Every little helps us smaller firms

PUBLISHED: 16:22 04 March 2009 | UPDATED: 16:13 25 August 2010

Looking back, I guess 2008 wasn t exactly the best time to open a new business in Sidcup High Street.

This week DAVE CLAGGETT, of Colour Creatives, in Sidcup High Street, reveals the ups and downs of running your own business

LOOKING back, I guess 2008 wasn't exactly the best time to open a new business in Sidcup High Street.

After months of negotiating with the landlord (who hardly budged on price even though there were, and still are, plenty of shop units empty in Sidcup High Street) making the store look champagne slick on a lemonade budget, finding the right staff and buying office furniture at a bargain price without being able to get it home in a mini, we were finally open.

In our first month of opening, January 2008, we had four orders all month and boy did I want to cry.

Not the best start to a new business but I figured these things take time.

While we have built up a good client base since then and our annual accounts show a healthy turnover, every single week is a struggle. I'm so proud to be able to offer a good service like free local delivery or collection out of office hours - anything that will bring customers back to me rather than sending them somewhere else - but, some things do wear you down. Networking events take their toll. Smiling for hours while at the same time wondering how on earth we are going to pay business rates (which are a disgrace) is always a challenge.

What are the best things about running a high street shop?

Seeing satisfied customers and knowing you made that happen. When the brochures, posters or leaflets they chose us to design and print come out looking exactly the way we planned, our satisfaction levels soar.

So what's the worst thing?

Seeing the shutters go up on Woolworths and several estate agents locally and thinking to myself: could I be next?

Please use your local high street as much as possible. In particular, please come and visit on Easter Saturday, April 11, 2009.

My store will be running a free Easter Egg hunt for your children (Colour Creatives, 5 St John's Parade) and the council is offering free parking.

To steal a phrase from a company much richer than mine - "Because every little helps".

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