4 examples of small business collaboration and moving online, to stay trading

4-minute read

According to movement tracking data, the average hospitality worker now walks an estimated five miles during a seven-hour shift1. This commitment and hard work is definitely representative of these four Barclaycard Business customers, who are using business collaboration and the power of online to stay trading.

Business Collaboration

1. Pleesecakes – a custom, no-bake cheesecake company

Joe Moruzzi, owner of Pleesecakes, said: “When COVID hit, we didn’t know if we’d have to shut down the business.”

“The way we adapted was by utilising our suppliers. When people couldn’t get produce from supermarkets, we stepped in and offered essential packs for people that were vulnerable at home.”

We were essentially like a greengrocer, so we adapted from being a cheesecake company to selling things like pasta and eggs

Joe Moruzzi, owner, Pleesecakes

Business Collaboration

When it came to getting back to business as usual, Pleesecakes really missed the festivals as a revenue stream, but worked with us on our Share the Stage campaign.

“Festivals and events were a massive revenue stream for us as a business and at the start we just had to adapt to the situation. There’s been some great virtual platforms that have come out of COVID though and Barclaycard have been a massive support for small businesses by helping us utilise these virtual platforms.”

“If you’re a small business you need to be online. You need to be utilising the platforms; you need to be utilising social media. This is how it is now. It’s really hard to sustain a business on the high street. These platforms are a great tool to grow a business.”

The importance of selling online and using social media to spread your message to more people are key themes that have come out of the conversations we’ve been having with our small business customers. Make taking payments the easier part of adapting your business and taking it online. 

2. Incipio  – owners of some of London’s most Instagrammable venues

Incipio is the group that owns Pergola Paddington, Lost in Brixton, The Prince, and some of London’s other unusually located (think car parks) and incredibly popular venues.

Rather than pivot or panic when lockdown hit, Incipio gave all its restaurant partners and traders the space to do what they needed to do to make it through. Lots used the space to offer takeaway and delivery while dine-in was off the table.

One such trader was Utter Waffle. Incipio allowed them to move into a unit for free - no rent or bills - to find a way to thrive. They made such a success of it that they’ve now got a permanent spot at The Prince – an example of a business that found a way to use lockdown to its advantage.

Incipio’s Sales and Marketing Director, Anthony Knight, said that as well as collaboration, lockdown was all about keeping their people happy and motivated.

“We really galvanised the troops.”

Business Collaboration

3. Crazy Pig Designs – purveyors of handmade rock star jewellery in store and online

Armand Serra, owner of Crazy Pig Designs, was determined to keep his loyal staff even when his Covent Garden shop had to close for the first time since he opened in 1992.

Lockdown encouraged Serra to prioritise building a new website, with smoother browse and buy journey, and he added 15% discount to every product on the site. It helped him keep loyal customers and attract a new, younger demographic. These savvy moves helped Serra to pay his staff, keep trading and have a positive outlook for the future.

“The government is saying work from home if you can, and people are buying from home. They’re going online so the priority was the website… lucky for us we were just in time to get a fantastic new site online.

“COVID-19 has forced us to get our online store launched a lot quicker than we probably had planned. But we worked flat out to get it done. It’s done very well. My advice would be to look after your staff, go online if you can, and work hard to keep your business going.”

As part of Barclays, Barclaycard Business is in a great position to help independent businesses flourish online, with a range of secure payment systems

Konrad Kelling, Managing Director, Barclaycard Business

4. Piccadilly Whip – ice cream vans, delivery and event hire across London and Essex

Lots of businesses have pulled together to support the UK’s frontline heroes during the pandemic. And while they haven’t done it for gains, when small enterprises give back to their communities it can only be good for the bottom line. Family run Piccadilly Whip, founded in 1963, was one such example.

Owner John Bonar, told us about their lockdown activity: “We provided ice cream to local hospices, hospitals and care homes – to all staff, from nurses to maintenance staff, to thank them for what they were doing. And for customers, we would leave trays of ice creams on the doorstep of families stuck at home and use contactless payments to ensure we were meeting hygiene standards.”

John was happy to be able to give back, but they also had to completely change their business model when coronavirus hit. From travelling to a festival or food show overnight, serving at the show and travelling overnight again to get home, to delivering trays of ice creams to private homes. 

We had to change with the times or, like a dinosaur, become extinct

John Bonar, owner of Piccadilly Whip

And it was thanks to social media that home delivery orders took off.

John explains: “We began using social media when we attended a Barclays course - The Power of Advertising - about 5 years ago. This is the day I set up our Facebook page. When lockdown hit, it was through social media that we began picking up orders - we had four phones ringing at a time.

“We believe as people couldn’t take their children out to cinemas or farms, they treated them to ice creams instead. It seemed to become a trend during lockdown.”

  • *All stats referenced in this article are from the same source (unless otherwise referenced): Research was conducted online by YouGov on behalf of Barclaycard between 1 – 21 April 2020. YouGov polled 576 senior members of staff working in UK SMEs, weighted by region to reflect SME distribution in the UK. This data has been compared to Barometer data, run by YouGov with 562 senior members of UK SMEs between 10 – 24 January 2020.
  • 1Taken from Barclaycard Payments proprietary data on 9 July 2020.
Business Collaboration

Could going online be the way to build your business?

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