OPINION: Look after your staff – Bay Bashir, Belle Vue Convenience (Go Local), Middlesbrough

'We’ve got to look after people who are making us money because without them, we’re nothing'

Over a 25-year period, with everything changing all the time, anyone in this industry should know to expect the unexpected.

While the raise in minimum wage was expected, no one would have predicted the rise in electricity prices, which has been massive, the Ukrainian crisis or how fast and by how much prices for products would go up. But you’ve got to be ready for these things. And you do that by saving up during the good times. I never overspend or take more than I need to.

The pandemic saw phenomenal sales for every one of ours stores, but I let the account build up. We took on staff who were coming from jobs with reduced wages and we looked after them.

We didn’t inflate prices during the pandemic because my reputation and my store’s reputation are paramount for how we do things now. There’s often quick money to be made, but it’s better to ensure you’ll see benefits down the line. And that means looking after your customers and your staff.

We paid them what we could even when it was difficult. I took what I needed and looked after the people I needed to look after.

We’ve got to look after people who are making us money because without them, we’re nothing. Good people need good people behind and alongside them for success. That means you’ve got to train staff members to represent you in the way that you want to show yourself.

Ultimately, the best way you can show your appreciation for what they’re doing is through their wage packets. You can say ‘thank you’ to them, but that only goes so far and you can only do that so often. Total gratitude comes in the form of financial increases in wages. You’ve got to get that balance right.

You’ve got to be as open as you can be. If you aren’t open, then people won’t talk to you and they won’t come to you with problems. I’m not a prier, but if people don’t come to me, how I can help them?

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