Gordon Henderson: Help the smaller traders

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Small Business Saturday has been getting a lot of attention this week, so hopefully you have seen it and have plans to take part.

It has been a slow building campaign that has suddenly caught on to the extent that I’ve spent much of this week answering questions from local and national politicians on what the Federation of Small Businesses are doing in support.

My answer has always included a return question; “What are you doing to support the small businesses in your community?”

The campaign is intended to highlight small business success and encourage you to shop locally to support small businesses in your community this Saturday, 
December 7.

When you consider that new government figures reveal there are now a record 340,840 small and medium-sized enterprises operating in Scotland employing over 1.1 million people (more than half of all Scottish private sector jobs), it is hardly surprising so many people want to support them.

These small businesses account for around 40 per cent of Scottish private sector turnover and we know from a recent FSB procurement study that £1 spent with a local small business generates another 63p of spend locally.

Small business owners can help themselves by visiting the www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com website and downloading a digital marketing pack, it’s not too late.

They can also get together with other local businesses and promote each other to customers. Advice on good local shops, cafes, bars, taxi companies, and tradespeople is always welcomed; it supports job in the local community and is an example of excellent customer service that will encourage customers back again.

We are constantly reading in the Evening News about new marketing initiatives and investment to draw shoppers into Edinburgh’s city centre, but where are the initiatives to celebrate the unique attractions of town centres such as Stockbridge, Morningside, Southside, Grassmarket and Portobello?

The big city centre stores are the big draw and do a great job of pulling in shoppers but the small independent retailers, pubs and cafes elsewhere in the city are vital ingredients to the overall retail offering that could do with your support this Saturday.

• Gordon Henderson is senior development manager at the Federation of Small Businesses