How to open a pizzeria on a shoestring. 12: External Stakeholders

Posted on Thursday, July 29, 2021 by Alan Pizzaiolo TribeNo comments

Part 12

External Stakeholders

 

Although your little pizzeria will work well without putting any effort in maintaining a good rapport  with your external stakeholders, in my experience having a good working relationship can help us more than we realise.

Just to make it clear an external stakeholder is someone that is affected or can affect the performance of the business, but does not work in the business itself. The list generally includes:

  • Local community
  • Council
  • Suppliers
  • Landlord
  • Investors (if you have any)

I won’t talk about investors as it’s obvious that you want to maintain a good relationship with them as they have invested in your project and allowed it to come to life.

 

Local Community

As a small business having a supportive community is priceless. During the past year we have certainly seen small business being able to survive just because of their local community willingness to spend money and help out, in times of need. Most of your regulars will be part of your local community too. So what can you do to reciprocate?

  • Give vouchers when requested. I normally just ask that the voucher be for either a school or a charity, as opposed to a personal endeavour like “my child wants to go to Africa for a month to study gibbons and he’s doing a fund raiser”. I don’t think I have ever said no. You may even get someone that has never been in before and may now become a new customer.

    Local schools are basically a “breeding centre” for your future customers! Once I heard someone say “remember, every kid has got 2 parents”. Often times the kids will decide where to go on a family dinner or for a treat.

     

  • Support local events, both financially and logistically. Local fairs or fetes, music days, parades
  • Sponsor a local sport team or club
  • Fundraise for a local charity
  • Be there when your community needs you. For example at the beginning of the pandemic we had flour and pasta shortages. As a business though, we could still get large quantities of both, just in bigger sizes (25kg flour bag and 12kg boxes of pasta). Then we just asked people to come in with a container and collect some. Although this could have been a profit making opportunity we decided to sell everything at cost and I hope this will repay in the long run.

 

Council

We all had some problems or got frustrated dealing with the council. Councils are notoriously slow at making decisions, whereas private businesses thrive on adapting and making decisions on the go. Having said that, having someone at the council that appreciates your business can be very valuable. This could be about advance notice of events being planned (as sometimes they are not properly advertised) and more importantly, being informed about grants or tenders. Those are not always properly publicised and we may not be paying attention to the channels the council and government use as we are so busy with running our businesses. A typical example are town regeneration improvements or high street improvement schemes. Also councils many times have cash reserves, and if a project interests them and can improve the town both aesthetically and financially, sometimes funds can be found, all of sadden out of the blue.

 

Suppliers

It is essential to maintain good relationships with your suppliers. They are the ones that decide what discounts to apply and give you a heads up on offers and promotions. A coffee or a pizza here and there really go a long way, especially when you forget to order something!

 

Landlord

I have seen my landlord once in 5 years, nevertheless you need them as much as they need you. Having an open channel for communication and their support is indispensable. If you can make them believe in your project and in the value that you can add to their property, they will go out of their way to accommodate you. Also when it comes to renewing the lease you definitely want to be on their good books

 

 

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