Businesses are being urged to support their local independent garage on Small Business Saturday, by countrywide independent garage scheme Trust My Garage.
The event, which takes place on December 7, is promoting small businesses up and down the country and highlights the importance of supporting independent businesses that are part of their local communities.
There are a number of reasons why customers should choose to shop locally at small businesses which at the start of 2013 formed 99.2 percent of the 4.9 million businesses in the UK. Research has shown that for every £10 spent in a local community, an additional £25 is invested back into the economy, and independent businesses are the biggest generators of jobs in the UK.
The sheer amount of garages currently operating in the UK means that in order to stay ahead of their game independent garages are successfully adapting, innovating and evolving, and they are doing this by understanding what it takes to run a garage as a business.
Quality Car Service, a member of Trust My Garage - a scheme that ensures its garages are run properly with a strict code of practice - is one such example. Operating in Milton Keynes for five years it is testament to the forward thinking business planning that should go into running a garage. Owner Chris Gurney, who has a background in business, feels they’ve come a long way since they formed.
“We see ourselves as an efficient small to medium enterprise, and we run ourselves accordingly,” he said. “We work hard as a small business to retain our skilled staff and regularly review our business processes and HR policy, just like any other independent business. We also regularly review our business plan so that we stay competitive and I believe this is a vital element of running an independent garage, especially in the current climate.”
Jan Lord, of Guidebridge MOT & Service Centre in Ashton, another Trust My Garage member, feels that it’s a case of garage owners simply not knowing what help is out there.
“I’ve basically taught myself how to run the business side of things, but there’s so much advice out there for people who find it daunting, whether working in the garage trade or running any other independent business,” she said.
“There are free seminars you can attend. All you’ve got to do is have a look on the Internet and you’ll find them. The thought of writing a business plan and pitching it to a bank is probably terrifying for most small business owners, but they don’t have to do it all by themselves because there are many support groups accessible to local businesses.
Jan Lord took a step back from the day-to-day running of the family-run business to focus on marketing and promoting the name of Guidebridge.
“I regularly attend business exhibitions locally and do my bit to support local businesses in our area. Even if only a few people see what message we’re trying to get across, that we do things differently, then I’ve succeeded.
“Independent garages have as much a role to play in the independent business community as other firms. We take a similar approach to management and offer the same personal service as many local businesses do to their nearby suppliers. Just as local businesses depend on each other to strive, independent garages can play an important role in this local business cycle.”