If you speak to any business owner and ask for their concerns you are likely to get a variety of answers, depending on location and business type. However, a few factors that cannot be escaped will concern almost all businesses. Your Ballymena business concerns are important and we are here to help you.
Your concerns and some facts
We recently carried out a quick online survey to get some facts and opinions on what the biggest challenge is for businesses in & around Ballymena. Here are your answers.
1. The Effect of Online Shopping – 49%
The first online sale took place over 20 years ago [we wrote about it here] and shopping has never quite been the same since. The pace at which we have all adopted online shopping is remarkable and statistics show that 95% of people in the U.K. now shop online regularly. In other words, it escapes almost nobody. If you are a local business selling a product or service, online shopping is an unavoidable challenge.
Online shopping is here to stay. You cannot compete with the Internet’s big hitters when it comes to variety, price and delivery. It’s silly to try and take them on, however here are so many more things you can do.
Is your business online? Are you building a community of supporters? Do you engage with your customers online? Can you be found easily online? Are you telling a story, updating your audience? Maybe you can offer a click & collect service? [we wrote about that here.] Are you using social media? [Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat etc.]
Maybe you need to raise your overall game? Assess your product range, your staff, your location or your customer service? Maybe you listened to advice, paid big to get online and now realise you are no further forward?
Whatever your situation or frustration, you must act. Keep reading to find out how we can help you.
2. Business Rating System – 44%
Speaking at a recent Ballymena business event Finance Minister Mervyn Storey said the following about the business rating system;
Following extensive engagement, with business organisations and individual ratepayers during the review of the non-domestic rating system, ideas are emerging on how to make the rating system a better one.
It’s clear from the consultation report that I have published today, that there are no viable alternatives to the existing system. There is, however, a clear consensus on what the problems are and what needs to change. [Full article]
Later in the day he was quoted as saying;
I am inviting views on alternatives to small business rate relief, with a particular focus on town centres. Small business rate relief is a popular scheme but the independent evaluation found it to be poorly targeted. I am canvassing views on other targeted measures, including rating and other initiatives that would provide greater support to small businesses than the current scheme. [Full article]
The Finance Minister and his department seem to be saying that they have spoken with businesses and individual ratepayers, received feedback and ideas which were not viable and, are now looking for new ideas and views on the matter. The report shows 113 written responses as well as lots of varied ideas and opinions on what may or may not work.
The rates you pay can make or break a business. The powers-that-be appear to have ran out of ideas. Perhaps you have an idea you could put forward? More than ever we need fresh ideas for our town centres and communities, online and offline. Engaging with challenges that seem to be out of our control will be necessary if you and your business wish to survive and thrive in & around Ballymena.
Speak to businesses around you, contact a local councillor? Be visible, be heard.
3. Rent – 7%
The cost of rent was the answer least given in our poll. It is still a concern though. We know that in difficult times many property owners will change rent agreements to assist. The challenge of online shopping and high rates may have seemed impossible to overcome in recent years and, often lowered rent is enough to keep you and your business going in tough times.
Talk to your landlord or if you own a property, talk to the business who rents your building. Build a relationship where you realise and appreciate the benefit you bring to each other and to the community around you.
Building a bigger community
Your Ballymena business concerns are important and we are here to help you.
Ballymena Today is part of an established Ballymena based team. Our strength is the wide variety of well considered solutions we offer for every aspect of your business and organisation.
We offer a completely free and unique consultation service tailored to suit your needs.
Need new email accounts? Hosting for your website & emails? Data management? Design? A social media strategy? Print? Internet security? Computer repair? A brand strategy?
You have nothing to lose and perhaps lots to gain. Take the first step and contact us.
These are just some of the things we can do – check out Are Collective to read more and contact us.
We may not be able to lower your rates or rent costs but according to our poll, the biggest challenge for businesses in & around Ballymena is online. We know we can help with this in a wide variety of effective ways.
When you get to know us you will find out there are no fancy frills, we like good coffee and keeping things simple and effective. Come and chat to us. Be part of a growing community who are working together and galvanizing our town.