Peer Learning and The Family Business

So, who is your peer?

A peer: “A person of the same age, the same social position, or having the same abilities as other people in a group”

Does this mean the family business is the ultimate peer group

The very nature of family business makes family businesses self contained peer groups. Family members working in a family business are  business owners tend to have the same social position.  All family members have  the opportunity to contribute to the success of the business.  A ‘husband and wife’ team will probably  be of similar ages. With a generational family business there is a possibility that there will be a number of them of similar ages.

Running your business with your spouse you will be both learning to manage business and personal life. You will be doing this with the one person who knows you better than anyone else. Growing up in a generational family business you will have felt the impact of the peer group. As a family business child you would hear kitchen table conversations between mum , dad and grandad. These family conversations create business actions (or inaction) driven by frank discussions in arenas of trust.

Nothing is more powerful than  your peers challenging you

Family businesses are used to everyone from suppliers to customers challenging their plans.  We all treat these challenges with the respect they deserve.  We know that the  challenges that really test us are made by folk who walk in our shoes.  Family business owners are used to been challenged by other members of their family.  This is what makes them different to non family businesses.  Our most memorable impact from facilitating the Lancaster University Family Business Program was the impact of family business owners working in peer groups to challenge each other.

To remain ahead of the game in business, your learning has to be greater than the rate of change.  Otherwise you will be left behind.

INSEAD an institution that works closely with some of the largest and most successful family firms from across the world. INSEAD puts the success of these businesses down to bedrocks of:  “Clear and well defined family values, trust, networks and innovation” . In todays rapidly changing business environment family busineses can build on their values, trust and networks to be at the forefront of innovation in systems and products. So, our learning must keep up with the rate of change, otherwise we will be left behind.

Action Learning is a powerful tool to enhance your decision making skills on your business journey, fundamentally there is no learning without action!

We have found that combining peer to peer learning with action learning creates a powerful tool.  This combination of learning  leads directly to actions  encouraged by a group of trusted peers.  It takes place in a confidential setting of your peers of  family business leaders from a variety of sectors.  Your peers asks you to examine the challenges within your business in an open and honest way, using open question techniques.  By doing this, the peer group  improves your confidence helping you achieve personal and business goals and achieve your overall ambitions.

Come and join us with Be the Business

Thomas Jardine & Co are working with Be the Business, the Family Business Network and Cumbria Growth Hub to deliver a family business programme based on peer to peer action learning and would love you to be part of it.  Take your first action and  come and join us.


Think Plan Do

Those who think and those who do

Our world is made up of three types of people.  Those who think and spend time planning before they do. Then there are those who do and spend time fixing what they’ve done after its done. Then in the middle are those who do a bit of  thinking and a bit of doing.

In business thinkers frustrate those who do and  those that do tend to worry thinkers.  People run good businesses when they know when to think and when to do .  Achieving this is down to habit and behaviour.

At Thomas Jardine we help businesses grow by supporting small changes in their behaviour that allows a constructive focus on thinking and doing.

On it not in it

At the Guild we run the ‘on it not in it’ club where we all spend time rebalancing the time we spend on our businesses (thinking) and the time we spend in our businesses (doing).  This is a real peer group of people who can genuinely support each other as we balance the need to think and do.

Be the Business and develop good habits with your peers

We must stress that the best people to encourage habits that balance your thinking and doing are those in the same boat as you. This is where peer groups and advisory boards come into their own. We are working with Be the Business to deliver both peer learning and advisory boards for the North West Family Business Programme. If you want to know more contact ourselves or any of our partners (The Family Business Network, North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce; East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and Cumbria Chamber of Commerce). Of course some times you need more than peer support to develop an idea and this is when you need more focused time thinking about and planning for your businesses future.

Innovation Design Programme

There are numerous programmes available that allow businesses the time and space to plan and innovate.  We are currently working with Lancaster University to develop a programme to encourage innovation in Cumbria’s  Supply Chain.  This is an exciting concept working across a supply chain and is based in part with work we did with Cumbria LEP on the food and drink sector.  For more details please contact Lancaster University Management School . 

Take time to talk to potential customers and fellow businesses

Programmes aren’t the only way you can share experiences with your customers and peers.  Last year we spent three great days in the company of  This is Cumbria.  At surface level this was a Cumbrian Food and Drink Pavilion at the Farm Shop & Deli Show.   Like all trade shows it allowed our businesses to connect with old and new customers alike.  The extra benefit was the time that these businesses could share their experiences with peers from the local area.  You get new ideas that drive your business thinking forward by talking with other businesses.  If you want to join us in 2020 please give us a shout.

Sometimes you just need to see the bigger picture

Most businesses don’t get a lot of time to really step back and think about the bigger picture. Some would argue that this ‘thinking time’ is just too far removed from actually working in the business.  However taking a deep breath and occasionally scanning the horizon can really help you check that the short term direction of your business matches with your long term goals.  With this in mind we are working with Cumbria Forum on a  two day event in September.  This will use design thinking to deep dive into future relationships with customers and suppliers.  If you’re interested please contact the forum.

Always leave with an action plan

Thinking and planning are essential for sustainable business growth.  But they are useless without actions. So hopefully this article has made you think and you are now tempted to make a new plan.  Please, please  give yourself up to three actions that you will take to make sure you convert thinking into doing.  Ideally share these with one of your peers ( they can then hold you to account) or if you want share them with us and we will remind you of your plans in 6 months time.  Let’s all think and do and make our businesses the best they can be.


Future of food and drink? Just look outside and inside

To the outside world the food and drink supply chain is so straight forward. You grow something, you pick it, you prepare it, you take it to market and you sell it.
Working with the food and drink supply chain we find the trick is to use three eyes. One eye on future trends, one inside the business and one outside the business .

Eye on the future

Dean Van Leeuwen the Moonshot Futurist (at a business breakfast organised by Armstrong Watson) showed that specific future trends can be difficult to capture. He reminded us of the speed of change our society is currently facing. This change inevitably leads to redundancy of current operating systems and we have to learn to unlearn old ways.  For us in the food chain this means real rapid change. We saw a real example of food retail change  at the official opening of Pioneers new food store in Carlisle. The opening was truly a celebration of their journey so far (140 years and counting).  The new store  has  created a hybrid where wholesale food services meets retail with style.

Eye on the inside

In beautiful rural settings like the Lake District and the Eden Valley business space for food producers is a valuable commodity. A recent visit to a well-established small family business demonstrated this.  The lack of available space  made them focus on constantly improving their systems and relearning the equipment they required. Similarly, a larger well-established food manufacturer kept their productivity increasing by constantly identifying new machinery for their processing.  This now means they are ahead of the curve and looking for partners to work with to develop laser cutting equipment for the food sector.

Eye on the outside

We had an interesting conversation with a young business that is looking outside.  The business had done its research well and knew who they had to talk to and what they needed to prepare. Their problem was getting key people to talk to them.  The business wanted to talk to a local council officer and couldn’t pin them down to a time. The local council are a good bunch with business at heart BUT  are pushed for time and this appears to be impacting on the support they can offer, we’re sure they will find the time soon.

Adding the third eye

The observant of you would have realised we reckoned you needed three eyes to succeed in food and drink. Our food and drink manufacturers are not aliens, they have simply learned the art of thriving in the modern business eco-system, they share knowledge with each other and work with agencies to ensure full visibility of the future, the present and the outside world. This is Cumbria demonstrated how these businesses can get things done and we (Thomas Jardine & Co) just love working with them.


Government must be more ambitious in building Britain’s global brand for food and drink (release from EFRA Committee)

Interesting release from Environement, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

House of Commons
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
For immediate release 27.06.19

Government must be more ambitious in building Britain’s global brand for food and drink

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s today launches its Brand Britain: Promoting and Marketing British food and drink report.

Food and drink manufacturing is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, contributing £28.2 billion to the economy annually. In 2018, food and drink exports were worth £22.6 billion. Trade is therefore vital for the food and farming industries. This inquiry explored whether enough was being done to promote British food and drink, at home and abroad.

While progress is being made in some areas, we are concerned that the Government is not being ambitious or strategic enough in its approach to marketing and export activities. The food and drink industry has recognised what needs to be done to increase export activities via its proposed Food and Drink Manufacturing Sector Deal. The Government should approve this Sector Deal immediately and confirm a timetable for its implementation.

Food labelling

Research shows that while origin is important to some British consumers, purchasing behaviour is primarily driven by price. The origin of food can be found on the label, but less often for processed food.

The Government should introduce requirements for the origin of characterising ingredients in processed foods to be specified on labels – for example, the origin of the poultry in a chicken curry. This would enable those consumers who prefer to buy British to make informed choice.

Geographical Indications

Geographical Indications (GIs) provide legal protection against unlawful imitation of protected food and drink products. They also confer a price premium on products, making GIs both economically important as well as a recognised indicator of origin.

Given the potential for the UK to leave the EU without a deal in October, the Government should ensure that the domestic GI system meets the criteria required for EU approval and is ready prior to exit, to minimise disruption to British exporters. This Report recommends the Government make seeking a reciprocal agreement with the EU on GIs a priority, especially if agreeing an overarching withdrawal agreement is not possible.

Tradeshow Access Programmes

The Government’s Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) provides businesses with support they need to attend trade shows abroad. It is seen by the industry as an important way for companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to promote their businesses and break into new markets. The Committee therefore welcome the increased focus on SME participation in TAP.

However, TAP spend on food and drink has declined by 10 per cent since 2017/18. This dip reflects an ongoing trend of decreased funding. In addition, the rules on accessing grants have become more restrictive. The Tradeshow Access Programme should be reviewed urgently, in consultation with industry and trade associations. Funding should be potentially increased as part of the upcoming Spending Review.

International awareness

Awareness of British food and drink is low in international markets. More research is required to work out the best ways to promote British products overseas and increase exposure to British food. Recognising this gap, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has made commendable efforts to provide international market intelligence. The AHDB currently conducts market research across both domestic and international markets.

It is not clear if this dual responsibility is the most effective arrangement. The current review of the AHDB should consider whether the balance of funding between domestic and international market intelligence and promotion is fit for the future. AHDB should also assess if more needs to be done to promote to the domestic market.

Neil Parish MP, the Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said:

“Trade remains an integral part of the UK economy. Our food and farming industry generates hundreds of billions a year and employs one in eight people. Given the uncertainty of Brexit, it is absolutely essential that the Government takes steps to build Britain’s global brand for food and drink.

“What the current approach to marketing and export is really lacking is enough ambition or strategic thinking – the Government cannot afford to be complacent at a time of such grave importance to the sector.

“Those working in the sector have clearly recognised what needs to be done to increase export activities in the proposed Food and Drink Manufacturing Sector Deal. We must see the Government work closely with the industry to promote our food and drink excellence around the world.

“As our Report states, market access and increasing exports do not happen overnight, and action must be taken urgently.”

Media information: Joe Williams williamsjb@parliament.uk 020 7219 8878 | 075 4651 7626
More information on the Brand Britain: Promoting and Marketing British food and drink inquiry
EFRA Committee Membership here.
Committee website: www.parliament.uk/efracom


Food and Place : why it’s important to your place

This is Cumbria at the NEC 2019       Cumbrian Food and Drink       Front cover of Carlisle Living "our food revolution"

Why is food important to place?

There are so many reasons why food and drink captures the essence of place . The French have a word for it ‘terroir’. Terroir is the flavour of the local produce comes from the land on which it’s grown. We go further. People in the place can and do influence the flavour of their food and drink. The Food and Drink from around Cumbria is from a place on the edge of nation ( England or Scotland). So we have learned to be more self-reliant whilst maintaining strong links to our national market place.

What we do

As Thomas Jardine & Co, our day job is to work with individual businesses in the area.  We help identify their pinch points and then develop solutions that either help them grow or become more productive.  We also help bring the national focus onto the great business culture that exists in our unique area.

Taking Cumbria to the Nation

In April we were proud to be part of ‘This is Cumbria’ taking a wide selection of our great food and drink producers down to the Farmshop & Deli Show in the NEC.  The joy of this was that ‘This is Cumbria’ was co-created by a group of like minded businesses.  It wasn’t delivered with external support offered to national stands there from Wales or Scotland.  It worked so well that we are doing it all over again in 2020 (give us a shout if you want to know more).

In May Thomas Jardine & Co revisited the DEFRA offices in London representing the Cumbrian Local Economic Partnership (LEP).  The meeting gathered LEPs from around the country who are developing a focus on the food and drink sector.  The conversation on the day covered the best use of our ‘natural economy‘ and the encouragement of a ‘circular economy’ .  In layman terms this means not destroying natural assets (land, water supply, air quality). It also encourages you to get the most out of everything you use.  The final focus from DEFRA was on Public Sector Procurement where they highlighted a software system from Crown Commercial that would allow local producers to supply Public Sector bodies. This is a particular aim of Carlisle Food City so it would be great if we could persuade them to test this in our place.

Celebrating our food and drink

In May Carlisle Living ran an excellent set of features on the Food Revolution going on in Carlisle celebrating the new food movement going on in our city. The old CN Group always celebrated the sector in style with their Carlisle Living Awards and it is hoped that the new owners will continue with this.

Places in the conversation

We keep on meeting people from the SW of England who have the same opportunities as up here in Cumbria. Consequently, we are developing similar solutions.  There has got to be something in Cumbria and Cornwall working to develop solutions that benefit the whole of the UK.  At the same time we are also talking to more organisations based in Manchester.  So part of the answer must also lie in working closely with stakeholders from our region.

As border country we are also working with business and groups from both England and Scotland.  Learning form each sides differing approaches to looking after its resources and supporting its businesses.  This attitude is part of what lies behind the growing ‘Borderlands’ project.  Our area is well aware that the line between Scotland and England  only exists on a map or political boundary.  Unless we build a wall will have a fluid movement of local goods and services across it. To be honest, history shows that even if Scotland and England go their own way again I am pretty sure us border folk will find ways of continuing their business activities with or without their nations blessings : for extreme examples just check out ‘border reivers‘ on google.

Come and talk to us

In July we are going to talk about food and place at the national Revive and Thrive Conference in Manchester would be great to catch up with any of you who want to talk about how food and drink works with your place.

It is a joy to see our work help individual business and to bring our place into the national conversation.  So if we can either help you as an individual business to get over that nagging issue at the back of your mind or you want us to help raise the attention of our place at a national level then please get in touch.

 

 


This is Cumbria : shouting about food and drink

    

This is Cumbria : the beginnings

Between the 8th and 10th of April a large group of Cumbrian Food and Drink Businesses are going down to the Farm Shop & Deli Show at the NEC. They are going down as individual businesses but are locating in one large ‘This is Cumbria’ pavilion.

This is Cumbria started as an idea at last years show from two businesses Ginger Bakers and Hawkshead Relish. They both wanted to make more noise about the great businesses based in Cumbria.  So as you do, they booked a huge block right next door to the main stage for next year.

A few days later Maria from Hawkshead Relish rang us (Thomas Jardine & Co) and Sue from the Family Business Network to see if we could help fill, name, promote and develop the space. The answer was of course yes. The name ‘This is Cumbria’ came up as the collective name for the stand and We are Eclectic stepped up to do the design work for the show. As we write, Printing Plus have stepped up to do our printing.

This is Cumbria at the Farmshop & Deli Show

The plan is to make ‘This is Cumbria’ a regular of the Farm Shop and Deli Show.  To achieve this we created a showcase area to allow businesses to test the water in a friendly environment.  They will be surrounded by businesses who are more experienced with these types of shows. Two key sponsors Cartmell Shepherd and Enterprise Answers both stepped forward and financially supported areas for these businesses (Cartmell Shepherd the showcase area and Enterprise Answers the enterprise zone).

This is Cumbria:  our supporters

The businesses have now grown to 6 stand holders: Hawkshead Relish, Ginger Bakers, Kin Vodka, Tray Bakes, Kendal Mint Liqueur and Farrers and 6 show case businesses: Shed1 Gin, The Pie Mill, ML3 Technical, Lakeland Artisan, The Toffee Shop and Molly Rose Drinks. At time of writing we still have one 2*2 space left so please shout if you fancy joining us.

The activity around the show is now growing.  Maria has given a brilliant masterclass at the NWBH show on getting the most of a trade show. We are also holding a drinks reception on the 9th with Nigel Barden and various Cumbrian Chefs will give ‘This is Cumbria’ a shout from the main stage.

Help is coming form all sorts of other places, 32West have helped with press releases, Freya from WRBM has answered all our queries, BBC Radio Cumbria have talked to us about the progress of the show and loads of tweeters are helping spread the word. This is Cumbria is happening because businesses want it to happen. It’s going to be interesting to see where we go next…


What are you going to do to support businesses in your place?

First published in revive and Thrive 

Future Support for Business

It’s the time of year we all tend to reflect on what’s just happened and plan for what we do differently. So, we thought we would share part of our thinking for an interview schedule we are using to identify the future support businesses may require.

All problems have a degree of impact on business from just plain annoying to ‘business killers’ that threaten the future of the business. Good businesses find solutions to these problems themselves or look to support from outside.

Business Problems

For these businesses there are two types of problems to focus on. These are the problems that stop them getting things done on a day to day basis and the problems that stop them from moving their business forward.

Good businesses have to be really good at problem solving and tend to have solutions for the day to day ‘business killer problems’ quickly (things like cash flow). They then manage those ‘day to day’ problems that have a higher degree of impact with dedicated internal resources or with trusted external expertise. These problems tend to revolve around market competition, regulations and skilled personnel. The problems that tend to need new solutions are those that are getting in the way of them taking up opportunities that could drive their business forward.
So, for part of our research we are asking our businesses to identify the opportunities that would have the greatest impact on their business. Then we are asking them if they can take advantage of this opportunity without support, if they can that’s great and the business can move forward. If they need support and they can identify where to get it from that is also good and shows that there is a network of support available for that business sector.

Short term and long term impacts

What will be concerning is if our businesses interviewed can see an opportunity that they can’t take advantage of because they don’t have either internal systems or external resources to support it. If our place cannot find a solution for these businesses then they will not take advantage of the opportunity they can see. This is not a problem in the short term but if we as a place continue to not offer relevant solutions then eventually our businesses will move to a place that can find these solutions. This is because the problems stopping businesses taking opportunities in the future eventually become the problems stopping businesses function on a day to day basis. For example, thirty years ago a problem with IT was not a ‘business killer’ now not linking your sales directly with your stock ordering could be.

Looking to 2019

So, looking back over 2018, what really got in the way of businesses based in your place? Then looking forward to 2019 what could stop them take advantage of those opportunities they see?
Could you have better helped them in 2018 and what are you planning to do to help them in 2019?

We at Thomas Jardine & Co are helping our place answer these questions, are you doing the same for your place?


Dynamic Cumbria producer’s collective unveils new brand

This is Cumbria

The ‘This is Cumbria’ collective has this week launched a new brandmark that will represent the forward-thinking group of businesses at a national event next April. The brand has been launched as the collective make a final call for Cumbrian producers and craftspeople to join them at their inaugural event, the Farm Shop & Deli Show at the NEC 8-10 April 2019.

The initiative was formed earlier this year with an aim to create a ‘big impact’ destination stand that could position the very best of Cumbrian food, drink and produce in front of thousands of key buyers. With much of the space already booked, just four trade stands are remaining. Come and join the likes of Hawkshead Relish , Ginger Bakers, Kin Vodka, Tray Bakes, Kendal Mint Liquor and Shed1 Distillery.

Show Case

‘This is Cumbria’ are also offering a number of affordable ‘Show Case’ stands to developing businesses that are new to national trade shows. Keith Jackson one of the co-organisers from Carlisle-based Thomas Jardine & Co, said “Cumbria is full to the brim with creative people who all share a common bond – they are all inspired by Cumbria to create exceptional things, which comes through in our newly unveiled brand identity.

“We wanted to offer those businesses who are first-time trade show exhibitors an introductory opportunity which requires a lower investment of cash and time than a regular stand would, with the added benefit of extra support through event training and participation in promotional collateral. We’d encourage any businesses that may be interested to get in touch for a chat about what we can offer.”

For businesses taking full trade stands at the event, ‘This is Cumbria’ are also offering a number of unique benefits which include pre-show PR and social media build up, inclusion within a dedicated booklet and a drinks reception hosted by celebrity chef, Nigel Barden.

Sue Howorth of The Family Business network said “We’re delighted to support this exciting initiative that offers growing businesses a platform and a voice outside of Cumbria. I can’t think of a better opportunity for those looking to reach a national audience or to raise their brand awareness.”

Contacts

The Farm Shop & Deli Show takes place at the NEC from 8-10th April 2019. For more information or if you are interested in joining the growing collective that is ‘This is Cumbria’, contact Keith Jackson on hello@thomasjardineandco.co.uk or visit the facebook page @ThisisCumbria


Trade in Carlisle?? Opportunity to market your cafe, bar, restaurant or food outlet GLOBALLY

England Originals is an amazing new product being launched to help promote our historic cities. Carlisle has played its part, along with 15 other historic cities, to create this unique route to the international visitor market. Recent roadshows held in the USA have received lots of positive feedback from the travel trade and resulted in some key partnerships to help promote England Originals to the trade and independent travellers.

This is an opportunity for our local businesses to be the first to benefit from this kind of training event, which will share product knowledge, demonstrate how Carlisle is being promoted as part of England Originals and provide information about marketing opportunities available to your business through the project.

Book your place for course on 5th December by 30th November

Details below:

 


Regulations and your Food Business Made Simple

Thomas Jardine & Co in collaboration with ML3 Technical and Trading Standards Cumbria have developed a series of workshops to support food and drink businesses. These workshops are aimed at owner operators or managers responsible for dealing with food regulations in their business.

The monthly workshops will be held at the Guild in Carlisle and the charge of £10 covers a two-hour workshop (5-7pm) delivered by either ML3 Technical Services or Trading Standards with an option to include Continuing Professional Development Accreditation for this Training at no extra cost.

There will be time after the workshop to sit and talk with Malcolm from ML3Technical, John from Trading Standards, Keith & Jacqui from Thomas Jardine & Co and of course other food and drink businesses attending the event.

The events planned so far are:

“nut’s and a lot more” Food allergens keep your business safe and legal 15.11.18 (ML3 Technical & Trading Standards)

Christmas Menu Special 05.12.18 (Trading Standards & ML3 Technical) This session is a taster and is free of charge

Food Standards safe and legal labelling introduction 09.01.19 (ML3 Technical & Trading Standards)

Consumer Law ready consumer rights and guarantees in the event of defective products 06.02.19 (Trading Standards & ML3 Technical)

Trading Standards law gluten free, vegetarian and vegan claims for your business 06.03.19 (ML3 Technical & Trading Standards)

Feed hygiene law for the farming community in Cumbria 10.04.19 (Trading Standards & ML3 Technical)

For more information and booking see https://www.theguild-carlisle.co.uk/events-coming-guild/