If you don’t know how to pivot, you’re going to zero.
Do you agree with this or not?
Whether you love or hate this guy, he does know business.
And as a business owner running a business with staff:
- Through a pandemic
- A chronic staff shortage
- Supply chain issues
- Soaring costs & inflation
– this really spoke to me when I saw it.
COVID brought all kinds of restrictions that we have never had to operate in before.
But we did it and we’ve traded all the way through the lockdowns, the changing rules and staff shortages.
While the lockdowns have finished, the challenges have not.
Lack of staff is still an issue, and we are always trying to hire people to maintain buffers where we can.
Bakers continue to be a concern and we are trying new ways to operate to deal with that. More about that below.
Our supply chain has been fairly consistent throughout the whole pandemic. Sure, we get issues every now and then, but overall, we haven’t had to make too many allowances in this area.
Soaring costs and inflation are REALLY hitting us hard right now.
One of our main suppliers has increased their prices twice in 6 months, for a total 10% increase.
We have faced similar increases on flour, milk, cheese, coffee, salad ingredients, cold drinks, pies – virtually EVERY item we sell.
We have had to pass this cost onto our customers in 1 price increase, and we are looking like we are also going to have to have a second increase.
And with that comes the concerns that we are beginning to price ourselves out of the market. What do we do there?
But the base for all this, is Kevin’s post, – to pivot.
One of the largest cost increases we have faced recently is a 5.1% wage increase at the start of July.
Coupled with a super increase to 10.5% and losing the $450 earnings threshold, we are really feeling it in our wages cost at the moment.
We are having trouble getting staff and the costs associated with the staff we have are climbing.
So when we were faced with a day with no staff due to sickness, we were willing to try something new.
So how did we pivot?
When we were short staffed on a recent Sunday, instead of closing to give our bakers days off, we decided to pivot and try something different.
- We baked extra bread Saturday. We bagged and sliced it, ready for Sunday.
- We put signs up in the bakery letting our customers know that due to a staff shortage, we would be only offering a limited production on Sunday. This led to a few customers deciding to purchase on Saturday instead, so they didn’t miss out.
- We ordered different products for our sweet range that didn’t involve us baking them. We had them delivered instead from a wholesaler.
- The bakers had Sunday off and I went in at 6am to make donuts, cookies, scones, pizzas and garlic flatbreads on my own.
So we opened and waited to see what our customers would say.
What did our customers say?
We for sure got a different result than we expected! We had one of our busiest Sundays that we have had in a few weeks!
We sold out of white bread by 10.30am, which is an absolute no-no for us.
Wholemeal, grain and high fibre sold out not too long after that.
As we had a limited range of savoury products, our pie sales were huge this day. This was good, as we order those in and don’t bake them onsite and the sales team take care of heating/serving these.
Overall, our customers were willing to try new things. Out of several hundred customers for the day, we really only had 1 customer who was very upset by the change.
So here are the wins and losses from pivoting on a Sunday:
No bakers required for the day. It gave everyone a day off and we didn’t have any baking wages on our most expensive day of the week. I’m already drawing a wage from the business, so my wages don’t count.
The products we did bake were easy to make and could be done by one person starting at 6am, meaning no early start for them. As an general rule, people are more willing to start work at 6am, than 1am, so we may have more success hiring for this shift. Who knows?
Customers were open to new products and were understanding of our staff shortages, as it is happening everywhere at the moment.
We had enough stock in pies, cakes and sweets. We had enough products on hand to have one of the highest Sundays we have had in a while.
We cost ourselves money by not having enough bread. As unusual as it was, if we do this again, we need to allow space to have busy days in the levels we do produce.
We tested our customers patience today. We have a good relationship with most of them and to have only one really vocal, annoyed person is amazing.
That said, they’ll let us get away with it once. If we continue to disappoint them, by not having what they need, then we risk losing their loyalty.
It was tough on the sales team, having to explain to every customer why we didn’t have our usual levels of bread. We would test THEIR patience too, if we did this over and over again.
This pivot is definitely something I’m glad we tried.
We haven’t done wages yet to see what we have saved in wages.
We will have to weigh those savings up against the added costs to buy in more ‘already done’ products from suppliers.
Knowing that we have a clear day off for our team is something that makes this worthwhile doing again.
That said, to do it again, we have to do it better.
- More bread.
- More notice for customers.
- Better coaching for staff to handle customers queries better.
We definitely didn’t go to zero, which is what our sales for the day would have been, had we not decided to try this.
So Kevin is right. No pivot, would have meant no money on this Sunday.
It was certainly an interesting experiment and something that is giving us food for thought in what we might adopt in the future.
If you want to talk over some ideas on how you can pivot in your business, to save you manpower and make more money, then book a time to chat with us here.
Or join our Facebook group – P.B. Network, where you can have these type of conversations with other Parent Bosses and you can see what they are trying.
If you want to spend 90 days laser focusing on your business and implementing ideas like these, join us in our next mastermind. Click here for details on our next scheduled intake.
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