By cronoguem, Aug 17 2017 12:29PM
We live in interesting and for some at least ,scary times. Business confidence across alll sectors of the economy is at best hopeful that the Government can negotiate a post-Brexit deal which avoids the cliff edge scenario which keeps many Chief Executives and Sole Traders alike awake at night. Despite this however, there seems to be no shortage of people willing to go it alone and start their own businesses whether it be sole trader, partnership, self-employed trades, freelances etc etc. They can be found across all sectors of the economy. According to the latest statistics from Federation of Small Businesses (FSB.org), in 2016 there were a record 5.5 million private sector businesses at the start of the year and increase of 97,000 since the previous year.
There was an increase of 14,000 in the number of employing businesses with a corresponding increase of 84,000 in number of sole traders/self-employed businesses. Overall SME's account for 99% of the businesses in every main industry sector. So on the surfacegood news, particularly for those who perhaps operate their businesses from home or in a thriving market area as consumers are inclined toward more local shopping and avoiding the mad crush experienced at large retail parks and supermarkets. From my own perspective I live in a small market town in the West Midlands. Thanks to the effforts of both the local council and chambers of commerce we have been fortunate to see a number of new start ups combining both brand names and small independent propieters alongside the already existing chain outlets and other small businesses . We also have a busy market three times a week which brings in many locals to buy fresh fruit and veg, rugs and carpets, clothers, pet products and a butchers stalls. The market area itself has a combination of Post Office, high stree brands and independent outlets including what has become my Independent Coffee shop of choice.
As a freelancer myself I where possible try to use these businesses to ensure that money spent is kept in the local economy so I use the Coffee shop, I buy my fruit and veg off the market and on non-market day use the independent greengrocer. We also have a choice of butchers on our high street whereas many others have seen theirs disappear. I use a local priniting company in the next village, a family run business which do all my printed newsletters and leaflets. They also printed the orders of service for my parents funerals and did a superb job on the orders of service for our wedding last year. Another long standing business just off the High Street makes and repairs picture frames much more asthetically pleasing and robust than the off shelf versions you buy in supermarkets and household goods stores. There is a Best Of published annually showcasing the best in small and independent businesses covering most industry sectors.
Whatever the economic future pos-Brexit for larger companies, small businesses particularly those serving the retail sector are ideally placed to take advantage of the changes in the buying habits of the general public and we should all be prepared to support them and each other where practicable. Competition may be healthy if handled correctly but co-operation and willingness to share the benefits keeps our high streets and markets alive which benefits all of us who wish to see our town centres continue to thrive.