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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com or 01539 730382 For practical support: contact Paul Foster on firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet @ElectricityNW
Cumbria County Council – contact 01228 606060
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.
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 email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the Rural Shops Alliance click 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
One 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 you 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”
The 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.
It is easy to pass through Thornhill without full appreciation of the selection of retailing gems operating from this attractive small town close to Drumlanrig Castle.
With free parking, public toilets, tearooms, cafes and hotels the number of shops may be relatively small, but the service provided and variety of products sold is large.
From the intriguing setting of Thomas Tosh, a cafe-gallery-retailer-venue based in the historic Old Parish Hall building in East Morton Street to the fashion delights at Voila and 101 Boutique time spent in Thornhill can certainly enhance the shopping experience.
Helping satisfy those seeking interior design and home accessories BQA Gifts, operated by The Buccleuch and Queensberry Arms Hotel, provides a wealth of intriguing items for the home and A1 Curtain Design deliver the skills and materials to compliment any home.
Hillhouse and Hunter have retained the traditional setting of the original business within their family run hardware store and, at the end of West Morton Street, Antiques at Zitan dislay original Chinese elegance for the home.
Of the ten businesses originally advised under the Let’s Talk Shop Support Programme 8 are still very much in business, one is closing down due to retirement ( the owner is now 84 ) and another, The Happy Potter Ceramic Cafe, is now Latte Da Tearoom.
All in all Thornhill sustains an intriguing mix of retail opportunity highly reliant on attracting customers seeking the service, quality and setting available. In addition on-line accessibility of many of the businesses concerned adds further dimension to individual business opportunities helping to sustain the businesses in the longer term.
In a recent follow up visit to Dalbeattie retailers who participated in the original Let’s Talk Shop Support Programme it was pleasing that many of them were feeling considerably more positive about their trading vitality.
Whilst there had been some shop closures in the town it is likely that it was not the economic climate alone that had contributed to their demise. Other businesses had invested and reports from those who had implemented improvements following the initial recommendations were very positive.
Whilst many of the participating retailers had taken advantage of the Let’s Talk Shop grants scheme to help introduce recommendations many were now waiting for implementation of the Shop Front Improvements Scheme to enable more robust external improvements to be undertaken.
One major improvement to the gateway impact of the town was the investment being undertaken at the Pheasant Hotel.
The dilapidated condition of the premises at the time of the original visit reflected poorly on the town and it is hoped that the major investment underway to create the Birch Tree Inn, Restaurant, Bar and Hotel will materially improve the arrival impact whilst increasing the number of bed spaces available, a positive step forward for tourism.