Are you offering products or services that are not part of the long term vision for your small business?

Since 2013, Constellation has focused relentlessly on its premium beers, notably Corona and Modelo, which bought when AB InBev was forced to relinquish the US rights to the brands. In short order, Constellation has made them the leading premium offerings in the US.

After almost two years of trying, Constellation have finally offloaded up to 30 wine brands at the lower end of its price and profitability spectrum. The strategy is to focus on wines with higher margins rather than volumes. In the same way that it has driven rapid growth in beer, Constellation reckons that by concentrating on only premium-end wines and spirits, it will be able to increase its overall operating margin

To Robot, Or Not Robot

Harnessing the latest technology to improve your small business is always a good idea, right? Not necessarily. As a customer, there's a good chance that at some point over the past year, you have interacted online with a chatbot (that uses AI technology) and not an actual human being. Not understanding exactly the question that you want to ask or the problem that you are looking to solve, the chatbot will often suggest irrelevant information, which can be frustrating as a customer. Bad customer service impacts a brand's reputation.

Retail robots that can scan shelves and update inventory have been one of the most visible faces of automation in recent years, but the success of such machines is far from guaranteed.

Walmart — one of the biggest adopters of this technology — is ending a contract that saw shelf-scanning robots appear in some 500 of its stores. The retailer found that humans could do the job just as well. Additionally, Walmart’s US chief executive John Furner had worries about what customers would think seeing robots in the company’s stores.


New product or business ideas may pop into your head on a daily basis. Sometimes you bounce them off friends, family & colleagues and more times than not, they tell you 'forget it, it would never work, no one will pay for that'.

Almost 10 years after The New York Times took the risk of introducing a metered paywall for its content, it seems the gamble has paid off after they reported last week that revenues from digital subscriptions surpassed those from print for the first time ever.

Our strategy of making journalism worth paying for continues to prove itself out. He continued demand for quality, original, independent journalism across a range of topics makes us even more optimistic about the size of the total market for digital journalism subscriptions and our position in it.

Meredith Kopit Levien, Chief Executive