Grow Local Economy | Small Business Saturday
In light of the bleak budget and the backdrop of Brexit, we look at ways to make a positive impact and boast our local Economies.
News of the recent “Grim budget” cannot have escaped the attention of most, in spite of the focus across the internet on the Black Friday events. While consumers have revelled in a weekend of prices slashed and offers increased, a sobering reality remains to come back to. Financially, things aren’t going to get any better for a long time. We’re facing another 7 or 8 years of squeezed incomes; “wages will not recover to their pre-financial crisis levels until 2025.” BBC News
and the future of our economy remains unpredictable thanks to the continuing uncertainty of Brexit. Wages are stagnant, inflation is rising, house prices are also still rising and borrowing continues to increase. For the consumer, things certainly do seem bleak.
The same can be said for small businesses.
Recently, small businesses have had to adjust to rising business rates, increases in minimum wage and rising auto-enrolment in pensions. All of them important measures for fair wages and employment, but extra costs nevertheless. With inflation rising, we will see a slowdown in consumer spending, combined with persistent uncertainty over Brexit meaning potential loss of turnover.
“SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises) are also indirectly affected by many of the other issues such as housing as staff need affordable places to live near their workplaces. Most of my staff are struggling with the cost of both renting and buying houses in Bristol, after a boom in prices in recent years.”
Ellen Green CEO of Blue Badge Co
Phillip Hammond announced one piece of really good budget news for small businesses, the decision not to reduce the VAT threshold. This would have added an extra burden for struggling small businesses who have not so far needed to add VAT to their prices. But it is disappointing that the Chancellor hasn’t offered more support to small businesses. Being a Small Business, Blue Badge Co is used to uncertainty and the sometimes hostile world of economics. We know all too well that in the face of a bleak outlook, the best response is never to give up, but to step up. Look for the silver linings and the opportunities for growth and keep going. As consumers too, there’s always a positive step you can take towards a brighter future.
How Can the Consumer and Small Businesses Work Together to Grow Local Economy?
The national event, Small Business Saturday
is an initiative aimed at engaging consumers with the small and medium businesses in their local area. Many businesses around the country take part in the annual day on the first Saturday in December. Shops and premises host events to celebrate local success stories & diversity on the high street. There are special offers in stores and online and an ongoing campaign to encourage shoppers to support small businesses in their community.
Over the last 4 years since it began, the campaign has helped people recognise the importance of small enterprises to the UK economy. It has been a great success and continues to gain support and momentum. This is what was reported after Small Business Saturday 2016; “An estimated £717 million was spent with small businesses across the UK on the day. This was an increase of 15% on Small Business Saturday last year <2015>.” Study Commissioned by American Express.(founders & ongoing supporters of Small Business Saturday). “In its fourth year, Small Business Saturday has once again delivered a sustained increase in spending with Britain’s small independent businesses. To see the spend on Small Business Saturday reach £249 million more this year than on the first Saturday in 2013, an increase of 53%, is fantastic and confirms the positive stories we are hearing from small businesses in communities across the UK." Michelle Ovens MBE, Campaign Director of Small Businesss Saturday
As well as using the day itself to highlight and draw new interest to small, UK based companies, the campaign’s aim is to have a lasting impact on consumer spending throughout the year. The more people invest in their local businesses, the more they contribute to the local economy.
Why is it Important to Boost Our Local Economy?
Economic growth results in lower unemployment, higher wages and lower government borrowing. "Economic growth creates higher tax revenues, and there is less need to spend money on benefits such as unemployment benefit. Therefore economic growth helps to reduce government borrowing.
The higher tax revenues from successful businesses and employees mean an increase in government revenue and higher spending on public services and the environment. It also means greater investment, leading to a cycle of further growth and further investment.
With local economic growth, these benefits apply directly to your local area. You will see the results on your own doorstep. That's why we want to encourage you, the consumer, now more than ever to seek out your local, homespun products and choose 'Made in the UK' whenever you can. “For every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business (SME) 63p was re-spent in the local area compared to 40p in every £1 spent with a larger business” Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)
In other words, spend your money with big, overseas businesses and never see it again. Spend it on British Made products and see the UK economy grow. Spend your money with small businesses in your area; local shops, independent café’s etc and you will see tangible regeneration unfold in your neighbourhood.
You Can Make A Difference! Shop Local and Buy British this Christmas
We are encouraging customers to buy British this Christmas to support their local economies. Buy quality, personalised and quirky gifts and help foster the talents of the next generation of British designers and retailers.
Like many small businesses, more than 40% of the Blue Badge Co annual turnover is in the 4th quarter of the year.
Without the increase in spending over the Christmas period, many small businesses would fail. Now is the perfect time to support local business and contribute to that all important seasonal boost! If you’re feeling financially helpless, spending your Christmas budget wisely can help you feel empowered and bring great satisfaction. As well as bringing rewards in the form of well made, beautiful products!
Give the gift of warmth this Christmas. Padded Hot Water Bottles in festive prints from £16
True, some products from small, independent businesses can be more expensive than those from large, mainstream retailers. But this is not always the case. You will also find that what you lose in change from a £10 you gain in quality, workmanship and appreciation from the recipient of your gift. When love & craftwork has gone into its creation, there is more chance your gift will be loved and cherished by the receiver. Even if you feel you can’t afford or don’t want to do all your Christmas shopping locally, buying just one gift can make a valuable contribution to local economy. There are 52 million gift-buying adults living in the United Kingdom. If every one of those individuals spent just £20 on gifts made in Britain this Christmas it would add over £1 BILLION to the UK economy. So don't just follow the crowd when you're doing your Christmas shopping, put those precious pennies to work where they matter most; Right at the heart of your community.
Thank you for reading.
Best wishes from the Blue Badge Co. www.bluebadgecompany.co.uk