Issue #9 - Here comes the summer 😎

Tips from a family-run florist | Are you languishing? | Can chocolate help combat stress? | TikTok's £5k business owner giveaway | How to promote your business for free | Tunes | Podcasts | More

🦾 G O

Don’t look back 👀

We don’t want to speak too soon, but the way this roadmap out of lockdown is progressing suggests that the worst of the pandemic is well and truly behind us.

Things are still far from perfect - millions of businesses are still struggling, Bounce Back Loan repayments are due soon, and the end of furlough is looming later this year - but they’re definitely better than they’ve been for a long time.

And at least it’s not raining.

If you’re a returning reader, welcome back. We hope enjoy reading Issue #9 as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

If you’re new to all this, we’re Bionic. Business energy comparison with human experts.

Our aim is to help make running your business that little bit easier and to save you some money along the way.

We do this by taking care of your business essentials - energy, insurance, and connectivity - those critical products and services that help keep your business running from day to day.

But we’re not here to sell you stuff, we just want to give you something interesting to read, watch, and listen to.

And we’d love to hear your stories, so get involved if you can.

Here we go, it’s Issue #9 of The Backbone - the fortnightly business bulletin from Bionic.

Any cafe or coffee shop owners ever felt like doing this when someone turns up just after you've cleaned up and closed for the day?


 ✍ S U B S C R I B E

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🗣  S H O U T O U T

Colledge’s Florist

Colledge’s Florist is a three-generation-old flower shop that takes pride of place in Coalville, a small village just outside of Leicester. Bionic had a chat with Sue Colledge, who now runs the family business, to find out all about how she has adapted over the years, the struggles she’s faced, and what’s next in the world of floristry.

Bionic: What has been your experience of running a business?

Sue Colledge: “It’s a lot of hard work but if you’re prepared then it’s very rewarding. My grandfather set up the shop back in 1949 as a general store selling fruit, veg and flowers. It then developed into a florist over the years. We still have an original sign my grandad's hand-painted back in 1949 though, so it still feels like it has the feel of the original shop.”

B: What is your favourite part of running a business?

SC: “Definitely being such a big part of the community. It’s human nature to be together and help each other out I think so being a part of the local community is really special.”

B: Has technology helped you?

SC: “I do use technology and computers. Emails are a big part of business and communicating with customers and we have a Facebook and Instagram page, but I am quite old school and I prefer a good old pen and paper. I do use our social media accounts a lot though and regularly post on them so people can see what we’re offering, it’s like a photo gallery for the arrangements.”

B: What do you think is the best advice for anyone looking to set up a business in the future?

SC: “That you have to learn to adapt, when my grandad first started it was a general store but as more supermarkets opened, we had to get our thinking caps on and adapt in new ways. The florist had always been there and always been a part of the original shop, but we had to offer customers something that the supermarkets couldn't; bespoke arrangements.”

To read more from Sue, click on the bouquet below 👇


📩 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 (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?

Leave a comment to get involved 👇

Leave a comment



📰 N E W S

Are you languishing? 😐

Have you recently felt like you’re not quite all there? Like things are getting on top of you, but you can’t do anything about it because your focus and motivation have gone?

It’s not quite burnout and it’s not quite depression, but everything feels all a bit aimless and pointless?

Then you could be languishing.

Languishing is a condition that scientists have been looking into for quite some time now, and the term was first coined by Corey Keyes, a sociologist who was struck by the number of people who were not quite showing signs of depression but didn’t seem capable of thriving either.

And it’s a condition that seems to have been on the rise since the pandemic.

When the news first broke of a potentially deadly virus sweeping the planet, there was (eventually) a widespread feeling of anguish - we went into lockdown and we didn’t know when (or if) we’d ever fully come out of it.

In those early days, there was a palpable sense of anxiety. At this point, many of us would have been getting by on a heady mixture of catecholamines (including adrenaline and noradrenaline) as our sympathetic nervous system triggered our response to the danger.

As time went by, the sense of dread was eased as we slipped into routines like wearing masks, sanitising our hands, and queuing for toilet rolls. We began to normalise things.

But then things began to drag on.

Restrictions were lifted and put back in place, time after time. The government seemed clueless. Lockdown followed lockdown. People were dying!

We’d all been stuck inside the same four walls for months on end and winter was on its way. But we made it. And it’s starting to look like we could finally be through the worst of it.

But the whole experience has left many of us languishing.

If you feel that you’re struggling to function at full capacity, even if you have a to-do list as long as your arm, you could be languishing.

If you’re not exactly the picture of mental health, but not exactly showing symptoms of mental illness either, you could be languishing.

Languishing dulls your motivation, disrupts your ability to focus, and triples the odds that you’ll cut back on work.

But what can you do about it?

It seems that getting yourself immersed in a task or meaningful challenge is a good antidote - this could mean losing yourself in a good book, a game, a puzzle or even a box set. Basically, anything that helps to melt away your sense of time, place and self.

But it’s important to not let this escapism affect your obligations, like work - while we’d all love to sit and binge The Soprano’s boxset (again), whiling away the hours while your to-do list is piling up in the background will bring its own set of problems.

So, try to immerse yourself in your work too. Cancel meetings, close your emails and switch off your phone and instant messaging for a few hours each day, and focus your time on really getting into your work.

Set yourself small goals that help achieve bigger ones and really make a dent in that to-do list.

If you’ve read this and just realised you’re languishing, then at least you’ve identified the issue. You now have something to work with and something to build on. And you’re not alone. Far from it.

To read more on this, check out There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing, by Adam Grant for the New Yorker.


🙏 W E L L N E S S

Can chocolate help combat stress? 🍫

We caught up with Drew Campbell-Griffiths, a nutritionist (a Masters in Nutrition Science from uni of Liverpool proves it) with a background in fitness training and MMA, for more of his quick-win wellness tips.

If you are feeling burnt out, it could be worth your while looking into and trying out adaptogenic herbs (remembering to only ever do so after advice from a doctor or dietician).

Adaptogenic herbs have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years, and are now backed by an increasing number of peer-reviewed studies.

Rhodiola rosea is one of the most popular adaptogens, and it’s been used for centuries by people in Russia and Scandinavian countries to treat anxiety, fatigue and depression. It can also improve brain function and help with exercise performance.

Ashwagandha is another popular adaptogen, and that too has been shown to reduce fatigue and optimised levels of stress hormones including cortisol.

If herbs and supplements aren't your thing, then choosing foods high in magnesium can also help to combat stress and tension. Dark chocolate, nuts and avocados are all great sources.

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


✍ S U B S C R I B E

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🤳 S O C I A L

TikTok’s £5k business owner giveaway 🎥

TikTok has launched a competition for entrepreneurs with a package of prizes for the winner.

The social video platform has teamed up with The Purposeful Project - a media company focused on the development of new businesses - to launch the #BeYourOwnBoss competition.

The initiative has been launched to help inspire the thousands of young people who have found themselves out of work as a result of the pandemic.

Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures have revealed that almost two-thirds of people who lost their jobs because of the pandemic are under 25. The figures also show that that of those 16-to-24-year-olds who are currently unemployed, three-quarters have been unemployed for at least six months.

Simon Squibb, the founder of The Purposeful Project, said: “COVID-19 has left a ‘lost generation’ of unemployed young people in its wake, yet there is a solution: Don’t wait for a job, create one for yourself! I believe anyone can learn how to start and run a business – but you need to break free from the system that teaches you a job is safe and being an entrepreneur is risky, it’s the opposite.

He added: “With the right mindset, training, tools and confidence anyone can be an entrepreneur. TikTok is an incredible place to reach a new generation of entrepreneurs who don’t consume traditional media and who otherwise would not see this opportunity.”

So, how do you enter?

To throw your hat in the ring, you’ll need to pitch an idea to TikTok by posting a video to the platform that’s between 30 and 60 seconds in length, along with the hashtag #BeYourOwnBoss.

You’ll also need to follow @simonsquibb on TikTok (that should do his follower count no harm) and fill out a form with a link to your video.

Ten finalists will be chosen by the judges to present their idea in more detail to the panel during a live TikTok finale. The winner will get a prize package that includes £5,000 in cash, mentoring sessions from high-profile entrepreneurs, marketing from TikTok and the Purposeful Project, and a year of financial and business advice from Intuit QuickBooks.

The competition is open to anyone aged 18 or over who is based in the UK, and entries must be in by June 30. Find out more over on TikTok.


🤝🏻 T I P S

3 free ways to promote your business 🗣

Getting your business name out there can be tricky. And, given the number of ways you can use to get your name out there, even deciding how to promote your business can be just as tricky.  

Here are three simple ways to get your name out there without spending a penny.

1. Charity links - Getting your business involved with local charity events is a great way to help your local community and improve your reputation at the same time. It can highlight that your company cares about local causes and is supportive of charity work.

Plus, it can also be a great opportunity to network with other business and you can secure some free advertising if, for example, you set up a stall at a charity fair.

2. Networking - Networking is often overlooked but it can be a vital tool in boosting your business reach. By meeting others and speaking about your company, you'll help yourself stand out and people will be able to put a face to the name of your business, it’s far more personal and can go a long way in building that customer relationship. 

You can create meaningful connections and engage with people directly or you can link with local people online, joining social media groups is a great way to reach a larger audience. 

3. Customer reviews - Review sites can have a big impact on a customer’s decision to use your service. Lots of people now check out a business's reputation online before even considering buying from them and a negative review can have a big impact on future relationships with your customers. 

Encourage customers to leave reviews and use these reviews as an opportunity to interact. Responding to positive reviews will make the customer feel that their opinion was valid and could encourage repeat custom. Responding to negative reviews and apologising for any mistakes to convey your commitment to meeting your customers' expectations. 

We’ve plenty more tips where that came from - check out Boost your business with our top ten free promotion tips for more easily actionable advice.


🗞 R E A D

Do you run a handmade craft business? Did you set up a crafty side hustle during the Pandemic? Then here’s a super helpful article about how you can scale and grow it 👇

How to successfully scale your handmade craft business

Did you take out a Bounce Back Loan? Do you know what happens next? With Bounce Back Loan repayments due soon, ⁦YahooFinanceUK has this advice 👇

Businesses urged to check options as bounce back loan repayments due

📺 W A T C H

10 things you must do before starting a business  💡

Whether you’re looking to go it alone or want to make a bit of extra cash with your side hustle, here’s a list of things to consider before you take the plunge.

Even if you’re already up and running, there could be a couple of things you’ve overlooked.


🎧 L I S T E N

Playlist

Recommended by Pete, Head of Performance at Bionic, Seratonin is this week’s playlist. It promises 100% good vibes, just in time for those warm evenings and weekends spent outdoors.

Podcast

Business Wars takes a look at some of the business world’s biggest rivalries, from Nike v Adidas to Hasbro v Mattel to Marvel v DC. Check out the list of battling business here.

Business Wars gives you the unauthorized, real story of what drives these companies and their leaders, inventors, investors and executives to new heights - or to ruin. Sometimes, they go to war just for the fun of beating the other guy.


🔥 H A S H T A G

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🏡 H O U S E K E E P I N G

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📊 B U S I N E S S

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🚫 S T O P

Obrigada

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

We’ll be back in a fortnight, but please do let us know if 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 two weeks’ time, when we’ll be one weekend away from everything being back to normal 🤞