I’m lucky – I’ve got good neighbours. One side takes our parcels in when we’re out. The other side lends me their tall ladder.

The c-store on a small parade a few doors down isn’t so lucky. Its neighbours are a tired pharmacy, an uninspiring takeaway, a bookie I’ve never seen used and a bike shop I’ve never seen open. Locals would undoubtedly drive 10 minutes into town for superior alternatives.

Having good neighbours makes a real difference to the value of your property, the customers and businesses attracted to the area and footfall opportunities for your store.

Having good neighbours makes a real difference to the value of your property, the customers and businesses attracted and footfall opportunities

What can you do if your neighbours are holding you back? Steve Rodell from business estate agent Christie+Co says talk to your landlord, who has a commercial interest in his properties trading to their full potential. Coventry retailer Paul Cheema knows how valuable busy neighbours are to his store, so became the landlord himself to ensure they thrive and improve.

You could build links with your MP, councillors, chamber of commerce and retail associations. Being involved with these forums will create allies should it come to putting pressure on a landlord or pushing for investment in an area. RN columnist Bintesh Amin, meanwhile, links with local businesses to their mutual benefit. For example, an estate agent hands people who have moved to the area 5%-off vouchers for his store and Bintesh advertises short-term summer lets to customers.

Finally, talk to them about their business and upcoming local initiatives, share knowledge and investment options you’ve read about in RN, and sell the benefits – whether financial, social or environmental – of working together to improve your area.

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