Transitioning from B2C business to a B2B business in 2020
Case study: Aegis Chairman Angela Lee Loy’s advisory services to Trinidad and Tobago Fine Cocoa Company.
In this month’s Aegis Insights blog, we highlight the successful journey of one local chocolate company reviewing their business from a new perspective through advisory sessions held with our Chairman, Angela Lee Loy in 2020.
Meet Trinidad and Tobago Fine Cocoa Company
Trinidad and Tobago Fine Cocoa Company (TTFCC) is a chocolate factory located in Trinidad and Tobago, known for the premium production of Trinitario cocoa products. This company started production from 2016, with a passion to revitalize and promote the cocoa industry in Trinidad and Tobago. In March 2019, the company opened a retail outlet, The Chocolate Box, located in Port of Spain.
Almost five years later, TTFCC continues to strive for developing value-added products for the local, regional and international markets. To achieve this, the company needed help maximizing production to continue their growth. Focusing on ethical, responsible and sustainable sourcing of cocoa, TTFCC entered into a partnership with the exclusive Harrods department store in London) in 2018 promoting Trinidad and Tobago cocoa.
What’s the problem?
In an economy where individuals are more concerned with securing staples rather than delicacies, and where imported products are inherently seen as better than local just because they are imported, how can TTFCC continue to grow its revenue?
TTFCC needed a sustainable strategy to continue hitting their sales goals, in a COVID-19 environment. TTFCC has seen its sales to the culinary and hospitality sector dramatically reduced in 2020 due to Covid-19. It was in March 2020 that Aegis Chairman, Angela Lee Loy, was asked to assist in an advisory capacity.
What’s the solution?
Angela advised TTFCC to shift lanes from retailers to suppliers. It is through Lee Loy’s insight that she recognized that retail sales are currently slow due to the pandemic. It meant TTFCC could be spending valuable time and resources to ensure good product placement, plus the challenge of competing with other chocolate producers with larger market share.
It was important for TTFCC to consider a new outlook on their product and explore B2B services to suppliers who need their first class, high-quality cocoa. The most fundamental change came by shifting market focus from the tourism and culinary sector to industrial markets, which was underscored by the increasing restrictions for importing cocoa ingredients due to the lack of available foreign exchange. Product innovation also played a key part for several food manufacturers who also desired the ‘support local’ message instead of imported alternatives.
How did AEGIS advisory service help?
Although consumers gave praise to TTFCC chocolates, winning seven international awards, it was important for this small organisation to pivot its business model in 2020 and explore new areas where supplying local cocoa for other products can be an added source of revenue. Several brainstorm meetings occurred exploring which products locally needed cocoa powder and cocoa nibs to produce their products and reaching out to others to discuss possible partnerships.
In addition to a shift in business strategy, here are some areas that were explored in advisory session:
- Managing your cashflow and accurate financial forecasting
- Knowing your product costs
- Local market research – understanding your B2B market
- Banking & Finance – building your case
- Managing seasonal stock/supplies
- Exploring opportunities to advertise
- Developing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the company
- Developing a strategy to manage disruption from Covid-19
- Improve understanding of potential new markets & their value
Ashley Parasram, CEO TT Fine Cocoa Company shared, “Aegis Business Solutions guided by Angela Lee Loy has provided a unique set of business and management skills to help TT Fine Cocoa Company (TTFCC) navigate through local and global challenges due to Covid-19. Their broad range of ‘in-house’ skills provided a ‘one-stop-shop’ for tax, legal, financial, recruitment, business strategy and access to an extensive regional network of clients to ensure TTFCC is prepared for the challenges and opportunities in 2021. Ms. Lee Loy’s experience and advice has played a vital role in the rehabilitation of Trinidad & Tobago’s cocoa sector.”
Quite often, as business owners and managers, we are focused on executing the current strategy and original vision but it is important to take a step back and shift priorities as the market changes.
As our Chairman always says, “People operate in the forest. Sometimes they need to walk away, step back and look at the big picture.”
- Do your accounting figures tell you a story about your business?
- How can you pivot based on what the accounting figures tell you?
- What is happening in your market and how can you do things differently?
For more information about Aegis services, visit www.aegistt.com