Success at BIOS Conference with inspirational guest speakers and hundreds of delegates championing business in Scotland

It was a successful day at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh; around 270 delegates from businesses across the country attended talks and seminars on Scotland’s import and export markets. The full day conference, which took place last Thursday, was met with enthusiasm from all parties, generating a fresh outlook on trade and business in and around Scotland.

The VIP talks began with Paul Grant, director at Mackays. Paul’s talk exemplified the potential of Scottish heritage as a brand and inspired the delegates with the story of his company and his established career.

Healthy seaweed connoisseurs Mara Seaweed spoke next with entrepreneur Fiona Houston’s fascinating journey of her company’s progression, giving valuable advice to other new businesses; ‘be brave, be resilient, and enjoy it!’

Other speakers offered listeners information on Brexit and what it means for Scottish trade. Lord Andrew Dunlop discussed the UK government’s latest plans and strategies to help and support businesses in what is expected to be a time of constant change and development. Professor Graeme Roy gave a detailed and fascinating report where he outlined the latest developments in growth statistics following the UK’s departure from the EU.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp of Business for Scotland gave an informed and charismatic speech on Brexit and brought along export business experts Tom Barrie and Allan Porter to offer their observations and experiences of the recent government changes.

The afternoon provided delegates with the opportunity to attend two out of three different seminars on international e-commerce, finance, and the internet. Emil Stickland, director at Thrive Digital, stressed the importance of being different in the international market, not just competing on cost. Whilst Graham Dodgson from The Bridge Group outlined successful action plans for online business and explained how the internet’s dominance across the sectors will expand even further.

Organisers were commended by the delegates for the smooth running and overall value of the event for offering ‘fantastic networking opportunities’, as well as providing people with a space to exhibit their work.

There will be a full report on the conference to follow soon outlining the various business tips and advice in more detail.

If you are interested in a ticket for next year, please sign up here:

Scotland’s finest business, economy and policy experts to deliver talks at major Import / Export conference – BIOS, 27th October

Join Lord Andrew Dunlop, Gordon McIntyre-Kemp and Professor Graeme Roy, and other business leaders, as they discuss business trade in Scotland. Get your ticket today to become a part of BIOS, hear our VIPs deliver their expertise on the import and export markets.


BIOS (Businsess In and Out of Scotland) encourages growth and development in Scottish trade industries. This full day conference is a significant event that is set to make a real impact on Scotland and its business world.


Prestigious talks at BIOS will cover a range of relevant topics; three of our VIP speakers share a breadth of skills and knowledge across a range of sectors in academia and politics. They
will share their experiences and discuss their findings to provide guests with the chance to truly learn and interact with what is happening in trade in Scotland right now.

As professionals and experts in their field, Andrew Dunlop, Gordon McIntyre-Kemp and Prof. Graeme Roy take immense pride in the Scottish business community and are dedicated to its  continuing growth and development as a major player in the import and export market.

Brexit: what will it mean for you and your business? Important questions such as this will be raised at the conference talks in order to give clarity and provide financial intelligence on the most significant change in recent British history. Delegates will come away from BIOS with a clearer grasp on Brexit and how it affects them now and in the future.

BIOS is an interactive day with VIP talks, facilitated Q&As, and the chance for intimate and detailed discussions with industry colleagues, potential clients, and expert speakers in our afternoon seminars. Networking opportunities are vast with the potential to expand, extend and grow your business or services at this conference.

BIOS will increase knowledge and awareness for businesses, whilst providing the availability to finance their next moves. Current and future Scottish trade is at the forefront of BIOS, outlining what to expect from the aftermath of Brexit and the various changes that might affect businesses in Scotland.

We are all affected by the import / export market in Scotland – BIOS will provide questions and generate answers on these important developments. Do not miss your chance to be a part of it. For more details and to secure your ticket to this prestigious event, go to\

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp to offer his extensive business expertise on the export market – BIOS conference,

Get involved in Scotland’s major Business Import/Export conference this month as we welcome Business for Scotland’s Chief Executive Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp as guest speaker at
this prestigious event.


The launch of the BIOS (Business In and Out of Scotland) conference is just weeks away and we are thrilled to announce that business expert Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp will be joining us to discuss the potential of Scotland’s thriving export market.

Founded in 2011 by Gordon and six SME business, Business for Scotland is a progressive think tank and network, aimed to champion Scottish businesses and support their growth. With over 4,000 members including business managers and business owners, Chief Executive Gordon and his team have built a strong network within Business for Scotland.

With Gordon’s passion for Scotland and the Scottish business community, along with his knowledge of export markets, he will no doubt serve as a great influence as one our VIP keynote speakers at the full day conference.

BIOS has already gathered significant interest from businesses across the country and the day is setting out to be a valuable and potentially profitable experience for all involved. BIOS will help raise significant questions and generate relevant answers on what is currently happening in trade in Scotland. Your ticket to BIOS will allow you to hear Gordon share his knowledge and experiences, as well as having the chance to become one of Business for Scotland’s associates or stakeholders.

This month’s BIOS conference is getting closer. Do not miss your chance to network and gain exciting professional opportunities through learning about the country’s import and export markets. Join us as we host Gordon MacIntyre- Kemp and other experts to deliver speeches, Q&A sessions, debates and seminars.

BIOS will take place at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh on 27th October 2016. Limited spaces available – BUY NOW

Manufacturers and brands gaining equal power with the consumer over the retailer!

Penny Heyes is the Director of The Digital Agenda on The Internet of Things, she will be speaking at the BIOS Conference and has shared some blog posts to get our delegates thinking about the Internet of things.

Who is getting the most data about the consumer and the product use?

Manufacturers are beginning to understand the power of the internet of things.  By using this technology, they are able to develop and maintain a relation shop directly with the product consumer. This is far more effective than spending thousands on generic marketing campaigns than can never be as tightly targeted (to the individual consumer).

Up until now the retailer has had the upper hand in the world of consumer loyalty and relationship often via loyalty programmes and reward points ….but this can and is changing.

Michael Porter of Harvard Business School predicts that the rise of wirelessly connected products, and the resulting entry of manufacturers into the battle for customer loyalty, will bring a “new era of competition”.  (source The Economist)

“Makers of products will gain an equal footing with retailers and the owners of technology “platforms in the battle for the consumer’s affection”.

After sales service will be revolutionalised through the use of the Internet of Things.  A great example of this: Babolat, the manufacturer and brand of tennis racquets has embedded sensors into its racquets that feed data to the player’s smartphone which can then monitor how they are playing and offer advice on how to improve.

Even such mundane things as fizzy drinks and washing powder are set to become “smart”, as their makers attach sensors to their packaging that can detect when the product is being used, and that can communicate with smartphones when scanned.

So the manufacturer and the brand no longer have to rely on the retailer for direct communication to the end user.

“Speaking” products are coming!

Penny Heyes is the Director of The Digital Agenda on The Internet of Things, she will be speaking at the BIOS Conference and has shared some blog posts to get our delegates thinking about the Internet of things.

With the price and size of microchips both becoming smaller, it is easier to add chips to manufactured products from everyday life. This will allow the products to communicate, via the “internet of things”, with each other and with human beings. Scary sci-fi type talk…but it is happening!

Manufacturers can gather information about how their products are being used by the end consumers. This data, when used properly, will help the manufacturer to develop new products more rapidly and better tailor products for the consumer. They can even, in some circumstances, remotely fix any faults more quickly by means of a software patch or download. Or, and this is even more transformative, actually enhance and add features to existing products.

Where the strength and major benefits of this type of connection and the use of the Internet of Things can be seen and used most effectively is in areas such as stock-keeping and supply-chain management. Andy Hobsbawm, the founder of Evrythng, a provider of technology for connected objects, notes that businesses will be able to follow the progress of their products from factory to shop to end-consumer—and the products will be able to “speak” to whoever handles them.  (Source, The Economist)

Luxury brands will be able to ensure authenticity by embedding chips and software in to the goods which will tell the buyer that they are real and not a fake! Designer fashion products – watches, shoes, handbags “speaking” to their owners, probably via an app on their mobile device.

One of our favourite new industry disruptors, Tesla Cars, recently found that some of its cars had a problem with uphill starts. No major expensive recall for them however… the problem was fixed by transmitting a software update.

Sonos, Bluetooth speaker company, has improved it product post purchase through a software update that has been sent out. This update enables the loudspeakers to tune themselves to the acoustic qualities of the room in which they are placed.

Despite the fact that this technology is here now, only 19% of senior executives recently surveyed, said that they were planning radical changes to harness the potential of smart things; and only 39% had introduced training in digital skills

Lord Dunlop to discuss benefits of exporting and share views on trading post Brexit



Lord Dunlop to discuss benefits of exporting and share views on trading post Brexit – BIOS conference, 27th October.

Join Scotland’s major Business Import/Export conference next month to hear Scotland Office Minister Andrew Dunlop as he discusses trade and the opportunities following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union.

Lord Dunlop

BIOS (Business In and Out of Scotland) are very excited to add Andrew Dunlop to the group of VIP keynote speakers at the full day conference. During his speech to the delegates, Andrew Dunlop will discuss the UK Government’s work to maintain strong business relations. He will discuss exporting through a range of initiatives, such as utilising the UK Government’s extensive global network. He will also discuss opportunities available through the Government’s campaigns such as Exporting is GREAT.

BIOS will help raise important questions and generate relevant answers on what is happening in trade right now. You will have the chance to hear Andrew Dunlop share his experience of engaging with a wide range of stakeholders across Scotland following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union.

You can also find out about his collaboration with Scottish Government Ministers and local authorities on the UK City Deal programme and his focus on ensuring the UK Government is accessible to the business community across Scotland.

Andrew Dunlop brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this prestigious event; his professional experience covers both the political and the business world and his career spans more than 30 years.

The BIOS conference is a significant opportunity for businesses in Edinburgh and Scotland to build on importing and exporting trade and continue business growth and development.

Make sure you attend next month’s BIOS conference to gain exciting professional opportunities. Network and learn more about the country’s import and export markets as we host Andrew Dunlop and other experts to deliver speeches, Q&A sessions, debates and seminars.


What strategy to adopt in a new market?

Ansoff’s matrix suggests there is a set way in which growth is achieved. It starts with, what Ansoff calls, Market Penetration. Market penetration is whereby a company maximizes the opportunities available to them in existing markets. The grocery sector in the UK is a good example of this. Morrison’s only operates in the UK, and their strategic aim is to have as large a percentage of the UK grocery market as possible.

The next step is product development, to develop new products for the existing market. Continuing the example of the grocery sector, this is what Tesco has done. Think of the number of other Tesco products there are: Tesco Bank, Tesco Mobile, Tesco Hudl etc. They branched out into supplementary products and services beyond their core offering.

This is followed by exporting existing products, referred to as Market development. Tesco has tried this too, in some cases successfully (in Hungary they have over 80% of the grocery market), and in others unsuccessfully (making loses in both the US and China).

The final step is diversification, to develop products exclusively for the international market. McDonalds often follows this strategy in new markets. For example; chicken nuggets in China are made with dark meat, in the US and Europe they are made with chicken breast.

This is a very linear and simplistic approach, many companies are able to pursue several strategies at once, or even bypass steps all together. However, it does suggest two different strategies in new markets. Market Development or Diversification.

Amazon’s product is broadly similar in the UK to that in the US, and in France, and Italy, and Australia etc. Amazon have gone with a strategy of Market Development. Pushing an existing product in new markets. Although the products that they sell may be different, Amazon’s own service is almost identical.

An example of a similar company following a different strategy is Taobao and AliExpress. Most people in the UK would be unlikely to buy from Taobao, yet they might consider purchasing something from AliExpress. Despite both Taobao and AliExpress being owned by the world’s largest online retailer, Alibaba, both sites have been developed with very different target audiences in mind.

This approach depends on how similar the markets are. In the US and Europe (where Amazon is king) we have similar societies. We have similar cultural norms, religions, levels of literacy, wages, likes and dislikes. works across all of these, it doesn’t need to change its product too much from place to place.

Now consider AliExpress and TaoBao. The US (AliExpress) and China (TaoBao) have very different societies. To people in the US, Chinese websites look busy and badly designed. Someone in the US would not want to pay in RMB or have to read Chinese. Both countries are very different, Alibaba understands this, hence they have developed different offerings to diversify their product offering.

When looking at your own international e-commerce strategy, it is beneficial to analyse why purchasing decisions would be different in your different markets. For example, some people might claim that Taobao “looks dodgy”. They may be right, but what makes websites like Taobao acceptable to 1.6bn people and not to us?

What strategy to adopt when exporting online. Isn’t it all about cost?

In Porter’s Generic Strategy, Porter suggests ways in which it is possible to derive a competitive advantage – here we will look at whether you are cheap or you are different. No matter the criticisms of Porter’s model, it has some valuable applications for e-commerce. I would suggest that if a company is heavily focused on COST, then the likelihood of succeeding with that strategy online is slim. This is because there are fewer barriers to online trade, hence the likelihood of another company being able to provide the same product or service as you are high. For example, if a UK company are producing a cheap product to export, it is likely that both local low cost products, as well as those from production based economies (such as China), will be able to undercut the price.  Obviously, a cost centric UK company could always make sales based on differentiation in other markets.

To successfully benefit from online export led growth, differentiation is key. Let’s take the example of Amazon. They are well priced, certainly cheaper than a lot of the high street stores, but they are not the cheapest. With minimum research it is possible to find pretty much all of the products on Amazon cheaper elsewhere. Amazon’s selling point is their phenomenal logistics and range of product offered. Differentiation does not have to come from the product offering, it can come from the experience of delivery and choice. Owning the market for a particular product/service is a key factor for differentiation.

Don’t compete in the way that everyone else is, build your own market and your own niche. Be different!

Unless you have a particular interest in cars you are unlikely to have heard of Christian von Koenigsegg. Christian is a man that had a remarkable dream, to build (by his definition) the best car in the world. The latest car that his brand, Koenigsegg (yes, he named it after himself), is the One:1. This is the perfect power to weight ratio for a car. Even more extraordinary than the specs however, is the price: a whopping $2.8m. Yet, every one of the limited number produced were sold before they were even made. Christian has found his market, he knows who they are and what they want. Even within the hyper car market Christian is unique. Koenigsegg is not about soul or beauty like Pagani, it is about power and speed. That’s what his customers want. Christian knows this, so he produces cars like the One:1.

I am sure that Christian has not spent a single sleepless night worrying about Toyota outselling Koenigsegg. Just like Koenigsegg, you need to find your market. Provide a product or service that is different, selling on cost will ultimately lead you to eroding your profit margin to an unsustainable point.

To download the FREE 17 Page Report, Click HERE 

How to use the internet to develop a new product (the MVP method)

Don’t use The field of dreams method. The notion of “build it and they will come,” is simply not true. So many companies build websites and wonder why they have no e-commerce sales. You don’t get “walk ins” from websites, and SEO is not a substitute. For SEO to work there must be existing demand. Don’t invest a fortune in a website without testing the product and the market.

The first stage is of course market research; this can help you do identify if there is indeed demand for the prospective good or service. However, it cannot identify if your product (in its current form) fills that need. There could be a number of factors that matter to the customer that have not been addressed by the product, but could be easily included.

When developing a new product, service, or website don’t spend thousands of pounds in development without doing the market research, and testing to see if the product is likely to be a success. Design the strategy. Write a good description, visualise pictures of the product, do a promo video and invest some money in how you direct people to the site. Don’t build everything and then expect customers to want it exactly as you do. The rest of the market may think differently. You can have a “buy now” button on something that doesn’t exist, which claims that it is out of stock when people click on it. This way you can establish exactly how many people want to purchase it. You will spend a fraction of your marketing budget doing this, and if there is not a market it will save you a fortune.

By using this method, you are able to gain valuable market insight. It may be that small changes to your product result in much higher sales. These changes can be quickly and cheaply identified before the product had entered the costly stage of the product development life cycle.

Imagine if you were developing a MVP for a Swiss Army Knife. The first stage would be to create a basic site whereby the customer can “apparently” can buy a pocket knife that has a tool for every task. When the customer goes through to purchase one of these, they are told that due to overwhelming success of the knife you are sold out. However, they are able to sign up to be notified when the knives are back in stock.

This stage isn’t traditionally in MVP. Originally the model would have called for a physical product to be developed (as in the next stage), but I believe that it can be extended to further refine the product. For example, your description could contain a knife, a pair of scissors, and a magnifying glass. Engaging your audience on the website and social media you could identify, for example, that most people are not interested in the magnifying glass and would rather have a nail file. By being smart you have already saved the cost of developing the magnifying glass and refined the product to a better fit for the market.

Once you have enough customers who have shown interest in the knife, you can develop it with a few attachments. The Swiss Army Knife with a knife, pair of scissors and a nail file is not the finished article. However, it has enough features of a Swiss Army Knife to gather validated learning and inform further development of the product. Customers might say things like “I wish it had really small saw on it” or “trekking through the jungle I find I never have a toothpick”. These features can then be added depending on their popularity, ensuring that the product is being developed to satisfy the most people in the target market.

This model can be used for services too, or even websites themselves. Take for example the decision to develop a multi-language website. You can use analytics to see the number of users from other countries; you can add language options to the existing site with a holding page; then you can add languages one by one, by demand.

To download the FREE 17 Page report, Click HERE

Macdonald Holyrood Hotel – where to stay while you’re at BIOS!

Macdonald Holyrood Hotel in Edinburgh is situated in the city’s historic and beautiful old town, a stones throw away from Dynamic Earth and just a couple of minutes’ walk from the world famous Royal Mile and the Scottish Parliament building. The hotel’s convenient location in the city Centre also means that you’re within easy walking distance of Waverley Railway station and the bustle of the city’s main thoroughfare, Princes Street. Macdonald Holyrood Hotel is the ideal base for exploring this fascinating and unique city.

The hotel features 156 elegant en-suite bedrooms – the perfect place to relax. Pamper yourself at our luxurious spa, enjoy a meal in luxurious surroundings at our brand new Acanthus Restaurant or sample a cocktail or two in our stylish bar.

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