There are a multitude of organisations across the UK that are there to help businesses thrive in modern retail. These organisations range in their scale and specificity. From local to national. From very general to highly specialised. They’re here to promote successful and sustainable business and they’ll be very happy help you too.
What Can These Organisations do for you?
Well an awful lot as it happens. These organisations are dedicated to helping local independents thrive on the high street. Some provide training for your employees. Some offer specialist loans and financial support. Others will help you connect with other businesses in your industry, like suppliers, delivery drivers, etc.
BIDs (or Business Improvement Districts) are government funded organisations that promote the business of their local area. Pretty much everywhere in the UK has a BID associated with it. If you’ve never heard of yours just try looking them up. BIDs are one of the groups offering training and loans for businesses in their area and while the BID program spans the nation, each individual BID is working more specifically for their area.
Meanwhile, bira (AKA the British Independent Retailer Association) are a nationwide group comitted to supporting independent retailers across a number of areas. bira has grown since it’s founding 117 years ago. In this time the organisation has expanded to deal with the majority of issues facing modern independents. Bira offer everything from financial services and preferential card rates, to discounts on health insurance and hotels, to legal advice and support, even a debt collection service. Membership isn’t free, but bira certainly has the services to make up any costs.
The Retail Mutual, on the other hand, is a more specialised organisation. It offers independent retailers an alternative to traditional insurance. Offering home cover, business cover and landlord cover, the Retail Mutual is dedicated to protecting independent retailers from the kinds of financial shocks that big chains can shrug off, but small retailers can’t. The retail mutual is founded on the strength of the retail community. Their message at the High Street Conference in September was ‘you’re independent, but you’re not alone’.
And Many More
These are just three examples of business communities that are supporting the high street and independent retailers. There are other organisations out there. Some are government funded. Others are private companies. Many are national, or even international, while others may be as small as a single town or even a single high street. Whatever the case may be, these organisations can do a lot to help independents stay competitive and even thrive on the high street. Just give a quick search for what organisations are relevant for your shop and your area and see what these business communities can do for you.
If you’d like to know more about business communities and organisations, feel free to get in touch.