Small Business Saturday and Comet’s decline


Make More Margin’s Ken Simpson

Ken Simpson is Director of Make More Margin and was also a judge at the recent Retail Industry Awards.

Exclusive to The North Somerset Business Leader he rounds up the latest retail related news.

Small business Saturday

Interestingly, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umuna MP, he of the sharp suits, has proposed a ‘Small Business Saturday’ based on a similar scheme in the US that was fronted by Serena Williams and Jessica Alba.

If he knew anything about small business, in particular retail, he would know that in the UK we already have ‘independent’s day’ every July, which is aimed at supporting small businesses!

Do we neeed another such day or is it just a gimmick?

Following Comet into retail history

But moving on. A quick scan through the press this week makes for gloomy reading, with predictions of further high-street names following Comet into retail history.

Make sure this does not happen to your business by conducting a review of your business activities.

Here are a few tips, whilst not exhaustive provice starting point:

  • Check your utilities tariffs – are you getting the  best deal? Could you join a group scheme?
  • Check out what your competitors are doing. Do this regularly to ensure they are not stealing a march on you.
  • Icentivise your staff to sell more – simply asking each customer if they found everything they wanted can drive sales
  • Check your website – do you sell online and when was it last updated?
  • Carry out a range review. Now is a great time to sell through the slow or stopped lines as customers will be looking for a bargain. Remeber, cash is king.
  • How are you going to get new customers in 2013? What are your advertising plans.

Finding new products

It will soon be ‘show time’ with trade shows for all retail sectors over the next few months.

The Spring Fair at the NEC is massive and covers most sectors other than food. There is also the National Convenience Show later in the spring.

These shows are great for finding new products, meeting suppliers and driving a deal, or just to catch up with other retailers and chew the fat; whatever you do they are a great use of a day away from the business.