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 champion@retailchampion.co.uk to see which options are available to you.

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About Clare Bailey

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion (formerly Clare Rayner), is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK. With unrivalled knowledge in retail, high streets and consumer matters, she offers unbiased, independent content – whether engaged as a professional speaker, for broadcast media, or for a written feature. Clare is a business woman, entrepreneur and founder of several small businesses. Having been born into a family of successful business owners, it was inevitable that she’d eventually jump off the corporate treadmill and step out on her own! Today her brand portfolio includes The Retail Champion, The Retail Conference, the Future High Street Summit and the Support for Independent Retail campaign. In addition, she is co-founder of Mobaro Retail UK and a non-exec director of Beed Virtual Assistant Services. Having started her career as a fast-track store management trainee for McDonalds, she went on to work with leading retailers such as M&S, Dixons and Argos. She moved swiftly into management roles before being headhunted into senior consulting roles with global software giant SAP, and international management consulting brand, Accenture. Her corporate background in senior retail, consulting and technology roles, coupled with her experience of creating and running her own business, has enabled her to be equally capable whether consulting to global brands or micro businesses. This unique blend has not only positioned her as a leading expert in all things retail, but has enabled her to add meaningful commentary and insight to the debate around the future of the high street, and, how technology is driving fundamental change in the way consumers, and businesses, interact. Clare has become an influential voice in her field, which has resulted in her becoming a regular media contributor and sought-after conference speaker. Often seen on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, and Chanel 5 (to name a few), Clare speaks on a myriad of retail, high street and consumer issues – but is particular adept when it comes to explaining the context behind retail trading results, newly released data, and government stats, in a palatable and informative manner. In addition to broadcast and conference speaking, Clare is the proud author of two best-selling business books published by Kogan Page - The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success, published July 2012 and How to Sell to Retail: The Secrets of Getting Your Product to Market, published February 2013. She has provided contributions to various academic texts, including Retail Marketing Management (published by Pearson). With an engaging, conversational yet informative style, Clare writes for press and content agencies, providing features, articles, blogs and opinion pieces as well as contributions to white papers and reports. However, when the situation demands a more serious style, Clare can deliver - In 2016 she wrote an extensive report for a major insurance and risk law firm, as a retail expert witness, to support a public liability suit. She found that project particularly enjoyable as it played well to her strengths – assimilating large amounts of data and information, identifying the key points and articulating that in an understandable manner. When not on TV or speaking at conferences, Clare’s “day job” sees her supporting consumer-facing businesses through her consultancy services. When asked to describe what she most loves about retail consulting it is typically the opportunity to “dig deep”, getting “under the bonnet”, in order to leverage the business data to uncover the insights that lead to “lightbulb moments”. She also loves working on business change programmes that centre on improving the processes and systems to increase profitability by supporting more rapid, better informed decision making, improving the customer experience, or simply by become more efficient and streamlined. In this respect she considers herself a “business engineer” with a brain that works like a relational database! Due to her years of experience, her logical, objective approach, her quick, rational thinking, she is known for being able to cut through complexity, seeing right through to the crux of issues, finding creative solutions that others may have overlooked. As if all that wasn’t enough, Clare is a working mum, juggling a home life in rural Lincolnshire with her partner, their 5 kids, 4 cats, and geriatric Labrador! For all enquiries, contact Clare directly on 01727 238890 or email champion@retailchampion.co.uk.
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One Response to Why free advice might kill your business #indieretail #enterpriserocks

  1. Pingback: Why are micro-enterprises so important for the high street? | Future High Street

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