It’s almost here! No, not the Cocoa-Cola lorry – I hate that thing. It’s nothing to do with Christmas and everything to do with commercialism of the worst kind.
No! I’m talking about something much more important: Small Business Saturday. Which this year is Saturday 3rd December.
Yes! Small Business Saturday is rapidly approaching closely followed by JC’s birthday. So now is as good a time as any to talk about shopping locally and the Small Business Saturday Movement.
‘Small Business Saturday is a grassroots, not-for-profit campaign and benefits from the backing of leading business organisations including the Federation of Small Businesses, Enterprise Nation and the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association.
This is the fourth year of the campaign, which last year saw £623m spent with small businesses across the UK on Small Business Saturday, an increase of £119m or 24 per cent on the previous year. Over 75% of local councils supported the campaign, giving considerable national reach into local communities.’
It’s important to remember though that the Small Business Saturday and shopping local movement is not just about buying products but about buying services locally. It all helps your local economy. And who doesn’t want a thriving local economy?
And of course local independent businesses don’t have to be bricks and mortar businesses. I know of many small businesses in Swindon operating on an on-line basis selling a wide variety of products and services. Anything from camping and glamping accessories, to jewellery and organic, hand-made skin care. And many more besides.
If you want to know more about some of them you can do so here: http://swindonian.me/2016/10/20/7-reasons-to-shop-locally-8-places-to-do-it/
And yes – I do use them as much as I’m able to. I do practice what I preach as much as I can.
Why shop local? It’s simple: Use it or LOSE it
As this 2013 article from The Guardian says: “From literary bestsellers to the latest gadgets, there is no denying that the Internet makes it far easier to compare the price of shopping. But some retailers claim the shift is now towards the high street, and buying locally is the message behind Small Business Saturday.
Clare Rayner of Retail Champion says: “Christmas sales can account for between a third and nearly two-thirds of a retailer’s annual turnover. A bad Christmas can mark disaster for a small business. Sadly, it really is a case of ‘use it or lose it’.”
The article details 7 good reasons why you should shop locally and support small business. For the full info read the article but in brief:
1) Spending locally boosts the local economy. Research on spending by local authorities shows that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business 63p stayed in the local economy, compared to 40p with a larger business.
2) It’s an ethical choice: When you shop at local butchers, bakers, farm shops and green grocers, it is likely that a decent percentage of the produce has had a short field-to-fork journey. Along with supporting local farmers, it means the food is likely to contain more nutrients and have less packaging.
3) You can get quirky and one-off gifts: Independent shops often stock items which are made locally and aren’t available elsewhere: buy a dress by a fledgling designer and there is little chance of turning up to the office Christmas party wearing the same as someone else.
4) It supports British Entrepreneurs: Artisan markets help foster the talents of the next generation of British designers and retailers. “[They] are hotbeds of innovation,” says Mike Cooksedge, founder of SeeMyLocalMarket.
5) Shopping locally builds communities: Bookshops, cafes and craft shops often drum up custom by hosting events, from book groups to knitting clubs and children’s events. If the businesses are not supported, the local groups tend to disappear too.
6) You might get a better deal or some good advice: Independent retailers can use their discretion to reward regular custom, and it can mean you get discounts on the items you actually want to buy, rather than being tempted by multi-buy offers in the big chains.
7) Sometimes you can try before you buy: Major retailers have the advantage of economies of scale and can afford to slash prices and offer reduced costs. However, it’s easy to waste money on products you end up not actually liking.
Full STEAM ahead for 2016 Small Business Saturday in Swindon
Nicky Pasquier, owner of Virtuoso Assistant and Regional Champion for the campaign, has been working with Nicky Bailey from the FSB and Katherine Dixon, from Swindon Borough Council, to arrange a Business Breakfast event on the morning of the annual Christmas craft fair at the STEAM museum on Saturday 3 December.
The breakfast event will be held from 8.00am – 9.30am and is open to all stall holders, FSB members and all local small business owners.
STEAM’s Hospitality Services will be providing hot cups of tea and coffee and delicious cakes and pastries will be on offer from local bakers Huntingdon – Bourne. Entrance to the event will simply be a £3.00 ticket to the Christmas at STEAM so come along, meet fellow entrepreneurs and do a little festive shopping.
Robert Buckland, MP, is very keen to show his support for Swindon’s entrepreneurs and will be attending STEAM Museum on the day.
Nicky Pasquier and Nicky Bailey will be manning their own stand at the craft fair so come along, have a chat find out more about how you can get involved in Small Business Saturday UK or what support the FSB provides to small business owners.