NAJ News

Coronavirus Advice (part five) from NAJ

23 Mar 2020

coronavirus 3

Friday’s announcement of a massive economic intervention around worker salaries gave further encouragement while setting out clearly that things will get more difficult before they get better.  

The Prime Minister’s plea to minimise non-essential travel and socialising will further reduce footfall on the high street and concentrate consumer spend on essentials such as food and medicines. Following a sunny weekend where some people chose to flout advice to use social distancing, there exists a growing possibility that the Government requirement to close pubs, restaurants and leisure venues may be extended to retail premises except those essential for society such as food retailers, takeaways and pharmacies.  

Coupled with probable restrictions on travel, many retail jewellers are therefore currently considering how to close part or all of their premises for a period, and the processes involved in scaling back staff, so the NAJ’s HR and employment helplines have been busy. For advice on insurances regarding mothballing your premises, contact NAJ’s preferred insurance partner TH March. 

NAJ’s helplines on HR and employment law can offer advice on designating employees as ‘furloughed workers’ thus allowing access to the 80% of salary cover for retained workers outlined on Friday. 

NAJ is calling on UK Government to acknowledge there is a need for further support for freelancers, contract workers and the self-employed such as some goldsmiths, silversmiths, designer/makers, enamellers, mounters and setters, and for clarity on the processes involved in claiming support. 

The latest developments are outlined on the Government advice page at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus and an official advertising campaign is being scaled up over the coming weeks.  

NAJ recommends you do not take any significant action until you have read this information and digested how it can help your business, as everyone’s situation will be different. To reiterate, businesses can claim £10,000 grant from your Local Authority (i.e. at no cost, with no requirement to pay this back) immediately. This may give many jewellery businesses sufficient breathing space to plan their future.  

Business Rate rebates are in development but these await changes in legislation.

The following information sources are available

How to Access Financial Support for you or your business 

 Direct Support for Businesses 

Government Business Support helpline

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – Now open for applications  

 Wellbeing advice

 

HiUp JET Certificate

NAJ Education

In a further step to support the Jewellery Community, the NAJ is offering free access to its online JET Essentials programme, as many members consider the implications of the Coronavirus pandemic on their business. 

The programme, which is designed to give students a strong grounding and appetite to progress in their own jewellery journey, is a precursor to the well-respected JET Certificate and Diploma and promises to help develop conīŦdence to better serve the needs of the customer in the future.

Enrol onto free JET Essentials Module

Furthermore, the Education team has released the following statement to existing learners,

In the light of the current situation, we understand that a lot of our JET and CAT students are feeling unfocused and distracted as we all adjust to the new requirements and new ways in which we will need to conduct our lives at the moment. The NAJ Education Team are sending out a communication to all of our students, letting them know that if they are struggling to complete their assignments they should contact their tutor who will be glad to arrange an extension to help ease their situation.

 

JET Business Network Facilitator talks performance and market improvement

Michael Donaldson, JBN Facilitator recently blogged about reviewing people, product and processes as part of how business leaders can improve performance or market improvement. 

Michael writes (10 March),

The markets are under attack – “Covid-19 presents the greatest danger to the world economy since the financial crisis of 2008” (OEGD).

“The FTSE 100 fell more than 8% in early trading as fears of a global recession grew, caused by the impact of coronavirus and an oil price war – it is more than 20% below its recent peak seen in January when it traded above 7,600 points. The drop follows a 30% slump in the oil price overnight after Saudi Arabia launches a price war, as it boosted production amid a major disagreement with Russia. It is the biggest single drop in the price of oil since the first Gulf War, in 1991.” (The Business Desk).

A extract states:

#1 Improve the performance of your people

  • Work on your communication skills – when people feel stressed by things beyond their control, they need to hear from you. They need to hear (and understand) what actions, initiatives and support you are intending for the business. In short, they need you to lead.
  • Training doesn’t have to stop but it may have to change to reflect the changing needs of the market – whether that’s online, in print or in person.
  • As well as encouraging employees to acquire new skills (both hard and soft) it’s important that they are rewarded for these efforts. These soft non-technical skills are much harder to replicate via automation and AI
  • Address the “problem children” that you’ve been too busy to do anything with or about.
  • And ensure your customers remain at the heart of your strategy.

#2 Improve the profitability of your products

  • Review your supply chain – as early as January UK manufacturers were feeling the pain caused by suspended shipments from China. If you haven’t got a supplier strategy create one; you can start by identifying any over reliance on any one supplier/country and identify secondary suppliers for the same product but from a different country – eggs in one basket and that.
  • Pass on your price increases – retain your customers via your improved communication skills
  • Improve your new product developments or existing product enhancements – be driven by speed to market and adding low cost, high value improvements.
  • Exit the loss makers – it’s a simple rule, if you can’t reduce the cost and can’t increase the price, then it’s time to let it go.

#3 Improve the productivity of your processes.

  • Review how you have you responded to increasing internet sales in your sector – are you getting your share?
  • Walk each, and every process, whether that’s in administration, in the call centre or on the shop floor. Identify opportunities to remove bottle necks, reduce costs and increase efficiencies.
  • Journey map your customer touch points with your business, look for opportunities to reduce their pain and improve their experience.
  • Understand and share your data to make meaningful changes to the business in the areas where it will have the greatest impact.
  • Review your Social Media metrics beyond likes and clicks to ones that relate to revenue.
  • Score your existing communications process against these 7 key questions
  1. How open are you?
  2. Do you have an open-door policy?
  3. How aware are you of yourself?
  4. Do you remember to listen?
  5. How regular are your staff meetings?
  6. Do you seek feedback and suggestions?
  7. When did you last act on the feedback / suggestion?

Done well, these People, Product, Process actions will encourage a positive culture change throughout the business in which everyone understands how their actions can add sales, cash, value and growth to the business they work in.

Continue reading

 

Jewellery consultant Helen Dimmick to give free webinars on trade response to coronavirus

Helen Dimmick, NAJ Retail Ambassador will give free webinars on Jewellery Outlook about how jewellery businesses can respond to coronavirus, from shutting stores to driving forward online sales. 

The webinar will take place at 11 am UK time on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

Register for webinar 

 

The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC)

In a release posted to subscribers, The RJC have taken the actions to introduce a Six-month extension to audit deadlines. The extension is for members with an in-person or ‘onsite’ audit scheduled for the period March 1 – June 30 2020. In addition, RJC auditors have agreed to offer additional guidance to support members through the process with a virtual roundtable to ensure alignment behind optimizing the audit process for you, whilst ensuring it remains robust and credible across the membership throughout these exceptional times.

For more information, contact Daylia Brown

 

NAJ Members activity

Yes, some members are closing their businesses until further notice but despite this, business leaders continue to take other actions as part of the current coronavirus situation.

Members have reported the following activity amind the current crisis:

  • Change descriptions, add items and pictures, introduce video, update NAJ profile and other business listings to impact upon SEO
  • Contact clients to tell them how you can support them (not the standard ‘coronavirus updates’ which are now being ignored) 
  • Sort through existing stock to see what can be sold off - cash is king at present 
  • Review which areas of your business are likely to yield the most return in the short to medium term 
  • Develop or improve upon your existing social media strategy
  • Consider what free training is available to develop new skills
  • Consider approaching your landlord; ask for a rent reduction, a deferral of rent payment. Can your suppliers offer any more favourable terms? Worth asking!

We're interested to hear what actions you're taking as a business to navigate the current situation, let us know by emailing marketing@naj.co.uk.

Source: The NAJ