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Fresh Threads: Schools, normality, farms, moving business online

  1. James Martini

    James Martini UKBF Ace Staff Member

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    Hi UKBFers,

    Welcome to Fresh Threads, our weekly roundup of the most popular threads, comments and advice from the forums. 

    Here are my top picks from the last week.

    1. Why are the schools not reopening?

    Justin Smith

    Whether schools reopen is very significant for business, so why aren't they reopening and why is the teaching union so against the idea of reopening schools and is it reasonable?

    The chances of a child dying from COVID-19 is so slight it's not reliably statistically measurable, so this is no reason to keep the schools shut. If the parents are in a vulnerable group, or living with someone who is, they should have the option not to send their children to school. The same applies to teachers deemed to be at risk.

    NHS staff, carers, public transport workers, shop staff etc all have to put up with some risk, why should teachers be any different? Reopen schools now.

    Mr D: The schools never shut, except for holidays. What you are referring to is getting the other kids back at school? The teachers are quite capable of catching the virus.

    JEREMY HAWKE: Things need to reopen. This is no longer a virus that will go away

    It is not a virus that we must live with It is a virus that we must manage.

    MBE2017: Main concerns are lack of staff, many teachers have illness, elderly parents, lack of room, two-metre distancing means class sizes half, and the Government is refusing rotas, so an ongoing problem.

    MY OFFICE IN CHINA: Under normal circumstances I would say open the schools, but with this virus, we are not under normal circumstances, not by a long shot.

    2. If the numbers don’t go up…

    James Johnson

    If infection numbers don’t go up and continue to plummet as they are, do you reckon things could pretty much get back to normal fairly quickly?

    Do you think people will demand this if this is the case and social distancing fades away? Will the hospitality and events sectors, as examples, bounce back fairly quickly and this whole lockdown will be looked upon as a massive overreaction?

    Newchodge: Your first sentence is a big IF. I don't think hospitality and leisure will be open this side of August, even if then.

    fisicx: Infection rates will only fall if social distancing continues. As soon as you let people mingle again, infection rates will go back up. We are unlikely to ever go back to how it was. There will be a new normal.

    alan1302: If the infection rate keeps going down, it will be down to the lockdown. Will people think the lockdown was an overreaction?

    Interestedobserver: What have you seen or read anywhere that suggests numbers will continue to plummet when social distancing is relaxed? If only it was going to be that easy.

    3. Setting up a farm business


    Would anyone be able to advise what specific farming activity is most profitable and what margins/profitability I can expect from that?

    I’ve got no farming experience but going into the farming sector sounds like a good option at the moment and I would be very glad if someone on here owns a farm and can advise me on how to set up.

    MY OFFICE IN CHINA: Any business startup with zero experience will struggle. Agriculture, even more so. Why does farming sound like a good opportunity?

    2020Lawyer2020: It is one of the lowest-paid sectors in the UK. Doesn't the average full-time UK farmer make £10,000 a year or something like that? Obviously some make a lot more where they have a lot of very good and profitable agricultural land.

    Gordon - Commercial Finance: I worked on two farms when I was a teenager to help out my friends from school, who would work before and after school every day. They made a pittance, worked 365 days a year, never took a holiday, and no work-life balance? No thanks.

    Financial-Modeller: Large farms are often managed by contracted farm operators who enjoy sufficient scale and position within the supply chain that an individual farmer with a plot of land to farm traditionally would struggle to compete to run a viable business.

    4. Taking business online


    Thanks to many people’s advice on this forum, I will now be taking my business online. For years I have postponed going online. Always trying to look for excuses even though I knew there was a huge potential.

    Due to the high cost of shipping I always feared that customers would not want to pay the price, but others have advised me that customers would be willing to pay the shipping if they wanted the service.

    I have secured a deal with a courier service. The rate is great but I will need to meet volume required to negotiate better terms. Most of my competitors charge £3.99 so I will be competing against that and absorbing little before the volumes are reached.

    Mr D: Could always build shipping into price and offer free shipping. Same overall cost to the customer and to you but comes across better to some customers.

    Alison Moore: People don't mind paying delivery for expensive or large items or when you sell B2B or to regular customers. However, if you're selling low-price items or on eBay, it's better to absorb the delivery costs.

    The Byre: I have yet to understand why anybody selling any physical object is not online.

    Scottishgifts4u: When I started my website, we charged £3.50 per order. Then we decided as an experiment to offer free postage while upping our prices to compensate. The volume of orders went up a vast amount.

    That's all for this week – have a great run into the weekend!