders working at home to giant multinational corporations, no one (except law enforcement and intelligence agencies) is exempt. But how well-prepared is the UK?

The regulation places significant new structures upon organisations, including:

  • Having to build privacy into systems by design (and switched on by default);
  • Conduct regular privacy impact assessments; implement stronger consent mechanisms (particularly when processing data pertaining to minors);
  • Follow stricter procedures for reporting data breaches;
  • Document any use of personal data in far more detail than previously.

Organisations failing to comply could face fines of up to €20m or 4% of annual turnover (whichever is greater).

UK firms unprepared for GDPR

There’s little reliable data on UK firms’ level of preparedness for GDPR, but anecdotal evidence suggests it’s nowhere near where it should be, with lack of awareness particularly acute among smaller businesses.

Chris Weston, a leading CIO turned independent digital technology adviser says: “Most of the companies I speak to are compliant with the Data Protection Act (DPA), but it comes as a shock when they learn they’re going to have to address data protection issues again in a way that significantly affects not just their technology but their business processes,” says Weston.

Greater awareness essential

While he says IT professionals, particularly those in larger companies, seem to be on top of the issue, Weston believes there needs to be a concerted effort to raise GDPR awareness among the general business community. “It’s urgent. I think we should be seeing a campaign of a similar scale to Y2K,” he says.

Security expert Brian Honan, who has long advised organisations on data protection issues, agrees that more effort is needed to raise awareness of GDPR requirements. “Although the ICO has a lot of good material on its website, there’s a lack of education from the government, and that vacuum is being filled by messages that aren’t always particularly helpful,” he says.

Honan adds that the EU General Data Protection Regulation is not primarily an IT project. “It’s a business project. IT can help implement controls and systems to protect privacy and ensure the security of data, but there are business processes that need to be put in place regarding subject access requests, ensuring privacy by design in all systems and services, privacy impact assessments, and so on. Businesses have to understand this can’t just be left to the CIO or IT director,” he says.

There needs to be a concerted effort to raise GDPR awareness among the general business community, and especially SMEs.

Brexit offers no GDPR get-out

A recent survey conducted by Crown Records Management, which suggested a quarter of UK businesses had cancelled GDPR preparation following the vote to leave the EU.

In fact, Brexit is likely to make little difference to the need for GDPR compliance among UK organisations. The UK will be a full EU member for at least 10 months following its introduction so therefore firms still need to be fully compliant by the deadline. In addition, the legislation is likely to be adopted wholesale when we leave. Even if it’s not, any company with EU-based customers will have to remain fully compliant.

As Fieldfisher’s Grant notes: “Post-Brexit, the UK will still want the rest of the world to consider it has an adequate data protection regime. It will be far easier for us to do that if we implement the GDPR as originally drafted and don’t relax any of its provisions.”

Compliance as a business differentiator

Rather than viewing the General Data Protection Regulation as another compliance burden, smart organisations should see it as an opportunity! Customers are increasingly likely to choose businesses that can show they take their customers’ data privacy seriously.

Source: Computer Weekly

Read entire post grey  Related Training grey

Read more about the General Data Protection Regulation