Wednesday, 16 October 2013

What can small businesses learn from Angela Ahrendts?

Angela Ahrendts has been credited with pulling Burberry up to great success as chief executive. Now she is moving on to Apple, the US technology giant apparently in need of similar medicine.

Ms Ahrendts oversaw the re-statement on Burberry’s image. Prior to her arrival the company had watched as its image slip from top-of-the-range to low-brow fans. Ms Ahrendts steered the company away from that image crisis, in partnership with chief creative officer Christopher Bailey who now takes over as CEO.

Burberry focused on a growing demand for luxury goods in Asia under Ms Ahrendts – a key part of the strategy. The traditional check design has not been lost, but is seen less now on Burberry designs.

While the share price fell on her departure, Burberry reported a 17% rise in revenue to the end of September.

Apple are obviously hoping that Ms Ahrendts will have the same effect on them. Apple's chief executive Tim Cook said: "She shares our values and our focus on innovation, and she places the same strong emphasis as we do on the customer experience."

We certainly could not afford Ms Ahrendts, but what can we small business owners learn from this, if anything?

Maybe we could look at:
·         Our own company’s image – is it in the right place? Does it fit with what we want to achieve?
·         Our markets – could we spy a ‘demand for luxury goods in Asia’ type of market in the same way as Ms Ahrendts?
·         Do we value our ‘check’ too much? Have we got something in our image that we like, but actually isn’t doing us any good?

It’s certainly worth checking.

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