We’re always hearing that the High Street is dying, shops are closing and staying empty and thriving town centres are a thing of the past.
Well, the High Street is fighting back!
Small Business Saturday started in the US four years ago and has just made its way over the pond. Today (Saturday 7th December) is Small Business Saturday UK. A day for us to celebrate all that is great about, not only Britain’s High Streets & retailers, but all small businesses throughout the UK. The SBS Bus has been touring the country for the past three weeks, raising awareness of the event and encouraging shoppers to ‘Think Small’ not only today, but every day.
A little known fact is that 99% of Britain’s businesses are Small Businesses! For every £100 spent in local business, £68 is likely to stay within your community, versus £43 when spent in a chain business. Small businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than chains do. Small Businesses also donate to local community causes at more than twice the rate of chains. Sole traders and independent stores are proportionally more generous in their support to local charities, carnivals, schools and community events. So supporting local shops means a financial return for your community.
Shopping locally makes your high street more unique & allows for a more diverse product choice. You get more time and expertise too. Small retailers in particular are passionate about their product, be it the Butcher, the Greengrocer, the Artisan Baker, the Gift Shop and especially the Bridal Shop, and are keen to enthuse about their product, offer suggestions and also offer a higher level of service. Traders survive by their reputation so shopping locally means a considerably higher level of customer service. We recently undertook a survey of how our customers came to us. Was it Google, local or National Wedding Fayres, Yell.com? No, it was recommendation – by far the best form of advertising.
To mark the first ever Small Business Saturday UK, Downing Street held a Reception, to celebrate Great British Businesses. We were lucky enough to be included in these celebrations, and Sarah hot-footed it down to London to join with other Retailers, Inventors, Designers & Entrepreneurs all proud of their businesses and all striving to do their best in difficult circumstances to make their businesses not only succeed, but thrive.
Matthew Hancock, MP for Business & Innovation spoke passionately about the Government’s commitment to small businesses and outlined the plans in place to help them. As he comes from a family who had their own small business he was able to speak with experience about the trials and tribulations that we face and a regular basis. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP also popped in for a chat and a photo shoot!
The day was amazing and inspirational. It was wonderful to meet with so many other small business owners from all walks of life and all different spheres, who face the same highs and lows as we do. The worries when cash flow is a nightmare, when the tightest of tight deadlines need to be met, the late nights, early mornings, sometimes no sleep at all, and the euphoria when you look back on your day, week or year and think ‘Yes, this is why I do what I do’!
Our first ever Small Business Saturday has been a great day and we’ve seen lots of Brides. They were greeted with a glass of Champagne and we offered a discount on all the orders placed today. Sarah chatted to them about SBS and name-dropped shamelessly about her day in London and her plans to add ‘Run The Country’ to her list of things to do.
So here’s to next year’s Small Business Saturday. It’s going to be held on Saturday 6th December and we’re going to be going all out to not only support it, but to get all the other shops in Cheylesmore to support it too. Maybe next year the SBS Bus will visit us!
So next time you need to go shopping, please Think Small – it’s good for all of us.