THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Innovation and enterprise blog

The British Library Business & IP Centre can help you start, run and grow your business

Introduction

This blog is written by members of the Business & IP Centre team and some of our expert partners and discusses business, innovation and enterprise. Read more

13 June 2016

Spotlight on … Ed Salt, MD of Delamere Dairy

Ed Salt

We caught up with Ed Salt, Managing Director of Delamere Dairy ahead of the upcoming Inspiring Entrepreneurs ‘Going Global’ taking place at the International Festival for Business this month.

Delamere Diary is an independently owned UK-based company producing dairy products. They supply goats’ milk products and other dairy products to retailers throughout the UK and also trade internationally. Here Ed tells us what makes the company unique and what it takes to be successful at exporting.

Hi Ed! When was Delamere Dairy set up and how did you become involved?

Delamere Dairy was started in Delamere Forest in 1985 with just three goats.  Roger and Liz Sutton founded the business with a desire to farm but soon realised they would have to process, market and sell their wares as well as being at the forefront of the commercial goat industry.  I joined the company in 2004 when the company turnover was £4 million. Following an MBO in 2008 and a foray into new export markets, the company now turns over in excess of £20 million, with offices in the UK and Shanghai.

What’s been your role in the company since coming on board?

Jack of all trades (and master of none)! As with many small, privately-owned businesses you tend not to be pigeon-holed into a specific position.  Though your job title might say sales or marketing, it is highly likely you can be answering the phone or unloading a truck.  That said, as the business has grown and the number of staff has increased, I find myself firmly in the role of MD.

What makes Delamere Dairy unique?

I am biased but I believe we have a unique culture, with strong morals and an ethical approach to business. We have three key values in the business (fun, healthy, responsible) which sit at the core of our decision-making.  The company has a very flat structure, a real family business environment, with staff working with for the good of business and developing the business relationships that have evolved over the last 30 years.

What challenges did you face in getting your products into supermarkets?

I think the biggest challenge has been the perception of goats’ milk rather than the supermarkets.  If you have a commercially attractive, quality product, in a growth category then retailers will at least be interested in what you have to offer. However, a niche product that many people perceive they do not like, offers a completely different challenge.

How important is exporting for the business?

Our business model offers a scalable platform for us to grow into different categories and new markets and, though the UK is our primary focus, the opportunity to look outwards into emerging export markets gives and gave us the opportunity to further ‘de risk’ our position.  Export has become a key profit centre within the Delamere business and is a significant part of our future growth strategy.

What advice would you give to any small business owners thinking of trading abroad?

Do your research and groundwork. Building any sort of business, whether in the UK or overseas is a little bit like building a house or a full-scale civil engineering project.  First of all you need to decide what you want, where you want it to be and how big you want it.  Once you have decided, it is then a case of commitment and time. However, if you want to build a skyscraper you have to work on the foundations and exporting is no different.  Once committed you have to sink time and money into the foundation of your business, make sure it is robust enough to support the size of business you want to create. You certainly don’t have to be a civil engineer or an architect, you can employ those services, but if you want a structurally solid export business you do need to spend time on the ground and understand the market.

Finally, what’s next on the horizon for Delamere Dairy?

We are lucky, we are in the food business: people need to eat and as the world population grows we intend on growing with it.  Delamere is firmly positioned in the speciality milk/health market with nearly 80% of goats’ milk consumers buying our milk for health reasons.  As well as being firmly positioned in the goat dairy market, we are also benefiting from the growth in speciality non-dairy milk alternatives.  The UK continues to be our main bread and butter, but export will continue to drive the brand into new markets and to new health conscious consumers.

 

You can hear Ed, along with a panel of other successful entrepreneurs, speak at our upcoming Inspiring Entrepreneurs ‘Going Global’ taking place at the International Festival for Business this month. Get tickets here.

 

09 June 2016

How much is Shakespeare worth in 2016?

Business-18061_640As I’m sure you will be aware, this year The British Library (along with many others) is celebrating Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary. It is actually the anniversary of his death, as no one can agree on his birth-date. Our own exhibition, Shakespeare in Ten Acts is open until 6 September - and highly recommended.

After four centuries he continues to be recognised as the greatest writer in the English language. And in fact Shakespeare himself was quite a savvy businessman, amassing enough money to acquire New Place, one of the largest houses in his home of Stratford-Upon-Avon. But how much is his literary legacy worth today?

Before we get onto that, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised to discover that nowadays Shakespeare is more popular abroad than in his homeland according to a recent YouGov poll.

But the poll also shows that his legacy makes a significant contribution to the UK’s financial prosperity and cultural influence.  

Not only have Shakespeare's 38 plays and 154 sonnets been translated into over 118 languages (including Klingon), and performed throughout the world, but he is also a major factor in bringing tourists to the UK.

The answer to the question ‘how much is Shakespeare worth’ is complicated by the issue of copyright. His entire creative output has of course been out of copyright for centuries. So the billions of the Bard’s publications and performances each year do not need to pay royalties to his estate. Instead I have looked for the total value of Shakespeare related content in the market today, rather than the amount he would have earned.

New_Place_Stratford
Drawing of New Place owned by Shakespeare

Then there is the question of whether we are valuing the annual ‘turnover’ of the Shakespeare ‘industry’, or the combined value of current Shakespeare assets?

OK, enough waffle, it’s time to get down to brass tacks.

For the annual figure. Australian valuation firm Brand Finance came up with £325 million in 2012. They claim this is more than double the combined value of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe brands. 

Their study also found:

- Shakespeare is the best-selling author of all time; with book sales estimated between two and four billion. In contrast, J.K. Rowling's unit sales are estimated to be less than 450 million.

- 64 million children globally study Shakespeare in countries as diverse as Australia, Azerbaijan, China, Denmark, Italy, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Ukraine and Vietnam.

- There have been more than 400 feature length films and TV productions of Shakespeare works.

- There are currently 67 registered trademarks bearing Shakespeare's name in Australia, the UK and the USA alone ranging from Shakespeare's Pies to the Royal Shakespeare Company.

This is the first time a monetary value has been placed on the Shakespeare brand taking into account book sales and downloads, paid attendance at theatre productions, box office and TV receipts from film productions, sale of Shakespeare branded goods and tourism revenue.

Shakespeares-first-folio

However, if we look at his ‘estate’, then the figure is much larger. Just the value of the First Folio editions of his plays is over one billion sterling. It is believed that around 750 copies of the First Folio were printed, of which there are 234 known surviving copies.

We hold five copies in The British Library, although this is somewhat trumped by the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. who have an astonishing 82 copies. Their value varies according to condition, but by some estimates the average value would be around £5 million. This would give a total value of  £1.1 billion.

It’s impossible to be precise about the number of Shakespeare related books published in the last 400 years. A quick search on Amazon shows 146,801 results with prices ranging from £9,999.98 to zero plus £1.99 post and packing:

King Lear

to

Othello


Then we need to add in the value of all the theatres around the world who specialise in Shakespeare productions. The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) employs 700 staff and produces around 20 productions a year from its home in Stratford-upon-Avon. Together with the re-created Globe Theatre on the Thames in London, the value must be at least £100 million.

London-652624_640

Globe Theatre London

Next comes film and television adaptions and their related recordings for home sale. And of course we mustn’t forget the merchandise, such as the Shakespeare County Beer and Romeo and Juliet tote bag available from the British Library shop.

Or from elsewhere, how about Shakespeare Christmas tree ornaments, board games, playing cards, shower curtains, action figures, and even onesies.

My personal favourite is the Shakespeare bust used to conceal the entrance to the bat-cave, seen in the classic 1960’s Batman television series. Available in life-size or Lego version.

Batman

Lego

Finally, and biggest of all, is tourism. It’s impossible to calculate how many visitors to the UK are coming because of Shakespeare. Either to see his plays. Or for those seeking a warmer climate, the fictitious balcony where Romeo serenaded Juliet in Verona, Italy.

It all adds up to an impressive several billion pounds. But perhaps this focus on hard cash misses the point. The world is a richer place culturally, thanks to Shakespeare’s genius with the quill all those years ago.

 Written by Neil Infield - Manager in the Business & IP Centre

06 June 2016

Spotlight on … Paul Sulyok, CEO & Founder of Green Man Gaming

Greenman

We’re going to the International Festival for Business this month and will be hosting a unique event Inspiring Entrepreneurs ‘Going Global’ where top business people will tell us the secrets of their success. One of these entrepreneurs is Paul Sulyok, CEO and Founder of Green Man Gaming. Green Man Gaming is a pioneering, global eCommerce technology company that has gone from strength to strength since its launch in 2010. We asked him how he did it.

Hi Paul! What were you doing before you started Green Man Gaming?

My first venture as an entrepreneur was building customised algorithmic trading engines for the cash equity markets. I’ve also been a management consultant, a banker, and an Officer in HM Forces before founding Green Man Gaming in May 2010.

Where did the idea for Green Man Gaming come from and how did you get started?

The idea for Green Man Gaming came about when we were considering where the games market was going to go and what was going to happen next. There was a strong business model in trading in games in the industry and there was the start of the move to a fully digital marketplace. The coupling of these two market mechanisms were supported by research from London Business School showing that a customer’s propensity to purchase is heightened when offered the option to trade-in a product or recoup some of its value. So the “big idea” was to combine digital and trade-in into the same platform, effectively being a retailer and a marketplace on one global digital platform.

What makes Green Man Gaming unique?

Green Man Gaming is the first choice for millions of passionate gamers around the world that come to our store to browse and buy from a wide catalogue of digital games online, ranging from AAA to indie titles across multiple platforms.  On top of this, we have a thriving community of gamers who discuss and track their game achievements on our community platform. Our publishing arm helps developers bring their games to market, supporting them from a retail, marketing and PR perspective as well as providing finishing finance to get their games over the line during the last few difficult months before release. The fusion of Green Man Gaming’s eCommerce store, a strong community generating billions of data points and publishing support, sets us apart from our competitors and makes us unique in the market.

Did you plan to do business overseas from the start?

Our initial business plan was to start in the UK market and then move on to Europe in 18 months and to the rest of the world in 36 months.  However things didn’t go quite to plan because within the first 6 hours of going live we sold 400 games in Japan.  This meant that from the start we were always going to be a global company.  Green Man Gaming has been listed as the 53rd largest exporter in the UK out of 354,000 SMEs in the Sunday Times SME Export Track 100 list.

What advice would you give to any small business owners thinking of exporting?

Researching your global marketplace and having a deep understanding of your market is fundamental because it informs the business on trends that can further improve the business as a whole.

In your opinion, what necessary traits should an entrepreneur have in order to succeed in business?

Integrity, ubiquity and agility.

Finally, what’s next on the horizon for Green Man Gaming?

We’re working hard on addressing the mobile audience with a new mobile platform and app which will be coming soon.

 

You can hear Paul, along with a panel of other successful entrepreneurs, speak at our upcoming Inspiring Entrepreneurs ‘Going Global’ taking place at the International Festival for Business this month. Get tickets here.