Category Archives: Food

Food For Thought: A Workshop for Food and Drink Businesses

Too many businesses that I have met with in the last 6 years have defined their success based on their turnover; how many packs or litres they can sell, but most of all how much money they take in sales.

This is all very well, but at the end of the day does this really matter? More sales doesn’t necessarily mean more profit, and it is profit that brings in the cash to pay the bills!

So why is it that businesses keep measuring success in terms of sales? Well, its easy to measure for a start. And it’s easy to do things to get more sales too, much easier than it is to work out how much profit you make and how to increase that.

It is true of course that without sales you won’t get any profit, but there is a balance:

What if some of you sales are more profitable than others? If you grow the wrong sales your hard work may actually reduce the profit you can earn.
What if you reduce the price in order to sell more but the extra sales don’t give you enough profit to replace the money you gave away?
What if you take on a new customer who looks profitable, but they need extra work (more packaging, an extra delivery, or additional admin) and that eats up the extra profit?

The way to make sure that you make the right decisions is to understand who your best customers are, what they value about your products and how much profit you make on what.

On 27th February 2018 I am hosting a workshop specifically tailored to Food & Drink Businesses, where we will discuss practical ways to target more of your best sales, focus on what your customers value, how to grow profitably and Brexit-proof your business.

The workshop will be held at The Cedars Inn in Barnstaple. Building on the success of the 2015 workshop it is designed to be a day of constructive and open discussion for all ambitious food and beverage producers.

Tickets are available at £30 per head (including VAT) until 31st January; click here to register.

For more details, or specific information call Susie on 07801 199671.

Finance for Food & Drink Business Workshop 2015

Growth is a challenge for small businessesIt’s been a while since my last blog, in September last year I started a full time contract working as interim FD for a food business which was growing rapidly and faced a lot of challenges managing cashflow and ensuring all its new sales opportunities were profitable.

In July this year I handed over the FD reins and now I am back; focussing on Pound Lane with even more tools to help other growing businesses manage similar challenges.

Something that I overlooked in September was to report back on the success of the Food & Drink Business Finance Workshop that I hosted.

Review of Food & Drink Business Finance Workshop 2015

On the day we had representatives from 6 different businesses at the workshop and a useful forum developed where we discussed some of the challenges faced by small food businesses and shared ideas and tips for solving them.

Topics covered included:
Business plans – the impact of setting out what you would like your business future to look like and then committing your plans to paper so you can review progress against that target at some point in the future.

We heard from Jocelyn and Ferenc Droppa of Droppa and Droppa who were kind enough to tell the group about their original idea and how their business plan has evolved over the course of their business’ life.

“Not losing sight of why I got into business in the first place”

– Chris Smith on what he found useful at the workshop

Finance for Food & Drink Businesses Workshop
Ideas for recording and using accounting information
– the importance of organising your accounts to record figures that are useful to your business, eg splitting sales between several product types, not just between sales with VAT at 20% and sales with VAT at 0%.

The difference between profit and cashflow – every business needs to make a profit, but even the most profitable businesses can have cash crises. When it comes down to it cash makes the world go around so it is vital to understand what effects the cash flow in your business. I will come back to this in a series of blogs this autumn, because it comes up more and more in my work.

Mary Quicke Finance for Food & Drink Businesses Workshop 2015Mary Quicke of Quickes Traditional Cheeses also gave a presentation in which she shared some of her experiences from growing her business into an international brand without “selling out” the quality and traditional style of her cheeses.

One of most interesting points of her presentation was the fact that Quickes’ sales and marketing strategy is not focussed purely on profit, but on spreading business between different outlets as well, to reduce the dependence on any one customer – another way of helping to secure cashflow and protect the high quality/ high price niche that Quickes’ cheeses have.

We rounded of the morning with a buffet lunch, and continued conversation there. Everyone who took part enjoyed the workshop and took away useful ideas for their businesses.

I will be holding more workshops in 2017 and so if you would like to be included on the mailing list please get in touch.