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Weekly Blog – 02

25th November 2020

So here we go again 🎶 (coincidently listening to Fleetwood Mac – Dreams, opening line ‘so here we go again’ 

Before we start have a look at this: I asked Sam to order us a butter knife (commercial butter knife), we have 25kg blocks of butter at a time so need something heavy duty to cut it and well look at what showed up..

 Firstly, thanks for reading the last blog, there was quite a lot of text, which hopefully gave you a broad overview of what I will cover in the coming posts. 

 It’s Monday 23rd November and we are full steam ahead, ploughing towards Xmas. It’s by far the busiest we’ve ever been, hard to tell if it’s organic growth or the fact everyone’s eating their feelings, probably a bit of both. Either way, it’s been an odd build up to the festive period and we all know it ain’t going to be what it normally is this time of year. 

 From a Pleesecakes business perspective, historically this is hands down the most stressful time of the year and tensions do build, things get heated. I like to think I can calm things down, but the workload is intense and I can see the panic and pain on the teams faces, who grit through it! I think for a lot of small food business this is a busy time, we’re seeing a rise in gifting, personal and corporate, which just highlights the behaviour and how people want to make each other feel. We’re still here, we still care, we can get through this, have some food to show you I care about you! 

In other news (literally), Our Notorious P.I.B (pigs in blanket cheesecake) has created a real stir this week, it’s been in most online editorial newspapers, we’ve had calls from ITV and Capital FM had one last Friday for the breakfast show, it has definitely divided opinions. In all honesty, I initially thought that suggesting to create such a cake would be gimmicky and just a bit of fun, but it was so much more. Thinking about it, it actually truly defines us as a company, it showcased our thought process and our visions. Pleesecakes has always been about doing it differently, stepping outside of the boring box. Food should be debatable, it should create opinions, divided opinions and we’ve sure done that with the P.I.B. 

This wasn’t planned, but after releasing the PIB we started conversation with The Jolly Hog who produce pigs in blankets, really good pigs in blankets, so we’ve team up with them for this product and it really lifts this cake from a gimmicky idea to a delicious savoury Boxing Day spread addition! Just trust me on this one! 

Moral of the story: challenge yourself, your business and put shit out there, you never know how it will be received. 

 A bit of business chat. I listed a few points in my previous blog and things that may be relevant to other small businesses. I might drop one of them each week, let you know how we deal with it, hoping that it will help some of you.. 

My first point was CASH FLOW. Which, I would say is one of the hardest things to conquer for any small business wanting to grow or scale. We’ve struggled with it hugely over the last four years, we’ve had moments where wages we close to not being paid, accounts on stop and all sorts of worrying things that you just don’t see on Instagram. To overcome this is super challenging, you need to reinvest into the business, you need to buy additional equipment, you need to buy packaging and produce in bulk to make you profit margins. Things that take to implement, which are totally unparalleled to the demands of your monthly outgoings. You also might have a dip in sales one week which completely fucks you, as your monthly outgoings still remain the same.  For me it was about getting the right person/s in charge of the finances and supporting the overall operations of the company. REMEMBER, you will never be able to everything, which is what I used to try and do. It is not sustainable, it’s inefficient and inevitably detrimental to the growth. A great business is built on great people. Get the right people on board, learn to delegate and, especially for cash-flow, get proper financial advice. Quraish is our permanent FD (financial director) who quickly invested into the company, as he saw how incredible Pleesecakes was and the great potential we have as a brand (I might have just added that last bit).    

Cash flow advice: watch your finances very closely, make sure you’re on top of your fixed costs and what your monthly out goings are, from this you can create sales targets based on what you need to generate based on those outgoings, include salaries, rents, rates, produce, packaging, subscriptions, fuel or whatever they are, but write everything down in a spread sheet!  I made a tonne of bad financial decisions, so also, have that self-awareness of what you are good at AND what you’re not good at. If there’s something that you just can’t get on top of make sure you get someone who can! 

Back to cheesecakes. 

A few more of our delectable Christmas range:

The Naughty List – a large brownie as the base, topped with vanilla cheesecake swirled with Nutella and raspberries, with the additions of Ferrero Rochers, fresh raspberries and macadamia nuts! #drool  

Berry Christmas – undoubtedly our simplest offering. A buttery walled biscuit base, with a layer of our homemade blackberry compote and a layer of silky mascarpone cheese, topped with fresh plump blackberries. That’s it! But holy smokes, does it taste good!! (and its available in all sizes!)

Winter wonderland – a festive take on our best seller, the fully loaded! Starting with double chocolate base, salted caramel filling, topped with mince pies, Cadbury’s snowballs, gold coins, candy canes, white chocolate shards, Lindt and of course some red & green Xmas sprinkles! A real centre piece. 

 I quickly want to touch on social media and the importance of keeping up with what’s going on, new features and emerging platforms. Instagram has introduced reels, a feature to rival TikTok, not as good, yet. But Instagram are pushing this feature so using it is key to help the algorithm push your page up to the top. Our view and engagement has increased by using reels. Downsides, you can’t edit in the app, we have a business page so can’t add music which is pretty key to get the full effect. So, you have to edit out of the app which is a bit annoying. 

Emerging platform for me is TikTok, everyone makes fun of me, but the numbers don’t lie. One of our videos has had 100k hours of watch time (that’s over 11 years of watch time) and 25million views, that is mad reach!!! We also get paid per view and the paid brand collaborations are pretty frequent. It’s become a source of revenue. The audience is very different so the type of content we post has to differ also. Currently we are working directly with TikTok, posting more educational and informative videos using the hashtag #learnontiktok so recipes, tutorials and life hacks are a big thing on the platform.  

So, go and follow us, create your own page and keep an eye on the social media trends that could help you grow your business not only revenue wise but exposure and reach wise. 

Just one more thing..don’t forget to check out our Black Friday sales, its our biggest discount yet so you may as well rinse it!! All of our cakes on the Pleesecakes site and Build Your Own Bar can  be pre-booked up to a year in advance so if you know you’ve got a special event coming up in the next year, add the Pleese touch to it! Plus you sign up to our newsletter today  you’ll get a day early access..🤭

 Thanks for reading again, see you next week.

 Big up  

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Heat a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan. Wait until the pan is hot and the butter has fully melted.