Business is not a gamble
Last Saturday was “Small Business Saturday, the purpose of which is to highlight the importance of small businesses to the economy of the UK and to encourage people to “shop local”.
Realistically, you can only expect folk to use their local shops if the service is good, the experience is enjoyable and the prices are realistic.
Only yesterday, in the search for the last few Christmas presants, I popped into our local Crew shop. The same young lady was behind the till as she had been on the last three visits. No “good morning”, no eye contact, no “can I help”, no customers.
Contrast this with the Joules shop opposite – four staff buzzing around, lots of greetings and offers of help and lots of young couples purchasing.
If businesses choose the right staff, train them properly and encourage them you can watch the flash of credit cards being used by happy shoppers.
The two shops, selling similar products, couldn’t have been more different – one was a pleasure to be in while the other was doing a good impression of an undertakers.
Our own Darts Farm Shopping Village is a family run enterprise where the staff are so friendly that we swap Christmas presants. The banter at the butchery department is always an entertainment, while the meat is frequently from award winning cattle. Hey presto, the car parks are always full and the customer loyalty is such that Darts are consistently winning retail awards and they are known throughout the country.
Small businesses can always compete successfully, but caring, thoughtfulness and effort are required. If anyone thinks you can make a go of it by sitting down and looking grumpy, they are on a short drive to Carey Street.
Forty years of supporting and studying small businesses has taught me that running an SME is not difficult but you had better love the public, after all, you are there to serve them. Whether you get the chance to is up to them.