On Sunday afternoon, I found a fantastic local shop quite literally at the centre of its community.
Each year, Mortimer in Berkshire runs a charity scarecrow hunt in which participants track down 50 scarecrows created by residents and hidden all over the village.
It bought thousands of visitors to the village throughout the week and each one visited the local Budgens to buy a map for £1, which included a free gift of Euro Shopper crisps or Haribo sweets. The shop, local café and pubs were all heaving.
The creativity demonstrated by this store reminded me of a conversation I had with Jon Bunting and Louise Ryan from Smiths News on Friday in which they stressed the importance of being entrepreneurial in seeking out new sales opportunities.
They told me the story of how Basing News in Basingstoke grew its coffee sales from 10 to 50 cups a day through pure entrepreneurial spirit.
Every time a customer comes in with a rival takeaway coffee, the owner gives them a voucher for a free Jack’s Beans and a loyalty card
Every time a customer comes in with a rival takeaway coffee, the owner gives them a voucher for a free Jack’s Beans and a loyalty card. Her policy is to not let anyone leave the store without giving them the opportunity to try a coffee. When a new office block opened nearby, she approached them to tell them about all the services she offers.
By being proactive, they grew to become the UK’s top-selling Jack’s Beans store, generating more than £18,000 profit a year from the service.
With the National Living Wage just five months away, every store will be looking for opportunities to grow turnover to cover increased costs. Identifying an opportunity is just the first step. Engaging staff and delivering it with passion and energy could prove even more valuable.