Issue #6 - The new abnormal 🐱‍🏍

The Backbone is a newsletter for anyone involved in a business. The backbone of the UK economy. In issue #6 - Hinny Bake Box, Earth Day eco-tips, words, memory hacks, tunes, podcasts, and more...

🦾 G O

You are strange, but I like you…

It’s been a funny couple of weeks since shops, hairdressers, gyms, and all manner of non-essential essential businesses could welcome customers back.

Hands up if any of the following sounds familiar…

  • Sipping freezing cold pints while sat outside in the freezing cold.

  • Secretly slipping on thermals in the pub toilets before things start to fall off.

  • Queuing for hours just to get a haircut.

  • Not recognising yourself in the mirror because of said haircut.

  • Putting on your mask like you’re involved in a heist every time you enter a shop.

  • Taking off your mask like you’ve completed a heist every time you leave a shop.

  • Still having to run back into the house because you forgot your mask. Again.

Welcome to the new abnormal.

It’s still a bit strange, but we’re definitely on the way to getting our lives back to the way they were. And you know things are definitely getting back to normal when top-flight football is at the top of the news hour for three days running.

The next date we’re working towards is May 17, when the rule of six extends to indoor meetings, pubs, cafes, restaurants, and all indoor hospitality can reopen. It’s also the date when up to 30 people can meet outdoors again - if you’re in gazebo sales, your time is now.

And to anyone who started a business in the last 12 months or so, we salute you. We’d love to tell you that things will get easier, but they probably won’t. Things will, however, become a lot more enjoyable as you’ll soon be able to run your business exactly as you intended.

Now let’s go two-footed into Issue #6 of The Backbone - the fortnightly business bulletin from Bionic If you’ve been on board since Issue #1, thanks for the ongoing support. If you’re new here, thanks for joining us.


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🔥  H A S H T A G 

#BIONICSMALLBIZSHOUTOUT - Melanie’s Tea Room/Hinny Bake Box

Bionic caught up with Melanie Martin, former owner of the popular and aptly named Melanie’s Tea Room in Northumberland.

Always on the lookout for new opportunities, the Hinny Bake Box is the latest business in Melanie’s stable.

Here, she tells us all about her motivations, complications and aspirations for the new venture.

Bionic: What was your motivation for starting your own business?  

Melanie Martin: “Our motivation when starting up Hinny Bake Box was to adapt and to do something different. We are in the process of selling Melanie's Tea Room and we wanted to do something we’ve never done before. Our family is such a fan of music festivals and things like that, so the horsebox was combining our love of going to those places with an actual business, because that’s the kind of place we’ll be selling our food at.” 

B: What was the biggest problems you’ve faced starting up a business? 

MM: “Probably the delays in selling our other business, Melanie’s Tea Room. Also being able to do everything we want to the horsebox in such a limited space. It’s so different from the Tea Room as it’s a lot smaller.” 

B: What is your proudest achievement? 

MM: “Probably the awards we won for Melanie’s Tea Room, we won awards two years in a row for our effort and best new small business, we even won one of the top awards for the standard of our loos! We got coverage in the local newspaper and on the radio, so we’re very proud of that.” 

B: What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting up their own business? 

MM: “I’d say just go for it! Sometimes if you think too hard about something, the moment is gone, if you never try something then you won’t ever know!” 


📤 S H A R E

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📰 N E W S

Earth Day is for life, not just for April 22 🌍

Thursday, April 22 marked the 51st Earth Day - a yearly awareness day designed to remind us we need to do more to help the planet. ‘Restore our Earth’ is the theme of this year’s Earth Day, as it aims to kick-start the conversation around emerging green technologies and innovations.

The thing is, environmental awareness and sustainability is a year-round issue. And far from relying on expensive tech, it’s something we can all easily tackle at home and in the workplace.

  • Scrap the plastic - Switch out plastic bags and straws for paper bags and straws. Give out wooden cutlery that can be recycled, or reusable plastic cutlery, instead of the the flimsy throwaway stuff.

  • Recycle, recycle, recycle - Encourage staff and customers to be mindful about recycling. Putting an extra bin for recycled waste in your workplace or shop floor could be enough to send a simple and effective message.

  • Shop locally - Make sure you source your goods and services from local suppliers to support the local economy and cut down on transportation costs.

  • Go paperless - Making the switch to online billing and paperwork will cut down on paper waste and increase storage space. Instead of paper receipts, send email receipts sent to customers.

  • Stop sending out landfill - If you send out free promotional stuff to clients and customers, don’t send out any useless junk that will quickly become landfill. A reusable metal water bottle with your logo on it will get way more mileage than a cheap plastic key ring or ballpoint pen.

For more eco-friendly advice, check out 8 easy ways to make your business more sustainable.


📩 J O I N

We'd love to hear more about your business 👂

How did you end up running your own business? 💡 As a business owner, what keeps you awake at night (assuming you ever get to bed)? 😟 What’s your proudest achievement as a business owner? 🤩 What one piece of advice would you give to someone starting their own business? 🤔 Let us know 👇🏻

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🤝🏻 T I P S

Choose your words carefully to trigger the right response 😍

Words can make all the difference when trying to trigger a response in people, even when it’s to do with something as selfless as giving blood.

A US study of 3,600 students found that the proportion of respondents who followed through with a request to donate blood increased from 38% to 53% when the person asking them wore a t-shirt saying “Loving = Helping”.

When the t-shirt read “Donating = Helping”, the number of people who gave blood dropped to 46%.

The use of the word “love” primes people to be more pro-social.

As a brand, think about how to use language to prime emotions and behaviours.


📺 W A T C H

What’s my age again?

Are you sick of never being able to remember anyone’s name? Do you always misplace your keys? Spend most of the week not knowing what day it is? Then let four-time USA Memory Champion Nelson Dellis help you hack your memory.

Warning: You may be beyond all hope if you don’t at least remember what the seven wonders of the world are after watching this.


🎧 L I S T E N

(Hey you) What's that sound?

Architectunes is a playlist curated by Nicolas Godin, one half of French band, Air. It moves from Jan Hammer to Billie Eilish, through Shuggie Otis and Tears for Fears. It’s also a great excuse to play Moon Safari on repeat.

Revisionist History is Malcolm Gladwell’s journey through the overlooked and the misunderstood. Every episode re-examines something from the past — an event, a person, an idea, even a song — and asks whether we got it right the first time. Because sometimes the past deserves a second chance.

The four-parter on The Bomber Mafia is as good a place as any to start. “Their product - death. Their goal - peace.” Genuinely chilling stuff.


🏡 H O U S E K E E P I N G

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🚫 S T O P

Go raibh maith agat.

Thanks for making it to the end of this bulletin 🤝🏻

We’ll be back in two weeks’ time, but give us a shout if you think there’s anything else we should be featuring - from inspirational stories, to Spotify playlists, or anything in between. Just leave a comment and let us know.

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See you in a fortnight, when the weather should have warmed up enough to make those beer gardens more hospitable.


📊 B U S I N E S S

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