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Small enterprises need to do whatever it takes to market themselves

One of the hardest ways to make a living is to become self employed, take all of the risks on your own shoulders, perhaps even risk the security of your home and family by using your property as leverage at the banks to raise capital, the whole process is fraught with dangers as your “baby” slowly learns to crawl and walk, any thoughts of running are a long way off yet.

When a business is born it’s capital and assets are probably at their lowest as the owners (often sole traders) struggle to get the enterprise off the ground, find markets and customers and begin to grow, and one of the smaller parts of their budgets will be allocated for marketing and advertising. It is essential that they rely on channels other than word of mouth to offer their businesses and services to others, and remember that they all hope to grow and employ other people as the business begins to thrive.

So it is with some angst that I’ve seen local councils, including our own in South Tyneside bureaucratically getting in the way of small businesses and using that old chestnut “Elfin safety” as an excuse to bully and harass them into removing whatever small forms of advertising they can afford.  They cry that small “A frame” boards are a severe risk to pedestrians, the disabled, wheelchair users, and the visually impaired, yet have we ever read of anyone suffering injuries in South Shields or Jarrow because they fell over a street board? They are large enough to see, in most cases easy enough to negotiate a path around (even for wheeelchair users), and even the visually impaired can detect them as they go about town.

Yet councils wave the big stick at small businesses by requiring their removal and give the appearance that they don’t care about nurturing success on their patch, meanwhile these very same councils are quite happy to accept decent sums of cash from businesses to advertise in their publications and in their public buildings, or to erect “sponsored” road signs (such as we see in South Tyneside at various roundabouts) or to put “sponsored” waste bins in our path as we traverse our high streets in a case of  “do it our way, or no way at all“. I find it all a bit hypocritical.

So it’s good to see that at least in South Tyneside some sort of rethink is being undertaken.

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Written by curly

March 20, 2010 at 11:00 am

One Response

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  1. It’s easy to fall back on tabloid tropes like ‘elf n safety’ when you’re not one of the people who fall foul of irresponsibly placed street furniture, or don’t go to the trouble of asking people with disabilities first before casually disregarding their concerns.

    Obstacles like A boards and pavement displays come second only to pavement cyclists as significant risks identified by visually impaired persons (VIPs) in South Tyneside. These problems can be exacerbated by poor lighting conditions, bad weather and busy periods when reduced pavement space increases the likelyhood of accidents.

    These issues have been raised regularly by VIP groups with council officers and it’s a welcome change that the council is seeking to resolve problems where pavement obstacles present a risk, not just to VIPs, but to people with other disabilities and the elderly.

    rossinisbird

    March 20, 2010 at 3:32 pm


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