Sajid Javid said communities and customers are key for expansion – a lesson all businesses of any size should learn from.
Speaking at the Which? Awards in London this week, Javid drew from his own retail experiences from his parents’ store, Kaiza in Bristol, claiming that from an early age the understood the importance of customer service.
“If we couldn’t give a customer what they wanted when they wanted it, they would quite happily walk down the road and go into a rival business,” he said. “And one more customer for our rivals meant one less customer for Kaiza – something that has a real impact on a small business.”
The business secretary reminded the attendees that without customers there is no growth and loyalty goes both ways.
He said that the Enterprise Bill, which aims to cut £10bn of red tape for small businesses, will also service customer needs and urged retailers to help him.
“If you find that your customers are sinking under the weight of bureaucracy, I want to know about it,” he said. “If your customers tell you that a wall of Whitehall-mandated terms and conditions are getting in their way, I want you to pass that information on to me.”
The Conservative’s Enterprise Bill already promises to help improve the business rates system and to create a new body to help company-to-company disputes. But Javid claimed that the new legislation will also clarify statutory rights. “It will help employees from the shop floor to the boardroom understand what is expected of them,” he said.
Aldi was named best supermarket for the third year running at the consumer watchdog ceremony. But building close relationships between shops and community was Javid’s focus, rather than price wars.
“I don’t want you to think that building good customer relations begins and ends at the till,” he said.
“Whether large or small, on the high street or online, businesses are a vital part of the communities they serve. They provide jobs and services, obviously. But they are also uniquely placed to support their communities in many other ways.”