Bill Smith

sldcThe Invest in South Lakeland Team at South Lakeland District Council are holding a free Business and Networking Event on Thursday 10 March at Low Wood Hotel, Ambleside.  

Presentations:

Taking your product to the online market
Nick Comer, Rosetta Brands Ltd

Improving your high street presence
Bill Smith, The Shop Doctor, Let’s Talk Shop Ltd

Social Media & Twitter for Business
Justin Grammer, PS Business Matters

Doors will open from 6pm for networking, refreshments and registration and the event will start at 6.30pm finishing at 8.30pm.

This free event is open to any South Lakeland businesses including those wanting to re-locate to this area. 
Please register online on www.southlakeland.gov.uk/b2b (please note that places are limited to 2 attendees per company).
The Invest in South Lakeland Team at SLDC

 

 

It cannot be easy to see your business devastated by flood water,  and undoubtedly heartbreaking to see the business you have worked so hard to develop  washed away through no fault of your own.

With an understandable desire to get the business back into operation as quickly as possible there is often limited time available to consider whether or not changes to the internal layout of the shop might deliver new business opportunities.

But if you are starting again with a relatively blank canvas do not rush  to reinstate what was there before. An opportunity exists to address layout issues that might have previously impacted negatively on the way customers  ‘shopped the shop’ . Careful placement of replacement shelving might help alter the way  customers circulate; identifying and maximising the impact of new selling hot-spots can help generate additional sales and improving merchandising techniques is easier when you are having to stock the shelves from scratch.

It might even be practical to relocate the counter, just because things have always been in a certain position does not mean that they are in the best position for your business in the future.

Identifying new opportunities, on top of everything else required to get the business up and running again, might deliver some challenges, but it is time that could be well spent.

We would be only too happy to discuss with you how our extensive expertise could help ensure that opportunities are not missed and help identify the silver lining available for your business in the future

The following information has been supplied via South Lakeland District Council.  More general information can be found on the SLDC website link:  www.investinsouthlakeland.co.uk/news/article/590/December-Floods-Information/

SLDC Business Rates – All premises are exempt for 3 months if empty. Industrial premises receive up to 6 months if they become empty. We would only be seeking to confirm whether the flooding had affected the whole premises and preventing any trade from the site. Consideration will be given, where appropriate, to extend these periods via means of a local scheme which is awaiting approval, specific to the flooding. Contact SLDC Taxation Team 01539 793245 or counciltax@southlakeland.gov.uk

Time To Pay – This scheme allows affected businesses additional time to pay taxes to HMRC, including VAT, PAYE and corporation tax. For further details contact the HMRC hotline on 0800 904 7900, set up for those who have been affected by flooding and may have difficulties in meeting their tax liabilities. To apply to the Time To Pay Scheme call 0300 200 3835 and discuss with an adviser.

Federation of Small Businesses For Members: for insurance related issues, irrespective of being a policy-holder, contact FSB Insurance on 0345 762 6158. Contact the Legal Advice Line on 03450 727 727 for any legal aspects to the flood and clean-up. The legal documents section of the website also has useful support (log-in required) www.fsb.org.uk For Non- Members: call FSB Insurance Advice Line on 03450 727 727 and speak to Steve Dawson. For employment support: contact Brian Harrison on brian@bandmharrison.co.uk or 01539 730382 For practical support: contact Paul Foster on paul.foster@fsb.org.uk or 07917 628909.
Cumbria Tourism – Working with FSB to ensure the impact of the tourism sector is fully captured, and assisted with Government financial support. Please complete it here: https://www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=144948183547
Helpful guidance and updates on the floods are here www.cumbriatourism.org/home/december-floods-guidance. A helpline is available for affected businesses, contact 01539 822222 or info@cumbriatourism.org

United Utilities – Water bills are being suspended for customers who have been forced from their premises, businesses should contact 0345 072 6072. Customers will need to supply a temporary address along with the flooded address. For any water or wastewater issues, call 0345 6723 723. www.unitedutilities.com/emergencies-incidents.aspx corporate.unitedutilities.com/news-media.aspx
Electricity North West – Emergency Contact 0800 195 4141 or email enquiries@enwl.co.uk, tweet @ElectricityNW
Cumbria County Council – contact 01228 606060

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Jamie Reed MP for Copeland had recently asked a parliamentary question to the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to whether he plans to offer deadline extensions for tax due by businesses affected by flooding in Cumbria.

His response:

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) operates a dedicated Severe Weather helpline to offer help and advice on any tax matters to those people and businesses affected by the recent flooding. The helpline is 0800 904 7900

Opening hours are Monday to Friday, 8.00 am to 8.00 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 8.00 am to 4.00 pm, excluding bank holidays.

HMRC will also:

  • consider instalment arrangements where customers are unable to pay as a result of the floods;
  • agree a practical approach when individuals and businesses have lost vital records to the floods;
  • suspend debt collection proceedings for those affected by the floods; and
  • cancel penalties when the customer has missed statutory deadlines due to the floods.

If your business has been affected by the December floods the team at Cumbria Chamber of Commerce can almost certainly help, and they have previously helped Cumbrian businesses through Foot & Mouth, the 2005 Floods and the 2009 Floods.

Whether you have been flooded directly or are affected indirectly (for example through staff evacuations or your supply chain), download their Business Continuity Checklist for a list things to think about and do immediately and see their Business Recovery Toolkit for more information to support your recovery. See http://www.cumbriagrowthhub.co.uk/news/article/december-floods

Advisers are available, free of charge, to help you deal with the immediate impact and through the recovery process – call 0844 257 8450 or email info@cumbriagrowthhub.co.uk

 

The Rural Shops Alliance is becoming aware that current Rural Shop owners wishing to refurbish or expand their business and those looking to purchase a rural shop are finding it increasingly difficult to secure loans and mortgages from banks and other providers.

They would like to hear from anyone who has been refused a loan or mortgage or had any other similar problems, particularly if a specific reason for refusal of the loan or mortgage has been given.

Please contact Gary Hepburn at the RSA via: gary.hepburn@ruralshops.org.uk

For more information about the Rural Shops Alliance click here

Screenshot_2015-11-24-11-09-46 (2)The British Retail Consortium and  The Food and Drink Federation have released a guidance document advising retailers, producers and authorities on how to make a ‘free-from’ claim on a product in order to regulate free-from allergen claims on food and drink packaging.

Currently there are no specific rules at either UK or EU level governing the use of ‘free-from’. This guidance will help business operators know when and how to label and also provides an overview of relevant UK and EU legislation. It will also give help with the key things to be  considered with regard to appropriate manufacturing practices and also when carrying out a risk assessment.

The guidance can be viewed here

From October 5th businesses with over 250 full time equivalent  employees in England will have to charge 5p for a disposable carrier   bag unless it is used to carry a varied list of exempt products  ( visit Gov.uk for full details)

Larger stores will have to ensure that the relatively complicated rules on when charging applies is passed down to individual checkout operators – and then make sure that the process is properly managed. Added complications include dealing with home deliveries, and how to control charging for bags at self-service checkouts.

Smaller businesses, who do not have to charge, may see  some regular customers asking for bags on a more frequent basis so that they can stockpile them to use for free during their visits to the supermarket.

So what should small businesses do? If they carry on supplying  free bags they might find that they will have to buy more bags to satisfy increased demand. If they charge will it put them at a disadvantage against the big boys?

The decision might be based on what actually happens in an individual business but, in reality, if customers accept paying for single-use bags at the supermarket will they quibble if they have to pay in smaller shops, particularity if the money raised is used to support recognised good causes.

Maybe it would be easier if a 5p charge just became the norm.

For some interesting comments and statistics on the use of plastic bags visit BBC news magazine

 

During my recent return to Langholm, it was pleasing to see the progress made by the shops visited during the initial phase of the Let’s Talk Shop support programme.

Langhol, The Shop Dioctor, Lets Talk Shop, Retail Revitalisation, Retail SurvivalMost significant was that achieved by Cut The Mustard Gallery who, having relocated to the shop next door since my original visit, have undoubtedly transformed their business and its impact on the High Street.

Where the original premises had been relatively confined and IMG_6266limited in display potential, the new gallery provides excellent space from which to materially develop their business opportunities. The gallery also adds new dimension to the existing craft focus within the town, one that itself helps  to draw additional footfall to the town. Relocation obviously came at considerable cost but, thanks to a very supportive and forward-looking landlord (who also provides valuable assistance to other retailers in the town who occupy shops owned by him), the transformation was achieved.
IMG_6161When originally visited, the owners of Sticks ‘n’ Stuff received advice as to how to set out their recently purchased shop premises. At the time, the shop was an empty shell and in need of considerable refurbishment. Now completely refurbished, the shop complements others in the town. It provides walking sticks made on the premises as well as all the components required to make your own alongside a range of collectible items.
Abbotts Chocolate Shop and Blue Moon Crafts have also made IMG_6218significant changes to help to engage customer interest more effectively.

At Langholm Gallery the simple removal of the wooden screening immediately behind the window has noticeably improved the visual impact of the window display itself and made the shop interior a far brighter environment in which to shop and work.

IMG_3040One of the recommendations made following my visit to The Old School, Dumfries earlier in the year was the need to enhance awareness of activities being undertaken inside the building.

Located slightly away from the town centre, the premises themselves delivered little indication that they provided accommodation to an interesting variety of small businesses.

It was pleasing to receive today the following comment and photographs from  Rachel Speedie of The Art Room, one of the businesses operating in The Old School building.  Rachel is helping to coordinate improvements to business vitality within the building.

I just wanted to show yOLd Shool Dumfries; Retail Revitalisation, The Shop Doctor; Let's Talk Shop; Retail Survival;  customer journey; visual merchandisingou what got installed today at The Old School in Dumfries,  apparently they can be seen from Brooke Street, but also DGOne & the Lidl traffic lights too!  

So THANK YOU!! None of this would have been possible without you…Rachel”

hThe Shop Doctor; Let's Talk ShopThe entrance to the premises are to the left-hand side of the building, immediately  off the access road to the customer car park.

Signage has also been installed on this facing of the building, further developing the opportunity to inform a wider audience about the presence of this small oasis of business activity.

Other businesses involved are: Blusha, Make-Up and Hair Specialist;  NonaLou’s Tea room, Cafe and Coffee Shop; Dumfries School of Dance; B Beautiful by Beth and Brighteye Design & Branding.