Innovation and enterprise blog

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

4 posts from October 2013

31 October 2013

Management Book of the Year 2013 shortlist announced


The Chartered Managament Institute have just announced the shortlist for the Management Book of the Year 2013.

The era of 'Management 2.0' with fast-paced technological change, flatter workplace structures and a sluggish economic climate means that a new kind of manager is now needed.

The titles shortlisted emphasised how managers need to be less controlling and more coaching in their approach in order to get the most out of their employees and to encourage innovation and growth.

All the need-to-know topics for today's managers are covered including big data, innovation and decision-making.

There were 142 books entered into this year's competition across five categories, which are:

  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Practical Manager
  • The New Manager
  • The Commuter's Read
  • Management and Leadership textbook

The winners of the five categories and the overall winner will be announced on 3rd February 2014.

Find out who made the shortlist.

Chloé Titcomb on behalf of the Business & IP Centre


25 October 2013

Intellectual property guides

This week sees the publication of our new Intellectual property guides.

  • A brief introduction to patents and patent searching
  • A brief introduction to trade marks and trade mark searching
  • A brief introduction to registered designs  and registered design searching

A fourth guide, relating to Copyright, is in the pipeline.

These guides provide an overview on intellectual property as a whole and then a bit more in-depth information about the form of intellectual property covered by that particular guide. There is a section in each guide which covers searching and outlines the free databases available via the internet, what they cover and where to find the ‘Help’ section on each database.

These guides are designed to serve as a starting point for intellectual property searching and as a follow-on to the more detailed intellectual property guides published by the Intellectual Property Office UK (IPO UK) on their website at  

You can find all of the guides on our website and we also run intellectual property workshops and webinars which you can book online.


Maria Lampert on behalf of the Business & IP Centre

Successful businesses know their numbers, understand them and act upon them

If you’re struggling on your business numbers, our partner Johnny Martin has a few explanations to help.

Comfortably one of the biggest pains for entrepreneurs running a business is getting to grips with the all the financial and business jargon, not to mention the numbers.  

Sometimes it’s really difficult to understand just what it is your accountant is trying to explain to you.  And the problem is made worse because often different words are used to describe the same thing e.g. sales, revenue, turnover all refer to the same thing! 

Part of this problem is that a number of American words have come over to the UK – so while in the UK we usually talk about debtors (money owed by customers) in the US this is known as Receivables (actually much clearer). 

So how can you easily and quickly get up to speed on the jargon?  Well, the good news is that there aren’t too many words you need to know - my guess is no more than 60 and you could nail that in two weeks if you did 5 a day!

So let’s looks at 5 words now which I have taken from my glossary.

Costs – there are two kinds of costs in your business.  Fixed costs (also known as overhead) that do not change significantly with the level of sales.  Examples would be rent, marketing, office costs.  Then there are costs that vary with the level of sales and these are usually the “ingredients” costs of your product ie in a sandwich business the bread, eggs, mayo etc.  These “ingredients” costs can be referred to as direct costs or cost of sales.

Gross profit – if you take your sales and deduct the “ingredients” costs above you get Gross Profit.  Its important to know/measure Gross Profit as this is your value added – for example you took the bread/mayo etc and turned it into a more valuable sandwich.

EBIT – getting a bit more technical here (as the boiler repairer would say!) – this stands for Earnings (which means profit) before interest and tax.   It is useful to know the profit before interest and tax so you can compare profit irrespective of the level of borrowing or interest rates and tax.  You arrive at EBIT after taking overheads off your gross profit.

Depreciation – this is an accounting entry to spread the cost of a piece of equipment over its useful life.  Why do this?  Well if you put all the cost of say a new computer in the month it was bought, that wouldn’t be a fair reflection of its useage.  So say the computer cost £360 and lets say its useful life is 3 years, then the cost would be spread at £10 per month for 36 months in the profit & loss report.  However in the cash flow you would see £360 going out of the bank in the month it was bought.

EBITDA – so that explains what EBITDA is – it is EBIT with depreciation and amortisation (similar to depreciation) added back.  Investors use this as an approximation for your cash flow.

So that’s your first 5 - do let me know if you have any words you would like explained.

Johnny_Martin_13_ch_RS“Successful businesses know their numbers, understand them and act upon them.” 

Johnny Martin runs a monthly workshop, Get Cash Flow Confident, in the Centre. Find out how you can get your numbers under control at the next workshop. 

15 October 2013

Naturally Chinese Restaurant – an Innovating for Growth success story

A Friday evening out with colleagues after work, for a drink or a meal, is always fun. It is even more special when our team members from our Innovating for Growth project are invited by one of the businesses we support. A few weeks ago we were invited by Amie Mui Lee, manager of the Naturally Chinese Restaurant, to taste some of the specialities, made by her husband Chiu Hoang. It was a very special treat indeed.

Amie from Naturally Chinese

The Naturally Chinese Restaurant, located in Surbiton, was co-founded by Chiu and Amie. Their restaurant offers authentic Chinese cuisine and dim sum, free of Mono Sodium Glutamate (MSG). They believe they can make a difference to their customers by offering them a healthier and more nutritious option, simply by using fresh ingredients. From my experience, their dishes do not need any artificial additives to enhance their flavour. On the contrary, they are far more delicious as well as nutritious.

Amie joined the Innovating for Growth programme in June 2013. She participated in all the advisory sessions and the workshops with great enthusiasm. She was very happy to receive expert advice and then implement her growth plan, specifically developed for her business needs. We received very positive feedback from her about the programme. She even recommended Innovating for Growth to one of her business relations, who has applied and recently joined the programme too.

Following the advice she received while in the programme, Amie is in the process of generating funds through crowd funding for her plan to create the first healthy Chinese Restaurant franchise in the UK.

We hope to enjoy Naturally Chinese dishes and the hospitality of the owners and their staff again very soon, and we wish them good luck with their growth plan.

If you are an exciting and ambitious London-based business and want to receive £10,000 worth of funded bespoke advice and support for your business, apply for the next Innovating for Growth cohort by 5 December.

Irini Efthimiadou on behalf of Business & IP Centre