Don’t panic! The #highstreet is NOT dying!

Yesterday morning, the retail industry woke up to more scaremongering headlines that serve only to feed public pessimism over the high street. I was called up to discuss the matter on Sky News, primarily because I felt more than able to counter the view that stats like this mark the “death of the high street”. The problem is that most people don’t really take the time to understand what exactly these figures mean. Looking at the statistics in detail, it’s simply not as clear-cut as the media, or rather the data source (who garner a huge amount of media coverage by publishing these stats), would have us believe.

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Why free advice might kill your business #indieretail #enterpriserocks

Most business owners will leap at the opportunity to get some free advice (perhaps it’s the reason you’re reading this blog), but it’s important to remain wary of exactly how this “free” assistance will affect your business. You may not realise it but a lot of advice floating around could actually damage your company’s success.

Reviving the high street

I’ve spoken to three retailers recently who described their experiences with local council advisors. As well as receiving poor free advice from these “specialists” (which, thankfully, was ignored), they were shocked to find these advisors dissuading them from taking a physical location for a shop.

One size definitely doesn’t fit all!

The sad truth is, free advisors generally seem to be bureaucrats or career consultants who are paid to offer homogenised advice to speciality businesses. In this particular example the advisors focused on attempting to talk 3 start-up retailers (with a very personalised and unique product and customer experience) out of setting up shop on the high street and instead encouraging them to seek success online or out of town.

Grass roots high street revival depends on new, innovative retail businesses taking up vacant property!

It is quite simply insanity. On the one hand regeneration departments within our councils are tasked with reviving the high street, on the other hand they employ these advisors, who, despite their lack of knowledge or understanding of retail or consumer-facing businesses, are holding a position of high-regard as the “council’s business advisor”… But as generalists, not specialists, how can they be expected to provide relevant, useful advice to those business owners when their expertise falls so short of what is needed by today’s retailers? I assume that the retailers who were urged to avoid taking on high street premises never fed back their experiences to the town centre regeneration team either! Perhaps if they had then something could have been done to address the issue of departments not working cohesively!

When it comes to business advice, you get what you pay for…

As in all walks of life, any business advice given to you is worth only what you pay for it… and of course, it’s only any VALUE if you actually use it to implement change! If you have the chance to listen to some free guidance, be wary of the lessons you take away with you – free advice is never specialised to you and your business, and won’t necessarily help you choose the right route for your company.

Enterprise Rockers is a fabulous group that I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years. As a community they really care about the needs of you and your business. The Rockers community actively champion micro-enterprises and equally despise “free” mentors or advisors – those that kill off the businesses of thousands of real-world, professional experts who actually offer effective and appropriate advice to their business customers.

Instead of seizing free advice every time it’s offered, consider investing in paid advice which could actually benefit your business. It may not be as expensive as you imagine!

Shameless plug… :-)

My mentoring services vary from 1-2-1 to small group sessions, delivered both online and face-to-face. Best of all, they’re bespoke to your business / industry sector and you’ll benefit from learning from the expertise of The Retail Champion, which spans decades immersed in the retail industry. Why not have a look at some testimonials from previous clients?

If you’re interested in stepping away from free and potentially fatal advice, and instead want to invest in some real expert guidance, give us a call of 01727 238890 or email to see which options are available to you.

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.@RetailChampion & @FutureHighSt campaigner congratulates @NorthKestevenDC on BOLD move enabling @Tesco development

Too often, major supermarkets, such as Tesco, are blamed for the “death of the high street”. My belief is that larger, out-of-town retailers can be to blame for this: within towns, where supermarkets offer free parking and vital services, the local community is encouraged to stay local, rather than drive for miles to find a decent-sized shop. Unfortunately, many remain blind to the truth of a town-centre supermarket presence and stubbornly dig their heels in to prevent such developments, slowing down economic growth and much-needed regeneration!

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What is multi-channel retail?

I recently was asked to add my comments to a selection of questions about multi-channel retail for a feature in a publication. I thought it would be interesting to share my thoughts in full as my comments will be edited and used as extracts for the article! What follows are the questions and my answers… enjoy!

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What is a retailer? Redefining the meaning of retail…

In recent weeks we’ve been hearing from various sources that “the future of the high street isn’t retail”. I was thinking about this, because I believe that this really depends on how you define retail…

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PRESS RELEASE: The High Street is Dead, Long Live the High Street! #futurehighstreet

Retail Champion and high street campaigner, Clare Rayner, announces the first Future High Street Summit in a bid to ditch the rhetoric about “death of the high street” and to kick-start positive ACTION to accelerate the transformation and regeneration of UK towns.

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Leveraging your business data to deliver profitable growth – Webinar with @BrightpearlHQ

I’ve just recorded a webinar with the Support for Independent Retail campaign’s platinum sponsor, Brightpearl. They talk sense. Anyone who knows me, who knows about the 10-steps to retail success, will know I am a massive advocate of allowing the data in your business to guide your commercial decisions, to help back-up those instinctive, gut feel, decisions you may take and enable you to feel more confident about chasing higher margin fast selling lines or cutting out slow moving lines that end up costing you in markdown spend.

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