Issue #12 - Are you ready for this? 🟢

Cards on the table for one small business | How to attract the best employees | Gut feelings on mental health | How well do you know your customers? | Rollerdisco tunes | Wake up to money | More

🦾 G O

No more face masks? 😷

OK, let’s get the football out of the way first - it obviously never came home.

But, on the plus side, the final did give us another new meme format, so we’re all winners in some way.

And now the football has finished, the lifting of all lockdown restrictions is rightly dominating the headlines. It’s understandably dominating this week’s issue too, as the new measures that kick in on July 19 will affect all business owners in one way or another.

We all have our own thoughts on the easing of restrictions, but it seems that the removal of the legal requirement to wear face masks is the issue that’s dividing opinion the most.

While the trend for bulk-buying toilet rolls never made it past Lockdown One, face masks have been a consistent and very visual reminder that we all need to be mindful of the spread of the virus.

Take that away and it will (understandably) be a signal to many that things are back to normal. But they’re really not. And we all still need to take care out there.

Anyway, about those memes…

Issue #12 of The Backbone, the fortnightly business bulletin from Bionic, is up and running. Let’s go...

👩‍🤝‍👩🏾 S H A R E

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🗣  S H O U T O U T

#BionicBusinessStory - Untapped Potential 🔮

What springs to mind when you think of tarot readers? A cloaked figure with ringed fingers clasped over a crystal ball? Or maybe Father Ted’s brush with the “Death” cards on a trip to Funland? Bionic caught up with a career-focussed Londoner who was happy to put her cards on the table.

Bionic: How did you decide to set up your business?

Untapped Potential: “I’ve been interested in tarot since about 2014 but I didn’t get into it properly until the pandemic hit. I started doing readings for friends and family and I would get good feedback about how spot-on they were. A friend suggested I set up a business as she is a regular when it comes to purchasing tarot readings.”

B: Is there anything that helped you?

UP: "Customer feedback helped me and still does. I always ask customers for honest feedback and adapt to their needs. People are more likely to recommend you and return if they feel their opinions are taken into consideration.”

B: What is your biggest worry as a small business owner?

UP: “My biggest worry still is whether or not the readings will sell and I also initially worried that I may not be able to keep up with all the orders. As this is not my full-time job, there was an initial concern that I could be taking on too much, but I’ve found balancing to be incredibly manageable.”

B: What is your best advice for others?

UP: “The best advice I have is to know what you want to offer and be specific about it. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and think if you were going to purchase the product, what concerns would you have? What questions would you ask before purchasing?”

To take a glimpse into the future of Untapped Potential, click on the cards below and read more of this #BionicBusinessStory

📩 J O I N

We want to hear about you and your business 🗣

💡 How did you end up running your own business?

😟 As a business owner, what keeps you awake at night?

🤩 What’s your proudest achievement as a business owner?

🤔 What advice would you give to someone starting their own business?

Leave a comment to get involved 👇

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📰 N E W S

The curious case of post-Covid job shortages 👩‍💻

The latest employment figures show one in 20 of those who want a job can't find one, which sounds surprising given the number of people who have lost their jobs or been placed on furlough at some point since March 2020.

But why are certain sectors facing shortages? And what can business owners do to attract employees?

What sectors are likely to see the most job shortages?

Hospitality and haulage are among the industries hit hardest by job shortages.

The hospitality industry has a large turnover of jobs at the best of times, but the double-whammy of Covid and Brexit has meant that part-time and casual student workers have had to move ‘back home’ and away from the bigger towns and cities to save money.

Meanwhile, a combination of Covid and Brexit has left many workers who originally come from EU countries with little option other than to leave the country completely.

Brexit has been the biggest driver behind a drop in the number of hauliers available too. But instead of calling on EU lorry drivers to help out, the government is instead suggesting UK drivers work longer hours – what could possibly go wrong there?

There’s also a shortage of workers in the IT and computing sectors, but this has been a long-standing trend that could be as much down to a skills gap as a problem brought on by Brexit and the pandemic.

What businesses should do to attract more employees/keep current employees?

The government has been at pains to get people back into the workplace since the first lockdown ended around this time last year, and they’ve ramped up the rhetoric again ahead of July 21.

It’s almost as though they think the entire economy is built upon commuter train fares and lunchtime meal deals.

But the truth is that more people than ever have been given a glimpse of the better work/life balance that working from home can bring, and many won’t want to go back to the way things were before.

To attract and retain the best employees, businesses are going to have to bear this in mind and offer flexible working conditions wherever possible – the technology is available for most businesses to make a go of this new hybrid way of working, but is the willingness there from individual business owners?

If it’s not, those staff shortages could be hitting more than those in the haulage and hospitality industries.

🙏 W E L L N E S S

Gut feeling 🎈

More quick-win wellness tips from Drew Campbell-Griffiths, a master nutritionist with a background in fitness training and MMA.

You might not realise it, but the health of your digestive system is directly related to your physical and mental health.

The flora in your gut, known as the gut microbiome consists of over 1,000 species of bacteria, each of which has a specific role to play in the body. And this has a direct impact on the immune system and the brain, influencing brain function and behaviour. 

Studies have shown that the gut microbiota has a role to play in the regulation of anxiety, mood, cognition and pain.

Here’s how to look after your gut health and, in turn, your mental health.

Consuming two to three servings of fermented foods each day decreases levels of inflammation in the body, which in turn has been shown to improve mood and help alleviate symptoms of stress, depression and fatigue.

Fermented foods include kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh and kefir. As you might expect from anything that’s been fermented, some can be a bit of an acquired taste.

For more from Drew, check out Black Belt, White Hat

🤝🏻 T I P S

8 ways to get to know your customers better 🛒

No matter how big or small the business, it’s nothing without its customers.

That’s why it’s a good idea to build a strong relationship with your customers and take some time out to get to know them, especially those who are most engaged with your business.  

In recognition of Get To Know Your Customers Day, here are eight ideas to help you get to know your customers better.

  1. Get on social media

  2. Ask questions

  3. Project positivity

  4. Embrace the power of surveys

  5. Read your reviews

  6. Plan an event

  7. Create a customer profile

  8. Reward customer loyalty

For a more detailed look at the points above (we have limited space in a newsletter) check out our blog How well do you know your customers?

🗞 R E A D

There’s been a change to new rules on advertising that may have stopped small chocolatiers from posting photos on social media or prevented beach-front ice cream stores from being part of its local tourism guide or business directory.

Small businesses to be exempt from new junk food advertising rules.

American Express turns its one-day ‘Small Business Saturday’ into a summer-long small business event

Big brands encouraging shoppers to think small.

🎧 L I S T E N


Recommended by Dan, Senior Marketing Operations Manager at Bionic, I Love My 80s Rollerdisco steps back in time quicker than Kylie with 61 tracks late of the disco-est club music from the late '70s and early ‘80s.


Wake Up To Money is the podcast version of the BBC’s early morning news and views show that delves into the worlds of business and personal finance. Perfect for anyone who wants to keep up with the latest business news but has no chance of getting up at 5am each day (regardless of what you read on LinkedIn).

🔥 H A S H T A G

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📊 B U S I N E S S

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