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What you can learn from The Fixer: Week two

In this week’s episode of The Fixer (BBC2, 9pm Monday), Alex Polizzi headed to visit entrepreneurial couple Debbie and Andrew Keeble of family-owned sausage company Heck. In our weekly homage to the show, we review the episode and round up the top takeaway advice for small businesses. 

1. Selling to supermarkets can give you volume sales but the margins will be tight

Debbie and Andrew were turning of £2 million through their contract with Tesco but were still not making any profit. Look at where you can lower your margins in production and processes, without compromising quality.

2. Don’t rely on just one customer

Whilst Debbie and Andrew did well to keep their contract with a huge supermarket chain, they were all too aware what would happen if they lost it. Looking for other routes to market gave them much more security.

3. Prepare thoroughly for sales meetings

Always know your prices and use your most experienced presenter, particularly with important buyers who expect a professional approach.

4. Take on board feedback and act on it

Constructive criticism can be difficult to hear, especially about a business you’ve nurtured from the ground up, but sometimes you need to listen (especially if everyone’s telling you the same thing).

5. Using untrained family members in key roles can be dangerous

Mixing family and business can be tricky. Apply the same rigorous recruitment process to family members as you would to any other person joining your company, and don’t pay their parking fines for them!

6. You ignore the benefits of social media at your peril

Andrew branded Twitter “the dullest creation that ever was”, but a trip to a trendy London agency opened his eyes to how other food brands were using social media to their advantage. And what’s more, how it could actually be quite fun. Now even Nigella’s tweeting about them.

Find out more about The Fixer and see past episodes on the BBC website. You can read our review of the first episode of series 3.

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