ON IT Club

So, what’s this all about?  Well we started the ON IT club with the awesome Guild Members in Carlisle.  We are now excited to announce we are introducing it to the wider business community.

ON IT is a way to bring together business leaders from all sectors to work ‘ON’ their businesses.   We all know it’s all too easy to be sucked into the ‘day to day’ and start losing sight of where you want to be.

An example of how ON IT is effective is how well it worked during the lockdown. Like the rest of the country our Guilders were split between those flipping their business model, those waiting to see what happens next . The ON IT club allowed all of us to share our hopes, dreams and worries through this really difficult time.  It helped keep us focused on where we were taking our individual businesses.

Take the current situation….business in the UK is currently in 3 broad camps:

The ‘innovators’ those who have taken action.  They flipped their business model.  Adopted new tech, went for new markets, new products to serve customers in a whole new way!

The ‘stickers’ those who are either confident or defiant, waiting for normal to return!

The ‘undecided’ those thinking hard about bold steps, but not quite ready to commit to a new business model

Where are you?  Where do you want to be? Who can help you get there?

All of us (innovators, stickers or undecided) need to know how our business is performing in relation to the general market. With all that has happened, we all need time to take a moment to check we are still heading to a ‘place’ in business we want to be.  We all need somewhere we can go to where we can get honest opinions on the help available out there.

So if you’re an innovator that wants to keep on track. Or a sticker who wants to check if normal has returned . Or an undecided that just wants to unscramble the noise.  We believe the ON IT group will genuinely help you with all of this.

The ON IT club is designed purely for business and its leaders, it’s for people who run their own thing and want to talk business with other business leaders, those with a different perspective, different ideas, different ways of solving challenges and scoping new opportunities.

This is a monthly virtual peer group of business leaders where we bring business tools to life to get YOU to where you want to be.

Leading any business or organisation can be a lonely place, join the monthly virtual ‘on it’ club and make that change!

How ON IT Works:

  • Peer to peer problem solving with other business leaders – unscramble!
  • Peer to peer opportunity scoping with other business leaders – save time!
  • Business talking to business about business – keep on track!
  • Interactive masterclasses throughout the year from active business owners
  • Business tools brought to life to help your business move forward.
  • Build your business toolbox!
  • Monthly 90 min sessions via Zoom

Click here to get ON IT

Thomas Jardine & Co working in partnership with The Guild, Carlisle.

 

 

 


Have customer needs changed?

We all need to focus on what our customer ‘needs’.  Strategyzers Value Proposition Canvas is the best tool for this.  This tool works because it identifies what will improve the customers life.

Up until COVID, we assumed that customer ‘needs’ change as their individual circumstances change.  This made  our job as a business fairly straight forward.  We identified a customer type and targeted our services towards them. The assumption was that even if some customers needs change, on average there will always be a large enough segment of this type to keep our business busy.

In the UK  we always assumed we would be mainly dealing with peoples higher needs such as  products or experiences that were to varying degrees designed specifically for them.

From basic needs to self fulfilment

In the 1950’s a phycologist called Maslow captured peoples needs in a pyramid.  The base stage covered basic needs (food, safety , warmth etc.), the next stage was the psychological needs of belonging and self esteem and the final stage met self fulfilment needs.  Anyone who has done business studies at university should be aware of Maslow.

The use of Maslow led to an  assumption in modern business teaching. This  was that  the majority of the developed world were satisfied in the basic stage of food and safety. Then those in employment had to varying degrees met their needs of belonging and self esteem.  Finally those with financial stability tended to aspire to achieving self fulfilment aided by all sorts of services designed specifically for individuals.

The assumption was always that individuals would move up and down these stages as their circumstances changed.  Academics implied that economic blips such as recessions might mean that over a period of time larger groups of individuals might refocus on lower stages of needs.

COVID has led to a dramatic shift in these assumptions.  Now we have seen one event leading to a hopefully brief global change in societies needs.  And businesses have to now deal with the new normal.

Three stages back to normality

We suggest three stages of COVID for business.

Before COVID (BC) was the old business normality.

During COVID (DC) is the stage we are in now. Our current business normality has changed, sometimes on an hourly basis.  This is  because scientists, politicians, the media and economists cannot yet agree on how to control COVID.  More worrying still, no one can predict what the eventual final impact of COVID will be.

Post COVID (PC) has still to come.  One day we will be over this. As business we will adapt and we will thrive in a new normal.  We as individuals will fulfil the needs of our customers.  Eventually the experts will catch up and new models will evolve.  Until then here are some quick thoughts.

Before COVID

So before COVID (BC) we were all solving customers needs that were relatively stable. We focused on adding value by catering to their self esteem and ‘belonging’ needs. We were able to charge a premium if we helped customers achieve self fulfilment.

If we didn’t do this directly we were involved in a supply chain that catered for these needs.

During COVID

Pre lockdown we faced some uncertainty but not many of us changed our business model.

Lockdown saw the whole of the UK focus on food and toilet rolls.  Up until that point we hadn’t heard many experts predict this. Lockdown also saw many of us closed by government action.

The first few weeks saw society as a whole value their personal safety.  During this time many essential businesses continued to meet basic customer needs at a time when the advice on how to operate safely was still been developed. Others pivoted their business to meet new customer needs.

As lock down eases many of our businesses are reopening.  All those who are consumer facing are focused on the basic need of safety.

The next stage will be to satisfy peoples need of a sense of belonging.  One hundred days of lockdown means we all want to feel like we belong to society again.  Business has a huge part to play in this . We work in supply chains that now more than ever have to look after the weakest business in their links.

Whilst we live with COVID we will have to support each other.  We need to belong to positive groups.  we need to work with our peers to develop a new normal.

Then we can work on each others prestige and feelings of accomplishment as we bounce back from the brink.

Post COVID

This will end .  Hopefully we will have all learned something from the experience and our businesses will be more in tune with our customers and suppliers than they were before.

Actions for now

Work on your businesses future (even though currently  you are probably back to the floor working in it).

Take some time to stand in your customers shoes.  Really consider what their current and near future needs are.  Make sure your services/products meet these needs.

If you need someone to work with you on this.  Give us a call at Thomas Jardine & Co. We will help unscramble the noise and this will save you time.

Link to our video on changing customer needs and COVID here.


Fix what you can you are the experts

The new world order

Never has the mantra “fix what you can and leave the rest” been more important for business.

Our business ecosystem is now entering a new world order. As lockdown eases opposing forces will offer opinions on how we bounce back from COVID. Our economic and political experts will offer conflicting advice for the foreseeable future.  So leave the economy and the political solutions to the experts and focus on what you can fix.

You/we are the expert

We knew our business pre COVID.  Now we are getting to know the new reality.  This new reality brings problems we thought we had buried long ago right back into our consciousness. COVID19 in may cases now means we can’t see the wood for the trees.

We had systems that identified and funnelled customers to our well designed products and services.  The supply chain provided all the products and services required at exactly the time they were needed. In this transition time between lockdown and new reality no one can guarantee customer flows or supply chains.

What we as businesses are left with is all the expertise we have built up pre COVID, then during lockdown and the experience we are gaining daily in the world post COVID19.

What we can’t fix we can influence

We can’t fix all our customers pains BUT we can listen to them.  Similarly, we can’t fix all our suppliers problems BUT we can work with them.  Finally, we can’t tackle every new business that has or will enter our sector BUT we can learn from how they interpret our sectors problems.  So, if we listen, work with and learn we will can stop reacting and start influencing the businesses around us.  Ironically, if we all influence the business ecosystem around us  then the experts will notice the change and start agreeing on a direction.

Just look at the way the food eco-system has pivoted with wholesalers and manufacturers stepping in to sell direct to consumers during lockdown.  Now everyone in this ecosystem has to deal with a new reality way beyond just social distancing.

The new Food Ecosystem

 

Use the right tools to fix the problem

Jacqui and Keith do not claim to be business experts we only have MAs in business and 30 years each in running a fifth generation family business.  Business is about building systems that work around people.  the trick is to get the right tool for the right situation.

So post COVID if you are looking at pivoting into a new service or product then consider the 5P model courtesy of Prof Nigel Lockett (Proposition, people, place, process and profit).  Or if you are looking at building on an existing product or service recheck your processes with Strategyzers Business Model Canvas.

If unsure about the tools ask us

Thomas Jardine & co would be happy to customise your toolbelt.

 

 

 


The food eco-system bounces back

Food producers

The food eco-system is fundamental to a large number of our regions businesses.  Living on the edge of Scotland and England we are used to bouncing back from the occasional invading armies moving north or south. During COVID we have witnessed the fortitude of part of this system. As lockdown opens up again we will see even more examples from our brilliant regional business eco-system.

Our food producers have done a brilliant job over the last seven weeks.  Every week on behalf of This is Cumbria we have thanked the numerous food businesses that ensured we all had food on our tables.

There are numerous stories of delis ( Keswick Cheese  & Penrith Chopping Block) brewers (Carlisle Brewers) cheese makers (Butlers Larder), pie makers (The Pie Mill whose father died of COVID), donut makers (Bruce and Luke’s)  and butter makers (Winter Tarn Dairy) coming together to offer solutions for us consumers. Others like Shed1Gin even managed to produce hand sanitiser at a time when supply was dangerously low.  Our map grew exponentially as people shared good news from across the county.

So once more we say thank you to the great food and drink producers from our place.

Food Retailers and Wholesalers

With the closure of hotels and restaurants food wholesalers pivoted their models to service the public rather than business.  Our local brands such as the Pioneer , Caterite, McClures & Cranstons  and so many more served us well.  We should remember that even though they were extremely busy serving the public they had in many cases lost most of their income that came from servicing the hotel and restaurant industries.

From the larger independents such as Booths to the smaller village stores such as Cartmell Food Shed they have all kept us going.  They have all done this in times of great uncertainty.  We will always owe these guys a debt of gratitude.  They have not had the stay at home break and still face the same uncertain future that we all do.

Restaurants and cafes

With the enforced close-down only allowing takeaways many of these businesses simply could not operate.  Those that did had to build a takeaway system from scratch, work with the uncertainty of COVID and manage a business with a fall in turnover of at least 80%.

With the loosening of the Stay at Home Message more restaurants and cafes can now operate.  They have changed their business model to delivery or collection.  At the same time, they must plan for a future social distancing post COVID world.

Over the coming weeks these guys will work the second miracle of our food eco-system.  Most of us won’t notice.  So please stop and think.  These businesses will have to offer takeaway food from a business set up to serve food at tables.  They will have to work out how to package the meals, deal with outside orders, deliveries, collections, and online payments.  At a time when the rules on social distancing evolve. When they will probably only achieve part of their previous turnover and must plan for the eventual reopening of their proper business.

At the same time all their wholesalers still must balance the demands of their new public consumers with trying to support the restaurants who to begin with will not know how much limited stock to carry.

The next stage is starting

There are so many food businesses doing this already.  Here are just a few:

Halston in Carlisle : Sunday Roast to go

Lanercost Tea Rooms : offering weekend takeaways

Yewdale Inn Coniston : Fish and chip takeaways in Coniston

The Good Sister Carlisle : Picnic Boxes Carlisle

Paolos Fish & Chips : Collection Carlisle

There are so many more and we will happily add them to our map NO CHARGE

Supporting the food eco-system

Behind the front line quietly worked a band of businesses.  They worked long hours hidden from public view and include web experts supporting the online changes like Sparrow Digital, Black Lab Software and Bungalistic to experts in the online cloud like Beaty Consultancy  and digital marketing like KC Creative .Then there were finance companies smoothing the loan applications like Enterprise Answers and solicitors like Cartmell Shepherd helping with everything from employment advice to will making.  There were also other individual experts such as accountants , food safety experts (ML3 Technical) and photographers capturing business images (Jenny Woolgar) playing their parts.

Behind the eco-system

A brilliant face group set up as Small Business Support Carlisle captures part of the eco-system coming back to life that can support the bounce back of the food eco system.  We are all involved in this eco-system with everything from humanising the COVID safety message (Plus3k) to entertaining children online (Rainbow Jelly) and planning an online party to get us through this ( Happy out Loud Day)

We are so proud to be associated with all the large and small businesses in our eco-system and know our region can and will show the country how to truly bounce back from COVID19.

Please contact us with any thoughts you have on the food eco-system at Thomas Jardine and Co.

 

 


COVID wars episode IV a new hope

COVID wars the beginning

In a market a long time ago (2019) a small group of independents gathered to fight the global food empires.  Driven by a dream of two jedi’s of the food world from the planets Hawkshead Relish and Ginger Bakers. They looked to spread the force of food made with passion.

Our jedi’s passed their plan to a small group of rebels from the planets Thomas Jardine & Co and the Family Business Network.  We were fortunate enough to get support from the mighty Cartmell Shepherd and Enterprise Answers.  With the support of Cartmells and Enterprise a small rebel fleet was established

The rebel alliance

Our drive to support the rebels comes from watching our two sons.  Both were fighting as independents in different sectors.  Our eldest runs the Guild a safe base for freelancers and managers not tied to a corporate desk.  Whilst our youngest takes his fight to the food empire with his partner in crime on the good ship Bruce and Luke’s.

Rebels from across the market all had similar tales to tell. They were gathering on an alliance planet called the Farmshop & Deli Show.  Our small fleet was joined by ships from Kin Vodka, Tray Bakes, Pennington’s Liqueurs, Lakeland Artisan and Farrer’s.  The alliance flew under the This is Cumbria banner. The banner was developed by We are Eclectic and printed by Printing Plus and was to be proudly flown on the planet Farmshop & Deli.

The movement hadn’t finished yet.  the generosity of Cartmells and Enterprise and uniforms from Liberty Workware meant we could launch a new millennium ship that housed new freedom fighters like Shed1Gin, ML3, Molly Rose, The Toffee Shop and the Pie Mill joined us on our crusade.

The need for a new hope

The first gathering at the planet of Farmshop & Deli was a huge success.  The alliance grew in confidence and new fighters from Cakes from the Lakes, Eden Valley Meat Company, Hawkshead Brewery and Vies Jamaican Rum Cakes joined us for a return trip to the planet Farmshop and Deli in 2020.

Then a dark force not seen for a millennium appeared just off our planet.  The COVID death star threatened both the rebel alliance and the empire itself.  So for the good of our galaxy the fleets had to disperse and locked down in their own planets until the time came when we could re-emerge and complete our mission.

Planning for the future after the death star

In this dark time none of the rebels have stood still.  Some have focused on homing their jedi skills. Others have continued to supply their homelands with brilliant food and drink.  Soon we will have a plan to deal with the death star.  We still have to compete with the empire.

The gradual ending of lock down means we can continue our fight to bring food and drink made with passion to our homelands. Maybe what we have learned is that movements work best with rebels with a cause .

The credits will soon role on this episode and we will be ready for the next one.  Slightly older and slightly wiser.

May the force be with us.

 

 

 


Bounce back : think global act local

Bounce back

Bounce back is going to be a key phrase over the next few months.  We need to bounce back from the social effects of COVID19.  Our health sector has to bounce back from the impact of COVID19.  The health service has to deal with all the other health problems that are still out there. In this post, we are going to talk briefly about how we are seeing  bounce back working for businesses and people we are dealing with. But first some big picture stuff:

The global and national need for bounce back

The economy rightly has not been at the forefront of our minds as we deal with the horrendous potential threat that COVID19 brought. Over the last 6 weeks, society rightly has come together to cap the impacts of COVID19.

As we start to deal with the beginning of the end of the initial impact of COVID19.  We now need to look at how we can ensure the impact of COVID19 does not destroy our economic ability to fund our capability to deal with any future variants of this horrible virus.  In short our economy has to bounce back . We have to ensure business is there to support our health service.  Business has to be there to provide the services that lead to social cohesion brought about social contact. Our food supply chain has to be robust enough to keep us in food following the inevitable global supply chain shocks that will follow the outbreak of COVI19.

So what have we seen this week that raises our hopes of bounce back?

Bounce back from the local and global view

This week Thomas Jardine & Co have been fortunate enough to witness bounce back from a local and a global view.  At the beginning of the week Jacqui ran a discussion for Dr Louise Scholes with Loughborough International Masters Students studying Family Business.  The students joined the virtual course from across the globe.  Interesting 50% of them were next gens in waiting.  Of course the session focused on the impact of COVID19.  From an international perspective many of the students wanted to know if the new shift of focus to local rather than global supply would change. It was accepted that this was the time for leaders to step up. all food of thought.

Bounce back from a local and national view

At the end of the week Jacqui held an online peer group for Be the Business for next generation family business from across the North West of England.  Again the focus of these people who will be running their family businesses in the future was palpable.  They are determined to bounce their businesses back to at least where they were before COVID19 hit.  This level of positivity in a time when many business literally fell to no turnover at all gives us real hope that many family businesses will bounce back.

Thomas Jardine & Co are also part of the Guild in Carlisle.  Here we witness some amazing resilience from our fellow Guilders.  This ranges from just helping each other get new ideas of the ground.  To moral support to get through the lock down. To listening and helping each other with the tasks needed for business survival during COVID19 lockdown.  We are so proud to be part of this coworking space which will be the germination for so many business solutions in the coming months.

Bounce back and the food sector

Whilst attending an online event by the Food Ethics Council we were reminded of the importance of a resilient food supply chain.  Thomas Jardine & Co are monitoring the true resilience of our local food businesses through our work with This is Cumbria.  The hospitality sector in the UK has basically been shut down. But it has refused to stay there and is already trying to bounce back.  We are so proud of our local food businesses who have done everything from producing hand sanitiser to delivering food treats.  They have achieved this whilst a huge part of society had rightly gone into lockdown. In many cases, these businesses have had to figure out how to balance safety of their people with  the future of their business and deserve our utmost respect.

We all have to help each other bounce back

Every day we see examples of family businesses , food businesses and freelancers bouncing back.  For this to continue we need to answer the three questions Tony Danker asked at a Be the Business event this week:

What have you got right or wrong over the last six weeks?

What are the big decisions over the next six weeks?

What’s it like to be a leader right now.

Go ahead answer these questions and please feel free to share with your peers.  It’s time to bounce back.


Where will the future take us?

The Future

So many experts are trying to predict the future right now.  One of the best we have seen came from NESTA entitled ‘There will be no ‘back to normal‘.

They considered the impact of COVID19 on the political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental (PESTLE).  We think the article is well worth a read.  Especially because it splits the impact of COVID19 over the key impacts the outside world could have on us on our business or our place.

The Future is not normal

Most of us who have done some economics will be aware of the PESTLE model.  It is usually the basis for long term business strategy (see for example UNICEF).  What is unusual today is that PESTLE doesn’t normally see the seismic shifts it is seeing across the world.  Acceptable norms like national economic policy are out of the window.  This creates uncertainty around the external factors that effect us and has a huge effect on how we plan for the future.

Where are we now?

COVID19 has changed the way we live our lives and run our businesses. Talking to various businesses from the UK of all sizes  Thomas Jardine & Co have noticed three typologies of businesses.  They are dealing with the uncertainty created by the changing factors in PESTLE. Then at the same time dealing with the changes we all face in our personal lives.

The first typology are businesses who are part of the critical supply chain and are working at full capacity or beyond. They have the full support of government (including school places) but have to constantly balance the needs of the business with the safety of their staff.

The second typology are those who have been temporarily closed by the government. This group has three choices. They can decide to either close permanently and reinvent a new future. Hibernate  by living off reserves and wait until they can open for business as normal.  Or pivot their business model to suit the future needs of their customers.

The third typology are those caught in-between closed and critical.  This group is struggling between the economic need to keep the business going and the moral dilemma of keeping staff, suppliers and customers safe.

So where are the experts?

In life you do best if you focus on what you can control.  This is why we normally start with experts who understand PESTLE factors and work down to how these global factors affect us. Now more than ever experts in PESTLE  are not sure where political , economic, social, technological, legal or environmental factors are going.

The experts are the people running the businesses going through this. They are your peers who are either struggling to keep up with the demand in the critical supply chain, dealing with a ‘closed’ business or struggling with a business that is open but not part of the critical supply chain.

Now more than ever we need to talk to our peers.

Peer support through action learning groups

So in business we are making decisions based on how we see the world affecting us and what we want to do with the business.  With COVID19 the experts are no longer certain of their expertise.  But business owners are having to decide what they want to do with the business. So your business peers are the experts in what it feels like to be a business owner during COVID19.   We can enable these experts (business peers) to form groups where you learn through trust, hearing different perspectives, accepting challenge and setting actions (Action Learning Groups). Your external sounding board.

Thomas Jardine & Co are developing a model that sets out what is influencing these critical business decisions.

me and the world

Have a look and think about where your business is been driven by COVID19 and where you would like it to be.  This is really difficult to do as an individual.  It’s much better to do this by talking with a group of your peers.

Thomas Jardine & Co are doing this with our brilliant Guilders through our ‘On It Not In It’  club . We are also working with Be the Business to deliver online Action Learning Sets for Next Gens recruited by the Family Business Network.

And finally we are training facilitators and developing online peer groups for Be The Business  to support Family Businesses across the UK.  If you are family business facing the COVID19 challenge contact us , Family Business United or the Family Business Network to join Be The Businesses Family Business Peer Groups.

 

 

 


Leadership, management and productivity

Leadership with management and how they feed productivity

Are you a great leader or a great manager or a bit of both?  If so, does your team always find the most productive way of meeting your clients needs?

Productivity isn’t just the most recent buzz word.  It is a state of mind our country really needs to embrace.  The Be the Business event in the Houses of Parliament last week brought together business leaders and politicians to explore ways of increasing the UKs comparative productivity.  MP Andrew Griffith hosted the parliamentary reception and Tony Danker spoke very eloquently on the opportunity for government to back business productivity and level up the opportunity for every business to improve their performance.

Great opportunity to discuss these issues with leaders like Paula Carter, and Jenny Cridland

Leaders have followers, managers have a team

What strikes me about good leaders is that they are surrounded by people who genuinely value their plans and clearly understand them.  What really hits me about great leaders is that people are willing to follow them.  Sometimes without clearly understanding their plans.  Good leaders manage people and are truly great managers.  Great leaders inspire people.  They pass on the day to day management of their people to managers who really understand what is needed from the team.

Good managers achieve everything that is asked of them by their leaders.  But great managers achieve everything the leader wants before the leader asks them to do it.

Good management skills can be taught and with hard work they can be implemented in any team.  Great management skills only happen when a good manager works with a great leader.

A business led by a good leader and a good management team can become one of the most productive teams in its sector by adapting the best management techniques used in or around the sector.  The same business could be a class leader in productivity if it is led by a great leader who looks beyond their sector and enables their management team to create world beating systems.

Leaders are Readers (thanks Barry)

The big question many of us find is how do we develop great managers and how do great leaders grow? Some of the answers to these questions came out at a dinner debate for business organised by Joanne Holborn of Baines Wilson and ourselves (Thomas Jardine & Co).   We’re not going to go into too much detail here about what was a fascinating night. The dinner was based around a discussion on Cumbria as “the place to work”.

One of the recurring themes was how do we create great managers.  The other which was fascinating was how do we as business leaders become the best leaders we can be?  The main answer to this was always be prepared to learn and get out and see what is not familiar.  As Barry Leahey succinctly put it leaders are readers.  Leaders always want to learn more.  Great leaders are driven to continuous improvement.

Lets drive great leadership and great managers

Thomas Jardine & Co are really pleased to be working with Be the Business who are driving the productivity challenge forward.  We are also immensely proud to be asked to work with the likes of Baines Wilson who believe and directly invest in their place.

The future of leadership and management in Cumbria is looking great.  The positive, realistic energy in the room for both the Be the Business Parliamentary Reception and Cumbrian Dinner Debate was palpable.  Let’s embrace the national and regional drive to create great leaders and managers .  Productivity thrives when a business has great leaders and great managers.

 

 

 


Next Generation Family Business : Finding your feet

Next generation : the theory

Site visits to successful family businesses such as the one organised by the IFB to Roberts Bakery really show the benefits good family businesses can bring to business operations. In theory shared family culture and values should lead to a smooth transition of leadership from one generation to another.  However in reality family dynamics are as complicated as those found in business leadership.  Combining the two does not simplify the situation.

This week I delivered a session on next generation family business to a group of enthusiastic  Lancaster University Masters Students .   Their questions really reminded me how complex these family business dynamics are.

Celebrating when things go right

The students questions were still ringing in my ears when my eldest pointed out we didn’t celebrate success enough.  He is right.  Like many growing businesses we tend to focus on the potholes on our journey rather than the beauty spots we pass.  That’s why I have really enjoyed my role as chair of the judges for the brilliant Northwest Family Business Awards.  Visiting the finalists and gathering the thoughts of our fellow judges has reinforced my belief in the value of family businesses from across the North West.  A huge well done to Sue Howorth and Dave Clarkson of the Family Business Network for organising this.

Finding your feet

So we know that the transition of leadership to the next generation is complicated.  We also know that done well next generational family businesses add huge value to their place.  Just look at the family businesses running farming, hospitality, manufacturing, food production and cafes in your area.  They are all dedicated to their business and their place and at some point they may look to pass their business onto the next generation.

To do this the next generation really needs to find their feet.  Each new generational business leader may have different needs. These could include gaining the confidence to replace the previous generation as leader. Or creating time to think about the future direction of the business. It could be finding a source of reliable answers to questions they may have on how to manage the transition in family business. Then it could be learning how to communicate with the family and the business as roles are changed.  Importantly the next generation need a supportive network of peers who are experiencing the similar business journeys to themselves.  Possibly most importantly they need a place where they can develop their leadership skills that will ensure the sustainability of their family business.

Offer of support

If you are reading this as a next generation family business member and you would like support with any of the issues raised please check out the Next Generation Family Business Event on the 17th March in Liverpool.  We (Thomas Jardine & Co) are really proud to be delivering this in partnership with Be the Business and the Family Business Network.

 

 

 


High streets, place , people and productivity

Future of the high street

High streets are changing. Our high streets should focus on the community needs rather on slightly modifying what we have always done. When faced with  a change in business circumstances ,Thomas Jardine & Co always use Strategyzers excellent Business Model Canvas.  This focuses our attention on end users rather on our portfolio of services and products.  In business life it is not a case of doing what you have always done.  It’s about  doing what your customer needs to get past their problems and improve their life.

We have to meet the needs of the community in a way that is economically sustainable for both the high street businesses and those businesses or organisations that support them. For this productivity is key.  Thomas Jardine & Co has a thing about productivity, Jacqui is an ambassador for Be the Business who are tasked with driving productivity up across the country.

The High Streets belong to a place

There is an extreme diversity in size and scope of our high streets (see Institute of Place Management). They can be servicing a small catchment area with mainly retail services. Or act as an anchor for a vast catchment area offering a wide variety of services. The place the high street is set in is not dictated by political boundaries. Carlisle for example has a catchment area that covers various counties and two countries.

High streets are a community of people

Our high streets are made up of businesses that serve the community that chooses to use them. Our community looks to both the high street businesses and the council to provide a place that meets their needs.  We often forget that a lot of the businesses and councils are made up of people who are part of the community.  Your high street future will be about true collaboration of all those involved from users to businesses to council and business support.

Productivity

The high street is based on service. Service industries such as retail , hospitality and food traditionally rely on a pool of lower paid workers.  So the rise of minimum wage has a disproportionate impact on businesses in that sector that continue to depend on low wage work force .  The problem the businesses have is that they are serviced based at a time when consumers are increasingly price conscious.  Those businesses that adopt technology can increase productivity. This allows them to upskill their workforce and still offer a degree of personal service. The excellent essays from the Carnegie UK Trust and RSA look at productivity in the UK. Productivity isn’t just about replacing low paid low productive jobs with high paid high productive jobs. It’s about creating an attitude to improving the future of the business and the worker. If business isn’t allowed to focus on this then the future of business and jobs is in jeopardy.

Productivity and the High Street

High Street food and hospitality businesses need more focused support from the ‘business support sector’. From a business perspective:

  • Businesses don’t always take up the available support funds because the route to these funds is far from transparent.  Do funders offer funding via the usual partners rather than talking to businesses ?
  • Businesses don’t always use the training support offered because the support can be ‘off the shelf’. Do trainers deliver what they always have rather than what the business needs ?
  • Business tend to spend a lot of time focusing on the potential impact of regulations which takes them away from focusing on business productivity.  With limited resource do regulators  rely on business keeping up with regulations rather than working with business to mitigate the risk the regulations is set to deal with?
  • If a business wants to expand it has to deal with a raft of different bodies.  Do councils with limited resources focus on delivering individual services (sometimes with conflicting recommendations) rather than offering a one stop solution for individual businesses?

No-one is right or wrong here.  That doesn’t matter.  If we don’t all work together to improve the productivity of the high street so that it can offer the services its communities need then we all lose.

Future High Street Fund

The governments new Future High Street Fund which is open to a 100 high streets across the country. It recognises that the private and public sector need to work together.

It is easy to say that collaboration between the public sector and private sector is key to the future of our high streets.  We are all part of the same community, where we work together and focus on the end user of our high street we will have a sustainable future. Where we don’t we can always blame each other.