Issue #15 - Calm before the storm? ⛵

Custom-made cakes | What's this energy price cap? | And why are energy prices rising anyway? | Why you should be washing in cold water | How to be a LinkedIn influencer | Tunes | Podcasts | More

🦾 G O

It’s oh so quiet

Aside from the empty shelves (!) it seems like things have settled down after some initial end of lockdown angst. As yet there have been no reports of pitch battles between mask-wearers and none mask-wearers, teenagers are next in line for the vaccine, and the mentions of ‘coronavirus’ appear to be dwindling by the day.

It’s oh so quiet. Apart from in sports grounds and gigs, where fans are back in big numbers.

If anything, things seem a little bit too normal.

Next month could be a little more turbulent though, as energy prices are set to increase (more on that later) and furlough is due to finish (more on that in Issue #17).

So, let’s enjoy the last of the August sunshine this Bank Holiday weekend, and hope for some bumper takings for all the small businesses out there.

If you want to meet up with like-minded small business owners, why not join our Discord group to share tips or get things off your chest? In the meantime, let’s get stuck into Issue #15…


📩 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 👇

Leave a comment


🗣  S H O U T O U T

#BionicBusinessStory - Handmade by Heidi 🎂

Bionic caught up with Heidi Kay, who runs ‘Handmade by Heidi’ - a bespoke cake making business in Northampton. We heard all about her dreams, plans and aspirations for the future!

Bionic: Why did you decide to start your own business?

Heidi Kay: “I wanted to start my own business for two reasons really. To have something for myself but also keep my mind busy and put my talent to use. I’m a mum of two young children so I wanted something I could do for me, but also teach them about too.”

B: Has technology helped or hindered your business?

HK: “Social Media has played a huge part in gaining exposure for my business If it wasn't for Facebook and Instagram, I'd probably still only be getting orders from close friends and family. These platforms have allowed me to advertise to a much wider audience and get my name out there.”

B: What’s next for your business?

HK: “My hopes for the future would be to eventually own my own bakery. A lovely little shop front somewhere where I could bake, grow old and pass on my skills, knowledge and recipes to my children, their children and so on.”

B: What’s your top advice for others wanting to set up their own business?

HK: “Just go for it! Don't find excuses to hold off until something pops up. Take it one step at a time and utilise social media. Most importantly, enjoy what you're doing!

To see some of Heidi’s magic creations, go to the Handmade by Heidi Facebook page or check out @handmade_by_heidix on Instagram.

To read more from this #BionicBusinessStory, click Heidi’s custom-made chocolate orange cake below 👇


👩‍🤝‍👩🏾 S H A R E

If you love The Backbone (or even if you just quite like it) share it with someone who has equally great taste in email newsletters.

Share The Backbone



📰 N E W S

Will the energy price cap increase affect business owners? 📈

Millions of UK households will be hit with higher energy bills later this year, as Ofgem has announced the energy price cap on standard variable rate tariffs will increase in October. But will the rate rise also affect small business owners? 

The price hikes will kick in on October 1 and will impact around 11 million households across the UK.

Anyone on a standard variable rate tariff will see their annual bills increase by £139 to £1,277 a year. Prepayment customers will be hit even harder with a hike of £153 that will see bills rocket from £1,156 to £1,309. 

This is the price cap's highest level since it was introduced in January 2019. 

It's worth noting that the cap sets the prices that suppliers can charge for each unit of energy, but that doesn’t mean there is a limit to how much people can pay. The figure of £1,277 is the average a household can expect to pay if they're on their supplier's standard variable rate tariff

As ever, the more gas and electricity you use, the higher your bills will be.

But what does this mean for SMEs? 

Whether you run your small business from home or trade from a commercial property, the price cap is still likely to affect you in one way or another.

If you run your small business completely from home, you might not even have switched to a business energy deal, in which case you'll be directly affected by the cap in one of two ways:

  1. Your rates will increase in line with the price cap if you're on a standard variable rate tariff

  2. Your supplier will increase the price of its fixed-rate deals, meaning you might feel the pinch next time you switch energy suppliers

If you run a business from home, it naturally follows that you'll use more energy than if you were spending your working hours at commercial premises, particularly as winter kicks in. And the more energy you use from your home, the bigger the increase will be on your bill, so the price cap will directly affect you. 

But even if you have bespoke business gas and business electricity deals, you could still be indirectly affected by the energy price cap rise. This is because suppliers rarely fail to seize upon an opportunity to put their prices up.  

In the domestic market, this means that any new energy deals that are introduced come with higher rates that bring them closer to the price cap. This 'bunching' of rates has become the norm since the cap was introduced. 

In fact, several UK energy suppliers have already said they’ll raise the price of their standard gas and electricity tariffs to the maximum limit set by the energy regulator for the coming winter.

The knock-on effect for business owners is that suppliers could do the same with their business energy rates. If your commercial deal is due to end soon, speak to the tech-enabled experts at Bionic now to lock in rates and avoid the October price hikes. 

Why are energy prices rising?

An increase in demand appears to be the main driver behind the price hikes. Greater demand for energy since the crash of March and April last year has seen gas prices increase five-fold and return to pre-pandemic levels.

For the wholesale electricity market, there has been a reduction in available power supplies compared to last year which, combined with higher gas prices, has led to an increase in the wholesale price of electricity.

Prices are also being pushed up by an increase in network and policy costs. Higher electricity distribution and transmission costs have driven a rise in network costs, as has an increase in policy costs, such as the Renewable Obligation (RO). For reference, the RO is a levy placed on all licensed electricity suppliers to encourage them to source a proportion of the electricity they supply from renewable energy sources.

The pandemic has also seen more energy suppliers hit by 'bad debt', which is when suppliers lose money because customers simply can't afford to pay their energy bills. Ofgem, the UK energy regulator, has recently increased the domestic energy price cap to help suppliers recover money lost in this way over the last 12 months, so there's no reason why business energy suppliers won't do the same.

Switch business energy now to beat rising prices.


📊 B U S I N E S S

Get your business costs sorted.

Our tech-enabled team will answer all your questions in simple terms, and help you find the best deal on business energy, insurance, phone, broadband, or finance. No jargon. No-fuss. #BeABionicBusiness 🦾

Get business utilities sorted

Check out more ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Trustpilot reviews


🤝🏻 T I P S

Wash your clothes and yourself in cold water 🥶

We’ve crammed all our wellness, money-saving, and eco-tips all into one section this week, as we look at the benefits of washing EVERYTHING in cold water.

Why wash clothes in cold water? 👖

  • Helps your clothes last longer - washing in hot water increases the wear and tear on fabrics and fibres. Cold water washing makes them last longer.

  • Cuts your carbon footprint - about 90% of the energy used by your washing machine goes towards heating the water. Cutting this process out saves a huge amount of energy and

  • Saves you money - if you’re not using all that electricity to heat the water, you’ll save money on your energy bills.

What’s the problem? It’s harder to get rid of stains when washing with cold water, so try to use a detergent that works well on a 30°C cold cycle.

Why shower in cold water? 🚿

  • Helps you wake up and improve your mood - once you get over the initial fit of swearing as the cold water hits, taking a cold shower sends electrical impulses to your brain that increase oxygen intake, heart rate, and alertness. This can also trigger endorphins to help kick start your day in ways a hot shower can’t.

  • Improve your circulation - cold water constricts circulation on the surface of your body, which causes blood in your deeper tissues to circulate at faster rates to maintain the ideal body temperature.

  • Improves your metabolism - taking a cold shower two or three times per week may contribute to increased metabolism, which can help with weight loss (in conjunction with exercise, healthy eating, etc.)

  • Saves you money - showering in cold water uses less energy and usually uses less water, as we’re not as likely to spend ages standing under the cold jets.

What’s the problem? Cold showers aren’t for everyone. If you suffer from high blood pressure, a heart condition, or have high blood sugar levels, the temporary increase in heart rate and blood pressure, along with the release of glucose from your liver, may not be good for you.


🤳 S O C I A L

How to be a LinkedIn influencer 🤳

Becoming an influencer on LinkedIn takes commitment - not only do you need to get up for work before you’ve even gone to bed, but it also helps if you can rescue a cat stuck up a tree and help an old lady across the road on your way to the office.

And you need to do this all before you’ve had your first cup of butter-infused, monkey-picked and ‘recycled’ (yet somehow still ethically sourced) coffee.

Or you could just do this a few times every week 👇


🗞 R E A D

You know how the shops are running short of just about everything right now? Far from being anything to do with the ‘pingdemic’ it seems the pandemic may actually have postponed the effects of Brexit.

Supply chain crisis deepening

Are you a small business owner? Do you use your smartphone to run your business? Check out this handy article about the top apps to use.

The top apps for running a business by phone


🎧 L I S T E N

Playlist

It’s bank holiday weekend, so we’re hitting you up with two playlists that are pretty much two sides of the same coin. More than enough keep your feet moving over the long weekend 🕺

First up is Punky Reggae Playlist - curated by Dan, Senior Marketing Operations Manager at Bionic

Next up is Ska Stuff, from Les, Content Manager at Bionic…

Podcast

You’re wrong about is a podcast that takes a fresh look at events, people or phenomena that may have been miscast in the public imagination. There are more than 140 episodes to catch up on, covering everything from ‘Satanic Panic’ to political correctness.


🔥 H A S H T A G

If you want to hear more from us, check out our TwitterFacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn feeds.

Get involved by using the #BeABionicBusiness 🦾 and #BionicBusinessStory hashtags.


🏡 H O U S E K E E P I N G

Check your folders 📁

If The Backbone isn’t landing in your inbox every other Friday, please mark this address as ‘not spam.’ If it isn’t in your spam folder, it may have been moved to another folder, like ‘Promotions’ or ‘Social’.


🚫 S T O P

Tack *

Thanks for making it to the end of another Bionic bulletin 🤝🏻

Please leave a comment and let us know if there’s anything else we should be featuring.

Leave a comment

And don’t forget to send this link to all your friends and get them to subscribe ✌🏻

Share The Backbone

*sounds like something you’d use to stick a poster to a wall, but it’s actually Swedish for ‘thank you’