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Let's do business - in Faversham

Choosing to have or run a High Street business is not for the faint-hearted. Never has competition been so fierce, have consumers been so aware of what they want, price aware and demanding!

And why not?

We all work hard and want the best for ourselves. We should however always appreciate good service, I certainly do and, I thoroughly enjoy the interaction and banter when out and about. Something the internet can’t give us, so there is every reason why a good business can survive and be rewarding.

Never under estimate the value of people, those working in the business and the customers. On a recent trip to Palma in Majorca I was so impressed with the way the receptionist listened to my comment regarding a service in the hotel, warmly smiled and responded that she totally disarmed me, and made me feel my comment was worthy, noted and appreciated. Not once did she take it personally, defend or make a quick snipe comment.

I always try to read the local papers and this morning on returning to the office noted the latest edition of the Faversham Times has the front headline story, “Another Store Bites the Dust”.
It is always sad to see a local business close down as it is someone’s dream and aspiration shattered but, don’t blame our town.

Many years ago in Faversham there was a culture of wanting to blame the town centre and council for business failings, and the blame culture is still indoctrinated in some of us. Yet we all recognise that the high street is changing nationally and it has been for some years. We as customers,  all want more for our money, but around us in Faversham there are so many local success stories that I feel Faversham is really a truly great place to do business, if you know what your strengths are and get involved in the town.

The Faversham market is an excellent example, always bursting with stalls and the Best of Faversham market which promotes local artisan producers, creators and makers has been highly successful during its first year. Each market stall represents an independent small local business.  A number of these small businesses are now seeking bigger premises to expand due to the increased demand of their products. The recent opening of the first local boutique hotel; Faversham Creek Hotel, the proposed and exciting expansion of Macknade, both Saddlers and Jittermugs are now enjoying a busy evening trade after extending their opening times and menus. The popular Hat Shop in West Street is now selling high quality second-hand clothes, and I am one very happy customer of a newly acquired jacket! Lotty’s flowers, Del’Artie, Rocks n’ Frocks are wonderful examples of market to shop success; these shops are now in existence because of confidence and product knowledge gained by having a market stall, I think we will see more of this trend in the coming months too.

What is the essence of these success stories? Firstly, having a quality product, being your own excellent marketing tool, employing lovely customer facing people or if you can’t afford too, then enjoy working in your business, smile often, maximise your shop window to entice people in, have a web presence, engage on social media and be active within the town and attend Traders meetings, be part of and LIKE Visit Faversham, all these elements work.

Our Ten Tips:

1. Ensure you open and close at your advertised times.

2. Sell what the consumer / customer want.

3. Ensure you have done your market research prior to opening so that you know there is definitely a need for your product / service.

4. Do not smoke or loiter in the doorway of your shop it can put customers off.

5. If previous businesses similar to yours have failed in the town, take note!

6. Be polite at all times to your customers.

7. Ensure you have clear pricing and labelling on your products.

8. Don’t be mis-led by Faversham; yes it is a historical beautiful market town with a diverse mix of people but you need to know if your product/service is a necessity or luxury and market yourself accordingly.

9. Don’t blame Faversham and its residents for any failings you may have, they were here long before you. No one likes to go into a shop to hear whinging.               

10. Your shop window is your advert, use it well.


Lucy Guthrie


Showing comments 1 to 1 of 1

An inspiring read - you've summed up what makes Faversham great!
Comment by Julie Davies on 05 Sep 2014
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