Case Study: Cambridge Food Hub

Cambridge Food Hub

Partnering with a business developer who can quickly build solutions to complex problems will bring relief and clarity, even during a world-altering crisis

The Brief

A changing world in 2020 meant that businesses, small independents in particular, had to pivot quickly. Cambridge Organic found themselves in more demand by their local community than they ever expected, but with the added dilemma of fewer staff members able to work together. They needed someone on board who could imagine creative, workable solutions they would need to survive and ultimately thrive.

By volunteering in the field (literally – I was packing carrots!) I had gained an understanding of the business and its pandemic predicaments. I volunteered because I was desperate to help an ethical organisation in this testing time. Meeting the founder and owner of Cambridge Organic, Duncan Catchpole, we enjoyed conversations over many weekends, talking through ideas. When Duncan asked me to join the management team, there was no question of getting on board.

The How

The ethos of  Cambridge Organic and its partner company, Cambridge Food Hub, is to minimise food waste, get good food to those who need it and reduce food miles: a perfect circular economy with benefits for suppliers, customers and the planet.

What they needed from me first was to introduce a strategy to make sure these guiding principles could be sustained into the future.

I tailored a business model to support their managers – all with varied roles – across Cambridge Organic and Cambridge Food Hub. It had an impact on every area. By enabling cross communications, it gained them time to share their ideas then put them into action.

Business models aren’t one-size-fits-all, despite what a google search might tell you! Every business is unique. Listening to Duncan and at this point understanding their current situation from within, we developed a bespoke roadmap with future goals in plain sight. They could focus on the right challenges first and work towards business growth.

Identifying areas of concern that could potentially cause problems in the medium-term, we were able to plan so that any bumps in the road would be minimised and overcome.

Let’s not forget that circumstances can quickly change – and so they did, with lockdowns, staff moves, fluctuations in market demand. I was able to look at those issues as they came along and adapt the game plan to deal smarter with the evolving situation.

With more people working online rather than face-to-face during lockdown, it was essential to have a strong web presence. We discussed this at length, and I delivered a focused strategy encompassing their branding, social media and website, along with a plan to use their resources most wisely.

Results & The Future

One of my favourite things is connecting people. I’m fortunate to have built up an incredible network of local creatives and specialists in many areas. Tapping into this business community for the benefit of both sides is an enormous pleasure. It’s proved fruitful for Duncan and his team, who’ve found much support with a variety of – occasionally urgent – requests.

Demands for good sustainable food are likely to rise and, naturally, an expanding business will have new challenges to face. Cambridge Food Hub now has the tools to react to changes that are out of their control and pivot in an ever-shifting landscape. With their new network of business owners, they know who they can turn to for specialised support if they need it.

Of course, I’m not stepping away. I’ll continue to work with this great team by sharing connections, offering guidance and innovative solutions whenever necessary.

“Ultimately, Clare’s effectiveness brought that breath of relief. Her understanding and caring translate to high business impact.

As the coming 2 years are sure to involve many contextual changes, I would highly recommend Clare to any business looking to strengthen their business framework, resilience, focus, and team potential.

Working with Clare was a wonderful experience.

She is Creative, Insightful, and brings unique business acumen to our table.”

Take advantage of my free One to One calls if you need some help getting your ideas off the ground.

I can guide you through the opportunities you face.

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