11 November 2015
Remember, Remember the 5th of December!
The Christmas songs are already on a loop in the shops, driving the shop assistants potty I daresay, and the mince pies have been on the shelves since August – and that can mean only one thing: Christmas is hurtling towards us at warp speed and it’s time to get the sprouts on.
But there’s another event, a little earlier in December, that’s important for a particular sector of the economy. I refer to Small Business Saturday UK – a movement I’ve only become aware of since becoming self-employed myself with AA Editorial Services, my proofreading and copywriting business.
So what is Small Business Saturday UK? Well, nver mind supporting your local sheriff – Small Business Saturday is about supporting local small businesses and shopping locally.
According to the website (https://www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com) it’s a ‘grassroots, non-commercial campaign’ that came into being to support and promote small businesses. Not just on the first Saturday in December but beyond. Because a small business is not just for December!
The Small Business Saturday campaign was born in 2013. Following last year’s event research suggested that 64% of consumers were aware of the campaign and spent in the region of £504m at small businesses. That’s not small beer.
The aim of the campaign is to encourage businesses to promote themselves and to work with other small businesses, and to encourage consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities. And there are many powerful reasons for doing just that. As a 2013 article from The Guardian pointed out:
- Your spending boosts the local economy. For every £1 spent with a small or medium sized business 63p stays in the local economy – compared to 40p with a larger business. Isn’t that a good reason alone? Never mind that:
- It’s the ethical choice.
- Independent shops often sell quirky, one-off gifts.
- You support British entrepreneurs.
- You help build communities.
- You might get a better deal or some good advice.
- You can sometimes try before you buy.
In recent times I’ve made more effort to ‘shop local’. Partly this is a response to the discovery that so many big retail concerns are wriggling out of their taxation responsibilities in such spectacular fashion! A few hundred – well fair enough. Y’know. But when it’s billions? Hmmm…
Aside from that it’s an effort to support Swindon businesses that I’ve met through business networking – after all I want businesses and consumers to support me in my AA Editorial Services venture so it’s only right that I do the same is it not?
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?
Whether you’re a small business or a consumer your first port of call is the Small Business Saturday Website: https://www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com
From there consumers can look up listings of small businesses close to them on the ‘My Small Business Finder’ gizmo. And small businesses that want to be involved can download information packs, posters and logos.
The role of social media is not forgotten. Businesses and consumers alike can Tweet and post on facebook and Instagram with photographs of themselves supporting their local businesses using #SmallBizSatUK
SMALL BUSINESSES AND SHOPPING LOCALLY IN SWINDON
One can hear a lot of moaning from the Vox Pop that Swindon doesn’t benefit from the independent shopping experience that one might find in Bristol, Bath and Cheltenham. Well … while maybe not on the same level, but Swindon is not without some fabulous independent businesses.
I can’t possibly name them all here and there’s bound to be ones I don’t know of but just to highlight a few:
- Numerous independent coffee shops and cafes the length and breadth of the town – read more about them here.
- A number of Polski skleps
- The food hall in Wood Street
- The Italian deli on Commerical Road – Da Paolo’s – read more about that here.
- We still have some ‘proper’ butchers
- A number of independent eating places – read more on them here: http://swindonian.me/category/eating-drinking-coffee-etc/
And many more that aren’t bricks and mortar –people like me for instance – but also people making and selling online only. I’ve met several of these via business networking and posted about them here:
- Wise Bookkeeping services: http://swindonian.me/2015/10/12/a-word-to-the-wise-with-wise-bookkeeping-services/ – http://www.wise-bookkeeping.co.uk
- Hand turned fountain pens: http://swindonian.me/2015/10/22/simon-webb-handcrafted-pens/ – http://www.simon-webb.co.uk/page3.html
- Online gift shop: http://swindonian.me/2015/08/29/fab-events-and-occasions/ – https://www.feoccasions.com
- Organic skincare: http://swindonian.me/2015/02/14/pink-green/ – http://www.pinkandgreenskincare.co.uk
- Litte Miss Cakemaker: http://swindonian.me/2014/02/25/cakes-alive-little-miss-cakemaker-hits-the-ether/ – http://www.littlemisscakemaker.com
- Link Airport Transfer Ltd: http://swindonian.me/2015/09/12/link-airport-transfer-ltd/ – http://www.linkairport.com
- Catherine Jay Jewellery: http://swindonian.me/2015/10/12/catherine-jay-handmade-jewellery/ – http://www.catherinejay.co.uk
- Blade Photography: http://swindonian.me/2014/10/18/swindon-in-business-blade-photography/ – http://www.bladephotography.co.uk
- Zoe Magee Food photography: http://swindonian.me/2015/07/09/zoe-magee-photography/ – http://www.zoemagee.com
- 4Points leisure: http://swindonian.me/2015/04/21/carry-on-camping-with-4-points-leisure/ – https://www.4pointsleisure.co.uk/joomla30/
and there’s more. Many, many more.
No-one wants a depressed High Street. Everyone wants a vibrant High Street that’s a pleasant and safe place to shop and socialise. Well – eschewing the global giants where and when we can, supporting small businesses and shopping locally are positive steps towards achieving just that.
And then we might have more actual shops on Swindon’s streets rather than pretend ones like these.