25 March 2020, 10:10 AM
  • As Covid-19 rages across the globe, we may be in the throes of an economic crisis on a scale that most of us have never experienced. Here’s a chance to consider how we might weather the storm and the months that follow, a world away from normality as we now know it
Staying certain in uncertain times

Focus on what counts
We often talk about being innovative and standing out as the cornerstones of a successful business, which usually means doing something different and disrupting the same old way we’ve always been. As the tried and tested channels slowly narrow (or even shut entirely overnight), it’s more important than ever to hone in on what really matters to our customers in the immediate and consider whether we’re truly delivering. Consumers are often asked to change, to be adventurous and to try something new but as their stress and anxiety levels peak, brands who listen more and demand less will triumph.

Be kind across the supply chain
While all around you, plans and hopes may have never looked so fragile, take a moment to think about how you can make a difference across the supply chain and make sustainable changes. Covid-19 doesn’t discriminate and neither does its economic impact, which will continue to ripple across everything we do for months to come. From your suppliers to your buyers, everyone has been affected and in turn, everyone is in a position to support the people and businesses around them. As billions of dollars vanish around the world, businesses that club together, embrace generosity and build compassionate ventures with the months and years ahead in mind will survive.

Jump off the hamster wheel and reflect
It felt like the turn of the year was all about the hustle. Bread & Jam held its biggest social to date, new shops were opening, funding rounds were closing and more entrepreneurs than ever were planning for the future after a cracking Christmas. Just a couple of months later though, everything stopped. While the empty diary might seem terrifying at first, it is perhaps a chance to step back and look at your business as a whole, to gain the perspective that was out of reach with your head down in the day to day. Skim the fat and streamline your activities, ditching anything that doesn’t directly make the boat go faster. You might be surprised by how much can be achieved in a 20 minute Zoom call over what would have otherwise been a three hour lunch.

Be part of your community
Though we may be physically isolated, opportunities to engage digitally are growing, perhaps because the coronavirus has given everyone something to say. Email bulletins arrive daily about the steps businesses are taking and the Food Hub group for food businesses on Facebook, now 8200 strong, is a melting pot of experiences, advice and ideas for the future. Today is the day to begin engaging, to be building the relationships and collaborations we always felt we didn’t have the time for before.

To support our community through these uncharted waters, we pulled together a two week webinar series with an outstanding line up of industry experts to share insights and ideas about what small food businesses could do to survive. Bread & Jam’s free online webinar Covid-19: Survival Series began on Monday, with hundreds of food business owners registering to listen in. The series runs on Zoom every day at 11am from 23rd March-3rd April, focused on issues facing food and drink entrepreneurs in the face of Covid-19 and its impact on their businesses. For more information and to sign up, please visit our website - breadandjamfest.com

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