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.
When Robin Lopez tunes into games, however, he’s not studying the intricacies of his brother’s performance or trying to interpret whether he’s in for a good night or a bad one.“I think just on a base level,” Robin said, “it’s cool just seeing my brother playing basketball on TV.”Even after all these years?“Oh yeah,” he said. “There’s still a thrill.”PLAYING HARD BALLA day after appearing on CNN to discuss his ongoing feud with President Donald Trump, comments made by LaVar Ball caused a stir and were widely interpreted as criticism of Luke Walton and the Lakers’ coaching staff.“They’re soft,” Ball told Bleacher Report. “They don’t know how to coach my son.”Ball proceeded to say the Lakers are “trying to baby” rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, and that they can be tougher on the 20-year-old.Walton has grown accustomed to putting out fires started by LaVar Ball, and he quickly shut down Tuesday’s flap also.“It’s not what we’re here to do or talk about,” Walton said.He defended LaVar Ball, saying “he has done a phenomenal job as a father with Lonzo because Lonzo is a special young man.”Walton added: “We’re not concerned with what parents think of how we’re coaching the team. We’re concerned with the team and what’s best for our team and how we can continue to get better.”NANCE CLOSELarry Nance Jr. could be back on the court for the Lakers as early as Monday, barely three weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a fracture in his left hand.The third-year power forward has been practicing with the team since his cast came off on Nov. 14. After playing Wednesday at Sacramento, the Lakers will go four days before their next game, Monday against the Clippers.“With the way the schedule plays out with those days off it makes more sense than to not try to rush him back,” Walton said.Nance was expected to get some practice time in this week with the South Bay Lakers, the franchise’s G-League affiliate, but those plans were scrapped when he had a wisdom tooth pulled Monday.“He’s been out there mixing it up with the guys,” Walton said, “getting his shots in, his running in. So (with) a couple good practices I think he’ll be fine.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersRobin said his brother is “really enjoying” his first season with the Lakers and “relishing his role,” which includes being one of the few veterans on a team populated with 20-year-olds.The twins, who faced off in Tuesday’s matchup between the Lakers and Bulls, are in their 10th season after both were drafted in the first round in 2008. While the Bulls are Robin’s 10th team, Brook is experiencing something new. He spent his previous nine seasons in Brooklyn with the Nets, a franchise that cycled through nine head coaches during his tenure.After years of things changing around him, Brook Lopez is now the change.“It’s a lot of things,” Robin said. “It’s a completely different organization, coaching staff. But I mean he’s always dealt with that well.”Through his first 17 games with the Lakers, Brook Lopez was averaging 15.4 points, his lowest output since his rookie season, when he averaged 13 points. His minutes, 24.3 per game, are also the lowest of his career. LOS ANGELES — When the NBA’s Lopez brothers were growing up in Los Angeles, the Lakers were as good as gods. Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar gave way to Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.“The Lakers, for us they were the biggest basketball team in the world,” Bulls’ center Robin Lopez said. “That’s our definition of the NBA. That’s what comes to mind in our head, you know?”Now, Brook Lopez, Robin’s twin brother, is the Lakers’ starting center, a fact that continues to amaze both brothers.“I know he’s definitely enamored with that aspect of it,” Robin said. “I don’t think it will ever fade with him.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error