By The Business Battle-axe, Amanda Vigar,
Managing Partner, V&A Bell Brown LLP
The demise of the small independent business against the larger national chain has been a hot topic for some time. However, with the current tough economic conditions, we are finding that larger national companies are far from flourishing.
In recent times, JJB Sports, Clintons Cards and Julian Graves have fallen into administration, while electrical retail conglomerate DSG, the owner of Currys and PC World, plunged £30m into the red. The issue is that people want to deal with people they know and trust. This is where the smaller businesses and independent traders can, and often do, come into their own.
Ask yourselves – do you want to deal with someone who you have a personal and engaging relationship with, or do you want to deal with representatives of a larger national, often faceless, organisation? Do you want to shop locally from retail outlets that have been fixtures on your high street for years? Do you want to have a business relationship with someone who prides themselves on personal recommendations? And do you want to deal with someone you might actually have the chance of meeting in person?
I suspect that most people, whether they’re looking at making a high street purchase or want professional advice on anything from finance to marketing would prefer to deal with someone they know and trust.
In my accountancy practice, we like to put the people into business. In practice this means that we work with numerous people in all sorts of trades and occupations; we have built strong relationships based on trust with our clients; clients know they can meet with the same person every time and are not simply assigned to whoever is available; and we value each and every client, no matter how big or small.
We are also more than happy to provide testimonials from clients who are more than happy to say when they think we’ve done a good job. I for one firmly believe that putting the people back into business should be the way forward for our high streets; it may well also have the knock-on effect of re-invigorating our town centres.