Small Business Saturday Blog

Free leadership training for SME leaders delivered by leading Business Schools

Thursday, August 13 at 13:21

Anne Kiem from the Small Business Charter talks about the new government training programme for small business leaders. She outlines some of the benefits of registering for the programme.

The Small Business Leadership Programme is something we are incredibly proud to deliver. The scheme will support senior leaders to enhance their business’s resilience, aid recovery from the impact of COVID-19, and develop potential for future growth and productivity.
Through our Small Business Charter network of 20 leading business schools we are able to bring this programme to life to help small businesses survive this awful pandemic and enable them to thrive.
From business survival to growth in 90 minutes per week
The programme is a ten-week course delivered online and government-funded to be free for business leaders of companies of 5-249 people. It’s designed to run alongside your work schedule, with one 90-minute webinar per week on a key practical topic plus online group work with like-minded business leaders in your area.
The programme was launched by the government’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy last week. It’s already proving very popular, so if you’re interested you should register now. Places are limited and we don’t want supporters of Small Business Saturday to miss out. If you participate in the programme you will be supported to:
Recover from the impact of COVID-19 and plan for the future of your business
Develop your strategic capability to plan for the future of your business, to increase resilience and ensure that your business is in a great position to recover from the impact of COVID-19. Learn techniques for successful business planning with guidance from the experts.
Boost your business performance and growth. Improve risk management and efficiency
The course will show how innovation can impact productivity, helping you to respond and recover from challenges, leaving you better equipped to cope with the unexpected. Build a strategic approach to operations management including the use of digital technologies.
Build lasting relationships with small business leaders
Meet and work with other small business leaders in your area on the course. Network with like-minded business leaders and bounce ideas off each other. Forge business friendships and support each other for mutual benefit.
Build leadership confidence and effectiveness and create an innovative and agile organisation
Reflect on your leadership style and improve your business’s performance. Learn how to think creatively, grow in confidence to drive your business forward. England is a nation of small business and entrepreneurship and you will learn vital skills and grow confidence to be able to shape your business in a post-COVID world.
How do I get involved?
Sign up now! For more details on this exciting programme see here and to register click here. Good luck everybody!
Anne Kiem is Executive Director of the Small Business Charter and Chief Executive of the Chartered Association of Business Schools.

Six things you can do in your business right now

Thursday, June 18 at 23:30

Here are six things you can do right now to support your business during the current situation.
1. Focus on your product
Even during economic downturns, people do spend. People right now are buying for three main reasons: to protect (themselves, their health and their family); to connect (lots of gifting going on at the moment while people can’t see their loved ones in person); and to distract (whether themselves, by taking on a new hobby, or by keeping their kids occupied).
There's even something called the "lipstick effect", after researchers noticed an upturn in lipstick sales during a recession because it is a cheap way to cheer yourself up. Small luxuries are selling better than ever.
Selling products is always about seduction. It's always about finding the products that your customer really, really wants to buy. But during tough times, it’s more important than ever.
Start by taking a look at your data. What are your best sellers? Then think about your products. Are you moving them on? Are you offering your customer something new? This is now the time for you to be really critical and honest about your products - is there anything you can do better?
And think about the main motivators that people have right now for buying. Can you combine connect and distract, for example, by offering gift kits that people can send to loved ones to keep them busy?
2. Manage your stock
You want to make yourself as nimble as possible with only the stock you need.
If you've had something in your business for a while and it's finally sold, you don't have to replace it. You should only be re-buying in best sellers.
Ideally, every business should have cash reserves - money to see them through difficult times, and that is really hard to do if you put all your money into stock. If stock management was critical before, it is absolutely vital now.
This is also the perfect time to go through your inventory and check your stock records are accurate, as well as review what stock you think you will realistically sell for the rest of the year. Are there any seasonal items that won’t sell and could be put away for next spring? Do you have the stock you need going into the summer and autumn selling periods?
3. Avoid knee-jerk promotions
If your sales are lower than they've been, it’s because we're in very uncertain times and nothing is worse for sales than uncertainty.
If you knee-jerk and start running discounts to get sales going again, there is a danger that you will come out of this (hopefully temporary) situation having taught your customer that you are a promotion-driven brand.
In the future, they would be trained to wait until you go on promotion rather than buying at full price. You want to avoid this at any cost.
4. Have a really honest look at your numbers
It’s time to have a really honest look at your sales forecast.
If you don't have the sales forecast, now is a great time for you to get one, because you need to understand how your cash flow will look over the next few months.
Knowledge is power. If you can map out the next few months based on a realistic and a worst case scenario, then that’s going to be a lot less uncomfortable than ignoring the problem and hoping it goes away.
5. Be proactive
Think about what you can do to improve your business. Consider all of those areas of development that you've thought about previously but never had time to put into action.
Think about using this time to get yourself fit for the future. Things like your sales forecasting and your stock control are basic business management principles that you can work on and improve, but also look at your business and be proactive about what else you can improve.
6. Stay close to your customers
It's going to be bumpy. You're going to feel demoralised - but don't retreat.
Think of selling as service. How could you help your customers? How can you meet them where they are right now? So if they're uncertain, or they're stressed, talk to them. The people who go out there and really connect with people and meet them where they are will be the ones who continue to make sales.
In summary: don't panic, focus on your products. Manage your stock. Avoid knee jerk promotions. Have a really honest look at your numbers. Have a really good look at your business and identify areas that you could work on to get ready to come out of this stronger than ever, and stay close to your customers.
If you are proactive and action focused, if you stay positive and you keep showing up, then the outcome will be so much better for you and for your business.
Catherine Erdly is the founder of Future Retail Consulting, and is on a mission to help people create the life they want by growing successful product-based businesses. She helps them make money by developing a clear strategy focused on their product offering, their pricing, and their sales channels. Head over to Future Retail Consulting for your FREE road map for business success.

How can my employees return to work safely and legally after Covid-19?

Friday, June 12 at 06:00

With recent updates from the Government stipulating that a phased return to work for some businesses will now begin, many questions will be raised.
  • How can I return my employees back to work safely?
  • What legal obligations do I have for their health and safety?
  • What if my employees refuse to return to work?
While information from the Government is released daily, we know that it can be challenging to get clear answers.
We’ve put together some of the key points to support you, highlighting considerations you must make as an employer when preparing to return your staff to the workplace.
As an employer, you have both a moral and legal obligation to your employees under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSAW), which includes providing adequate protection for infectious diseases. Regardless of this unprecedented situation, this law still stands and, if employers do not adhere, they could find themselves facing employment tribunals and criminal charges.
Your employee's rights
Employees have the right under HSAW to:
  • Leave work if they have reasonable belief there is an imminent or immediate danger to them, including encouraging others to do the same;
  • Report Health and Safety breaches through whistle blowing;
  • Claim for compensation through potential employment tribunals and/or civil court. 
Employers could face not only employment claims against them for mismanagement of H&S, but could also face criminal charges including negligence and manslaughter if reasonable action to protect employees is not taken.
Your obligations as an employer
As an employer, the things you will need to consider when returning your employees to work are:
  • The current government guidelines and guidance;
  • Changes, whether temporary or permanent, that need to be made to internal policies, including absence reporting, flexible working, travel/expenses, working from home; 
  • The decisions on employee returns must be made with consideration to individual circumstances such as discriminatory decisions, unnecessary stress and psychological harm;
  • Just issuing a policy or minor training is not enough to satisfy employers' liability allegations in tribunal cases: communication must be documented and the policies evolve over time;
  • Just because everyone is affected by Coronavirus does not mean that claims will be unlikely, especially under H&S: it is actually the opposite, as tribunals are more likely to see negligence being claimed as information regarding employers' requirements are unchanged in law;
  • Records should be kept regarding temporary business changes, communication and individual agreements;
  • Risk assessments must be completed as part of employers' obligations through both the Employment Rights Act and HSAW;
  • Provisions such as Occupational Health and reasonable adjustments may have a cost associated to them, and therefore businesses should be aware of their obligations and the cost implications they may have.
The most important thing you can do is to keep the channels of communication with your employees open. If they feel they are being listened to and that you are taking their concerns on board, this will help you to get your employees back to work in a way to meet both their contractual obligations and your obligations as an employer. If in doubt, please seek professional support and get in touch to book a  free 30-minute consultation here.
Would you like to know more? Sign up for the replay of Altum HR's 60-minute webinar "Getting Your Employees Back to Work Safely" here
Altum HR is a high quality HR outsourcing solutions consultancy based in Cheshire that specialises in all aspects of HR, employee development, employment law and payroll, all with a refined legal focus.

What is it really like being a #SmallBiz100? – Stamptastic spill the beans

Thursday, June 04 at 22:36

What’s it really like being a #SmallBiz100 and what kind of opportunities can you expect to enjoy? We caught up with Fran and Emma of former #SmallBiz100 Stamptastic, who make and sell personalised rubber stamps for school uniform, sports kit and more, to find out.
Meeting Vince Cable MP
In October 2019, Stamptastic ventured out of their base in Richmond to neighbouring Twickenham to meet up with Vince Cable MP. As well as being a former Secretary of State for Business, Vince is also a huge supporter of Small Business Saturday and was instrumental in getting it off the ground.
Vince said, “It is the small business community which keeps the British economy going, contributing most in job creation and taxation. And Richmond is exceptionally important for the wealth of entrepreneurial talent, of which Stamptastic is such a good example. That is why I am again supporting Small Business Saturday.”
Vince even had a go at stamping some kit with a personalised stamp that Fran and Emma brought along with them!
Mentoring other small businesses on the Small Business Saturday Bus Tour
The Small Business Saturday Bus Tour usually makes its way across the length and breadth of the UK throughout November each year, stopping off at 27 cities along the way and meeting up with hundreds of small businesses nationwide for networking, mentoring, education, support and a good old chinwag. All of the current #SmallBiz100 are invited to add their logo to the map on the side of the bus, reaching thousands of potential new customers as it tours the country. At the time of writing, we're not sure what form this year's bus tour will take, but we'll be sharing more details nearer the time, so stay tuned!
Fran spoke to several small business owners during the bus stop in Walthamstow, sharing tips and advice she’d picked up during her time as a small business owner and getting to know her small business neighbours. She says “Although I was a bit apprehensive if I could be of any assistance (imposter syndrome, anyone else suffer from this?) to the mentees, I really enjoyed being a mentor for the Small Business Saturday Bus Tour. I have since looked into undertaking official training so that I can be a better mentor so watch this space!”
Visiting the House of Lords
In early December 2019, shortly before Small Business Saturday itself, the #SmallBiz100 were invited to an incredible reception at the House of Lords.
The #SmallBiz100 enjoyed a speech by Zoe Hardman, television and radio broadcaster, podcast host and mother, about her passion for her small business and Small Business Saturday, as well as getting to meet current and former #SmallBiz100 – and enjoying some wine and canapés too of course.
In summary …
What did Fran and Emma make of their experience, and would they recommend applying to be a #SmallBiz100? Fran says, “Thank you SO SO much to everyone at Small Business Saturday! Ever since our paths crossed, good things have come our way and Emma and I are eternally grateful for the all the hard work you do. If you own a Small Business we would really REALLY recommend applying for Small Business Saturday 2020!”
Want in? Applications to join #SmallBiz100 2020 are now OPEN! Taking part is completely free and open to all small businesses across the UK, even if you’ve had to close temporarily due to Covid-19. Read more about why you should apply here, or if you’re ready to go, simply register your small business here, and then complete your application here. Good luck – we can’t wait to meet this year’s #SmallBiz100!

Why apply to be a #SmallBiz100 2020?

Thursday, May 28 at 22:08

This year has been a difficult one for everyone, and small businesses are no exception – and that’s why there’s never been a better time to make the most of the support, networking and promotional opportunities that being a SmallBiz100 provides. Applications for SmallBiz100 2020 will open on Monday, 1st June. If you've been wondering whether it's for you, read on to find out more.
First things first – what is the SmallBiz100?
In a nutshell, we choose 100 brilliant small businesses and promote one every day in the run up to Small Business Saturday, which takes place in December. It’s a great opportunity to showcase your small business and raise awareness both locally and nationally. On your allocated day, your business will be promoted across Small Business Saturday’s social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, making it a fantastic way to make a big impact. At the current time, with online sales increasingly taking a front seat, it can give you a huge boost and take your business to the next level.
Outside of your allocated day, there are plenty of PR opportunities within the media. Local press love to get involved and feature local businesses which have been selected to join SmallBiz100, and Small Business Saturday will support you all the way by preparing press releases for your local papers. It doesn’t end after your day is over either – we’re always thrilled to share good news from our former SmallBiz100 businesses.
Why apply to take part?
When we speak to our previous SmallBiz100 participants, the one benefit which comes up time and time again is the support network which it provides. Running your own small business can be lonely at times, and it can be hard to know where to turn for help and advice from those who really know what you’re experiencing – especially at times as unprecedented as these. Taking part in SmallBiz100 provides you with a fantastic community and a ready-made support network of small businesses just like yours, all at different stages of growth. You’ll get access to a private alumni Facebook group for sharing tips, asking for advice, providing support and celebrating your success.
There are also plenty of opportunities to collaborate, with other small businesses who have been there and done that sharing their experiences.
Whatever your experience has been in 2020 – whether you’ve had to reimagine your business to fit the new world we find ourselves in, whether you’ve had to shut up shop temporarily to protect your staff and yourselves, or whether you’ve tapped into a whole new market – it provides a unique opportunity to drive your business forward.
What if I’ve had to close my business temporarily due to Covid-19? Can I still apply?
Absolutely YES! We recognise that 2020 has come with a huge range of challenges, most of which none of us have ever had to face before, and we’re doing our best to support small businesses through these uncharted waters.
When it comes to the #SmallBiz100, what we’re interested in is the story of your small business: what makes it tick? How does it fit in to your local community? What makes it special?
Even if you feel that your business is not yet ready for SmallBiz100 or you’re not selected as part of the 100, there are still numerous benefits to getting involved. Simply registering with Small Business Saturday can improve your business’s visibility, making you searchable via the Small Business Saturday app and via the business finder on the Small Business Saturday website, which is regularly promoted across social media. It’s also a great place to promote special offers, and to pick up tips and advice from other small businesses via our blog.
All this and taking part is completely free! Sounds good? Applying to take part in SmallBiz100 2020 is quick and easy – just click here to register and start your journey. Already registered? Click here to apply to SmallBiz100.
We can’t wait to present the SmallBiz100 2020! Make 2020 the year that you take your small business to the next level and take part in something amazing: apply now for SmallBiz100 2020.

Why embracing technology should be your New Year resolution

Thursday, January 09 at 00:10

What are your business goals for 2020? Or even for the decade to come?
As small businesses up and down the country take stock of the last year and look ahead to the future, there will undoubtedly be lots of New Year resolutions aimed at saving time and money and driving growth.
Embracing technology is definitely something that should be at the top of the to-do list for any small business with these aims.
Boosting productivity
The pace of technological advances means that small firms who embrace innovation today will be tomorrow’s success stories.
It is estimated that improving SME digital skills would lead to the biggest productivity gain in the UK, at around £18.8 billion.
Whether it is the powerful insight offered from data analytics, or the efficiencies delivered by marketing automation, and accounting software, many technologies can really benefit small business.
These types of innovations can sound complicated to adopt, but they are surprisingly simple and cost-effective. With the right strategy they can have a big impact.
Overcoming ‘tech overwhelm’
Despite this, many business owners can feel understandably overwhelmed by the technology out there, not knowing where to start and worried about the time it will take to set up and train staff, along with the cost to run.
This is why the Small Business Charter (SBC) has just launched a new government-funded programme, Leading to Grow, to help microbusiness owners to engage with and implement digital and new technologies that could support their businesses to grow.
The SBC brings business schools, small business and entrepreneurs together to exchange knowledge and drive local economic growth.
We are focusing on microbusinesses (which employ 1-9 people) with this programme, because they are particularly well placed to scale-up.
Going for Growth
The Leading to Grow programme will combine workshops and one-to-one advice on how to adopt new technology, including reviewing new technologies that can help you to grow your business. Tailored support will be provided, along with the opportunity to learn from and connect with a network of small businesses and business leaders based in your region.
Starting from the end of January the programme will be free for microbusinesses and available through fifteen business schools across England. It has been made possible through funding from the Business Basics Programme run by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK.
With so many areas being covered across England – including the North, Midlands, London and the South East - it is hoped that this programme will help a large number of microbusinesses and support economic growth across many regions.
Click here to find a business school in your area and apply for a new year business boost.
Anne Kiem is Executive Director of the Small Business Charter and Chief Executive of the Chartered Association of Business Schools.

Starting a new business: financial tips for start ups

Tuesday, December 17 at 00:30

Starting a business is an exciting prospect. It gives you freedom, a sense of purpose and the chance to follow your passion. You might even make some money along the way. But giving up the safety and security of a 9 to 5 job isn’t always easy and there will be many challenges to overcome.
As Managing Director of Start Up Loans, I have the privilege of meeting entrepreneurs up and down the country who have taken the plunge and used the funding and mentoring we provide to set up their own business. While they’re all unique, they’re united in their determination, self-belief and ambition.
Here are my top tips for success:
A solid business plan
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to have a clear, realistic and sensible business plan that provides all the relevant information that a potential lender needs to gauge the prospects of the business. The plan should include business objectives, a strategy for reaching these objectives, potential roadblocks and market opportunities.
Through our network of Delivery Partners, Start Up Loans provides support with your loan application to help you to get your business plan and cash-flow forecasts into good shape. If you’re unsure how to structure your plan, Start Up Loans can help. You’ll find downloadable business plan templates and other helpful documents on our website.
Affordable funding
Raising or sourcing affordable finance is often a challenge when starting a business. Commercial lenders generally consider start-ups to be too risky and, as a result, don’t serve this part of the market well. Aspiring business owners often use their own resources and savings – or those of family, friends or close associates – in order to get their business up and running.
But don’t be deterred. There are alternative sources of funding specifically designed for people wanting to start their own business – such as Start Up Loans, which is part of the British Business Bank. The Government-backed programme exists to support and empower small business owners across the UK, by providing fixed-interest loans of £500 to £25,000. Since 2012, it has lent over £542 million through 67,862 loans.
Mentoring: getting the right advice
A mentor is key, whether it’s a family friend who has started a business, or a professional adviser introduced through a third party. Mentors can provide insight and perspective that a business owner may not be able to see themselves. Start Up Loans places great emphasis on mentoring and support, and once an applicant has received a Start Up Loan, they have access to a free expert business mentor for 12 months. More than seven in 10 of our loan recipients have told us that the mentoring they have received from Start Up Loans had a positive impact on their business.
Richard Bearman is Managing Director of Start Up Loans.

Top 10 security tips for small businesses storing personal data

Thursday, December 12 at 00:30

As Small Business Saturday puts small businesses and enterprises in the spotlight, it’s an ideal opportunity to shine a light on some of the ICO’s guidance to help make sure you are handling personal data safely and securely.
In celebration of Small Business Saturday 2019, the ICO launched a new SME website hub, developed to make it easy for sole traders, small businesses and SMEs to find the essential guidance they need to understand their GDPR obligations.
Almost every small business handles personal information and your customers share data online every time they visit your website, search for or buy something, or send you an email.
This information belongs to them. You should only use it in ways they would reasonably expect and it should be kept safe.
Since the advent of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is the new data protection law that came into force last year, more people are aware of their privacy rights in relation to personal data and how it’s being used and looked after.
Good information handling makes good business sense. When personal information is accurate, relevant and safe it can save you time and money which, in turn, builds trust and confidence with your customers and staff.
The key to achieving this is making sure the personal data you hold is secure. We’ve set out our top 10 tips for businesses that store personal information on a network:
1. Know your data – start with an inventory – understand what personal data you have, make sure you know where it is, how it is stored and who has access to it.
2. Make sure you have a data security policy – or ensure your existing data security policies and procedures are up to date and reflect the needs of your business.
3. Train your staff – put your policies and procedures into action. One of the main causes of data breaches is human error. Make sure you provide regular and adequate training for your staff.
4. Change default passwords – any new devices you buy come with default passwords, which are well-known by attackers. Using your own passwords and limiting the number of failed login attempts can deter attacks on your systems.
5. Limit access - each user must have, and use, their own username and password. Their account should have permissions appropriate to the job they are carrying out at the time. Access should be cancelled immediately if a staff member leaves the organisation or is absent for long periods.
6. Secure your wi-fi - allowing untrusted devices to connect to your network or using work devices on untrusted networks outside your office can put personal data at risk.
7. Install a firewall – if you store personal data on a network your first line of defence should be a well‐configured firewall. It can stop breaches happening before they get deep into your network.
8. Update your malware protection - you should have up‐to‐date anti‐virus or anti‐malware products regularly scanning your network to prevent or detect threats.
9. Regularly back-up your data - back‐ups should not be permanently visible to the rest of the network and at least one of your back‐ups should be off‐site. Don’t leave back-up drives unattended and lock them away when not in use. If you store data in the cloud, make sure you know what data is there.
10. Think about encryption - ensure that personal data can only be accessed by authorised users by encrypting it.
What to do when there’s a personal data breach:
A personal data breach is broadly a security incident that has affected the confidentiality, integrity or availability of personal data.
If your business experiences a breach, your first priority should be to mitigate any risks to those affected, for example by resetting passwords.
If the breach is likely to be a high risk to people, you need to quickly notify those affected and advise how they can protect themselves.
You must also let us know within 72 hours of becoming aware of it. We will take details and advise you of any further steps you can take to mitigate the risks and prevent similar breaches in the future.
If you think the breach is unlikely to pose a risk to people, you don’t need to report it to us, but you must still document the details and your rationale for not reporting.
If you want to report a breach, or you’re unsure about any aspect of managing a breach, you can ring our helpline on 0303 123 1113.
We also have a self-assessment form you can use when deciding whether to report a breach to us.
There is much more information on reporting personal data breaches on our website. We have also created a webinar which you can watch.
Our resources
There is a wealth of guidance and resources on our website for small businesses.
If you are unsure if you need to follow data protection law you might want take our short quiz first.
You will also find a self-assessment checklist which you can use to improve your understanding of data protection. It will also suggest some practical actions you can take to make sure you are keeping people’s personal data secure.
By meeting your obligations, you'll enhance your business's reputation and increase customer and employee confidence. It shows you mean business.
Faye Spencer is Head of Customer Contact, Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

From architect to artisan at the Dumfries Larder

Monday, December 02 at 22:33

When Louise Matheson and her partner moved to Dumfries in 2013, she was disappointed that such a large, historic market town had no delicatessen in its town centre. Although an architect by trade, Louse was passionate about good quality food and drink and found herself longing to run her own deli. In late 2016, she decided to pursue her dream, raising capital and leasing a suitable property on Dumfries High Street. The Dumfries Larder finally opened its doors in May 2018.
Within the first year of trading, the Dumfries Larder was a finalist in the Guild of Fine Food's Shop of the Year Awards, and was specially commended in Dumfries & Galloway Life Magazine's Awards (Retailer category).
Today, the shop stocks a huge range of speciality and fine foods. They specialise in cheese, stocking over 50 local, Scottish, British and European cheeses at any one time alongside accompaniments such as oatcakes, biscuits, chutneys, wines and beers. They also have a selection of hand-picked British gins and rums, plus teas, coffees, biscuits, cakes, pasta, rice, curry kits, sauces, chocolate, and gourmet gadgets and gifts.
Louise has met several local food producers through business networking events and farmers' markets, and is always on the lookout for delicious new local foods. Local cheeses come from The Ethical Dairy, Loch Arthur and Kedar & Galloway Cheeses, and they also sell locally-made beef jerky, beers, ciders, gins, chocolates, jams, chutneys, pates and eggs. As well as tagging local producers on social media, the shop also runs tasting events which have included local "Meet the Maker" tastings.
Louise says "Here at The Dumfries Larder, we always love to give a warm welcome to our customers, and are doubly delighted to be part of the American Express campaign which incentivises Cardmembers to Shop Small. It feels great to be one of this year's #SmallBiz100, an important campaign which American Express was instrumental in founding, and in which they continue to be such a vital supporter of independent businesses such as ours."
Visit The Dumfries Larder at 170-172 High St, Dumfries DG1 2BA or online here. The Dumfries Larder is taking part in American Express’ Shop Small campaign: find them here on the Shop Small Map, and click here to find out more about the American Express Shop Small campaign.

Putting down new Roots in Abergele

Wednesday, November 27 at 22:43

Roots Café, in the small market town of Abergele, has been around for as long as locals can remember.
Originally part of the Gwrych Castle estate and gardens, it’s been passed between just three different families since the 1950s, before ending up in the care of Kieren Brownhill’s family for around 17 years. Little had changed at the cafe over the years until Kieren returned from four years of living abroad in South East Asia and decided to shake things up with a total rebrand, starting with the menu.
Kieren says: “It was such a big change for us when we tried to go healthy. We had always been a greasy spoon café, so we actually lost our entire customer base at the start and we basically got boycotted by most of the town, even though we were going to be more environmentally friendly and would be making healthy food. We had to go through a three to four-month period of that, but we just kept advertising and slowly but surely it took off and we’ve been busier than ever.”
He adds: “Our philosophy is pretty simple: we love good food and love to share those great experiences with people. We source produce that’s organic, in season and always fresh. There’s something for everyone and we want everyone to enjoy it here.”
It’s an approach which has won them rave reviews and the Best of North Wales award at the Welsh Cafe Awards 2019.
The rebrand went on to include a new aesthetic, a new head chef, Simon Roberts, extended opening hours, more staff, and a brand new special evening menu.
Kieren also wanted a more modern payments system and when comparing a few different card machines came across Square. Kieren says: “The table mapping is a huge help, especially the colour coding. We’ve had quite a lot of new staff come in, and it’s really helped them to keep track of who’s in the restaurant and how long they’ve been there for and which tables are coming up free. To get all those features in a POS system has just been fantastic.”
One thing that won’t change, however, is the cafe’s commitment to a sustainable operation by supporting local British farmers and expanding their own home-grown offering: they already have an abundance of apple, pear, and cherry trees in the Roots Café garden, and are working on building their own polytunnel to grow even more fresh fruit and vegetables. Kieren says: “That’s the big thing for us, local suppliers. Sourcing our produce locally is fresher, healthier and keeps the money in the community.”
Visit Roots Café at 71 Market St, Abergele, LL22 7BP or see their website here. Square is proud to support Small Business Saturday. This article was first published on Square's blog: read the original here.

Interested in writing a Blog Post for Small Business Saturday? Here are our guidelines.

Categories:

Latest Posts: