Guide to SMEs_Article image_long,This is part of our free series, Guide for SMEs, which aims to provide practical, actionable advice for small food and drink brands impacted by the coronavirus crisisWhen lockdown hit, many bricks and mortar food and drink businesses had to overcome the roadblock that had landed on their route to market by pivoting their business model.To find out how it’s done, and what needs to be considered when you make the switch, we spoke to Stefano Cuomo, MD of Faversham food hall Macknade, which introduced its first delivery service while in lockdown to keep the tills ringing. Are there any considerations small businesses should take into account before they decide to pivot?For the hospitality sector, particularly food and beverage retailers, the main consideration is whether to offer delivery or takeaway options. In the short term, delivery and takeaway services can work well as they can be scaled up or down, and the approach allows businesses to maintain a positive rapport with their customers.However, the overheads for retail and delivery are very different, which should be an important concern influencing the decision to pivot into delivery. For small and medium-sized retailers, whilst it’s important to be dynamic, innovation needs to be carried out in a way that doesn’t result in extra overheads or your business won’t benefit. The best strategic approach is to review measures regularly to ensure that they can be fulfilled.Another huge consideration is the health and safety of both employees and customers. Understanding the current health and safety guidelines is crucial; we work with a support organisation for SMEs, Locate in Kent, to help unpick the requirements, and I believe in other parts of the UK, there are similar support services.What work must be done ahead of changing your business plan?Considering your margins is a major part of creating a strategic plan. Thanks to the government furlough scheme, we have been given some headspace to revisit our business model with the burden of extra overheads taken away.From March to July, we have been able to relook at our model and start to pivot. These changes in our approach aren’t just to help us to remain profitable now, but allow us some wiggle room to examine our business model in depth to make sure it’s still going to be relevant in two years’ time.Naturally, this is challenging in the current climate as there are still a lot of unknowns, but having a central strategy to guide you, that is flexible enough to be adapted as we progress through the crisis, will be key for SMEs to ensure the success of their business.How will pivoting impact taxation?It comes back to margin. Businesses have been able to defer a lot of their overheads thanks to government measures, but there is going to be some unpicking to be done in the coming months as businesses start to look at bringing those costs back in, and what the impact is going to be.Additionally, from a cashflow perspective, businesses need to ensure their deferred payments are being planned for. ‘Having a central strategy to guide you, that is flexible enough to be adapted as we progress through the crisis, will be key for SMEs,’ says Cuomo What kind of support is available for SMEs who are considering diversification?I’d encourage SMEs to look at the organisations that work with their local council as a starting point, as well as identifying the main areas of support you would benefit from.In Kent, where Macknade is based, we have organisations like Locate in Kent, Visit Kent and Produced in Kent that provide fantastic resources for SMEs. These agencies are partners of the local council and offer business support services. There is also funding available from Kent County Council, in the form of 0% loans, to support businesses already in Kent or those looking to relocate there. Finding and meeting other businesses that are similar to yours is helpful too. We find that connecting with other SMEs and sharing information to support each other can make a lot of difference. When should an SME communicate the switch to customers?The approach should be the same as any other trading period: keep having continual dialogue with your customers with clear messages about what you’re doing. It’s important to explain the approach you’re taking and reassure customers that your product and its quality remains the same.Now more than ever, communication is key to maintain your customer relationships, and adopting a transparent and inclusive manner with your customer communications – keeping them updated on the progress of your plans and how your business is faring – will help to keep them engaged with your business.Do staff contracts need to be changed?At the moment, the formal employee contract will remain the same, in terms of being an overview of responsibilities and expectations of the team member. Although, as the situation in the UK changes, it is likely that contracts are going to need to adapt in line with the ‘new normal’.As we start to move forward towards a more flexible way of working, this is going to have to be contracted in. Are there any popular switches for businesses operating in certain markets?The obvious one for food and drink businesses has been delivery. This shift, however, can only come with an understanding of who your core customers are, as no business can service everyone.At Macknade, our customer age demographic is 60-plus. When we look at this core customer, the chances are they were isolating earlier than other age groups and are likely to continue to prioritise home delivery options.Delivery therefore makes strategic sense in the context of our customer base. I think that is the main point to consider – understand who you are targeting and how your business can pivot to suit your customer base.
Christian Institute 24 June 2016Family First Comment: In 2006, David Cameron said marriage was important whether it was between “man and a woman, a woman and a woman or a man and another man”. Three days before the 2010 General Election, David Cameron told Sky News he had no immediate plans to legalise same-sex marriage. Despite this, the Coalition Government introduced a Bill to redefine marriage, and in February 2013 it won a decisive vote on the issue. “We believe that if same-sex marriage had been put to a referendum it would have been defeated, but he chose not to give the British people a say on the redefinition of marriage.” If that’s your greatest legacy, David, best you be gone then! #flipflop A referendum on ‘gay marriage’ would have lost in NZ also.David Cameron has placed redefining marriage among his proudest achievements, as he announced his resignation today as Prime Minister.Speaking outside 10 Downing Street following the vote to leave the European Union, he said same-sex marriage was one of the “great steps” this country had made in recent years.His move to introduce same-sex marriage in 2013 was highly controversial, with two-thirds of a million people signing a petition against the plan.‘Very proud’David Cameron said he was “very proud and very honoured to have been prime minister of this country for six years”.He added that the country had made positive moves, including “enabling those who love each other to get married whatever their sexuality”.Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn praised David Cameron over gay marriage, saying he was “very brave” and had “faced down his own party” on the issue.SaddenedThe Christian Institute’s Deputy Director Humphrey Dobson said: “Whatever your view of David Cameron’s premiership it is saddening that he has chosen to highlight this deeply controversial issue as his legacy.“We believe that if same-sex marriage had been put to a referendum it would have been defeated, but he chose not to give the British people a say on the redefinition of marriage.”In 2006, David Cameron said marriage was important whether it was between “man and a woman, a woman and a woman or a man and another man”.Three days before the 2010 General Election, David Cameron told Sky News he had no immediate plans to legalise same-sex marriage.READ MORE: http://www.christian.org.uk/news/remember-me-for-gay-marriage-says-pm/Keep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.
“In the Zone” runs every other Friday. If you would like to comment on this story, visit DailyTrojan.com or email Trevor at email@example.com The quarterback situation at USC just got a little bit more interesting.On Wednesday night, quarterback Max Browne of Skyline High School in Sammamish, Wash., verbally committed to USC, after a three-day unofficial visit to campus. According to Rivals.com, Browne is the No. 1 overall prospect at his position in the 2013 class.The 6-foot-5, 210-pound prep star threw for 4,045 yards and 45 touchdowns during his junior season. In two years starting at Skyline, the quarterback has thrown for 8,216 passing yards and 95 touchdowns.Browne’s verbal commitment gives the USC coaching staff multiple options for senior Matt Barkley’s successor.According to Mason Kelley of The Seattle Times, Browne is working on graduating high school early, too, so he can enroll at USC during the next spring semester — a similar route Barkley, Cody Kessler and Max Wittek decided to take.This spring, redshirt freshmen quarterbacks Kessler and Wittek have seen extended snaps behind center. The two have been competing for the backup role on the depth chart behind Barkley. Both are also auditioning for an eventual starting role next year. Now it’s likely a three-man race.And in case anybody forgot: Redshirt sophomore quarterback Jesse Scroggins is still at USC. Remember just a couple years ago, Scroggins was supposed to be the next great player? According to Rivals.com, Scroggins was the No. 5 prospect at his position — a dual-threat quarterback with a laser arm and a nice set of wheels.Does Browne’s commitment mean the end of Scroggins’ time at USC? With sanctions limiting the Trojans to 75 scholarship players until 2015, can they afford to carry four quarterbacks on their roster?Probably not.It’s really unfortunate, too. Call it bad luck or misfortune, but he’s dealt with numerous injuries that have slowed his progress as a player. Now he’s trying to work his way back in the classroom as well. He’s been excused from spring practice so he can focus his efforts in the classroom to gain eligibility for the fall.“I will be eligible in the fall, there is no question about that,” Scroggins told ESPNLosAngeles.com in February. “I will be practicing in the spring and I will still be here in the fall, no doubt about it.”But his inability to stay healthy, coupled with his academic issues, isn’t a positive sign. There’s been more hype than show for the four-star prospect out of Lakewood High. And to the coaching staff, it’s not exactly encouraging to see a promising guy like Scroggins miss practice to bring up his grades just so he can step foot on the field. No longer does Scroggins have that so-called extra experience.Even last fall while Scroggins was recovering from surgery on his throwing hand, it seemed as if Kessler and Wittek leapfrogged the Lakewood native on the depth chart. With both of them enrolling early last spring, it certainly has helped familiarize them with the system and coaching staff.Again, with Browne verbally committing, the Trojans will have the No. 1 prospect at his position in the class of 2013 and have two other capable players in Kessler and Wittek, who are ranked No. 2 and No. 3 at their positions in the class of 2011, according to Rivals.com.Yes, the starting job isn’t guaranteed to any of those three, either. But with Kessler and Wittek gaining more experience this spring and Browne with the potential to be a star, Scroggins is likely the odd man out.With the limited amount of scholarship players USC can carry on its roster over the next couple years, it just doesn’t make sense to carry four quarterbacks.Come next year, not only does the coaching staff have to figure out who will be the heir apparent to Barkley, but they’ll also have to figure out what they want to do with Scroggins.